In the timelessness of the Silver City, Aziraphale meets Crowley for the first time. Ideas borrowed from Neil Gaiman's short story Murder Mysteries.
Aziraphale retreated to a small park in a quiet corner of the Silver City to think. His latest project, for taste/, one of the five senses, wasn't going well, to say the least. He cringed, thinking about his previous failure. Poor Remiel's face had unexpectedly gone bright red and his eyes watered as he rushed to the fountain outside the Hall and dunked his entire head into it to cool his burning tongue. The other angels in the Hall of Being had laughed, a bit uncertainly as /humour had only recently been perfected. They all refused to try Aziraphale's samples now, not that he blamed them.
Aziraphale looked up to watch the phalanx of angels swooping through the pearly sky above him, their flaming swords cutting sharp lines of fire through the air. One dark-haired angel dove particularly low, close enough to make eye contact with Aziraphale. The unknown angel grinned and winked at him. When Lucifer signalled that it was time for a break, the uncommonly cheeky angel dove down to join Aziraphale.
"Hello," said the angel. "I've seen you around before but we've never met, so I thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Croziel."
"I'm Aziraphale," he said, smiling shyly and nodding his head at the other angel.
"You work in the Hall of Being, right? I've always wondered what that would be like. Tell me about it," said Croziel, placing his sword carefully on the ground and sitting down beside Aziraphale.
Aziraphale's wings drooped, remembering what had brought him to the park that day in the first place. "Normally, I find the work quite satisfying but it can be difficult and frustrating at times," he said, biting his lip.
"Times like now? Maybe I could help," said Croziel. Aziraphale hesitated but Croziel's face was bright and eager. Soon he was telling the other angel all about his problems with his taste project. Croziel had laughed quite naturally when Aziraphale described Remiel's reaction to Aziraphale's last effort. It was a joyful, open sound and cheered him enough to be able to laugh at it, too. He found he was telling Croziel all about the various mishaps that occured in the Hall of Being, such as the time early on when Arbatel had dropped his heat project into Ophiel's water model, creating steam/. The blinded angels in the Hall had blundered around, causing more setbacks as they crashed into projects as well as each other. Arbatel had the dubious distinction of simultaneously inventing /havoc and embarrassment that day.
Croziel laughed harder than anyone Aziraphale had ever seen. He was doubled up, holding his arms around his torso. He almost looked like he was in pain, but he was still smiling. Finally, he regained control over himself and wiped away the tears of mirth on his face. It made Aziraphale feel good to make Croziel laugh so hard.
"I wish I could have been there to see it. I think I'd like working in the Hall of Being," said Croziel. Aziraphale thought he could detect the new emotion wistfulness in his voice, invented just the day before.
"You don't like being in the Morningstar's forces, then?" asked Aziraphale, surprised.
Croziel shrugged. "No, it's not that, exactly. I really like the flying exercises. I just feel that maybe it's not quite right for me," said Croziel, his brow furrowing in thought.
"What do you mean?" said Aziraphale.
"I'm... not really sure," answered Croziel. "But forget I said anything," he said, smiling again. "I promised to help you with your project and so far all I've done is laugh at your stories. Tell me what I can do."
"Well, I have a new sample here. I don't suppose you'd like to try it," said Aziraphale dubiously, but Croziel took the sample from his hand.
"I'm always up for new experiences," he said and popped it into his mouth. A surprised look flashed onto his face.
"What? Is it bad?" cried Aziraphale.
"No, no, not at all. It's quite...I don't know how to describe it. It's wonderful," breathed Croziel, savoring the taste as it melted on his tongue.
"Oh, do you really think so?" said Aziraphale, delighted. Croziel nodded with obvious enthusiasm.
"What are you going to call it?" he asked.
"I was considering naming it /mildew/," said Aziraphale.
"/Mildew/? You can't call it that!" exclaimed Croziel in protest. He thought for a moment. "What do you think of /chocolate/?"
"Chocolate," repeated Aziraphale. "You're right, that's a much better name."
"See, where would you be without my help?" said Croziel, grinning. Aziraphale grinned back.
Above them, the angels were flying back into formation. Croziel looked up. "Ah, I better go. It was nice to finally meet you, Aziraphale. I hope we get to talk again soon."
"So do I," said Aziraphale eagerly. They smiled at each other before Croziel reluctantly rejoined his companions above.
It was quite some time before they spoke again.
Author's Notes: I got all the angel names including Crowley's from an online index, except Remiel, who's in the Sandman. Croziel actually spelled Crosiel on the site, but I liked the z better. Also, I know that chocolate comes from cocoa beans cooked with sugar, but nothing else I put in there seemed right. Perhaps thousands of years later, Aziraphale was the one who thought of cooking sugar with cocoa beans creating modern chocolate.