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Two Parables: Even the best are subject to review. [Sep. 24th, 2007|10:37 am]
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Title: One of Those
Pairing: Aziraphale/Crowley
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Stand-alone.  Not connected to anything.  Have one on the house.
Summary: In the grand scheme of things, a day can make all the difference.


Aziraphale wasn't in the habit of drinking alone, but there were only so many times he could catch Crowley's ansaphone before getting irritated at himself for not knowing it was the ansaphone until the third go, at which point he dropped the bloody machine back in its cradle and stalked off to the cabinet.

Humans were forever going on about how they'd had One of Those Days.  For the most part, Aziraphale had always just smiled and nodded politely: in the grand scheme of things, such as it was, one day was really no different from the one before it or the one after it.  Days…were.  It was a difficult concept to convey to his customers, so he usually just gave up and pointed them to Self-Help.  They liked that.

There didn't seem to be adequate solutions in those books, and where books failed, alcohol was a surety.  Preferably alcohol shared with another person, but he'd live. 

Aziraphale was halfway through his last bottle of brandy when Crowley walked in without so much as a greeting.  If he squinted, the demon looked exactly as he always had except for a few points off, such as the glasses creeping down the bridge of his nose and his hair looking as if the stylist hadn't done such a good job of it this time.

"Sorry," he muttered, slinking into the chair across from Aziraphale.  "Ran late."

"You've got, um, things on your forehead," Aziraphale said, offering him the bottle.

Crowley brushed the clippings away in irritation, snatching the bottle not quite fast enough to prevent their fingers from brushing.  Aziraphale's head was already a bit fuzzy, and Crowley's skin felt like the warmth there, muddled and familiar.

"The trouble with humans," said Crowley, taking a drink, "is that they can't see."

"S'true," Aziraphale said, swilling his glass.  He'd started drinking for exactly that reason, or some reason similar to it.  Mostly he was just happy to see Crowley.

"I mean, He bothers to give them these two little gadgets that can pick up everything within range of…anyway, a lot," Crowley said, pausing, "and half the time they just don't use them properly, or go getting them damaged.  This stuff's good. More?"

Aziraphale shook his head, then waved his hand to refill the bottle.

"Mm.  Anyway, eyes," Crowley said, taking a fast swig.  "Useful.  Under-appreciated."

"To be fair, dear boy," Aziraphale said, sizing up approximately where Crowley had set the bottle on the table, reaching for it, "they can't, er…improve them the way we can."

"That's no excuse," Crowley said, shoving the bottle at him sulkily.  Maybe the hair wasn't so bad now that he'd run his fingers all through it and put it back to normal.

"I s'pose not," Aziraphale said, pouring about a quarter of the bottle on the table before giving up and doing what Crowley had done.  "They miss a bloody lot."

Crowley stared at him for a few seconds, frowning.

"You started early."

"You weren't home," Aziraphale said defensively, clutching the bottle to his chest.  "I have a hard time of it sometimes, too, you know.  Today was wretched."

"I've never seen you pout like that," Crowley said, fascinated.  "Continue."

"'M not pouting."

"Whatever."

"Don't you ever wish," Aziraphale said, setting the bottle back on the table, "that they'd see you?  I mean, really see you?  For what you are and all that."

Crowley snorted and snatched the brandy.

"No."

"Didn't think so," Aziraphale sighed, depressed.  He'd forgotten to fill his glass, and Crowley was drinking straight from the bottle again, dribbling a bit down his chin.

"What d'you mean, exactly?" he asked, wiping his chin on his sleeve before realizing what he'd done.  He hissed at the mark on his perfect white shirt cuff, and it vanished.

"Don't you get tired of…of people thinking you're…people?"

"You're drunk, angel."

"Am not," Aziraphale insisted, "and don't you?"

Crowley frowned at the bottle, scratching at the corner of the label.

"Kind of," he mumbled.

"See!"

"This conversation is getting circuitous."

"My dear, you haven't had enough," Aziraphale said.  "Listen, it's…like they wouldn't see even if, I don't know, I got out…something…and said, 'You there!  I'm…'"

"You're cracked, that's what," Crowley said, reaching across the table to pat his hand.

Aziraphale frowned.

He'd had words for this, really, but they weren't coming to him, and Crowley touching his hand like that, gentle and kind of soothing, was a distraction.

"'You there!  I'm an'angel!' Big wings and whatnot.  Buggers are blind."

"Well, that could be troublesome," Crowley said, taking a thoughtful swallow of brandy.  "We couldn't have them going around in hysterics, blowing our cover."

"But I get tired," Aziraphale heard himself whine, "of being missed."

Crowley set the bottle down, stared at him again, and sighed.

"Yeah, I guess so."

"I knew you'd understand," Aziraphale said, and reached across the table for Crowley's hand before he could pull it away.  "'Least you see."

"I don't think I have any choice," Crowley said, blinking at Aziraphale's hand.

"'Course you do," Aziraphale said, squeezing Crowley's fingers.  "You could go."

Crowley looked up at him, distinctly offended.

"Oh, is that it?  You left three false-starts on my ansaphone just to get me out here so you could complain, then—"

"No," Aziraphale said, dimly aware that he ought to be panicking.  "Jus' look, it was…they don't see," he repeated when nothing was forthcoming.  "They just…don't."

"And I do?" Crowley asked, staring down again.

"Yes," Aziraphale said quietly, withdrawing his hand.

"Oh," Crowley said, rising.  "D'you want to go someplace people can see us?"

"No," Aziraphale said, looking up at him.  His head had cleared just enough for him to know he was probably pleading, and that was all right, because Crowley didn't seem to be in the mood to laugh at him, and he also wanted Crowley to touch him again.

"Oh," Crowley repeated, glancing nervously around the room.  "In that case, um…"

"As long as you see," Aziraphale said, realizing he'd better come to some kind of conclusion, "I think it's all right that they don't.  Um.  Would you like some tea?"

"That's all right," Crowley said, and took Aziraphale's hand, pulling him to his feet.  "Sober up, would you?  Either that or get some more brandy so I can catch up."

"Mm," Aziraphale said absently, running his thumb across the back of Crowley's hand.

"Right," Crowley said, and tugged him toward the stairs.


Title: Seven Deadly Signs You're Going to Fail
Pairing: Aziraphale/Crowley
Rating: R
Notes: This story was born on Sunday during a discussion of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Cardinal Virtues with jennaria.  I was still valiantly working on a final paper at the time, or so I was trying to convince myself.  I'd like to dedicate this piece to all of my fellow university seniors (and to all of you grad students) now ploughing their way through finals and dissertations.  Even the ethereals have it rough.
Summary: It's like renewing your driving license, only worse.



It wasn't unusual for Aziraphale's phone to ring at ten in the morning, as that was when Crowley usually woke up and remembered what he'd been complaining about over dinner.  Aziraphale was slightly annoyed that he hadn't stayed the night and saved himself the trouble of calling, but heaven forbid Crowley should be practical.

He'd said something about having an appointment in the morning, which was just as well, as Aziraphale had one, too, and it was of the sort best got over with quickly.

"Crowley?" he asked the receiver, wary.

"Yes, who'd you think it was?  One of your esteemed clients?"

"I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that," Aziraphale said more reasonably than he should have, shuffling some dusty receipts into a pile.  Prudence, he told himself.

"You must have been pretending not to hear me last night, then."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I asked if you'd give me a ring to make sure I was up.  'Of course, my dear,' mustn't mean what it meant last time I checked."

"I was going to wait half an hour!" Aziraphale protested, feeling control slip away from him.  He pounded the desk lightly with his fist.  "I'm not your desk service!"

"Hm," Crowley said, sounding more thoughtful than sleepy.  "That's not bad."

"Yes," Aziraphale said through gritted teeth, "it is."

"You had better call a bit earlier next time.  If I hadn't got up now, I'd be running—"

"I'm sure the phone call isn't helping," Aziraphale replied, trying to calm down.  He glanced longingly at the kitchenette, wishing he could reach the teapot.

"Well, no, but," Crowley said hastily, "it's not until eleven, and, you know—"

"My dear, what's this all about?"

"Nothing, really," Crowley babbled.  "Really."

"I see," Aziraphale sighed.  "Routine temptation?"

"You might say that."

"London?"

"Not exactly.  Er.  Not far."

"You really could've spared yourself the trouble," Aziraphale sighed, waving his hand.  The teapot drifted in obediently and settled itself on the desk in front of him, followed by an old, chipped mug from a bank that Aziraphale hadn't ended up patronizing.

"Look, I know you've got work to do," Crowley snapped.  "Do you think they appreciate it when I put somebody else first?"

"Who?  Crowley, I don't—"

"Shit," Crowley muttered, distracted.  "Got to go.  Later."

The line clicked dead.  Aziraphale sighed and set the phone back in its cradle, then poured himself a full mug of tea.  It was probably stewed by now, but that was nobody's fault but his own, and he hadn't finished reviewing by a long shot.



*        *        *



The demon across the table from Crowley was doing about as good an impression of a human as Hastur could do.  Dagon had a tired air about him that seemed to be as much a side effect of the room having no ventilation as anything else.  Crowley had already taken off his jacket and was in the process of unbuttoning his collar.  Dagon watched him impatiently, but not unkindly, and that gave Crowley a bit of hope.

"It's, um," Crowley said, managing a smile, "been a while, hasn't it?"

"A millennium, to be exact," Dagon droned, adjusting his spectacles.  "Standard."

"Yes, my," Crowley said, crossing his legs, then uncrossing them again.  "Time flies."

Dagon's look was flat and unamused.

"I haven't got all day," he said, tapping the lengthy list written on parchment that lay spread out in front of him.  He reached for a clipboard, which had a piece of paper clipped to it.  It was printed with seven lines of words followed by tick-boxes.

"New format, I see," Crowley said, momentarily pleased.  Somebody had obviously been listening to him.  "Keen.  Much more efficient, I'm sure, and—"

"Name," Dagon said, setting his pen point to the line at the top of the page.

"A—"  Crowley bit his tongue, wincing, and hissed something instead.

Dagon's pen moved in a complicated flourish, then moved to the first box.

"Hast thou been Prideful in all thy dealings with mankind and thy fellow demons?"

Crowley blinked.  He'd been expecting more updated language.

"Yes," he said, adjusting his sunglasses.

"Hast thou incited Pride at every opportunity thou hast been given?"

"Of course," Crowley replied, thinking of the girl at the cinema.  Aziraphale had given him the nastiest look he'd gotten in recent memory, so that probably counted double.

Dagon grunted and drew a check-mark, satisfied.  Crowley breathed a sigh of relief.  Some things, they could just take, and it was easier that way.  Besides, Crowley prided himself on his pride.  He was willing to show off the Bentley if he had to.

"Art thou Envious," Dagon intoned, "in all thy dealings with—"

"I get the gist," Crowley said, leaning forward on the table.  "Yeah.  All the time."

Dagon blinked at him, apparently unimpressed.

"I want your hat," Crowley said earnestly, not at all convincing.

"Clever," Dagon grunted, and made another check.

"Wait, don't you need to know if I've incited—"

"I already know," Dagon snarled, jabbing the pen point into the third box.  "Hast thou been Wrathful in all thy dealings with mankind and thy fellow demons?"

"Plenty," Crowley said, beginning to feel a bit nervous.  He'd hit it off pretty well, he thought, but the questions got harder as you went on even if the phrasing didn't change.  "I told off a waiter when the food was almost an hour late, and the last time I saw Ligur, I really gave it to him."  He was glad everybody had amnesia.

"Very well," Dagon murmured, frowning, but checked off the box anyway.

"Hey, wait," Crowley said.  "This one day about twelve years ago, I tied up every—"

"Sloth," Dagon said, glaring impatiently.

"I oversleep all the time," Crowley said.  "Just ask my associates."

"Incitement thereof?"

Crowley felt an uncomfortable sensation gathering in his stomach. It had less to do with the fact that he hadn't got Aziraphale to sleep in that morning and more to do with the fact that it was usually Aziraphale who tempted him to a lie-in these days.

"Not this morning, but usually," he said vaguely.  "Er, I mean my associates.  Bloody insomniacs, you know, but a few of them are impressionable."

Dagon frowned more deeply than before, but Crowley earned another check.

"Avarice?"

"How many times do I have to tell you that you ought to do away with that one?  It's too similar to Envy.  Chances are, if you're envious, you want something, and that's Avarice.  Do you really want to hear the same stories over again?"

Dagon hissed through clenched teeth and ticked it off.  "Don't push it," he warned.  "Hast thou been Gluttonous in…"  He squinted at the paper and made a few red marks on the sentence, then glanced up at Crowley in irritation.  "Well?"

Crowley laughed nervously.

"Do I have to tell you how often I eat out?"

"Point," said Dagon, and checked off the box. A slow, menacing smile spread across his features.  "Crawly, I must say, you're passing with flying colors.  It's customary to take an intermission before the seventh; would you care for any torments?"

"No thanks," Crowley said.  "I'm over my limit for the month.  Can we just—"

"I don't like you," Dagon said, sounding almost proud.  "You're an efficient one.  I see why we've got you up there.  Real discredit to the force, you know.  Anyway, this last one's a freebie, I always say, so you're getting off easy."

"Haha," Crowley said, grinning and terrified.  "Right."

"Hast thou," Dagon said, fairly leering at the paper, "been Lustful in all thy dealings with mankind and thy fellow demons?"

The uncomfortable sensation in Crowley's stomach blossomed into something aching and fierce.  Lust-centric temptations, those were more Hastur's speed, so he'd more or less left well enough alone.  Humans and sex made for a bad combination, and Crowley stayed out of it as often as he could.  As for his fellow demons, what they did was their business.  If living in London had taught him anything, it was that you didn't go nosing into other people's affairs no matter how evil you were supposed to be.

"Crawly?" Dagon prompted, tapping the clipboard.

Crowley cleared his throat, shifting in his chair, which had spikes as it was.

"I was just thinking of, um, you know…"

"No," Dagon said in a dangerous tone, "I don't."

Shit.  It was one thing to close himself off to Aziraphale or the occasional overly psychic human, but it was quite another to do it in the presence of one's superiors, and to make matters worse, it was so much a matter of habit when it came to his private life that he hardly gave it a thought.  Great, but what was he supposed to do?  He couldn't very well have Dagon catching him wishing he'd had a nice, thorough snog the night before and possibly a really spectacular orgasm—with the Enemy.

"I remember you having trouble with this one," Dagon said, sounding as if he was enjoying this.  "You've been under your Lust quota for the past five millennia."

"It's private," Crowley croaked, lapsing back into English.

Dagon just looked at him, thoughtful.

"I mean, really," Crowley went on, gesturing hopelessly.  "I don't think you'd want to hear the details of my, er, exploits any more than I'd like to hear about your—"

"I'll take this as a sign of progress," Dagon said curtly, and checked off the box.  "Though I use the term loosely, you understand.  Very loosely."

"Yessssir," Crowley hissed, sagging in relief.

"Sign here," Dagon said, handing him the clipboard and pen.

Crowley did—his proper signature, which vanished—and got the hell out of there.



*        *        *



Gabriel had the harried look of an angel who spent most of his time cooped up at a desk, which was exactly the case.  Aziraphale pulled up a chair before Gabriel could ask him to sit down, simply grateful he hadn't been assigned to Michael.

"They really ought to see about getting you some help," Aziraphale said, eyeing Gabriel's overflowing in-box.  "That's quite a lot of paperwork."

"Someone has to do it," Gabriel sighed. He cleared away some complicated-looking parchment forms and located his clipboard under a pile of unsigned commendations.  "There, now.  You're my first today.  I'm running a bit behind."

"I'm sure no one's counting," Aziraphale said reassuringly, and instantly regretted it.

"I'll be damned if that lout gets Employee of the Millennium again, do you understand me?" Gabriel hissed under his breath.  He very seldom got angry, so that made the times when he did especially memorable. And somehow made him more likeable.

"Er," replied Aziraphale, sitting up straight.  "Perfectly."

"Wonderful," Gabriel said. He fished around for a pen and found one, frowning as he tested it on the corner of the evaluation form.  He tossed it aside and picked up another one.  "Much better," he said, scribbling red in the margin.  "Your name, please."

Aziraphale said it.

"Mmhmm," Gabriel hummed, writing it in the space at the top.  "Are you familiar with the procedure, or would you like me to review the instructions?"

"No, but thank you," Aziraphale said biting his lip.  Excessive politeness became Gabriel about as well as excessive zeal became Michael.  Zeal.  Oh dear, he hadn't—

"Have you exercised Faith in all your dealings with mankind and your fellow angels?"

"Yes," said Aziraphale warily.  The Honor Code was frightfully routine, when it came down to it: they assumed you were telling the truth, unless they happened to know you were lying.  You always hoped for Gabriel, too, because he was more likely to be lazy than Michael, but it seemed that this time he was rather determined.

Gabriel hummed again, scratching his chin with the pen, and made half a check mark.

"Have you encouraged Faith at every opportunity you've been given?"

Aziraphale stared at his hands, which were folded neatly in his lap.  These days, he found, faith was a somewhat subjective thing, and he'd also met a lot of people in recent months who had taught him a thing or two about it.  He looked up, nodding.

Gabriel completed the check mark, satisfied, and set his pen point on the next line.

"Have you been Hopeful in all your dealings—"

"I'm dreadfully sorry to interrupt," Aziraphale said, "but if you're concerned about getting through these in a timely matter, it's quite all right.  And yes, I have."

"I'm supposed to follow procedure," Gabriel said irritably, checking off the box.  "But that counts as Charity, and you always were a shining example of that, so I'm going to let that one as is," he said, checking the next box, too.

Aziraphale swallowed, wondering whether or not that was a good sign.

"That brings us up to Prudence," Gabriel said, scrutinizing Aziraphale. "You have, I take it, been Prudent in all your dealings with mankind and your fellow angels?"

"Of course. As a reputable businessman, I find it absolutely essential that—"

"Oh, yes," Gabriel said hastily, scribbling another check mark.  "I had forgotten about that.  You've been in merchandise for a long time, haven't you?"

"Not really," Aziraphale said modestly.  "Since the fourteenth century, at any rate."

"Never over on your expenditures," Gabriel said vaguely, flipping through a pile of papers to his right that Aziraphale hadn't noticed before.  "Never over on your Temperance quotas, either," he said, glancing up with a look of mild reproach.

Bugger, Aziraphale thought.  He never had been able to keep Prudence and Temperance straight, and the two were so similar that it hardly—

"Do try to be a bit more patient," Gabriel sighed.  "I'm sure you'll find that there are beings down there who won't take snappishness with nearly as much grace as I do," he said, and made a small, hesitant check in the Temperance box.  "You didn't say that out loud, so I'm obligated to give you some credit."

"Terribly sorry," Aziraphale muttered, staring at his hands again, cheeks hot.

"At least you've got different swears from the ones I usually put up with," Gabriel said under his breath, then said sternly, "Have you exercised Fortitude in all your dealings with mankind and your fellow angels?"

"In abundance," Aziraphale said.  If he hadn't learned to do that long ago, Crowley would've caused him considerably more pain and hardship than he had, though these days pain and hardship usually meant that Crowley talked his ear off or tempted him into trying out some new restaurant when he should've been catching up on his taxes or that backlog of miracles that he'd had sitting around for a few centuries.

"I see," Gabriel said, making another half-check.  "Have you encouraged it?"

"More by example than directly," Aziraphale admitted, fighting the urge to chew his thumbnail.  He'd just been to his manicurist the week before, and damage this early could prove devastating.  He folded his hands more tightly.

"Your area of expertise, example," Gabriel said with restrained approval, and let his pen hover over the last tick-box.  "This last one, I trust, is very simple.  You always did strike me as the Zealous sort."

Aziraphale closed his eyes for a moment, which was probably the grandest mistake of his career.  He knew he'd been remiss somewhere.  He wondered if wielding the sword again had counted.  He wondered if he could get away with saying his passion for books was just a notch short of divine.  He knew, deep down, that Crowley counted, but what good would it do to let his superiors know that he'd been putting nearly all of his heart, might, mind, and strength into keeping the Enemy happy?

"This had better be important," Gabriel said testily.

"That's a bit personal, don't you think?" Aziraphale managed finally, opening his eyes, giving Gabriel a level look.  "Rather like Faith, come to think of it."

"Reminds me of why I tried getting you assigned to Michael," he muttered, and checked off the last box.  "You're free to go.  We're grateful for your time."

"Much obliged," Aziraphale said, feeling somewhat lightheaded, and stood up.

"Wait," Gabriel said, holding out the pen and clipboard.  "Sign here."

Aziraphale did, and floated away.



*        *        *



"I," Crowley announced, downing his wine, "hereby claim the entire bottle."

"Hardly," Aziraphale said, snatching it off Crowley's coffee table.

Crowley grabbed it, almost knocking Aziraphale's glass out of his hand.

"I've had a rough day."

"Not to change the subject, but so have I."

Crowley considered the angel for a few seconds, deciding that the swimmy effect his vision had going on probably suggested that he'd had enough to drink.  He let go of the bottle, pressing it to Aziraphale's chest. "You win," he said.  "It's your turn."

"Is it?" asked Aziraphale, drinking straight from the bottle before setting it carefully on the floor.  "I haven't been keeping track."

"My memory's better than yours," Crowley said, dropping his glass on the carpet, and crawled into Aziraphale's lap.  "And I say it's bloody well your turn.  Your lot can't afford to have me beating you all the time, can they?"

"I suppose not," Aziraphale said, looking suddenly hazy and very pleased with the turn things had taken.  He set his hands on Crowley's shoulders and let them slide down to Crowley's elbows in one slow caress.

Crowley shivered, unable to sort out what was the wine and what was Aziraphale's touch. "You're too good at this for the side you're on," he said.

"You're too receptive."

"Weak willpower," Crowley corrected, running his fingers through Aziraphale's untidy hair, trying to get it to stay off his forehead.  "Falls in there somewhere.  Lust."

"I like to think of it as Zeal," Aziraphale said thoughtfully.  He pushed Crowley's loose collar aside, leaning to nuzzle his collarbone.  He kissed the spot, then bit gently.

"Call it whatever you want," Crowley sighed, settling in with a decisive wriggle that got rid of some of their clothes, but not all of them.  One had to be a proper tease.

"A passing mark," Aziraphale said, somewhat choked, and kissed him soundly.

"Flying colors," Crowley agreed, wrapping his wings around them both.
LinkReply

Comments:
From: shinzuku
2007-10-14 04:47 am (UTC)

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That was good.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2007-10-14 09:57 am (UTC)

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Thanks once again!
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-04-24 08:46 pm (UTC)

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LOL! I loved this! It was fantastically funny and snarky and clever!

Brilliant job!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-04-24 08:48 pm (UTC)

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Many thanks! Sadly, I tend to forget about this piece - these pieces, as I think this was a post in which I re-located a couple of stories originally hosted on lower_tadfield? - so it's always lovely when a piece of feedback reminds me it's there.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-04-24 09:08 pm (UTC)

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(Idiot that I am, I was for some reason assuming you were commenting on the first piece in this post and not the latter. You've found it due to the fact that I linked to the second piece in the notes to my new story. Thanks once again!)
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-04-24 09:22 pm (UTC)

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Sorry! I would have replied sooner, but my internet just went down for a bit. *glares at it*

I did find it through the link, but then I read the first piece on this post (I could still get this page, just not reply or anything else) and I wanted badly to comment on that one as well.

I really like the sort of desperate need to be understood that both Crowley and Aziraphale shared in that first one. It is ironic, but I think that need is the most human emotion that they discussed in the whole piece - and it was felt because neither of them was human.

Great job!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-04-24 09:26 pm (UTC)

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The funny thing about the first piece, I suppose, is that, at the time, I wrote it in response to some mass frustration at an epidemic of badfic spam on lower_tadfield. It was intended as hidden meta-commentary on how said badfic culprits didn't, well, get them. Slightly cruel and snarky on my part, perhaps, looking back, but it was sort of cool to see how many people got the wink-wink nudge and how many didn't. I almost wish I'd preserved the original post on the community, as deleting it from there and moving it over to here means that was all lost.

(Or it can be taken just as you've taken it, which is probably best, in the end - thanks once again!)
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-04-24 09:30 pm (UTC)

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Ha! Never let it be said that I'm hesitant to forge new meanings and intentions at the drop of a hat.

Oh, well. This is why my literary analysis fails so often. *grins*

But, I really did like it. I'm not familiar with the community you describe, but inside jokes? Nice.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-04-24 09:32 pm (UTC)

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Oh, let's see, what's the best way to describe lower_tadfield...probably the catch-all, FF.net equivalent of all things fannishly GO on LJ. You get the excellent, the great, the good, the bad, and the ugly all in one place. For some reason, in the 24 hours leading up to when I broke down and wrote "One of Those," there had been an unusual influx of totally useless posts. It was truly astounding!
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-04-24 09:46 pm (UTC)

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eep. That sounds kind of scary, actually. I'm relieved to have found the other Gaiman fic community first. :)

*lol*

I'm very late to the GO game, though, so good fic is such a rarity, but so much fun. :D

[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-04-24 09:55 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, best not ventured into ;) By the way, hope you don't mind that I've friended you - if you find it weird or disturbing, just say the word. Or should you want to return the gesture, go ahead; I'm not funny about that sort of thing.
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-04-24 10:05 pm (UTC)

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No, I don't mind at all! In fact, thank you. I shall certainly return the favor. :) Also, I have a list for slash and adult rated fiction that I can add you to, if you don't object. Everything is clearly marked, for the reader's comfort, but I keep most of it f-locked on my journal for my comfort.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-04-24 10:07 pm (UTC)

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Oh, please do add me. I have no aversion at all to that sort of thing ;)
[User Picture]From: wizefics
2008-04-24 10:10 pm (UTC)

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Excellent! Done and done. :D
From: (Anonymous)
2008-08-07 07:07 am (UTC)

Wow

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Really, I love any fics that involve Hastur, Ligur, ect. just arent enough fics out there with them!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2008-08-07 09:21 am (UTC)

Re: Wow

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I do let them cameo occasionally; in fact, I've done a few drabbles and fics over time that have scenes featuring just them. I'm afraid I don't recall which pieces they are precisely, but if you fish through my good omens tag, you'll find them eventually. I can be notoriously forgetful about what I've put into my own past work. It's mildly embarrassing!

Thank you very much.
[User Picture]From: sabine1392
2009-03-02 06:30 pm (UTC)

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Awww... I love these!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2009-03-02 06:47 pm (UTC)

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Thank you, dear <3
[User Picture]From: kaoro
2009-04-21 05:31 pm (UTC)

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"before getting irritated at himself for not knowing it was the ansaphone until the third go"
*dies*
I laughed at loud at this one, really... Because I sort of understand Aziraphale's pain XD
And I'm not going to list every single moment in the first drabble I squee-d in joy and amusement or else I'll never get to the next fanfictions.
Loved the second one too by the way. Especially Crowley's interview. :D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2009-04-21 07:45 pm (UTC)

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Seven Deadly Signs is one of the most fun pieces I've ever written in this fandom; the idea of them having regular job appraisals just sort of appealed to me :) Thanks once again! You're spoiling me rotten with comments.
[User Picture]From: kaoro
2009-04-21 09:29 pm (UTC)

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As you can see I'm very talkative. Keep saying I'm spoilling you and you'll never get rid of me. Lj-befriending me was the least wise move you have ever done in your whole life ;)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-05-23 03:10 pm (UTC)

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I don't think it was unwise ;)
[User Picture]From: hekateras
2012-09-20 01:50 am (UTC)

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Oh god, both of these were utterly magical and unique in their own way.

The first.... Seeing Aziraphale in this sort of.... yes, needy, pleading state of mind for once was utterly fascinating. It's easy to imagine that they do get lonely working undercover like that all the time, concealing the truth, always a distance between them and any interactions they have with humans because the humans don't actually know who they're dealing with... It's also staggering to consider how alone they both must have been, before they started associating regularly.
At any rate, I always enjoy reading about snappish!Aziraphale, and seeing him in a vulnerable state of mind for a change was lovely.

The second I loved firstly for the premise: the juxtaposition of Crowley's and Aziraphale's success, or lack thereof, at fulfilling their duties, and trying to get different elements of their *life* to fit into the stiff and arbitrary framework of the behaviour that is expected from them. I particularly liked their attempts to categorise the same impulses or feelings as different Sins or Virtues, such as the Zeal one. And the ending was a beautiful touch, the way it all came together, all their respective masks and pretenses kind of colliding and falling away...

I've always wanted to read more on the subject of Aziraphale in particular fulfilling his angelic duties because the book made it seem a lot like he was an even lousier angel than Crowley was a demon. :P At least Crowley spends nearly all his time out and about, and by necessity occasionally doing stuff. XD Azi just sort of stays cooped up in his shop and practically falls over himself when the chance to do some Good (and heal bikes) presents itself. >D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-20 02:32 am (UTC)

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That's true: Crowley at least tries to do his job, bless him, even if he's no good at it, whereas Aziraphale...er, doesn't even try most of the time, and certainly only when someone is watching (usually Crowley or a total stranger, as if that proves anything).

*goes back and rereads, aha, remembers now*

"The trouble with humans," Crowley said, drinking straight from the bottle, "is that they can't see."

This was the one I wrote in order to snark about how so many people seemed hell-bent on screwing the characterization up six ways to Sunday. Nobody even knew I was having a go, but I have to say, it at least made me feel better (and if they didn't know all those years ago, well, they will now).

I kind of like the thought of them having semi-regular reviews, at least up till the Apocalypse goes haywire and the lines seem to go mostly dead. They're such a big thing in the UK, sit-down-with-your-boss-and-have-an-evaluation-thinly-veiled-as-a-chat sessions. I endured them even for the most minor of part-time jobs held while I was living there.

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: hekateras
2012-09-20 09:51 am (UTC)

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Indeed - though the incident with Shadwell and the Metatron and Azi wanting to keep the former out of the blue circle, despite threats and insults and all, at least go to show that Azi's heart is in the right place even when nobody is really watching. But it's interesting that, without that little scene (and Azi's stand in the last pages of the book), we would have close to no proof that the *angel* of the story, at this point in time, genuinely cares about people at all, a quite startling turn for the angel who ended up on Earth due to a pique of compassion.

As it is, he's quite endearingly *normal* in how he wants to just go on with his life and not worry about problems that aren't his.

Ah, yes, I saw that when I skimmed through the comments a bit. XD Mighty sneaky of you, though probably not undeserved - I keep running into mostly older fics that cast them as these melodramatic angel/demon caricatures, with Crowley all seductive and unfailingly cool and dangerous and Azi all weepy and innocent. I wouldn't call them *badfics*, personally - I'm more used to applying the term to fics that are *all-around* horrible, not just in characterisation - but yeah, it does get a bit frustrating, especially when the rest of the writing is sound.

Speaking of venting one's feelings, if it makes you feel better - because I know you don't generally like crack - that Fifty Scales of Crowley craze you saw a while back has somewhat similar roots. >D It started out as a parody of Fifty Shades and then morphed into a general badfic/bad romance novel parody. Soon after your review I finally got my act together and read the Titanic fic, and while I did like parts of it (and plan on doing a proper analysis later), the characterisation..... D: D: D: Hoo boy. XD So I kind of vented a bit as well. >D Except when I vent, apparently crack happens. But maybe that will at least reassure you a bit that we're not all that insanely cracky without cause. >D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-20 01:10 pm (UTC)

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The true irony of the opening scene is, they both did the right thing. They just had no way of knowing it at the time. Even then, what they did is probably beyond such judgement calls as right and wrong; what one can say, though, is that neither one of them did a truly evil thing, not in tempting or in giving the sword away. They set up humanity for what it will become, and they fall in love with humanity even as they fall for each other. It couldn't be more fitting.

As long as crack is tongue-in-cheek, I do understand that some people find it fun; however, it still annoys me on some level, especially when it becomes difficult to tell (especially on Tumblr) just how serious (or not) people are about said crack. Truthfully, I'm more annoyed by things like Crowley/Hastur and other nonsensical pairings cropping up with such bloody insistence. Doesn't even compute, and I can't even begin to approach the head-space where a person might think that's a great idea even if it's meant to be funny. Crack seems to far exceed intelligent conversation on Tumblr, which is part of what has me biting my tongue over there a lot more of the time than I'd like (and, subsequently, I've already been far more frank over there on a couple of points than I've ever been previously). "Updated" shipping lists? What on earth? We always just called a pairing, well, what it is, i.e. Character A/Character B, and ridiculous names didn't seem mandatory, not even in a cracky sense. I won't lie: I'm completely baffled by the prevalence of this nonsense, and I can't even point to a generational gap for the difference in sensibility, because I'm really not that much older than you guys are (I'm only 30). I admit that it puzzles me even more than the strange influx ca. 2006/2007 which resulted in a load of highly irrelevant posts on lower_tadfield (and when I say highly irrelevant, it was highly irrelevant of a very specific variety: OMG I SAW THIS THING THAT HAS ANGEL WINGS ON IT, HERE'S A PICTURE!!11 OMG, I SAW THIS THING THAT HAS DEVIL HORNS ON IT, HERE'S A PICTURE!!!1 Seriously, people, what the hell? Just because it has angel wings on it or devil horns on it or anything similar does not mean it's relevant; it's the stereotype-thumping all over again, and it's often the same sensibility that leads to dreadful characterization).

Please pardon the mini-rant, but I think it was a long time coming, and I needed somebody to listen *wry grin*
[User Picture]From: hekateras
2012-09-20 03:07 pm (UTC)

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Indeed - the two decisions of tempting humanity and giving them the sword are particularly intriguing to me because they mirror each other so well: Crowley gave humanity Free Will and Knowledge, Aziraphale gave them Fire... Which is also, in a way, equivalent with Knowledge and Free Will (fire = ability to make fire = ability to protect themselves = *power* necessary to *exercise* autonomy and Free Will, etc.), and has certainly been used as a *symbol* for Power and Knowledge in many stories. Aziraphale and Crowley essentially become the two daddies of Free Will, and go on to watch over their little baby, humanity, as it grows up, and become protective of it. They're both two sides of the same coin, albeit with very different publicity, similar to how the Serpent/Satan figure in Miltonesque Bible canon is perceived as a villain, while Prometheus is a hero who stood up to the gods for humanity. (And I really hope to do an actual little essay or something about this soon...)

Hoo boy, you poor dear. ^^ I suggested that we start tagging the crack as 'good omens crack' or something so people can blacklist it if they want, but I don't know if it'll catch on.

Regardless, as someone who *does* enjoy crack, maybe I can offer you a glimpse into such a "headspace", so to speak. First of all, I can't speak for the others, but as best I can tell, it is certainly *not* intended to be serious in any... well, serious way. We don't actually think, say, Hastur and Crowley would make this great match of immortal love, as going by the book. The very *definition* of crack is that it sounds like something you came up with while high on drugs.

What's the appeal of it? At the core, it's about trying to make unworkable ideas work. Taking a premise that is utterly ridiculous and sounds impossible to reconcile with canon, and then *trying to do that anyway*.

Usually, it will at least be funny, if you like that sort of thing. The absurdity of it can be humourous, especially when it's written to almost sound plausible. It also presents a certain writing challenge: not only do you have to push and stretch the boundaries of existing characterisation while still trying to keep it IC, you also need to invent scenarios and potential whole new backstories to make this pairing come as close to working as it ever could. I imagine you'll have run into Lestrade/Mycroft fic in the Sherlock fandom - it was explained to me very similarly. That pairing allows one to use their imagination to build a relationship from the ground up, based on existing characterisation, on fresh ground (in this case, aided by the fact that we never see Lestrade and Mycroft interact on-screen). The Hastur/Crowley pairing, for example, now features a fairly extensive backstory about them knowing each other in Heaven and then Hastur being "broken" by Hell in that way mentioned in the book. I actually have seen a crackfic or two develop into a very fascinating story that way.

At the same time, it's also a way to unwind. You don't have to hold yourself to quite the same standards when writing "official" fiction about, say, A/C, that is meant to fit seamlessly into canon. That sort of thing can be very relaxing, especially if you're hopelessly perfectionist and obsessive about your writing otherwise.

As for the weird shipping names - well, that just seems to be part of the general internet fandom trend. It started out as simply merging the names together ("Johnlock" is shorter than "John/Sherlock"), and somewhere along the line people thought it was a great area to get... inventive. XD (It helps that my first great love is for a very obscure RPG that gets maybe one piece of fanart per year, so I'm glad to see *any* new content in a fandom I love.)

Yeah, posts along the lines of 'THIS BLOB IN MY COFFEE LOOKS LIKE AN ANGEL' kind of annoy me too.. Then again, that's early-stage book infatuation for you. XD I try not to mind it too much and let the kids have their fun, especially given how difficult it is to pinpoint what's relevant and what's not, sometimes. (For example, how do you feel about sharing songs that remind one of GO?)

Oh, and you're absolutely welcome, I'm here for you to rant away at any time you like. ^^ (Although, as you can see, I often rant back. Violently.)

Edited at 2012-09-20 03:12 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-20 09:26 pm (UTC)

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Hoo boy, you poor dear. ^^ I suggested that we start tagging the crack as 'good omens crack' or something so people can blacklist it if they want, but I don't know if it'll catch on.

What blows my mind/worries me the most, I guess (and I don't know if this will help put things into perspective as far as my point of view), is that the tag is at least 80% crack, if not more. I'm not accustomed to that being, or appearing to be, the majority sentiment for a fandom. In spite of the irrelevant posts on lower_tadfield during its busiest moments, I wouldn't say that there was more crack than anything else (far from it). The shift is...jarring for a goodly number of us (yes, lots of behind the scenes conversations happen via PM) who have been around since the online fandom initially sparked to life in the early to mid 2000s, as you can imagine!

The supposition that making crack pairings work by finding ways of doing it so that the players are in-character would make sense to me if any of the evidence actually read like it was in-character, but what examples I've seen in passing on Tumblr haven't done much to convince me, I'm sorry to say *cringe* It reads not just as the crack it's intended to be, but OOC crack, at that. I'm quite familiar with the tendency in Sherlock fandom for people to write Mycroft/Lestrade, and, in that case, I can understand how it could be made to logically work based on those characters' natures. Based on Crowley's essential nature and Hastur's essential nature, however? Oh boy. They've not just got compatibility issues, they've got nothing but outright dislike (if not hate) for each other. With Mycroft and Lestrade, there are at least tantalizing canonical hints that they've been in contact over the one person they both care about very much, i.e. Sherlock, and I can actually see how that might logically draw them into a relationship! I can't even find the faintest hint of canonical support for the fact that Crowley might have known Hastur pre-fall; there's no sense of ease or history between them in the two encounters we get, and if there is, it's a common sense of wariness and spite.

At the same time, it's also a way to unwind. You don't have to hold yourself to quite the same standards when writing "official" fiction about, say, A/C, that is meant to fit seamlessly into canon. That sort of thing can be very relaxing, especially if you're hopelessly perfectionist and obsessive about your writing otherwise.

Wow, how novel! I can't imagine using it to unwind, because writing the kind of stories I do, which I sense you would call the more "official" or canon-oriented sort, is what I do to unwind! Trying to write crack would actually stress me out a great deal, not least because I'd see it as a betrayal of the characters first and aggravating to my own sensibilities second :)

How do you feel about sharing songs that remind one of GO?

I love it. I make my own playlists on a regular basis, and I'm constantly discussing relevant music in comment threads here on LJ with people. If I saw more of that going on over on Tumblr, I'd be quite pleased, actually. Music-sharing doesn't veer into territory that sets off my b.s. detectors, whereas crack almost always inevitably does.

You might find it odd to know that the one crack phenomenon on Tumblr that has made me laugh is the whole Cage Omens meme. This is largely because there's so much dream-cast wank at this point that it's become a parody of itself, so parodying the parody with NICHOLAS CAGE SHOULD PLAY EVERYBODY is snarkily appropriate (mostly because Nicholas Cage is not only a parody of himself these days, but he's also better onscreen when he gets in touch with his inner freak, i.e. such roles as the one he played in Kick-Ass). I think the only way we'll all be happy with the casting is if nearly all of the actors are virtual unknowns. That's probably the way forward.

Edited at 2012-09-20 09:55 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-20 09:56 pm (UTC)

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ETA: I just had a thought that further explains my stance on why I feel there's not enough canonical evidence to suggest that Crowley and Hastur may have been in any way close pre-fall, so let me explain. I'd say there's plenty of evidence to suggest that Hastur may have been Ligur's mentor pre-fall, as even though they're both nasty-minded at heart, they have an odd...ease with each other, an odd level of comfortable companionship even in spite of what they are. I've always gathered from the text that whatever the base nature of these creatures is, regardless of whether they remained angels or fell and became demons, always shines through. So you have creatures like Hastur and Ligur who were always kind of nasty, so that's what comes through even now that they're "officially" evil (and even the authors tell us that most demons are not as twisted as those two!), and, say, on Heaven's side, you have characters like Gabriel (and we may presume Michael, or at least I'll use my own depiction of him as an example just for the sake of argument) who have always been unpleasant and nobody really likes them even though they're still technically good guys. Actually, add Metatron to that pile; Aziraphale doesn't seem to care much for him, either, and he certainly seems bloodthirsty for an angel. And then you have characters like Aziraphale and Crowley who, whether they remained angels or fell, were really decent blokes. Or even very sweet, or even very good, or even having-hearts-in-the-right-place-in-spite-of-clinging-worriedly-to-the-party-line. Therefore: if we tick back to Heaven, pre-fall, we have Hastur and Ligur as nasty people, whereas we have Aziraphale and Crowley as very decent sorts. I cannot imagine that Crowley got too friendly with someone as nasty as Hastur (or Ligur, for that matter), even pre-fall. The "wrong people" he hung around with were probably angels who became demons with natures very much like his, i.e. the not-so-nasty ones who are very different from horrid characters like Hastur and Ligur. Their tragedy ("their" referring to those nameless decent angels who also became rather decent demons), of course, is that they didn't get to hang around on Earth like Crowley did. They get to remain trapped down there, where they probably don't like it much. And there are probably nasty angels still in Heaven who wish they'd fallen when they had the chance, too! It's all very sobering.

Edited at 2012-09-20 09:56 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: mizstorge
2012-09-28 02:51 pm (UTC)

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"You've got, um, things on your forehead," Aziraphale said, offering him the bottle.
Ugh! I hate it when the stylist doesn't take time to remove those 'things'!

If living in London had taught him anything, it was that you didn't go nosing into other people's affairs no matter how evil you were.
As Sherlock Holmes noted, it's especially true out here in the middle of nowhere, I assure you. The only neighbors I've seen to speak to in the two years we've been here was the woman I asked to please move her tractor implements off our property and the other woman who thought I was her husband (I was bundled up in hood and scarf, plowing the snow from our driveway) and wanted to know what the hell I was doing.

"At least you've got different swears from the ones I usually put up with," Gabriel said
Hmmmmmmmm

"Falls in there somewhere. Lust."

"I like to think of it as Zeal," Aziraphale said thoughtfully.

You're good at this, d'you know that? ^__^
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-28 02:57 pm (UTC)

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It may be the only thing on this godforsaken planet that I'm actually good at, given the way everything else has gone for me in the past year or so. It's a sobering thought, especially given I can't really make a living at it. Sorry to wax so serious on you, but I've been having a bad couple of weeks at this whole waiting-to-hear-whether-I've-got-that-job-I-interviewed-for-in-May game. I've come to some fairly upsetting conclusions in the past few months, and you've actually hit on one of them. I can't make a living doing the one thing I know I'm good at, or at least that people seem to believe I'm good at. It upsets me.

Thank you, as always *hugs*
[User Picture]From: mizstorge
2012-09-28 03:37 pm (UTC)

Having to make a living sucks

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I've worked in Ophthalmology for 26 years. I made a good living, and at the height of my career I was considered one of the best in the world in my field. But it wasn't what I wanted to do in life.

Conversely, my husband wasn't able to make a living at the kind of work he enjoyed and so, when he was 40, he went back to his old alma mater for a second degree. Now has a job that he's good at and that pays well, but he doesn't especially like what he does.

For us, work hasn't been meaningful, but it has been the means to finance our real life. When I quit work in May, I gave myself two years to write and sell a novel. Since that's not likely to happen, I also promised to find some kind of work to bring in money if I don't get a book published.

We always joked at the Hospital that working at Home Depot was the dream job we all wanted - because of the employee discount - and it might just come to that.

I hope things get better for you. *hugs*

Edited at 2012-09-28 03:38 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-28 03:42 pm (UTC)

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*hugs*

I'm $30,000 in debt thanks to graduate school, so there's no way I'm going to take out more money to go back to school for something else. I'd try writing a novel, but I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I'm not sure I have one in me, not the kind of novel most people seem to want to read (i.e. the kind that publishers think they can sell - 50 Shades of Gray and all that nonsense, it just burns me up).
[User Picture]From: mizstorge
2012-09-28 03:55 pm (UTC)

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Heh...and like the book I'm supposed to review at Amazon.

On the other hand, it's food for thought that Shades of Gray started out as Twilight fanfic.

And when Robert E. Howard needed money, he re-worked some of his older stories and sold them in a different package - a cowboy, for instance, instead of a knight in the Crusades.

You've created one universe and peopled it with charming characters and unique stories. Maybe you could try to push the pieces around a bit and see if they'll reassemble in a new configuration.

Sort of like the Cosmic Megatron Metatron...
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-28 03:57 pm (UTC)

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Here's the objection I'd have to rewriting my fanfiction, any of it, as something else possibly sell-able: I'd be betraying the characters. I didn't write it so it could be forced into another mold; I wrote it because of who they all are. I'd be dressing them up as something they're not, and I'd find that pretty intolerable. Meanwhile, I can manage poetry and short fiction, but I've not quite got my head around how to come up with an entire novel's worth of OCs that people would find engaging.

(If that's what you meant. I'm sorry; I'm often not good at catching implication.)
[User Picture]From: mizstorge
2012-09-28 04:11 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, not what I meant. I meant that you know the types of characters you enjoy working with; i.e., not desperate single women. You know the type of banter that other people enjoy reading and you write it well. You write with humour about the poignancy of everday life (as my husband pointed out, life is absurd - but consequential).

Believe me, I know - and frequently protest to my husband - that the creative process doesn't happen by snapping your fingers - but those things I just mentioned are the pieces I meant for you to try to push around.

If you ever want to hear the inflection in my voice, let me know and I can call you.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-09-28 05:13 pm (UTC)

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An exchange of numbers via PM is pretty far overdue, I imagine ;)