We are in a bookshop. The sign on the door says "open". A few people are inside, browsing a wide selection of classical literature mixed with new titles. It is a rather stylish shop, with a unique atmosphere that feels cozy and warm. There are soft carpets and sofas where one can sit down and read a book without any staff getting annoyed about not purchasing it.
Sensitive individuals might catch a hint of evil in the shop. And it's not just the Jeffrey Archer books. But only someone who's able to see auras would be able to tell that there's a demon in the adult section.
It's a short person in a black and yellow leather jacket, with heavy steel-shod leather boots reaching just below their knees and a collection of piercings in their ears and face. They are holding a paper bag with the logo of an expensive fashion boutique.
They wave at another person who just entered the shop. It's quite hard to believe that the gentleman in a beige coat and a bowtie would be here to meet them, but he waves back and heads towards the demon. Only someone who's able to see auras would be able to tell that he's an angel.
"Aziraphale! I'm glad that you found some time."
"Oh, it's no problem, dear, since we're already in London."
"Isn't Crowley with you?"
"Yes, of course. He just wanted to stop in the garden centre and I have some business here, so we split for now. We're going to see a play in the East End and have dinner somewhere nice later in the evening. But what brings you here? I thought you and Zadkiel were staying in California with… you know."
"We are, I just popped over here to get a few things," Musdur raises his hand with the shopping bag as an explanation.
"I see. So how are you doing there? Having no trouble, I hope…"
"No, we are fine. Had a bit of trouble with fitting in at first, but we pretend that he's a millionaire recovering from a head injury. He doesn't get weird looks when he does something childish that way. And the villa by the sea is nice. Zadkiel even got a motorboat."
"Ah. That's… good to hear. I guess. Just tell him to sail… er… drive? Do you sail or drive in such a thing? Nevermind. Just tell him to do it safely, please."
Musdur smirks slightly. "Sure."
"Oh, but what may I help you with, dear? You said you needed my help when you asked me to meet."
"Yes, I need advice about a book."
"A book? Of course, I'm happy to help with that."
"Thanks. So you're actually selling books here now?"
"Oh no! Heavens, no. I've got my collection safe at home. I'm just renting the space to some nice people who are selling other books. Not mine. Well, more like lending it to them, not renting. I wasn't using it anyway and they let me come in and read anytime, and get me what I need... hello Paul!" he waves to a tattooed young man behind the counter.
The man waves back and Musdur gives a barely perceptible nod, turning back to Aziraphale.
"So what book are you looking for?" the angel asks.
"Got it somewhere here," Musdur is searching their pockets for something. "I've heard this one is a good inspiration, but I would rather ask you. Don't want to get it wrong. Ah, here." They take out a crumpled piece of paper. "The name's just a coincidence, by the way. Beelzebub came up with it, it's not inspired by this. Well, I think so, at least."
Aziraphale takes the paper and his face stays motionless as he reads it. "Ah. I see. That's actually a rather bad one if you want to use it as an inspiration. And not the right kind of shop, either. But there's one just around the corner and they have educational books and also other things. I'll show you, give me just a moment, I wanted to get a book for Crowley."
Musdur nods and Aziraphale approaches Paul. "Do you have it, dear?"
"Of course, Mr. Fell. Le Petit Prince, first edition."
"Oh, wonderful! I never learnt French that well, but Anthony speaks it fluently. He will enjoy reading it in the original."
He chats with Paul for a while longer and then returns to Musdur. "All right, I've got my book. Now let's get what you are looking for. Come."
"So I assume it's a present, since Zadkiel is not here?" Aziraphale asks carefully as they are leaving the other kind of shop with a rather big bag.
"Yes," Musdur nods.
"So he doesn't know about it? I don't want to be nosey, but you might want to ask him first."
"No need. I know his size and he's been eyeing that green dress ever since the first time we were in that shop and since it's our anniversary… ah, you mean this?" he points at the other bag, not the one from the fashion boutique. "Of course he knows. We've wanted to try this the human way for a while, it sounds interesting and less messy."
"Good, good." Aziraphale murmurs. "Well, it depends on what you consider messy, but… yes."
He stashes the crumpled paper with the inscription Fifty Shades of Grey into his pocket. "Have a nice evening then. I need to stop in the wine shop for a bottle of Casillero del Diablo."
I can't believe the story is over... Thank you for accompanying me on this journey to all who read it chapter by chapter as well as those who will yet read it as a whole! I know it was not an easy read, but I hope it was worth it to get to the end!
And I would really like to have a little memory / souvenir of this story and someone already suggested a flaming sword pin, so I found a place that could make them, but they only take orders of more than 50 pieces. So if you would like one, find this story under my AO3 profile (the link is in my profile here) and in a note under the epilogue, there is a link to a form where you can let me know about your interest so that I know if and how many I should order! (Sorry it's so complicated, FFN doesn't allow links. It's also much harder to edit a chapter than on AO3, so if I do any edits, it will be only there.) The form will close in a month, so June 8th.