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Summer Prompt Fills Resume: Another CoT 'Verse Extra - if there's a place for [us] that love has kept protected [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
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Summer Prompt Fills Resume: Another CoT 'Verse Extra [Aug. 10th, 2012|12:25 am]
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Title: Beginners' Archaeology
Pairing/Characters: Aziraphale/Crowley, Pippa, Mandy
Rating: PG-13
Notes: I have three Good Omens summer prompts left in the file of ones that looked viable (which I compiled back in June); whoever requested Aziraphale/Crowley, anything to do with museums, this one's for you (and also for ida_pea, as she said something off-hand in a comment, like she always does, that made me realize there's another rather crucial Pippa moment to be had thanks to the events of Some Assembly Required). So, slot this into CoT 'Verse right after the aforementioned.
Summary: What's behind glass is less interesting than what's in plain sight.

"This is awesome," Mandy said, grinning conspiratorially at Crowley, elbows propped on her raised knees. "Anybody else would've shouted at me by now. Mum never liked it when I put my feet up on the seat in front of me at the cinema."

"Well, it's for a good cause," Crowley said, his feet likewise firmly planted on the stool next to the one he currently occupied. "When Aziraphale tells you to stake out seats and reserve them, he doesn't particularly care how you go about it."

Mandy peered across the cafeteria table, almost losing her balance.

"I like your socks," she said, eyes on Crowley's ankles. "Where'd you get those?"

"Covent Garden," said Crowley, distractedly, waving at Pippa and Aziraphale, who had finished paying the cashier for two dangerously overloaded trays full of assorted edibles. "Sock Shop. I think it's in King Street, but don't quote me on that—"

"Careful, love," Pippa said, setting her tray down in front of Mandy. "Everyone can see your knickers." The girl straightened up sulkily, planting both feet firmly on the floor.

Madame Tracy would be proud, Crowley thought, swinging his own legs down so Aziraphale could sit. The angel positioned his tray between them; before Crowley could reach for the mug of Earl Grey he'd requested, Aziraphale handed it to him.

"Sugar's already in, my dear," he said. "I've got extras if it's not enough."

Crowley shoved his sunglasses up into his hair and took a grateful sip.

"Thanks," he said, leaning ever so slightly into Aziraphale's shoulder. "Hits the spot."

"One does try," replied Aziraphale, and took a brisk sip of his coffee. "Now, would you like the egg and cress or the cheese and pickle?" He opened the sandwich cartons one after the other for Crowley to inspect, shiftily eyeing the cheese and pickle.

"Whichever," Crowley said, taking the egg and cress. He'd surrender his prize.

"You guys are so cute it's gross," Mandy muttered into a bite of her Cornish pasty.

"It's just give and take," Pippa said, poking her salad, which looked a bit brown at the edges; Crowley fixed it before she could complain. "Takes years to cultivate, of course, and when what you've got to work with is as stubborn as Harold..."

Mandy yawned behind her napkin. "Can we see the Roman galleries next?"

"An excellent choice," said Aziraphale, already two-thirds finished with the first half of his sandwich. "You'll find Room Forty-Nine especially interesting, I expect."

Crowley focused on his tea, because that, at least, was lovely.

"Roman Britain?" he ventured, relaxing under Aziraphale's hand on his thigh. "That's an odd one, given your course. Aren't you reading Comparative Religion?" That, at least, was a step up from the bloody Device-Pulsifer twins reading bloody English.

"I switched to History," said Mandy, guiltily. "Graduation's in June, remember?"

"Acceptable pursuits, both," said Aziraphale, diplomatically, although Crowley instantly recognized that subtle whiff of disappointment. Most humans, even ones who'd got to know Aziraphale reasonably well, rarely did. "How did you find the transition?"

Mandy never did get to answer, because, from across the table, Pippa suddenly had Crowley's left wrist in a vise-grip. Alarming and heartening all at once, he supposed, how strong she was. There wasn't the slightest tremor in her soft, wrinkled fingers.

"Young man, have you been keeping secrets from me?" she asked in a delighted tone, her thumb tracing the upper arc of his ring's gold bezel with fond care. "It looks very old," she said, peering at the weathered portrait in the glass setting as Crowley obediently extended his arm. "A happy coincidence, I'm sure," she added, her eyes flicking up to study Aziraphale's features. "And a striking one, at that. Clever."

"I had it a long..." Crowley paused, considering his explanation carefully. "No, actually. I should say, I had one like it a long while ago, but I lost it under less than fortunate circumstances." Kids dying faster than you can revive them; that's always really great. "Aziraphale still knows some of the antiquities-dealer types here in London, so..." Sorry, he thought to Uriel, wherever she was: whether in Heaven or in America, it was nonetheless a world away. Believe it or not, I wish you were here.

"You old romantic," Pippa said to Aziraphale, letting Mandy take Crowley's hand.

Rather than answer, Aziraphale pursed his lips and watched her trace the full bezel.

Mandy's fingertips were cool against Crowley's palm; he hadn't come in contact with her skin since the kiss she'd stolen all those months ago behind the café. She traced the oval a second time, probably just to make Aziraphale squirm. For once, all of that delicate intensity wasn't focused on Crowley's face or on his ankles or on any other part of him. He knew covetousness when he saw it; that, at least, was second nature, an old habit peering in briefly from retirement. She'd become a collector one day.

"Second century," she murmured, leaning over to squint at the portrait. "Third?"

Aziraphale's hand drifted down to Crowley's knee, squeezing gently.

"That's about right," Crowley said, extracting his hand smoothly. He picked up the half of his sandwich that he'd reluctantly started on and finished it, buying himself a minute or so. "Those first few centuries after got pretty blurry for everyone."

"One imagines," added Aziraphale, hastily. "So much going on, such volatile change."

Mandy picked up what was left of her pasty and gave Crowley a strange, sad smile.

"Dance at my wedding," she said, and then looked to Aziraphale. "Promise."

Crowley let his free hand drop beneath the table; Aziraphale caught and held it fast.

"Oh, bless," Pippa said, dabbing her eyes. "You've got ages yet, don't talk like that!"

"There is nothing, my dear girl," said Aziraphale, "that I would more gladly do."

Crowley returned her smile, but he was sure his rendition paled in comparison.

"Not just with him," he said, tilting his head at Aziraphale. "I promise."

—Continue: Modest, Yet Refined

[User Picture]From: peach_megumi
2012-08-10 04:37 am (UTC)
Awwwhhh. I just want to hug them all.

(sorry. that's about as coherent as I am capable of being just now. stressful day capped off with arguing philosophy, history, and religion with my mother's boss. eep. brain is now mushy-mushy-mush.)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-10 08:37 pm (UTC)

Go back to bed, my dear. It'll make more sense in the morning.

Thank you <3
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[User Picture]From: sejitsu
2012-08-10 05:46 am (UTC)
I'm so glad I stayed up and saw this. :D Oh gosh, this is so full of wonderful little details. Crowley fixing Pippa's salad. *flail* I'll have to stop grinning at my monitor sometime, but it may take a while...

Those two are just so precious, it almost hurts. And, I had wondered when Pippa would discover the ring... So yay! :D It's amusing to see them try to phrase certain things properly in front of Pippa and Mandy.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-10 08:36 pm (UTC)
I'm doing a lot of writing at ungodly hours right now (gee, it's like I'm an undergrad again; thirty years old and regressing fast, etc.), so chances are you'll continue to find more in the wee hours if you stay up. I like the way Mandy's becoming less of an antagonist and more of an actual friend; I have this horrible suspicion that she might have got to talking to Natalie and Janet at the wedding, and, oh, good lord, TERRIBLE THREESOME OF EARLY-TWENTYSOMETHING TERRORS IF EVER I SAW ONE.

Thank you <3
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[User Picture]From: copperiisulfate
2012-08-10 08:38 am (UTC)
I have a feeling I was the one with the museums prompt but it's been so long that I could be wrong.

Anyway, this was utterly lovely! So much unspoken in their quiet interactions, in the body language, that you, as always, wonderfully communicate!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-10 08:33 pm (UTC)
I think it was you; mea culpa, though, for largely losing track of whose names went with which prompts this time *headdesk* I'm pleased that it hit the spot.

Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: mizstorge
2012-08-10 01:31 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely charming and I simply love the Roman ring but...

...very soon now you really should write the one about the ring Crowley gives to Aziraphale because a wedding is really about two hearts and needs two rings.

Edited at 2012-08-10 01:32 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-10 08:32 pm (UTC)
I'm a step ahead of you, my dear, in that I'm planning such a thing as we speak ;) I can't decide whether it could stand to be a shorter piece, or if I should just keep up this unprecedented streak of productivity and aim for another long one. Maintaining this 'verse has become something of a part-time job in its own right. I'm not complaining, because it makes me happier than...well, anything in the world right now, to be honest.

Thank you <3
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[User Picture]From: ida_pea
2012-08-14 10:14 pm (UTC)
You know, I wasn't trying to plant ideas in your head when I commented on the last story, but I'm glad that something took root, believe me! I love Pippa's reaction, but I think I love Mandy's even more, because there's so much youthful intensity and longing there. I'm glad that she and Aziraphale seem to be working on a truce of sorts! He should know beyond a shadow of a doubt he's got no reason to jealous of a teenager. ;)

I second the reader who said that Crowley needs a ring for Aziraphale now, too. I know he'll end up with something perfect, with you to pick it out.

*blushes* and okay, R and U are probably too cool for school to exchange jewelry, I'm guessing, but maybe they think tattoos or something would not ruin their street cred? *blushes again* I'm probably the worst wheedler you know.

I know it's just selfishness on my part, but I hope you'll keep writing in this 'verse as long as the stories keep coming.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-15 01:22 am (UTC)
I don't know what it is about your feedback, but you engage so completely with this 'verse that you can't help but say things that make me want to write more. That's my theory, anyway. As for Crowley picking out Aziraphale's ring, oh dear lord. Aziraphale's easy to shop for as far as fine wine and taking him out for good food, but I suspect that Crowley might actually find this a bit harrowing...

I'll write in this 'verse till I can't anymore, for whatever reason: this I promise.
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[User Picture]From: katarzi
2012-08-16 04:31 pm (UTC)
A re-read or two in, and really all I want to know is what's on Crowley's socks. I am sure they are really excellent socks, is all.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-16 07:41 pm (UTC)
He's wearing these, the huge dork:

(Martini glasses FTW!)
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[User Picture]From: write_rewrite
2012-08-16 09:32 pm (UTC)
an old habit peering in briefly from retirement.

Can I just say, I love this line. I love the entire thing, but this line, in particular, is the sort of phrase I'd underline in a book because there's something about it that's so simple and powerful and gaaah brilliant.

And I also love how, in this verse, somehow, Aziraphale and Crowley have ended up with a family, so it's not just them anymore, but they have... others. People who care about them. It's one of the sweetest things I've read so far, and the more I read, the more I'm flabbergasted at the depth and the meaning behind your words, and how you can bring across something so powerful in so few.

AND! I second the reader who mentioned Crowley buying a ring for Aziraphale. I'd love to see something like that, if only for the image of Crowley haggling some antique dealer, or hoarding historical magazines, or going to a jewellery shop with, I don't know, Uriel. To buy Aziraphale a ring. And it would have to be perfect, since he's Crowley and doesn't accept less.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-16 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'm sitting here kind of hysterically amused at the idea that this whole damned series-that-has-happened-largely-accidentally-over-time has, for somebody, led up to that one perfect line. Given that I am, in fact, plotting the Crowley-choosing-Aziraphale's-ring story as we speak (and I can't even begin to tell you what a bafflingly fun nightmare it is for all of the reasons you've already mentioned, oh dear God), I sat down last night and did an entire re-read last night just to get my thoughts in line on top of the endless web research, I don't know, like it'll somehow make sure Crowley doesn't blow it.

I like their family. As exasperating as some of these people are, I find myself desperately wishing I had a family this cool. Or, no...the family I've chosen an ocean away are kind of like that, maddening and eccentric in the best of ways, and I miss them. Desperately.

I do hope I'll get the ring story into the actual writing stage by sometime this evening, but the truth is that we're 72 hours in and I'm still looking at bloody images. I think I might have found what quantifies perfect under the circumstances, or as close as Crowley is going to get to it, but I'm the kind of person to second-guess to the point where it's not second-guessing anymore...

Thank you. More soon <3
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[User Picture]From: write_rewrite
2012-08-22 11:15 pm (UTC)
Suuuper late reply, but yes! Hysterical amusement is an apt reaction, but no lie, I saw that line and reached for my highlighter. It's just so simple and awesome and I DON'T EVEN KNOW but it makes me happy to read it!

(And this is late enough that I have already read, squeed, re-read and re-squeed and generally jumped all over the fic you posted, but more on that later)

I think their family is perfect for them, and now I want to see something with Crowley attempting a family dinner. Trying to magic the meal up warm because someone traipses in late (of all the insults!) and Adam messing with everyone, and Sophia making the neighbour boys go a little batty and the girls all following Crowley to see him cook while Aziraphale carries on a lively discussion about Salem Witch Hunts, pours everyone wine and makes sure Crowley has enough tea to get him through the cooking portion. I am sorry, reading your stuff always leads me to spew ideas on your journal. xDDD

ANYWAY, I think I fangirled over this piece, I'm going to go and leave a proper comment on your adorable Crowley-and-the-ring-debacle piece, but I want to mention again that I loved this, and Aziraphale is gorgeous and adorable, and it's remarkable how you write. Just the style, the way every word is just so perfectly placed, boggles me.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-23 12:26 pm (UTC)
Crowley attempting a family dinner will be easy enough, I believe: he and Aziraphale are both big on Christmas in their own ways, so I think that'll present the perfect opportunity ;)

Highlighter: do you print things off to read them? I know some of my readers do, but not many. On this count, I've had to warn a couple of you, as I've recently gone and done some very minor edits on A Better Place and The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse, so if your versions aren't up to date, you may want to reprint! I really don't foresee making changes to either of those at this point; I had no access to WW&TM for a long time because I wasn't a GO Exchange mod, but that's changed now.

*hugs, just because*
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[User Picture]From: ciaranbochna
2012-08-17 03:15 am (UTC)
Is is completely odd that I picture Crowley in Throx? Probably, but there you are. Aziraphale taking Crowley's hand beneath the table unravels me. You know I adore the language you use, but the moments between...well.

(Sorry about the comment placement. The heat has addled my brain).
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-17 03:17 am (UTC)
I had no idea what Throx were until I ran a Google search just now. No, it's not odd; there are some quirky patterns over there, and having a spare to hand is one of those clever, novel human concepts he'd appreciate with a vengeance! :)

Thank you <3 And I hear you re: the heat. It's making writing the next adventure in this 'verse rather more irksome than it should be. Then again, it's the concept that's tricky, too.
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[User Picture]From: meganbobness
2013-02-27 06:00 am (UTC)
Just wanted to say that I love how Aziraphale is learning to just accept Mandy's crush on Crowley and not to be *quite* so defensive about it. I find Mandy really likable. I'd be more inclined to lust after Aziraphale than Crowley, but I think we all understand where she's coming from.
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2013-02-27 06:15 am (UTC)
(To be perfectly honest, I don't think I'd kick either one of them out of bed - but I don't really like thinking about that, because they have each other, and I try to break the fourth wall as little as possible, even as intimate as the writing process feels most of the time! In short, I keep my presence to observer only...)

Mandy, who I thought was a complete background throw-away, is now pretty indispensable. Will wonders never cease <3

Thank you so very much!
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[User Picture]From: meganbobness
2013-02-27 06:20 am (UTC)
You do a brilliant job of keeping your role as writer very well tucked away in the story. All of your work seems completely them, as though you just transcribed events, which is the best disappearing act a writer can pull! Even your OCs fit seamlessly into everything!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2013-02-27 06:24 am (UTC)
...that said, I'd find Aziraphale much harder to live with than Crowley, I'm almost sure of it. I've tried living with a similar brand of fussy disapproval, and it went very poorly. And I'm not completely free of it yet.

So glad you still seem to be enjoying this series :)
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