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Save Me A Seat

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"Says here that singular they isn't grammatically correct," one student read out and another grimaced and straightened their pronoun pin.

"On the contrary," a warm, eager, man's voice butted in, "it goes back to at least Middle English!" and both students turned to see Dr Fell there, beaming. Before they could get in so much as a greeting, he was off into an impromptu speech about Chaucer, Shakespeare, and 18th century grammar reactionists. They glanced at each other and settled back to wait him out, knowing perfectly well that nothing was going to stem the tide of knowledge before he got it all out.

A long hand landed on Dr Fell's shoulder, and he actually paused for breath. Dr Crowley drawled, "You're drowning the youngsters in information, and if I don't kidnap you now, we won't be back for afternoon lectures. Come along." If the students weren't so sure that they knew the two were enemies, or that Dr Crowley was a horrible, vicious man, they might have taken the look on his face as conspiratorial amusement.

Dr Fell babbled a quick apology that the students were too stunned to take in, and scuttled off after the other professor.

The pair looked at each other. "Nobody is ever going to believe that happened," the one with the pin said almost wistfully.

The other student rubbed his eyes. "I'm not sure I believe it myself. We got rescued? from a Dr Fell info-flood? by Dr Crowley? Who seems to have some miraculous ability to stop Dr Fell in mid-flow? Can we just, like, not mention it?"

***

The rumours rose and fell like the tides over the course of weeks. Thankfully for Dr Fell, his students stopped doing the waiting for him dance after a few weeks, (with a brief resurgence following a tale that Dr Crowley had been overheard making plans to kidnap! poor Dr Fell) but despite the anecdotes he dropped about his dear husband - the time he had taken Anthony under his wing, how at first it seemed to rain every time they met, the Apples they'd wound up competing over - nobody seemed to connect Anthony to Crowley.

And then Halloween rolled round, and a host of activites rolled out, including a combined party for staff and students.

Dr Fell had stopped by the Halloween party dressed as an angel, complete with a tinsel halo, and was sitting primly on a folding chair when Dr Crowley sauntered in. He had clearly come dressed as a demon, with a crimson waistcoat bright against his usual tight black clothes and plastic horns in his chestnut hair. He glanced round, hands in pockets, and then drifted through a sea of whispers to Dr Fell's side.

"Move over, angel," he told him, and Aziraphale gladly vacated the chair he'd saved. He always did save a seat for his other half, if he could.

Crowley slouched down onto it with relief and a good half of the looks he got from the students were disapproving. The other half were were probably still recovering from the shock of seeing Dr Crowley, of all people, make a friendly sounding joke about someone's costume. "Now I'm a thief, stealing your chair on top of throwing you into the wall and kidnapping you for lunch," he murmured, the hard line of his mouth easing into a smile as he looked around. "Still, what can you expect, running around with a demon like me?"

Aziraphale laced his fingers over his white-robed paunch. "Oh, I don't know, my dear. An excellent cup of Earl Grey and some petits fours? A good Merlot?"

"Hah!" Crowley shifted position, and draped one arm over the back of the chair. A handful of students gawped at the fact he knew how to laugh, and then scuttled away. He watched them go with almost wistful eyes behind his sunglasses, and then looked up at Aziraphale. "So, angel," he said quietly, "do bad jokes that scare  kids count as tricks or treats?"