[identity profile] goe-mod.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] go_exchange

Title: The Gay Gordons
Characters: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Castiel, Aziraphale, Crowley
Rating: G
Word Count: 3,800
Warnings: None
Summary: Sam and Dean pick up an investigation as a favor to Castiel and find something a bit unexpected.




Somewhere in the world, under a highway in the shape of a wiggly sigil, there stood an angel.  This angel was wearing a trench coat.  He liked wearing trench coats.  It was a good thing no one had ever asked him why he liked wearing trench coats, because he would not have been able to give a sufficient answer.


A black car pulled up beside the angel, and two men got out. One of the men was the size of a moose and had flowing hair that must surely have gotten into his eyes at inconvenient moments. The second man would only be called short in comparison to the first; he could only be summarily described by the word gruff.


“All right,” said the gruff one as he slammed his door shut. “What was so important that you asked us to come all the way out here?”


“Thank you for coming, Dean,” said the angel, whose name was Castiel.  “I wouldn’t have asked it unless it was important.”


“We had to book tickets on a red-eye,” said Sam, a bit annoyed.


“A plane!” said Dean.  “A freaking plane!  This better be good, Cas.”


The angel shifted from foot to foot.  “I don’t know if I’d say it’s good, but it’s certainly very important.” He took a deep breath.  “Sam, Dean, I am desperately in need of a favor from you two.  You’re the only ones I know who can pull it off.”


“All right,” said Sam.  “What do you need, Cas?”


“Well, I…” Castiel looked uncomfortable. “Please remember that I do not ask this lightly.  This is a very touchy subject.”


“Just spit it out already,” said Dean, who was already running out of patience for this whole endeavor.


“One of my brothers has been behaving suspiciously.  An angel named Aziraphale.  I have tried to confront him about it, but he refuses to engage me.  I cannot get near him.”


“What?  Why not?” asked Sam.


“He is avoiding me,” said Castiel.  “I would like to leave it at that.”


“Okay…” Dean began, gesturing to the trunk of his car. “So you need us to take out some asshole angel?”


“No,” said Castiel with barely contained exasperation. “Dean, I didn’t say to kill him. Would you please contain your bloodlust for a moment?”


Dean rolled his eyes.


“What exactly do you want us to do, then, Cas?” said Sam, sounding annoyed with both Dean and Castiel.


“Find out exactly what he’s up to,” said Castiel.  “He can sense my angelic presence a mile away and avoid me, but he wouldn’t really take notice of humans observing him.”


“All right, we can do that,” said Sam.


“But you owe us one,” Dean interjected.


“Yeah, anyway,” said Sam.  “You said he’s been behaving suspiciously?  What’s he been doing?”


“He’s been having regular meetings with a demon,” said Castiel.


“A demon?” said Dean. “Doing what?”


“That is what I need you to find out,” said Castiel.  “To be frank, Aziraphale doesn’t have a very good history with Heaven.  I’m not the only one concerned about this.  An angel and a demon working together...  It doesn’t bode well.”


“No, it doesn’t,” Sam agreed.  “Something big must be up.”


“Okay, do you have any leads?” asked Dean.  “Where we can find this Aziraphale guy?  Who’s the demon he’s hanging out with?”


“Well,” said Castiel hesitantly, like he was about to shatter thin ice, “the demon’s name is Crowley.”


Sam and Dean both rushed to comment, but Castiel talked over them as quickly and loudly as he could:  “It’s a different demon, Dean.  It’s definitely not the same Crowley.  It’s a different class of demon altogether.  Apparently it’s not that unusual for demons to steal each other’s names.”


“You’re sure?” said Dean.


“I’m sure.”


Dean got a sour look on his face, as though he were disappointed with that news.


“Okay, Cas,” said Sam.  “We’ll take care of this.  Don’t worry.”


“Oh, as for where,” said Castiel.  “I have the name of a certain bookshop where you might find Aziraphale.  If you can manage to get there while it’s open…”



***





Dean absolutely insisted on stopping by the palace so he could try and antagonize the guards into breaking their motionless vigil.  It didn’t work, of course.  It never works, Sam told him, but Dean tried anyway.


“They get this all the time, Dean,” said Sam, exasperated, fifteen minutes in.


“I’ve never been here before. Give me a break, okay?” said Dean.  “I deserve a little something for surviving that plane ride and driving this rent-a-crap instead of Baby.”


When Sam finally pulled him away, they drove to Soho. Upon finding the described bookshop, they parked the disparaged SUV across the street and sat outside for an hour to observe.


The only activity was a woman going in at about 2pm and coming back out five minutes later empty-handed and looking harried.  They could see nobody moving around inside the shop through the storefront.


“All right, I’m tired of waiting around,” said Dean.  “Let’s go see what’s up.”


The bell on the door jangled as they pushed it open.  “Excuse me,” said Sam, and then stopped when he saw the inside of the shop.


It was a chaotic mess.  There were stacks of books covering every shelf in a disorganized panic, riots of volumes shoved anywhere they would fit: every inch of the cabinets, the floor, stools, the windows, on top of a ladder that was swaying unsafely.  The shelves crowded so close together that it looked like it would only be possible to pass between them by turning sideways.


“My God,” said Dean.  “There’s somebody alive in here?”


“Feel free to browse,” echoed a bored voice from somewhere within the labyrinth.


Sam hesitantly started forward, picking his way across the floor where he could find empty space to step.


“Nice aesthetic he’s got going on,” said Dean.  “Very Temple of Doom.”


“Can you maybe take this seriously?” said Sam.  His stern tone was defeated as he knocked a shelf and a slew of books cascaded onto his head.  Dean exploded with laughter.


“Watch your step,” said the bored voice.


It was a few minutes of trekking before they finally managed to reach the other side of the store, where a rotund man with unkempt curls of hair leaned on a counter with his nose buried in a thick volume.  The only clear space in the entire corner was a sunny spot in the window behind the man, where an enormous python lay curled up.


Dean recoiled at the sight of the snake.  Sam bravely stepped toward the counter.


“Good afternoon,” said Sam.


Americans,” the man muttered.


“Sorry to interrupt,” said Sam.


“You just have it loose in the store?” said Dean.  “Where anyone could walk in and step on it?”


“He doesn’t bite,” said the man behind the counter, snapping the book closed.  “Usually.  What can I do for you two?”


Now, the man-shaped being behind the counter did not look like the type of person who would have much experience with anything besides staying indoors doing dull activities like puzzles and Sudoku and reading. If Sam and Dean had suspected that this particular individual had plenty of experience scaring away intimidating men in suits asking invasive questions, they might have tried a different approach.*  But they didn’t, so Sam dropped his wallet open to reveal his badge.  “We were hoping to have a word with you.”


* Little did they realize, the quickest route to their goal would have been to simply remind him that lying was a sin, which would have caused him to break down crying and tell them everything they wanted to know.


“And may I ask what exactly the American FBI are doing investigating a matter in London?” said the man.


“We’re looking for someone named Aziraphale,” said Sam.  “Do you know anyone by that name?”


“It’s just sitting in the window unsupervised,” said Dean, who still had not approached the counter.  “You don’t think that’s freaky at all?”


“He is an invited guest here, while you are not,” said the man behind the counter, grumpily.  “If someone here has got to leave, I should think it would be you.”


“Aziraphale?” said Sam, desperately trying to get back on topic.  “Name ring any bells?”


“Afraid not,” said the man, scoffing.  “What kind of name is that?”


“What about Crowley?” said Sam.  “Sound familiar?”


“Never heard of him,” said the man.  “Now, if you’ll excuse me, we’ll be closing soon, so if you aren’t going to buy something I’ll have to ask you to leave.”


“The sign on the door says you’re open until 5,” said Sam.


The man pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose.  “You have the nerve to walk into my shop, insult my snake, and then argue with me about my business hours? Americans!


They found themselves booted onto the street with the door locked behind them.


Dean stormed back over to their rented car darkly.  “Okay, it was definitely that guy.  He’s the angel.”


“How can you tell?”


“Because he’s an asshole,” said Dean, opening the door.  “Get in.”




***





Sam suggested they go back to the motel to think up a plan and do some research, but Dean insisted on driving around and passing the bookshop regularly for the next few hours.  When it started to get dark, Dean parked across the street and stared into the dimly lit storefront.


“Dean, what are we doing?” said Sam.


“Surveillance.”


“Surveillance?”


“Yeah.”


“The store’s closed.”


“So what?”


“So I don’t think there’s anything to surveil, Dean!”


They sat in silence for a while.


“It really bothered you, didn’t it?”


“Nobody just keeps a snake in their shop, Sammy!” said Dean.  “It was just sitting on the windowsill!  I mean, at least that creeper in Colorado kept them in his house.  This is out in public!  Anyone could just walk in!”


“Dean, it’s not like the snake is relevant just because it creeped you out.”


“You know what, Sammy?  Shut up.  I know the snake is relevant somehow.  I’ve got that gut feeling.  Did you see that guy?  Nerd.  Top to bottom.  One-hundred percent ultra-nerd.  What kind of nerd has a pet snake?  What kind of bookshop owner has a snake?”


“Dean, would you forget the snake!”


They both stopped as the door to the shop jingled open and a man in a black suit walked out.


“You see,” said Dean, gesturing to the man with both hands.  “You see?  What did I tell you?  Surveillance.”


“Where the hell did that guy come from?” said Sam, trying to get a good look at him without drawing attention to himself.  “I definitely didn’t see him walk in.  And I’m pretty sure there’s not enough room for there to be an apartment or anything attached he could be coming from.”


The mysterious man put his hands in his pockets and whistled as he walked down the sidewalk.


“Surveillance,” said Dean again, cranking the emergency break.


They tried to follow the man, but they couldn’t make the car go slow enough without going at a suspicious crawl, so they ended up circling around.  But they saw him walk from Soho to Mayfair like he was savoring a nice, sunny day.  He stopped for a moment to duck into a dark alley and knock a trashcan over, and at another point they saw him walk into an electronics store and walk back out with a stereo and a pack of batteries.


“What is he doing?” said Sam, as they watched him open someone’s gate and let the dog loose.


What is he doing?” said Dean as they watched him take someone’s mail out of their mailbox and put it into their neighbor’s.


The evening proceeded in this manner without deviation until the mysterious ne’er-do-well received a phone call while tying knots in someone’s garden hose.


“Yes, angel, I went straight home,” he said as he cranked the water on ever so slightly.  “I’m back at my flat right now.  No, not causing any trouble at all tonight.  No, of course I’m not lying.  Me?  Lying?  I’m hurt.”


He slipped his phone back into his pocket and dashed across the street, where he accessed a gated apartment building without a key and finally disappeared.


Dean shoved the car into a parking spot across the street.  The two brothers sat in silence for a minute.


“Okay, that was weird, right?” said Dean.  “It’s not just me?”


“I mean…” Sam had a puzzled expression on his face and was thinking very hard.  “Demons are agents of chaos, and Cas said it was a different kind of demon.  Maybe this is like a…mischief demon?”


“You think that’s him?  The demon?”


“Maybe?  I don’t know what else that could have been. Just a really lame human prankster?  A trickster with very weak supernatural powers?”


“I’m done messing around with this,” said Dean, getting out of the car.  “Let’s go.”


“Dean, wait,” Sam said, then scrambled to follow.


As they approached the apartment complex, Dean veered to the side, distracted by a shiny black automobile.


“Whoa, look at that!” said Dean, whistling.  “Hey, dude, this is definitely the demon’s car.”


“How can you tell?”


Dean pointed to the license plate, which said AJC666.


Sam gave him a sarcastic look.  “It’s not the demon’s car, Dean.”


“It totally is.”


“Why would a demon need a car?”


Dean looked at him sourly and turned toward the doorbell.  He scanned the tenant directory.  “Hah!” said Dean, pointing to one name.  “Look!  A.J. Crowley.”


They rang the bell.  “Top floor flat,” said a suave voice from the intercom.


“Hi, we’re looking for Mr. Crowley,” said Sam.  “May we come in to talk for a minute?”


“Certainly,” said the voice, cheerfully.  “I’ll have a bottle of wine waiting, shall I?”


What happened next was a bit blurry for the two brothers.  They both clearly remembered going up an elevator, knocking on a door, and coming back out again, but everything that followed was a blank. They foggily walked toward their rental car.


“Wh…” said Dean, finally becoming aware of himself.  “Huh?  What happened?  Sam?”


Sam looked like he was struggling to resolve his vision against a bright light.  “Huh?”


“What just happened?”


“What do you mean?”


“What time is it?”


Sam looked at his watch.  “Quarter to eight.”


“What time did we go in?”


“About…seven-thirty wasn’t it?”


Dean looked at the car muzzily.  “Did we meet Mr. Crowley?”


“I don’t remember.”


“Oh.”


He turned back around and buzzed the intercom again, but no one answered this time no matter how many times he tried.




***





Sam and Dean were beginning to despair of their skills as detectives.  A rude bookshop owner a man who se hobby was being an anonymous pain in the ass wasn’t much as far as results went.  They ended up doing more surveillance, going back and forth between Soho and Mayfair. Dean morosely watched out the windshield while Sam ran feverish web-searches.


“I got nothing,” Sam sighed, clapping his computer closed.


“I might have something,” said Dean, noting that the door to the book store had opened.  The man who had been behind the counter appeared outside for the first time in days, slinging a scarf over his shoulder and walking off into the night.


“All right, let’s see where he’s going at midnight on a Tuesday,” said Dean.


He tried to start the car quietly and follow the bookshop owner surreptitiously; fortunately the man did not seem to care much about observing his surroundings and simply motored forward like he was late for an appointment.**


** He was.


They followed him until he disappeared into the confines of a fancy building which definitely did not look open.


There was a black car out front.


“I told you!” said Dean, punching Sam’s arm.  “It’s the demon’s car!”


“All right,” said Sam.  “Whatever.  Let’s just go see what they’re up to.  This must be what Cas was talking about when he said they were meeting regularly.”


The building was definitely closed; they ended up having to pick the lock to get in.  They tiptoed around, making their way up to the second floor and peering out from a balcony overlooking an empty ballroom to see that Crowley was sitting alone in the middle of the floor, legs crossed, looking bored.  The stereo he had bought earlier sat on the floor next to him.


Sam and Dean leaned back to avoid being seen.  “All right,” Dean whispered.  “Now let’s just wait and see what they’re doing.”


It was only a few seconds until the door at the far end flung open and the bookshop owner, who at this point they figured was Aziraphale, strode forward in irritation, shedding his jacket and hat.


“You’re late,” said Crowley.


“You say that like you aren’t late every other week,” snapped Aziraphale.


“Did those two bother you again?”


Aziraphale paused.  “Those two?”


“The Americans.”


Sam and Dean tensed.


“Oh, them,” said Aziraphale.  “All the customers tend to blend together, to be honest.  No, I haven’t seen them.”


“They followed me to my flat,” said Crowley.  “They’re demon-hunters.”


“Oh dear,” said Aziraphale.  “That must have been awfully frightening for you.”


Crowley waved a hand as he stood up.  “Never mind them.  A bit of hypnosis did the trick to get rid of them.”


“Hah,” said Dean.  “That’s what you think.”


“All right, then.  Shall we get started?” said Aziraphale.


Crowley tapped the stereo, and chipper accordion music filled the room.  “Absolutely,” he said with a wicked grin.


“What are you doing, you bastard?” said Dean.


Aziraphale offered his hand, and Crowley took it.  Aziraphale put one hand around Crowley’s waist, and they began to sort of gallop around the room in time to the music.


Sam and Dean watched incredulously.  The dance went on for a solid two or three minutes.


“You’re seeing this right?” said Dean.  “I’m not dreaming this?”


They both went tumbling down to the floor.  Crowley smacked the polished lacquer face-first.


“Angel, what was that?” the demon hissed angrily.


“Your feet got in my way.”


My feet got in your way?” Crowley said, rising and stomping over to him.  “I was perfectly in-step!”


“No, I'm afraid not. You were a bit out of line, my dear.”


“I was perfectly in-line!”


“You were rather off, I’m afraid.”


“You had your arm around my waist and steered me right into the ground!”


“I did no such thing!”  Aziraphale crossed his arms and flicked the music off.  “Your rhythm is deplorable.”


“If you would just let me lead, this would be so much easier!”


“Demons can't dance,” said Aziraphale.  “Not at all, so it's best I lead.”


“Angels don’t dance, either!” Crowley fumed.


“Not true.  I can dance the gavotte.  You can’t dance anything.  Between the two of us, I’m the more experienced dancer.  It doesn’t make any sense for you to lead.”


Crowley smoothed his hair out, looking like he was fighting the urge to throw a fit.  “Fine.  Fine, whatever.  Let’s just try it again.”


He clicked the music back on.  They assumed the same starting position.  They eased into the rhythm, feet clicking on the floor, their stormy expressions contrasting sharply with the upbeat, cheerful music.


It only took a minute for them to go down this time.


“It’s one-two-three-four-spin,” said Crowley, seething as he righted himself.  “You’re not doing it right.”


“I’m doing it perfectly fine!” Aziraphale shouted.  “You’ve got it wrong and keep tripping me up!”


“Listen,” said Crowley.  “I was in Scotland when this dance was invented.  Why did you ask me to help you learn it if you weren’t going to listen to me?”


“I was also in Scotland when this dance was invented, and you didn’t do it correctly then either! You were too busy preening about how good you looked in a kilt.”


“I don’t recall you complaining about how I looked in a kilt, you know,” said Crowley.  “Maybe if you had spent less time staring at my arse, you might've learned the Gay Gordons properly.”


Aziraphale looked angry enough to argue, but he simply pulled a phone out of his pocket.  “Here, let’s watch the video again.”


They both sunk to the floor and crowded around the phone as a YouTube video played, loudly enough for Sam and Dean to hear all the way up on the balcony.


“The next dance is a march called the Gay Gordons,” said a tinny voice from the phone.


“There, you see!” said Crowley viciously, pointing to the screen.  “You were doing it wrong.”


“I was not,” Aziraphale said indignantly.  “I was doing it exactly like that.”


“No you weren’t!”  Crowley dragged the video feed back and replayed it.  “You see!”


Sam and Dean watched as the argument went on for much longer than the dancing had.  They were able to glean from the conversation that the pair had been doing this regularly for months now, but had made no progress.


Time dragged on into the early hours of the morning.  They did not reach the end of the song even once.  Every attempt was punctuated with increasingly violent commentary upon the other’s performance.  Every failure was accompanied by an argument that lasted longer than the time they had spent on their feet.  Every passing minute was infused with more and more frustration.  They punched the replay button on the YouTube video half to death.


By the time the light of the sunrise began to stream through the windows, the demon unplugged the stereo and hauled it up, clutching it to himself.  “I’m done. You’ll never learn how to do anything but gavotte. Never. Good luck on completing your New Year’s resolutions without me. Goodbye, angel.”


“At least I know how to gavotte!” Aziraphale hurled after him.  “That’s more than you can say!”


“I never want to dance with you again!  If I never see you again in my lifetime, it’ll be too soon!”


“So—next Tuesday at the same time, then?”


“Yeah, all right. Tuesday is fine.”


The demon disappeared, slamming the door.  The angel slumped on the floor, looking defeated.


Sam and Dean looked at each other awkwardly.


The angel turned his head up and looked directly at their hiding spot.  “You don’t think I’m that bad, do you?  I should be able to learn it eventually, right?  It only took me a few decades to get the gavotte down pat.  What do you think? Most of the mistakes were Crowley's, weren't they?”


Sam and Dean high-tailed it out of there without answering him.




***





They found Castiel at the meeting spot under the highway where they had last seen him.  The two dragged their feet, looking haggard and bewildered.


“Thanks for meeting me,” said Castiel.  “Did you find anything?  What are they doing?”


“Those regular meetings?” said Sam.


“Yes?”


“I, uh…” said Dean.  “I don’t think you really need to worry about them accomplishing anything malicious.  Or anything at all, really. They’ll be stuck on the Gay Gordons for years.”
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