Office Shenanigans II: Coffee, Cats and Copying Machines

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Balancing two over-priced coffees, Aziraphale left the elevator. His tongue stuck out in the effort not to spill anything when he walked along the corridor. In his mind he reiterated what he planned on saying as to not make a fool of himself. Not again.

He would simply hand over the coffee and ask to have coffee break together. Thanks to Bea Aziraphale knew that Crowley had a gap in his schedule on Tuesday morning. So Aziraphale would suggest going to the roof terrace, but be open for alternatives. How hard could that be?

Just as Aziraphale took his eyes off the coffee and put them on Crowley’s office, the door opened. Crowley stepped out - and right behind him Gabriel. They were engaged in a discussion. But when they spotted Aziraphale, they both fell silent and looked at Aziraphale with surprise.

On Gabriel’s face spread a broad smile.

“Aziraphale! Thank you!” he said and took the coffee from Aziraphale’s hands. Giving one to Crowley, he said, “See, that’s a fantastic PA. He found my note about our spontaneous meeting and decided to bring us coffee.”

“Yes, thank you,” Crowley smiled at Aziraphale. “Bit too sweet though.”

“Um… I…,” Aziraphale said.

“Oh,” Gabriel said. “Not Aziraphale’s fault. This one’s how you like it.”

They switched cups, both satisfied afterwards. Gabriel patted Aziraphale’s shoulder and looked extremely proud. But then he frowned.

“You got nothing for yourself?” he asked, slightly admonishing. “Really, I feel bad when you only do that for me. Nobody will question a coffee or a donut more on the receipts. And make sure to submit the receipt so you get back your money.”

“Yes, Mr. Wing,” Aziraphale sighed. “Thank you.”

“Thank you, ” Gabriel repeated. “Come on, Crowley. We can keep talking on the roof terrace. I need some air.”

“Right,” Crowley said. “Thanks, Aziraphale. See you.”

“Yes, bye.”

Frustrated, Aziraphale watched them go.

“He even follows you to bring you coffee,” he heard Crowley say. “When I told Bea I’d like a coffee, she said ‘lucky for you, there is an easy to use coffee machine in the kitchen’.”

“You’re too lenient,” Gabriel answered. “PAs need a fair but strict hand.”

“Do they now?”


On wednesday afternoon, Aziraphale left his office with a plan. After a deep breath, he walked towards the copying machine. Crowley was reading some company papers while waiting for Newt to fix the paper jam.

Aziraphale cleared his throat.

“Good morning, gentlemen,” he said.

“Hello.” Crowley let the paper in his hand sink and gave him a smile.

“Hi, Aziraphale,” came from behind the photocopier.

“Erm, Mr. Crowley,” Aziraphale began. “Can I a… ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Mo… monday we were briefly talking about plants.”

“Yes, I remember,” Crowley said. “You said you couldn’t have one because of your cats.”

“Yes, exactly,” Aziraphale answered. “But I have been thinking. There must be people who have cats and plants, right?”

Crowley chuckled, “That’s very likely, yes.”

“So, if you ever have some time to spare, maybe you could give me some tips?” Aziraphale asked. “Which plants can be put up in a household with cats?”

“Oh, sure,” Crowley said. “That’s not my field of expertise, but I sure could…”

With a bang the lid of the copying machine was closed. Both Crowley and Aziraphale jumped and looked at Newt who appeared from behind the device. He was full of ink but looked satisfied.

“Should work now, Mr. Crowley,” he said before telling Aziraphale, “I’ll help you. My cats used to eat all my plants, but Anathema gave me a book about plants that cats don’t care for - and aren’t dangerous for them in case they change their minds.”

“Oh, I…” Aziraphale began.

But Newt already put an arm around his shoulder and steered him towards his office.

“I’ll make you a list of suitable plants and then we can google prices and where to buy them.”

“Yes, right,” Aziraphale sighed. “Thank you.”

“Thanks for fixing that, Mr. Pulsifier,” Crowley called after them. “See you, Aziraphale.”


Thursday morning had been busy. So a break was definitely something Aziraphale needed. Lost in thought, he unpacked his lunchbox. His mind was wrapped up in the last days’ failures.

Maybe he could try talking about books. Aziraphale loved reading and was not limited to one or two genres. If there was any kind of literature Crowley liked, Aziraphale probably could talk to him about it. That could impress him - or completely put him off, make him think of Aziraphale as a boring bookworm.

Another option was to interest Crowley in a conversation about baking. No, probably not. The man did not even like sugar in his coffee. It was unlikely that he cared much about pastries. Too bad. Aziraphale was good at baking. If someone was a fan of sweet goods, he would no doubt appreciate Aziraphale’s skill.

For a moment, Aziraphale’s concerns disappeared. Smiling at his self made strawberry cupcake with the vanilla cream top, Aziraphale decided to worry about his plans later. So he took a hearty bite, just as the kitchen door opened. Chewing on his cupcake, he turned towards the newcomer and froze. What had he done to deserve this?

In the frame stood a tall slender redhead with a ridiculously handsome face. Crowley smirked as he spotted Aziraphale in the corner with his mouth full.

“Bon appetit,” he said.

Aziraphale nodded. Apologetically, he pointed at this mouth as an explanation for not answering. He also tried to smile. It was not easy with his mouth full of cream and cake. Somehow he managed, but he was sure he looked ridiculous; cheeks full, lips pressed shut and his jaw working.

Crowley’s grin widened, but he said nothing. His goal was the coffee machine. Mesmerized, Aziraphale watched as Crowley opened the cupboards and got out the ground coffee and the paper filters. Aziraphale always had to stretch himself to his full length to reach the correct shelf. For Crowley it was barely above eye level.

After gathering everything, Crowley scratched his head. For a moment he looked at the machine and ingredients rather helplessly. Then he turned to Aziraphale.

“You wouldn’t happen to know how much powder is needed for one pot?” he asked sheepishly.

Quickly, Aziraphale swallowed. Clearing his throat, he rushed over and nodded.

“I usually use one teaspoon, ah well, in that case coffeespoon I guess, per cup,” he explained. “Five cups and up I give one extra for the whole thing.”

“Why that?”

“Uh, well, because…,” Aziraphale halted and blushed. Finally he admitted, “Because my mother said that’s how it’s done.”

Crowley laughed.

“Sounds like a good reason.”

Flustered, Aziraphale prepared the coffee machine. After pressing the button, he said, “You don’t have to wait. I can bring it to you when it’s done.”

“That would be wonderful. Thank you, Aziraphale.”

After giving Aziraphale a smile and a wink, Crowley left the room.

Aziraphale breathed out.

Okay, that was not so bad. If he behaved like a normal person when bringing over the coffee, it was quite possible to turn this into his chance to ask Crowley out.

Waiting for the coffee, Aziraphale finished his cupcake. When the coffee machine made itself known, he filled the hot beverage into a thermos, grabbed a cup for Crowley and carried everything to Crowley’s office.

Through the glass he saw Crowley working and knocked politely. When Crowley looked up, a broad smile formed on his face. Well, that was good. Obviously, he was happy to see Aziraphale. So Aziraphale brought in the pot and poured Crowley a cup of coffee.

“So, Aziraphale,” Crowley said, sounding weirdly amused. “You like cupcakes?”

“Um, yes, I do,” Aziraphale answered, insecure. Was this a jab at his weight? “I took on baking during lockdown.”

“Oh, you made those in the kitchen yourself?” Now Crowley appeared impressed. “Looked professionally done.”

“Thank you.” Aziraphale beamed proudly. “They also are delicious.”

Chuckling, Crowley got to his feet. He went around his desk and approached Aziraphale. The sudden proximity made Aziraphale’s knee buckle and he felt his cheeks heat up. He watched one large hand reaching into Crowley’s vest pocket and pulling out a tissue.

Before Aziraphale knew it, Crowley brushed the fabric over Aziraphale’s nose. When he pulled it away, there was a vanilla coloured stain.

Looks delicious, too,” Crowley smirked.

Aziraphale, sure to be cherry red in the face now, stammered something that was a thank you and a good bye in one. Then he rushed out of Crowley’s office, embarrassed, mortified and fed up.


On Friday, Aziraphale had given up. When it was not the circumstances stopping him, it was him, making an idiot of himself. It was time to admit to himself that a cool, suave guy like Crowley was not meant for a clumsy, fussy bookworm.

The embarrassment still burnt hot. Even though a day had passed, Aziraphale remembered Crowley’s grin as he wiped his face clean. What kind of moron did not check his face before bringing coffee to their crush? Crowley probably had a good laugh about him. Hopefully, he would not tell anyone.

Aziraphale tried being optimistic. The weekend was close and he had taken the next week off. Time moved fast for office gossip. So even if Crowley had talked about it, there was a chance it was forgotten when Aziraphale returned in ten days.

So Aziraphale was in a slightly better mood, until Gabriel stepped into the outer office. Looking up from his screen, Aziraphale gave his boss a smile.

“Do you need anything, Mr. Wing?” he asked.

“Indeed yes,” Gabriel looked apologetic. “About your vacation… Did you make any reservations?”

Aziraphale’s face fell. It would be easy to lie now and claim to have booked an expensive cruise with no chance to get his money back. But that was not how or who Aziraphale was.

“No, sir,” he answered, voice subdued. “Why? I thought you didn’t need me while in New York.”

“I don’t,” Gabriel said. “But a colleague has a family emergency and we need someone to fill in for her for a week.”

“Oh,” Aziraphale said. That was not so bad. Helping someone out was a good enough reason and postponing reading and relaxing on the couch for a week, was certainly bearable. Doing an unfamiliar job even gave him a good reason to stay away from Crowley. So he said, “I can do that, sir.”

“Great!” Gabriel’s perfect teeth shone as he gave a wide smile. “I knew I could count on you. Just be at Crowley’s office on Monday.”

“Um, what?”

“Crowley’s office,” Gabriel repeated and after some thought asked, “Wait. Did I not mention you’ll be standing in for Bea as his PA?”

“No, you didn’t,” Aziraphale replied, defeated.

“Ah. Well, now you know,” Gabriel said. “This isn’t a problem, is it?”

“No, sir,” Aziraphale sighed. “Why would that be a problem?”

He waited for Gabriel to leave the room before letting his head fall onto his desk with a groan.

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