When Aziraphale bought himself an ancient Mac the better to catalogue his books with, Crowley immediately volunteered his assistance.
“That’s very thoughtful of you,” said the angel.
“Of course,” Crowley agreed.
It took a little gentle persuasion in the demon tradition to get the Mac to handle the Internet. The tiny machine was clearly long past its prime, and for the first few hours Crowley had to struggle to convince himself that no evil spirit lurked within the wires. Finally he finished, though, and crowed with triumph when the Internet Explorer window popped up. And he typed in the URL for one of the more pop-up laden porn sites he’d come across, and he waited.
When it became apparent that the page was not going to load, Crowley cursed the Mac (and had to take a thirty minute break to mend the smoking wires). He sent Aziraphale off to make tea while he had a chat with the nice computer. The chat consisted of Crowley telling the computer as gently and coaxingly as he could manage that if it did not behave, it would very shortly find scorched wires the least of its problems. “Think of your hard drive,” he told it.
Aziraphale was pleasantly surprised when he returned to find the Internet up and running. He was mildly puzzled when Crowley refused his mug of tea and fairly ran out the door, looking uncharacteristically gleeful. He was more than a little startled when he sat down at the computer and was greeted with approximately three point five billion little flashing windows advertising the bloated genitalia of various humans.
“Goodness,” Aziraphale murmured, mildly. He looked at the pictures with curiousity for a moment, wondering if there were any specific passage in Leviticus against them. If not, he thought, there should be.
It only took him an hour to get all of the pop-ups closed.
Crowley began to regret introduced Aziraphale to AIM about five seconds after receiving his first angelic IM. He informed Aziraphale in no uncertain terms that “heavenlymessenger77” was a stupid screen name, and that capitals were a vital and cherished part of the English language.
He looked at the resulting message, “i do not undertsand teh shift key crowley plseas help,” and frowned.
Crowley was good at regret. Fate was constantly surprising him with new and better things to regret. In the cosmic scheme of things, he supposed that AIM ranked fairly low, but on his personal list it rose meteorically to just below the Things That Crowley Didn’t Talk About, and stayed there.
At least, he thought philosophically, Aziraphale had not discovered forwards. And immediately knew that the thought had been a terrible mistake.
The first one wasn’t so bad. The jokes were beyond terrible, but Crowley found them all the more amusing for it, and he couldn’t help but imagine Aziraphale giggling over classics like, “Q: Where do angels sit in theaters? A: In the wings!”
He gritted his teeth and b when Aziraphale sent him long, >>> bedotted forwards about children dying of cancer and dying of starvation, and of destroyed rainforests, and of bonzai kittens and lost puppies. He was strong. He could handle a few measly forwards.
But the miracle forwards were the last straw. The conversion forwards added insult to injury. Crowley felt very strongly that if he read one more forward about children being miraculously protected by Jesus, or about a sinner won to Jesus’s love, he would have to do something drastic. They were worse than holy water; at least that killed quickly, and didn’t use terrible grammar. He fired off a short, nasty email to Aziraphale and steamed.
The reply, “o im sorry i thot ur addy was uriels rofl,” did not make him feel much better.
Crowley fought gamely. He sent Aziraphale long lists of links to flame wars, to hate sites, to diet sites, to the strange stories he found about God having sex with Satan (only after looking guiltily over his shoulder), and, of course, to more pop-up porn.
In return he received bubbly emails about recently acquired rare volumes, and the occasional link to some cheerful little site or another with inspirational quotes. Aziraphale, never very good with slang, had somehow become fluent in the language of a 10 year old on AOL. He sent Crowley e-cards with bunnies and flowers on them. He created a website for his bookstore, with little dancing animated cherubs and approximately seven mutilated frames. Crowley found himself growing increasingly short-tempered every time he neared his own sleek black laptop.
Aziraphale, on the other hand, found it increasingly difficult to keep a straight face. He spent most of his time online writing thoughtful, literate emails to the mailing lists he subscribed to and hunting down unusual books. The rest of the time he reserved for Crowley. He did not allow himself to think very hard about what he was doing, because deep down inside he knew that it was unangelic. But it was inspirational quotes and uplifting stories, he told himself. All in all, he thought, the Internet was good for Crowley. The poor fellow could use some lightening up.