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Forever and ever, amen. [Sep. 24th, 2007|11:13 am]
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Title: A Better Place
Pairing/Characters: Aziraphale/Crowley, plus a cast of some originals (and some familiar, friendly faces if you look closely, the hippies in particular...)
Rating: PG-13, I imagine, for various things I can and can't classify.
Notes: This piece was the underpinnings for what linnpuzzle and I had been calling the Downs Project for quite some time now. Due to life getting in the way, it has reverted to an unillustrated solo piece. I wrote this a few days after the 2005 Cambridge, Massachusetts signing where Neil answered my question about the South Downs. This is yet another piece I uprooted from its home at lower_tadfield , which means I lost a lot of lovely comments in deleting the original post. My apologies to those of you who had left feedback! This piece now has two sequels: The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse (chronologically, this one covers ground both before and after TWW&TM) and What to Do When the Clock Just Stops.
Summary: When is a house more than just a house? And what of the people inside it?


Once, in the world, there was a cottage.

As cottages went, it was not remarkable. It had been built in the early twenties by a bored, wealthy Londoner for his bored, wealthy wife. They spent two happy weekends under its roof, after which sojourns they decided that the fog was much too damp and the fine kitchen tiles much too cold. Some years later, they remembered that they had built it, and brought their bored, spoiled children on holiday in hopes of good weather.

It rained the whole time, and the mist was still damp.

They sold it.



* * *



Some mornings, gazing out the kitchen window, Aziraphale catches sight of the limestone cliffs through the mist. The seasons seem to turn faster than they did in London, blowing over the fields and down the grassy slope of shore. It isn't a proper inlet by any stretch, no easy boating access to the open sea, as the neighbors had got that. It wouldn't have been worth it, Aziraphale remembers saying, and takes a sip of tea as steam curls gently into his eyes. But this one, with the view, is. He sets the cup down and opens the window, breathing in the chilly air.

Out here, what he misses most—Predictably, Crowley says—is sushi restaurants. The nearest town is six miles away, and it has a grand total of three pubs and one respectable café. When Crowley can be buggered to get up before breakfast, they sometimes take a drive and have breakfast there. The Bentley has become the envy of every local mechanic, and the crestfallen glances they cast upon it are palpable. It never needs repairing, and nobody does a better wash and wax than Crowley.

Aziraphale breathes in, picking up his cup again, and finds the newspaper already inside. Morning in the kitchen is always quiet, not a sound except for his slippered feet on the tile. They discovered promptly that shoes and tile are a bad combination, so Aziraphale bought slippers, and Crowley shrugged and went barefoot. The tile is old, but the restoration job had been a snap. The kitchen floor is the envy of their neighbors, and Aziraphale enjoys having something trivial to beam about.

Outside, the fog is drifting into a transparent mist. Aziraphale takes a seat at the table, unfolding the paper, and opens the patio door with a slight inclining of his head. The Sunday puzzles usually manage to be as good as the ones he used to do in the Telegraph, and sometimes Crowley remembers to fetch a copy of the Times.

Sipping his tea, Aziraphale sets his pen to the page and enjoys the breeze.


* * *



The cottage would not have known what to think of its new owner.

The gentleman was not rich, but he was not poor, either. He had recently lost his wife, and they had been childless. He had invested wisely, saving enough to retire in comfort. The bedroom, at least, was comfortable, as long as you never left it.

He very rarely did.



* * *



Driving down a deserted, winding road with the chilly wind streaming through his window, Crowley feels guilty for leaving the house alone. Still, there are errands to be run, and Aziraphale is too lazy to run them. Not that he disapproves.

Unless you count the M25 through Oxfordshire, you really can't get this kind of scenery living in London and environs. This is part of the reason why Crowley doesn't live in London anymore. Also, he had been getting tired of not being able to do 110 miles per hour down Oxford Street. Ever since things changed, something—or, he thinks acerbically, someone—has made it harder for him to tamper with police cars.

Out here, where there are no sushi restaurants, nobody gives a damn, and Crowley is all right with that. He shoves a tape into the Blaupunkt, and it trills solid Haydn. A motorist coming from the opposite direction, one of the neighbors, recognizes Crowley and waves. Cheerfully, Crowley waves back and watches the tiny car whiz past.

He's not the only one speeding, and he approves of that, too.


* * *



For a decade, the cottage lay locked and abandoned.

The widower's brother, after inheriting the property, didn't exactly know what to do with it. He had the vague feeling that he might also inherit a patch of bad luck if he were to be too hasty in selling it. He stayed on a total of one week, just long enough to gather his brother's belongings, and spent six uncomfortable nights in an uncomfortable bed. On leaving, he dragged out the mattress with the trash.

Without fresh air and music, a decade is a very long time.



* * *



By noon, sunlight is streaming through the kitchen window. The limestone cliffs catch the light, blinding to look at. Aziraphale tilts the blinds just so, content with the slats of brightness on the tile. He walks back to the table and collects up the newspaper and the teacup. One, he tosses neatly in the bin, and the other, he sets in the sink.

Crowley has left the breadbox open and a jar of jam on the counter. Aziraphale closes the breadbox and takes the jam back to the refrigerator. They seldom lack for necessaries, as many of the locals bake, garden, and keep bees. Three months ago, when they'd first moved in, they'd ended up with enough honey to last a year.

Aziraphale leaves his slippers next to the doorway, pads across the hardwood and into the living room. The carpet is new and soft—Almost too plush, he'd said. Crowley had insisted that his furniture would look ridiculous without carpet. Aziraphale had said his furniture would look ridiculous anyway. They'd struck a bargain: Crowley had brought his furniture, and, now that they're settled in, Aziraphale has picked the carpet.

He understands why Crowley likes to go barefoot.


* * *



In 1978, the cottage got a name. The plaque was nailed above its door.

They were, as everyone called them, a bunch of hippies. Three men and one woman, to be exact. They stayed all of five months before deciding that the place was a bit too close to the shore. The woman, who was getting pronouncedly rounder about the middle, pointed out that the nighttime storms would scare her daughter.

You don't have a daughter, said the men.

Yet, said the woman.

They moved out before the child was born. The plaque stayed.

It said: Lothlórien. Which was not a very creative name.



* * *



Crowley doesn't like running errands, but they seem to be his lot in life. From the very Beginning, he's been running errands, whether it's causing trouble in a garden called Eden or renewing Aziraphale's subscriptions online so they don't run out. They come naturally, and in the end he supposes that is better than messing people about.

He hasn't taken the wrong turning for a couple of weeks now, though he catches himself just in time. He has to be careful not to let his mind wander, or he falls into old habits, usually ones that result in the unpleasant experience of having to stop and ask for directions. He is almost on the high street now, which has grown familiar, but the place he is looking for is not. He starts counting the box numbers, anxious.

There had been a rusty metal plaque above the door when they moved in, and, as names went, what was on it hadn't been satisfactory at all. In fact, it had been boring, and it was currently in the back seat, rattling around with the screws still attached.

Crowley has the distinct feeling he's going to have to ask for directions.


* * *



In 1985, the cottage got a new name. It was not necessarily a better one.

Ms. Jean Alice Prewett—J. Alice to
you—got her seven cats and fifteen goldfish all settled in and decided that the plaque had to go. So, she called up some local workmen and had them throw the rusty thing away, and repaint the cottage a pale, soothing blue while they were at it. All in all, J. Alice was pleased with the result, and she lived out the remainder of her days—twenty years, six hours, eleven minutes—in her newly named cottage. None of the animals outlived her.

The cottage might have told you it didn't feel much like a Windy Knoll at all.



* * *



Lacking anything useful to do, Aziraphale decides to take a walk. The mist has slunk off for the day, and the ocean is particularly calm. He doesn't bother with shoes, as there's nobody around to see him, and they track in the sand something awful.

The cottage is on a bit of a rise, and the slope down to the water is a long, grassy incline where water birds, and even a few ducks, nest in summer, according to the neighbors. Crowley wishes it were summer already, and Aziraphale tells him to be patient. The water is cold, and something scuttles out from under Aziraphale's toe.

Aziraphale tried feeding the seagulls once, but he quickly learned why that was a bad idea. These days, he keeps his hands in his pockets and doesn't make eye contact.

In the living room, Crowley has started a bizarre collection of found objects on the mantelpiece. There are waterlogged watches, shell fragments, and small pieces of driftwood. There are bits of colored glass, and a delicate, rose-colored globe with a rotted piece of netting for a shroud. There is a ring, a crab's claw, a pearl. Aziraphale suspects Crowley cheated to get that last one, but it isn't worth arguing over.

Something small has washed up a few feet away, and Aziraphale bends to examine it.

Crowley hasn't got a piece of eight yet, so into his pocket it goes.


* * *



The estate agent had begun to despair of ever finding a buyer.

The cottage was mouldy, dusty, and the paint was chipping. The name plaque was rusty, and it had one of the worst names she'd ever seen on one of her sale listings. Over the months, she had shown it to dozens of potential buyers, all of whom had shaken their heads because it was too small or too old, or had stubbornly, nervously insisted that something rattled and thumped in the bedroom.

She had hoped that J. Alice Prewett's second cousin would just move in and have done with it, but the cousin had been the one to object to the rattling and thumping.

She'd been about to give up and sell it to a contractor, who had wanted to demolish it, when a young man in sunglasses and his fussy-looking partner had turned up asking to arrange a viewing. In the end, it was the young man in sunglasses who'd been the fussy one and his partner easy to win over. Prewett's cousin had accepted their offer.

The estate agent hadn't known whether to take the Windy Knoll plaque down or not.

She'd left it.



* * *



It's thirty minutes before Crowley manages to locate 10 Vine Street. He isn't pleased. The receptionist looks frightened, and he wonders vaguely if it's his sunglasses. He takes them off, and she looks even more frightened. She stammers into her phone.

"N—No, Mr. Andrews. I tried, Mr. Andrews. He's very impatient."

The receptionist makes an exasperated noise. Crowley raises his eyebrows.

"Apparently it's arrived," she says. "He said he'll bring it down himself if you can just wait a few minutes. Can you?"

"I have all day," replies Crowley, smiling until she squirms.

"The light must, um, hurt your eyes," babbles the receptionist, uncomfortably. "I've heard of conditions like that. I'm sorry."

Crowley replaces his sunglasses and, taking a seat, says nothing.

When Mr. Andrews finally appears, he seems unhappy about having cut his lunch break short. He is middle-aged, huffy, and will probably have a heart attack sometime in the next decade. Crowley tilts his head, regarding the small parcel in his hands.

"Allow me to apologize for the wait," he says, holding out the parcel. "Thank you, Mr. Crowley. Andrews Signage and Sales appreciates your business."

Crowley takes the parcel, flips it over, and stands up, offering a hand to Mr. Andrews.

"You're welcome," he says, smiling in a completely different way. "Any time."

With that, he turns to leave. Behind him, the secretary is wishing silently, but loudly, that she had got his name and phone number instead of making a fool of herself.

Whistling softly, Crowley drives, already half a mile away.


* * *



These days, the cottage might say it feels much better.

Its roof doesn't leak anymore, and its chipping blue paint has been replaced with a sedate cream color. It has new shingles, and even double glazing.

There is the start of a small, terrified garden staked off in the back yard.

Still, it would have said it felt naked somehow without a bloody plaque.



* * *



Aziraphale is doing the dishes when he hears a car pull up in the driveway. He knows who it is, of course. Mentally, he goes through a list of all the things he's going to say when Crowley walks in the door. You're late, and Lunch is almost ready, and, of course, What could be more important than spending a Saturday morning in?

"I had something to pick up," says Crowley, on his way in the door. "Business."

Aziraphale wanders up the hall to meet him, still holding the dishcloth.

"You missed a lovely walk," he says. "I found something."

Crowley hasn't closed the door yet, and he's wearing a curious expression.

"Oh?"

"Yes," says Aziraphale, and takes the piece of eight out of his pocket.

Crowley lights up and turns the coin over in his hands for a few seconds before palming it in such a way that it vanishes. Aziraphale knows exactly where it's gone.

"I always wanted one of those. Thanks."

Aziraphale clears his throat.

"This errand of yours—?"

"Yeah," says Crowley, grabbing Aziraphale's hand and leading him outside. "Terribly important." He points above their heads, and Aziraphale looks up.

"I'm here," he says, anxiously biting his lip. "Isn't that what matters?"

Aziraphale peruses the plaque, then glances at Crowley, and back at the plaque again.

"Hm," he says, nodding, and sets the dishcloth on the porch railing. "Yes, I suppose."

Predictably, Crowley looks crestfallen.

"Is that all you've got to—"

"No, my dear," says Aziraphale, and kisses him soft and slow there on the threshold.


* * *



All in all, if you had asked it, the cottage would have said it had seen worse days.

In spring, the garden bloomed into something miraculous. The double glazing got redone on a regular basis, and the paint never seemed to chip. Its new inhabitants took better care of it than any of its previous owners had, but then, none of its previous owners had exactly been inhabitants. Either they had spent too much time outside, or not gone out at all, and everybody knows that neither extreme will do.

The mattress in the bedroom—where the rattling and thumping has stopped—is new, and quite comfortable. There, on stormy nights, the new inhabitants lie still, and sometimes not so still, and listen to the thunder. On not so stormy nights, they read, and talk, and sometimes take their not-so-stillness outside. Sometimes they walk, and sometimes they don't. Regardless of which it is, they are almost always touching.

And while the world was not a better place, the cottage, which was in it,
was.

It would tell you that it feels exactly like a Home.



—Continue: The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: ladymouse2
2007-09-25 08:03 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Hello,

I've been lurking around Good Omens sites for some while now, mostly I suppose because, while not exactly Internet phobic, I do stumble around finding my feet in zero grav.

I've long devoured your stories, Irisbleu, and your art, Linnpuzzle, but for some reason could never post a comment even with anonymous. Now that the prospect of missing future stories loomed and I at last both took an LJ account and joined Puzzlebleu group, I can make up for lack.

And I can praise a story I had missed among my previous trawling. I understand perfectly your impulse to leave the characters happy, safe and peaceful. I've written such myself with fan characters and universes that mattered to me.

But this is more than a tying up of threads and "happy ever afters".

I love the way you've personified the cottage without actually anthropomorphizing it and in the doing, economically sketched out the entire past of the structure as well as its various owners.

Nothing eventful occurs, everything that matters does, from the revelation not only that Crowley loves to shuffle barefoot through the carpet but that Aziraphale understands and smiles on why he does. Also that Aziraphale, fussy, particular and ever so slightly stuffy on the surface is utterly content far from London on a beautiful coastline with Crowley, mellowed but still proud of his un-blunted edge, are so true to their book personalities. The sexual relationship is nicely elided, about as discreet and secondary as Gaiman and Prachett would have defined it in an epilogue. In fact, though Gaiman claims that aspect of the relationship hadn't suggested itself given that he saw them as essentially neutral beings, this gentle, wistful, hovering on the fine edge of melancholy without every tipping over, coda reads like it belongs in the final pages of the novel. A pastiche that takes the characters beyond the universe into speculation that feels RIGHT in tone.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2007-09-25 08:23 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I understand perfectly your impulse to leave the characters happy, safe and peaceful. I've written such myself with fan characters and universes that mattered to me. But this is more than a tying up of threads and "happy ever afters".

That's such an utterly gorgeous statement that I feel like a simple "thank you" for your praise simply isn't enough! After hearing Gaiman say that what they'd decided was that Aziraphale and Crowley were doing was sharing a cottage on the South Downs, I sat down and thought, well, that's utterly unexpected (in some ways; in others, not so much) and stunningly profound. And I wondered, and wondered, and wondered - and this piece is the product of all my wondering, really, and nothing more than that.

I will say thank you, though, because that's my way, and I mean it very deeply. Still, I can't quite express how much this piece of feedback means. In spite of the generally peaceful tone of this piece, it was strangely painful to create. The past inhabitants of the cottage made it an intrusion of sorts - an intrusion into lives that perhaps didn't want to be disturbed. Still, I think Aziraphale and Crowley are just where they ought to be.
From: shinzuku
2007-10-13 07:59 pm (UTC)

(Link)

It would tell you that it feels exactly like a Home.

I love the house talking in italics.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2007-10-13 08:31 pm (UTC)

(Link)

When I first wrote it, I wasn't sure it would work out the way I'd hoped. I'm glad that it does; thank you!
[User Picture]From: steadfast
2009-01-09 09:50 pm (UTC)

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Hi, I'm a lurker and fairly new GO fan, and I just wanted to let you know that this may be my very favorite GO fanfic ever. Just how calm and relaxed the tone is, how beautifully the living-together with Aziraphale and Crowley is written, the house's history, and how it could easily be the epilogue of the novel... Lovely lovely lovely.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2009-01-09 10:32 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Welcome - and I'm glad you enjoyed this so much; thanks for the lovely feedback! This one was particularly odd to write, mostly in the languid feel of it. It feels like a strangely distant memory, at this point.
[User Picture]From: saya22
2009-12-14 03:37 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Hi, I just joined puzzlebleuink comm and I simply have to comment on this fic. When I heard Gaiman said that Aziraphale and Crowley share a cottage in South Downs, this fic is exactly what I envision their life would be, content and relaxed in living their day-to-day lives. I can't comment as elegantly as ladymouse2 did, but I just want to say that I adore the gentle atmosphere of this fic and the sheer tenderness between Aziraphale and Crowley, all while making them stay true to their personalities in the novel.

To me, this as canon epilogue as I imagine Gaiman and Pratchett would write. I wish linn would illustrate this fic, it's just so gorgeous. Thank you for writing this.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2009-12-14 04:04 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Linn's life has been so busy for so long now - far busier than mine, in fact - so I don't know if this will ever be one that we add to the list of collaborations! However, I assure you that I'd love to see her illustrate it as much as you would. Thank you so much for reading :)
[User Picture]From: quantumdoll
2010-03-04 04:51 pm (UTC)

(Link)

This is just perfect, there really isn't anything else I can say on the matter. I am 100% sure this is where the two of them are right now ^_^
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-04 05:45 pm (UTC)

(Link)

It's a happy thought, isn't it - and has an air of authority, considering that Neil and Terry decided themselves that this is where they are at present! It just begged for elucidation :)

Thank you!
[User Picture]From: laceymcbain
2010-03-04 04:58 pm (UTC)

home

(Link)

What a lovely piece of writing. It's beautiful and understated and carries a certain wistfulness to it. A sense of loss, of lives having been lived and opportunities passed by, and it seems like exactly the sort of place that our two dears should come to rest in.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-04 05:46 pm (UTC)

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I like the thought of them fulfilling dreams that others couldn't, or didn't live long enough to. Thank you very much <3
[User Picture]From: kaoticwords
2010-03-05 01:04 pm (UTC)

(Link)

This is so beautiful! The calm and relaxing feeling, the little details, the affection ♥ It, indeed, feels like a Home.

I want to wrap it and cuddle with it.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-03-05 01:44 pm (UTC)

(Link)

That's an adorable image - someone using the story as a blanket, I mean! I envision a quilt of scenes as patches. Thank you ♥
[User Picture]From: frodosweetstuff
2010-03-05 02:14 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Oooh, that was such a wonderful read!!! I loved that you included the house's thoughts and feelings. :))) And A's and C's life seems to be so peaceful and happy that I was immediately feeling peaceful and happy myself. Loved this very much! And yay for the little nod towards LOTR! :D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-04-16 10:43 am (UTC)

(Link)

This piece feels sort of like the existence I imagine Frodo and Sam are leading now. Quiet little places by the sea are wonderful; I want one for myself someday.

Thank you so much for reading <3
[User Picture]From: angelic_phale
2010-04-20 04:47 am (UTC)

(Link)

Okay. I have stalked you and Linnpuzzle for a while now, and I feel I must speak at this. Because it's perfect.

I only found out today, myself, that Gaiman had talked about Aziraphale and Crowley living in South Down, and thought I'd look it up where it officially said it and try to find it - and I found this.

This made me feel so at ease about these two - so often the plot of the fics they're in (at least ones I've read) is angst and this was a great refresher for the whole 'He's going to Fall if I love him' idea.

Agreeing with ladymouse, about the tying up threads and happy ever after. This really was a great closure that these two needed, I mean even if you're not into slash, I can't help it with these two.

What I loved most about it was how it was written with such simplistic events, but here they all had so much meaning, because I think there's always more to their actiions than just face value, and it really brought it out here. Literally this fic makes me feel relaxed, and I was happy with how the fic just rolled on so smoothly.

Amazing job, and a very beautifully written 'ending' to the great Good Omens.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-04-20 07:00 am (UTC)

(Link)

It was officially said in September 2005 at a signing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when he happened to call on me during the Q&A section and I asked him what, exactly, he and Pratchett had decided Aziraphale and Crowley were currently up to (he had referenced the conversation on his blog, you see, but he hadn't explained what they concluded). The week before, Pratchett had done a reading/signing in town at which I had also been in attendance, and I had asked him the same question - he gave me an evasive answer and then didn't really say what they had decided! Neil, however, was more forthcoming. At the end of his own rambling answer, he paused, and said, "What we decided they were doing was, sharing a cottage on the South Downs." And then moved on to calling on the next person while about a third of the audience sat there tittering excitedly and kind of gobsmacked. So how could I come home and not write a story about it? ;) I'm sure other people may have taken up the subject by now as well!

I'm glad people enjoy this piece in particular; it's very dear to me. Thank you!

[User Picture]From: psycocatgirl
2010-07-12 09:35 pm (UTC)

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I glanced over ladymouse2's comment, and whatever I was going to say was mostly replaced with a resounding "ditto".

But that's sort of lame of me, so in addition, I'd like to just say that I really, truly loved this fic. It's exactly how I'd like to see the ending of their story as well, and it makes me feel all warm and cozy and safe.

Your tactile descriptions of the carpet and tile, and the mention of the seagulls, particularly delighted me.

When I finished reading, I just sat back and gave a great big contented sigh. Absolutely wonderful.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-07-13 07:22 am (UTC)

(Link)

Back when I wrote this fic, I was kind of apprehensive; I hoped it wasn't my muse's way of telling me I wasn't going to see these guys again for a while, but thankfully, it hasn't been the case! Although I've been in a dry spell since the beginning of June (on account of being stuck in the middle of revisions to my Ph.D. thesis), I do have notes laid out that will equal a new GO story when I have time to sit down and translate them...
[User Picture]From: laceymcbain
2010-08-11 06:41 pm (UTC)

crack_van rec

(Link)

Just to let you know, I've rec'ced this story on crack_van :

http://community.livejournal.com/crack_van/4577027.html
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-08-11 07:31 pm (UTC)

Re: crack_van rec

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Oh, what a lovely rec! Thank you for thinking of this little story. I sometimes forget about it myself...
[User Picture]From: linda3m
2010-08-12 01:08 am (UTC)

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That really is absolutely lovely.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2010-08-12 06:09 am (UTC)

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Thanks! This was, if I recall, the last story I wrote before a somewhat quiet spell (relatively speaking) in the strata of my GO corpus...fortunately, I"m glad it wasn't to be the last. But if I'd had a goodbye, I think I'd have wanted it to look like this. I can't usually get the tone of something to stay so calm and quiet, but it was very easy here.
[User Picture]From: tochira
2011-01-06 01:38 am (UTC)

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Well. I'd say you succeeded in writing exactly what you set out to write, and then some. It's perfect, and a perfect Goodbye.

Aziraphale tried feeding the seagulls once, but he quickly learned why that was a bad idea. These days, he keeps his hands in his pockets and doesn't make eye contact.

Loved that- it pretty much sums up my relationship with seagulls, too. :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-06 07:19 am (UTC)

(Link)

Fortunately, though, not a literal goodbye. I wrote this around the time I took a brief hiatus from GO because other things needed tending to, but I'm back to it as often as not these days! Thank you; so glad you enjoyed it <3
[User Picture]From: ebony_steinbach
2011-02-18 12:00 pm (UTC)

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Am also de-lurking to say that Ladymouse2 has said everything I wanted to and more eloquently at that. I love the peacefulness of the story and how it focuses on the tiny, quirky details about Aziraphale and Crowley, which I've always found fascinating in canon (such as Aziraphale's love of regency snuff boxes and Crowley liking fake bullet-hole stickers), so I especially like that you've extended on that. I especially love the part that Crowley collects things from the beach, and Aziraphale remembers to keep an eye out for anything he thinks Crowley would like for his collection. So cute!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-02-18 12:53 pm (UTC)

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Crowley having a fondness for silly little details (the Bond decals he put on the Bentley windows, et al.) makes me think he'd be an inveterate beach-comber. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this, and I do hope you'll enjoy the two sequels (The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse & What to Do When the Clock Just Stops) if you decide to read them. Thank you so much for the lovely feedback!
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-04-25 05:56 pm (UTC)

Fanmix: The Wainscot Has Got to Go; A/C, post-Doomsday

(Link)

User mauvais_pli referenced to your post from Fanmix: The Wainscot Has Got to Go; A/C, post-Doomsday saying: [...] I present to you a fanmix inspired by and loosely based on the stories A Better Place [...]
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-04-25 06:55 pm (UTC)

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This fanmix for GO is awesome even outside the context of my stories, for GO generally speaking :) Glad you decided to share it with everybody else, too!
[User Picture]From: nikkernoodle
2011-09-06 09:42 am (UTC)

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Goodness, that last line definitely made me tear up. Beautiful writing, as always. Thank you for sharing this.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-09-06 09:57 am (UTC)

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*hugs*

And thank you for reading! There are a few stories that come after this one, so if you end up reading on, I hope you enjoy them as much!
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-10-24 09:27 pm (UTC)

good omens (various)

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User sister_wife referenced to your post from good omens (various) saying: [...] Crowley/Aziraphale: a better place [...]
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-10-24 09:28 pm (UTC)

Re: good omens (various)

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Thanks for the rec :)
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-11-06 05:07 pm (UTC)

good omens

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User sister_wife referenced to your post from good omens saying: [...] Crowley/Aziraphale: a better place [...]
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-05-23 07:44 pm (UTC)

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Many thanks for the rec!
[User Picture]From: pingback_bot
2011-11-07 01:47 pm (UTC)

Reclist: Good Omens (Crowley/Aziraphale)

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User raxhel referenced to your post from Reclist: Good Omens (Crowley/Aziraphale) saying: [...] suit in the back of Crowley's closet. On the second day, the demons show up. a better place [...]
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-05-23 07:44 pm (UTC)

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And thank you, too :)
[User Picture]From: droolfangrrl
2012-06-12 06:02 pm (UTC)

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Having beem mobbed by seagulls a time or two, that line cracked me up.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-06-12 06:03 pm (UTC)

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OMG, I know. Hilarious birds, and so dumb.

Thank you for reading :)
[User Picture]From: hekateras
2012-08-11 03:35 pm (UTC)

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For some reason I've put off reading this particular story, and...

Oh, god.

I'm melting

I'm actually melting into a squishy pile of feelings.

Nailed the ending line, and pretty much everything else.

Particular bits I loved: the "small, terrified garden" line and the bit with the "not-so-stillness". The bit with Aziraphale avoiding eye contact with seagulls (and the implied mental image of him beating off a mass avian asault) was just hilarious. And as early as the first mention of Crowley going barefooted, I was squeeing at how utterly right it was. Not just the carpet - I imagine he enjoys the sensation of tiles too, cold and all.

Edited at 2012-08-11 03:36 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-08-11 03:47 pm (UTC)

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This piece was, as they say, the one that started it all: it gave me a framework inside which I could start work on a series in earnest when I got my 2010 GO Exchange prompt (which, of course, turned into The Walls, the Wainscot, and the Mouse). At that point, this little piece wasn't so well known that people would have immediately realized the little clues I'd dropped into WW&TM were referring back to this (although, if I recall, a few people picked up on them and sent PMs to me saying, hey, you're the author of WW&TM in this year's GOE, aren't you?) Given that this piece was so much more about the history of the cottage itself, using it as a starting point for telling the story of how the cottage's history becomes its new residents' history only seemed proper :)

Thank you!
[User Picture]From: chapbook
2012-10-14 02:15 am (UTC)

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I am now conditioned to think both romantic and melancholic thoughts when you bring a couple to the sea; you've had some lovely, throat-closing moments with Sherlock and John there. Thus, I'm not too surprised that a sad wistfulness is threaded through this piece. But, like in your Sherlock stories, the Sea also brings Treasures and seems to represent the boundlessness of love, so here too it counterbalances the darker emotions present in the cottage's past. Having both together points up the fragility of life and the strength of what Aziraphale and Crowley share.

The trajectory of the story is handled skillfully: keeping the nature of Crowley's errand back and not explicitly giving the name on the plaque feel right.

I love Aziraphale's peaceful morning and the terrified garden!

[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-10-14 02:21 am (UTC)

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As you read on in this series (if you intend to follow up through to where I have it currently, anyway, as it's always ongoing...!), I think you'll find it much less tragic than what I've done with the sea in a Sherlock context. There are moments of melancholy and wistfulness, I won't deny that, but given that Good Omens is by its very nature a universe in which all things come right in the end (and I love that more than I can say; far too many of my other fandoms and pairings suffer from more tragedy than I can really bear, Sherlock included), I keep my stories very happily and firmly in line with canon.

I'll be intrigued to see what you make of mornings to come in this sequence, as well as further garden exploits ;) They're all through it, constant, as is the sea.

Thank you so much for reading!

Edited at 2012-10-14 02:23 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: ranuel
2012-10-25 09:54 am (UTC)

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It's things like Word of God that they take a cottage together which make me wonder if Gaiman and Prachett aren't trolling the fans when they claim that we're just seeing A/C with slash goggles and there's nothing actually there.

The famous disclaimer in the book about Aziraphale not being gay does not in fact say that he couldn't be attracted to Crowley. Just that it wouldn't be homosexual if he did want to "make the effort" because angels (and former angels) aren't limited in the way that humans are. Unless I'm misremembering and conflating the book with a fanfic there's even a passing reference to the Nephilim to show that in canon angels really aren't above all that.

I have to say when I first heard about the whole cottage thing it was a bit disappointing. Aziraphale would give up his bookshop? Crowley would give up London? But then, they really do deserve a peaceful extended holiday after everything.

I like this version of that very much. There's so much contentment in it and neither has had to give up what makes them them.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2012-10-25 12:34 pm (UTC)

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I'm particularly tangled up in the whole cottage statement - and I do mean quite literally - because I'm the one who asked Neil that question, and that answer was the result. His delivery and demeanor suggested anything but trolling, but I suppose we'll never really know! I'm past minding, though, if it turned out they were doing so; the spark it set off for me, at least, as a writer, in the form of this series, was probably the most wonderful thing ever to happen to me (no overstatement; no lie). And, yes, I always did take the "unless they really want to make an effort" jab in the book as an indirect reference to the Nephilim, as, well, from a Bible-story canon standpoint, yeah, angels do sometimes apparently decide to get it on. I have no internal conflicts regarding what I've done (and am continuing to do) here...

Thank you so much for embarking on reading this series. I hope you enjoy the rest of it, and, if not, well, you're always quite free to tell me!
[User Picture]From: sheerpoetry
2013-01-16 11:44 pm (UTC)

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Look who's finally getting off her lazy arse to catch up with your amazing, amazing stories! And I figured I was due a complete re-read, since I'd been so neglectful.

I'll try not to flood your inbox with comments--at least until I get to those I haven't yet read. ;) But I did want to let you know that this is exactly what I needed right now. I had the most wonderful feeling of calm and peace wash over me while reading this just now.

Also, this: Regardless of which it is, they are almost always touching.
(I confess to almost always having that moment of I want that when I read pretty much anything of yours.)

Please forgive me for being such a bad reader and fandom friend! *hugs*
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2013-01-16 11:48 pm (UTC)

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Your timing is eerie. Just as this landed in my inbox, I was opening up my draft of #26 in this series, which is currently in progress, and which I have not worked on for about a week. This is unusual; most pieces in this series so far, I've scarcely been able to tear myself away from. Not so in the writing of #26; it has thorns and minor explosions and pockets of strange ache. It won't be as bad as anybody fears, of course, but it feels bad enough.

You know that you can flood me with as many comments as you like *hugs* I've missed your feedback so much; you're one of those readers whose perceptive remarks act as a kind of conscience, keep my hand - which I always assume to be so sure of what it will do, and most of the time it is - in line. Thank you, and as you read along, let me know how it goes...
[User Picture]From: aki_yasu
2013-03-16 07:45 pm (UTC)

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This verse is so lovely. Would the Lothlorien hippie mother happen to be related to a certain Pippin Galadriel Moonchild?
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2013-03-20 01:32 am (UTC)

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You got it: the hippie mother is, in fact, carrying Pepper <3 Well spotted, and thank you for reading. If you continue in this series, I hope you enjoy it (and also say hi again later down the road as you do so)!