||[Dec. 30th, 2005|05:23 am]
It's early autumn on Persephone, and around Southdown Abbey's somewhat remote landing strip, the trees are starting their slow transformation from green to vivid reds and golds. It's still warm, on the whole, but there's the slight suggestion of an edge to the breeze. Andronicus Crowley is wearing a scarf, Prior Fell isn't.|
It's been a long few weeks for the CEO of Bentley Aeronautics, days divided into mornings and afternoons. Depending largely on the daily temperature (and its effect on Crowley's temperament), one is invariably devoted to conducting affairs of business from afar, via one of the abbey's few Cortex hubs, and the other to the draining task of discussing politics and strategy with Southdown's other two guests, Gabriel and Regan Tam. It hasn't been easy, but from what Aziraphael can discern, even as the weather cools, relations have begun to warm, ever so slightly, like the colours of the foliage.
And having Crowley at the abbey for longer than a weekend hasn't been all bad. It's this, mainly, that he's reminded of, watching the grin widen on the demon's face as the breeze picks up. And suddenly, it isn't a breeze any more, but a roaring noise of a hurricane - Crowley's scarf whips about, Aziraphael's hair comes loose from its tie, and a whirlwind of autumn leaves swirls about the landing strip.
Serenity is coming in for landing.
And when the door to the cargo bay opens...
It reveals a mechanic. Grinning. Also wearing a lovely green dress that Crowley might find familiar.
What Crowley might not find familiar, or at least not immediately so: getting hugged (vaguely violently, and eminently enthusiastically) by said mechanic.
...It's not precisely a regular occurrence, no - at least, not from people that can reach higher than his knee, in any case. Crowley's slightly startled, but not so much that he can't gather his wits enough to hug back.
After a moment, pleased grin distorting the ragged scar on his right cheek, he leans back, looking her up and down.
"And don't you look xiù lì."
Kaylee ducks her head, grinning. "Xiexie. You're lookin' pretty handsome yourself." Her smile gets a little crooked. "Good to finally see you on somethin' other than a Cortex screen."
First time since Miranda.
Which means that when she turns to face Aziraphael with the same smile -- "And you, too." Beat. "Prior."
Crowley'd told her that Aziraphael had gone to Haven, after it was all over. Kaylee's glad about that. Very glad.
The really good thing about being crippled -- possibly the only good thing -- is that nobody can tell when your step hitches. Technically, it's always hitching.
So when Wash thumps down the cargo bay steps, bag slung across his back, and spots Crowley, he's probably the only one who notices it.
He musters up a polite smile anyway, keeping a firm, resolute hold on his crutches as he hobbles down the ramp. Maybe a little too firm.
"Wèi," comes the greeting, with a cheerful wave. "You want me to take your bag?"
"Please," he huffs out as he unceremoniously shrugs off the bag and lets it fall with a thump. "How've you guys been?"
He's looking at Aziraphael as he says it.
Inara's shuttle hatch grates. Mal thought that'd give him away first, but if it didn't, his boots hitting cargo bay floor with a solid thunk announced himself pretty clearly.
"Wèi Crowley, Tianshi."
"Well, if it isn't the groom himself."
Crowley saunters over to say hi. Okay, maybe a bit more than saunters. Maybe there's a bit of a swagger in there. Tiny bit.
"How'd the wedding go?"
Mal laughs, holding up the simple gold band around his left ring finger.
"Better even than expected. Suppose I have you to thank for that?"
There's a small, real smile for both Aziraphael and Crowley, the kind that makes River's whole face a little brighter.
He's talking to Mal, when he spots her first. And as the captain lopes off to fetch his bags, Crowley turns to River, and smiles.
River drifts down the ramp, towards him, and the smile widens a little.
Inara follows Mal out of the shuttle with a much more graceful descent. She smiles widely at both Aziraphale and Crowley.
Smirking good-naturedly from beneath his sunglasses, Crowley greets her in a manner appropriate to her station, sweeping into an elegant - if slightly exaggerated - bow over her hand.
"Ms. Serra, looking ravishing, as always. Or should I be calling you Mrs. Reynolds, now?"
Inara smiles at him, curtsying just as elegantly and just deeply enough to honor a demon. Hey, if anyone can determine that level, Inara can.
"Thank you, Mr. Crowley, you are as charming as ever." She colors slightly at his last comment. "And Inara is fine."