Title: Another Book, Another Bookshop
Fandom: Psmith — Mike x Good Omens
Notes: Mike/Psmith implied relationship. Slapdash short for Bravecows
birthday, done in an hour. It sucks. (And yes, the title is intended as a
spoof on the song, “Another Girl, Another Planet.”)
Mike wandered among the dusty stacks of books, feeling increasingly uncomfortable. It was all well and good to think he’d pick up a book for Psmith for his birthday, but what would he like? He’d open a book at random and flip through it, not absorb anything at all, and put it down. His head was beginning to swim from the dust and too many choices.
An older man had been standing stolidly near the back of one of the aisles, hidden from view of the counter, reading one book for at least a half hour. Mike contrived to glance at the cover whenever he bent to look at the lower shelves, and it appeared to be something in Greek, so he plucked up his courage.
“Excuse me, sir?”
“Yes?” The man seemed a little put out, but was scrupulously polite.
“I’m sorry to disturb you. I’m looking for a birthday present for a friend and I can’t figure out what he would like. He reads Greek quite well, so I thought he might like something about myth or history, but I’m really not that good at reading Greek so I’m not sure what I’m looking at.”
“What sort of story do you think he might like?” the man asked, looking closely at Mike with stormy grayish-blue eyes, flat and hard as pebbles.
Mike found himself blushing as he considered the stories Psmith had read him in Greek from the small red book he had kept carefully hidden when they were at school, and which now lay on the bedside table in their flat. He had no idea how to tactfully say something to this gentlemanly older man, although something in his manner made Mike think he might be quite sympathetic.
“Ah,” said the gentleman, his eyes (now clear, pale blue as a spring sky) crinkling a little around the edge with good humor. “That sort of thing.” He pulled a book off the shelf and handed it to Mike. “It’s by a newer author, but it’s about the Theban Band. Wonderful fighters, defending their friends.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Mr. Fell,” the gentleman introduced himself, extending his hand. “It’s been very nice to meet you, Mike.”
“You’re lucky this is not his own shop, Mike, or you’d never be buying that book.”
Mike nearly jumped, but thought he successfully hid it. He turned to face this new arrival in the aisle, a black-haired man with dark glasses.
“And don’t bother to pay for it,” this man said, “that book wasn’t here five minutes ago.”
“Crowley...” Mr. Fell chided.
“Er, thank you,” Mike said, rather flustered. “I must be going.”
Crowley stepped aside with a grin and let him pass. “I was telling him strictest truth, angel, and you know it.”
“Let the shopkeeper make a little more money, it won’t hurt anything.”
“You didn’t take that from your own stock, did you? You did! I’m surprised at you.”
“I had accidentally bought two copies.”
Mike’s memory of this overheard conversation, as well as his puzzlement, faded even as he paid for the book and left the shop.