A Small Problem

Aziraphale comes looking for Crowley. Humor, I-2

It was a beautiful day: the sunlight was warm and the bleachers reasonably comfortable,
and his host didn’t have a match with Atobe for at least another half hour. Crowley
stretched and yawned, supremely content with just how good life was.

It really was a pity that things were about to get so complicated.


The man had been peering at passing students and his surroundings with such confusion
that it was obvious that he was wildly out of place. Choutarou pegged him as a
tourist immediately, and felt obliged to offer his assistance (in his most careful
English, since this man seemed to be about as non-Japanese as they came) in the
form of directions, or perhaps a map.

However, the offer of directions had turned into a playing tour guide, with Choutarou
dredging up vocabulary words he didn’t remember learning and wondering how he’d
agreed to this. The man was very polite and very curious, and somehow Choutarou
just couldn’t bring himself to be rude enough to excuse himself from his newfound
role. Their walking tour of the Hyoutei campus dragged on, until they fetched
up at the tennis courts.

The expression on Atobe’s face promised that he would be especially cutting in
regards to Choutarou’s lateness, and there was no telling what Kantoku would have
to say—

Except that Kantoku seemed more concerned with his befuddled tourist than with
Choutarou’s late arrival to practice.

"What do you want?" Kantoku demanded of the stranger.

"It’s lovely to see you again, too, Sakaki-san," the man said, in flawless
Japanese, suddenly standing much straighter and looking much more comfortable
than he’d been a moment ago. "I trust you’ve been well?" Choutarou wanted
very badly to let his manners slip so that he could make a face at his formerly
clueless tourist, especially after the man slid his eyes sidewise and gave him
a small smile.

"Well enough. Ohtori, go warm up," Kantoku said, crisply, and wasn’t
it funny that he seemed ill-at-ease?

There was no chance now to find out what was going on, so Choutarou bowed and
headed for the clubhouse, shrugging at Shishido along the way to indicate that
he didn’t have any clue.


"What do you want?" Sakaki asked again, once the boy had left the range
of earshot.

"Really, there’s no need to be rude," Aziraphale said, chidingly. "I
merely happened to be in the neighborhood, and thought I’d stop by and say hello."
He glanced around. "So… tennis? How fascinating."

"Yes, tennis," Sakaki said, and really, his chin couldn’t jut out much
further. "And music."

"Delightful," Aziraphale murmured.

"If you’re here because of the demon, I assure you, I have it under control,"
Sakaki said.

"You do?" Aziraphale blinked.

"Of course I do," Sakaki said. "Belial is completely focused
on Rikkaidai at the moment." He sniffed. "I believe she’s
only interested in tennis at the moment."

"How shortsighted of her," Aziraphale said, torn between laughter
and gibbering. Belial was on Earth? Up to something? On top of everything
else? The more he thought about it, the more attractive gibbering began to
seem. "How good to know you have things under control here."

That mollified Sakaki a bit. "Thank you."

"If you don’t mind, I think I’d like to like to observe your tennis practice
for a while. It seems to be quite the fashion lately," Aziraphale said, casually.

"As you like," Sakaki said, tilting his head towards the bleachers.

"Thank you kindly," Aziraphale said, and walked over to the bleachers.
He sat in the row up from the napping boy, and once Sakaki had turned his attention
back to his team, leaned over. "Crowley," he hissed, "wake up!
We’ve got problems."

One sleepy eye cracked open to stare at him. "What, are you trying to blow
my cover?" Crowley replied in a whisper.

"There’s no time for that," Aziraphale said, urgently.

"Like hell there’s not," Crowley retorted. "Hastur’s still out
for my blood, you know. And my rank."

"Worry about that later," Aziraphale said. He looked around. "Did
you know that Belial is active? Here on Earth?" he asked.

Crowley winced. "She doesn’t like people to use that name," he said.
"Use Mad Hatter instead."

"Whatever," Aziraphale said. "Crowley, Michael and Raphael
are down here, too, and so is the Messiah; Lucifer’s been lurking around,
and I’ve misplaced the Adversary."


"What the hell?" Shishido was staring when Choutarou came out of
the clubhouse. "Choutarou, who is that guy?"

"What?" Choutarou followed the stares of his teammates to the bleachers,
where Jirou was sitting bolt-upright, talking with his tourist. "I don’t
know. What did he do?"

"Just leaned over and started talking to him, far as I could tell,"
Mukahi said, sounding as awed as Choutarou felt.

Jirou stood, grabbing the stranger by the wrist, and turned to call over his shoulder,
"Sorry, gotta run, things to do, world to save, I’ll bring Jirou back in
time for Nationals, ‘bye!" and the two of them ran.

Kantoku was staring, eyes bugged out, and even Atobe seemed to be having difficulties
keeping his composure.

Finally, Choutarou broke the silence. "What did he mean, ‘I’ll have Jirou
back in time for Nationals’?" he asked.

Nobody could give him an answer.