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Title: No Other End of the World (The Angelic Footnotes Remix)
Author: [personal profile] velvetmouse
Fandom: Good Omens
Characters: Aziraphale, Crowley, Adam Young
Rating: G
Word Count: 2300
Summary Try, try again is good in principle. Less good when Hell puts it into practice.
Original Story: Signs and Archangels' Trumps by Cinaed. Written for Remix Redux 9
Notes: As with the original story, the title for this remix comes from Czeslaw Milosz's poem A Song On the End of the World. Thanks to Seren for the beta!


Aziraphale didn't really expect credit for stopping the Apocalypse. One did not expect credit for something that was obviously all part of God's Ineffable Plan.1 The angel had rather hoped for a little acknowledgement, though. A divine pat on the shoulder, an atta boy! good show! would have been nice.

But as none was forthcoming, Aziraphale settled back into his shop and looked mournfully at all the dusting that needed to be done.2 He could have waved his hand and simply made all the dust vanish, but that would be Cheating, and therefore Not Done. With a sigh he picked up his duster and ineffectually began swiping at the shelves.

Some time later,3 Crowley burst into the shop, successfully scaring away the customer that Aziraphale had spent the last thirty minutes trying to convince not to buy anything. Aziraphale felt slightly guilty at his relief, so waved his hand briefly and the would-be customer was suddenly struck with the inspiration for the perfect gift for his wife, and the desire to make several large charitable contributions. Feeling better about himself, Aziraphale turned to his fellow immortal with one angelic eyebrow raised.

"They're. Trying. Again," Crowley spit out.

"Whatever do you mean, my good man?" Aziraphale ushered the irate demon into the back room where there was suddenly a pot of tea on the table. Tea, all angelic beings knew, could soothe anyone or anything.4

"THEY. Are trying again," Crowley repeated. He produced a folded piece of paper from one of his numerous pockets and slid it across the table. Aziraphale carefully opened it up and frowned at the address written inside.

"Los Angeles? What's in Los Angeles?"

"The new Antichrist."

Aziraphale spit out the mouthful of tea he had just taken. "The new - WHAT? What are They doing?"

"I told you, They're trying again," Crowley said as he tried to mop up the tea that was now seeping into his designer shirt. Normally he would be proud of getting the angel to do a spit-take, but he preferred it when they were aimed at other people. "I just found out about it, myself," he said in a conciliatory tone.

"What are we going to do?" Aziraphale asked, brow furrowed. "And you're absolutely sure that Hell didn't tell you anything about it?"

"I don't blessed know, and no, I definitely would remember if Hell mentioned there was going to be a second Antichrist," snapped Crowley, scowling into his drink. His frown got a bit deeper and the smell of Darjeeling wafting out of the cup was suddenly replaced by the smell of whisky. "They're keeping me out of the loop, I suppose, since I was part of the Incident. Probably think I'll botch this job too. Though it isn't like I'm going to interfere--"

Crowley cut himself off, and Aziraphale looked up sharply. He paled at the grin on the demon's face. The last time he'd seen that particular grin,5 they had lost a week in Rio, and he'd spent a year working in a leper colony as penance.


As schemes went, Crowley's was fairly harmless, and after all, preventing (another) Apocalypse was certainly part of Aziraphale's job description.6 He took great pleasure in penning the first postcard to Adam Young, infusing it with as much divine command as he could muster without making it obvious. Crowley wanted to try subtlety, which was not ordinarily the angel's fort, but he was willing to try.

Four months, and six postcards later, Aziraphale was unsure if subtlety was really going to work.

"Maybe we need to make it clearer?" he offered doubtfully. "Something like: 'Dear Adam Young, your half-brother the new Antichrist is going to cause some trouble in a few years and possibly destroy the world. Since you stopped the end of the world before, we thought you could do something about it again. Sincerely, some concerned friends.' As long as we don't put our names, we wouldn't be, er, directly interfering. . ."7

"He knows what's going on," Crowley said firmly. "He has to. He's just not doing anything about it. I think we're going to have to visit Lower Tadfield."

They both nibbled on chocolate and tried to steel themselves for the meeting. Angels and demons might not have endorphins to soothe, but there was something to be said for the whole placebo effect.

"Besides," Crowley said after a long pause, licking the last of the chocolate from his fingers, "there's only a very small chance he'll do something horrible to us."

"Oh, he wouldn't! He likes us," Aziraphale protested. Adam Young was one of the shining examples that there was goodness in all God's creatures, and nothing anyone (especially certainly ex-angels whose name happened to rhyme with "scowlly") said would convince him otherwise.

"Liked," corrected Crowley. "Humans have a tendency to change their minds, or haven't you noticed? He liked us when he was ten and telling everybody to stop it with the whole Armageddon business. He might not like us now. He might WANT Armageddon."

"He doesn't," Aziraphale said firmly, and wouldn't hear any more on the subject.8


The former Antichrist was sitting on his front steps when they arrived, like he'd been expecting them. Aziraphale rather thought he had, because he didn't look surprised to see them and said only, "I've got some tea on. It'll be ready in a moment."

Adam looked older, even Aziraphale (who tended to be somewhat oblivious to the passage of time in mortals) could see that, taller and with the long, thin arms and legs of someone who'd woken up and found themselves sporting a few extra centimeters seemingly overnight. He had to be, what, fifteen by now; old enough to really start thinking about helping little old ladies across the street and rescuing kittens and doing other Good Works.

"Have some tea," he said, ushering them both inside. Aziraphale looked around the neatly kept home in approval, but suddenly wondered what Mr. and Mrs. Young might say about their son opening their door to two strange men.

Adam looked hard at Aziraphale, like he knew what the angel was thinking, and added cheerfully, "Oh, they won't be home for ages yet, plenty of time to talk."9

Adam let them both sip a bit at their tea before he spoke. "You'll be wanting to talk about this new Antichrist," he said. "I'll spare you some time. I'm not doing anything about him."

Aziraphale managed to avoid choking on his tea at this blunt statement. Crowley, he saw out of the corner of his eye, wasn't so lucky.

"Nothing?" Aziraphale said, giving the demon a moment to recover. "But he might--"

"Break the world?" Adam shrugged. "Maybe. I reckon he should have the choice, same as I did." Then his eyes narrowed, and he was looking at them with eyes that burned too bright in his human face, and he speaks using a voice that didn't match his lanky, youthful frame.10 "Course, he isn't getting that same choice, is he? Your lots are going to be talking to him, trying to get him to start Armageddon like I didn't. All I had was humans, talking to me and living with me and teaching me 'bout how the world isn't perfect, but it's not terrible either. I reckon he won't get a Brian or a Wensley or a Pepper, to show him that, just an angel and a demon sitting on each shoulder."

Crowley and Aziraphale both squirmed in their seats. "Probably," Aziraphale agreed, sensing that Adam was going to win this argument no matter what and it was easier to just concede gracefully from the outset.

"Exactly," Adam said. "Which is why you two ought to let him have them. Well, not THEM them, but an American Them. Let him be human, let him make the choice on his own, without Heaven or Hell telling him to do anything."

"That'ssss a blessed sssstupid idea! What if he wantssss to end the world?" Crowley hissed, and Aziraphale looked at him in shock. He could count on one wing, with feathers left over, the number of times that Crowley had lost control like that.

"He won't, if he gets the same chance as me," Adam said matter-of-factly. "Let him be human, and he'll choose the humans."

"Just because YOU did doesn't mean he will! Just-- ssstop him! Take away his powers, he's still little, you can do it!" Crowley argued. Aziraphale nodded in agreement; while he had no idea what Adam could or couldn't do, it still sounded like a better plan than letting the new Antichrist possibly destroy the world.

"Or, or talk to him when he's older," Crowley continued. "Tell him all about how blessed great Earth is and why he shouldn't destroy it." When Adam just kept looking at him, Crowley said in a voice that cracked on the last word, "I thought you wanted Earth sssafe!"

Adam stood up, and something...shifted. Suddenly he was taller, and his eyes were even brighter, so that it hurt to look at them. "That's not fair," he said, and his voice was the quiet tone that people used when they were about to start throwing things. In Adam's case, it might be lightning bolts, and Aziraphale began assessing whether or not the coffee table would provide adequate protection. "Earth isn't MY responsibility. It isn't, no matter what you say. I said no to being the Antichrist, that means I don't get a say anymore. I chose humans, and so I get a human life. Well, as close to one as possible."

He paused, and then shot Crowley a pointed look that seemed to crackle and sizzle around the edges. "Besides, who's been around since the Beginning?"

"Er," Aziraphale said awkwardly, and those bright eyes turned towards him. "If you want to be specific, none of us were, only God. But we, that is, Crowley and I, were there fairly soon afterwards, with the Rebellion and the bit with the Tree of Knowledge, but I don't see how you think--"11

"You two have been on Earth since the first humans," said Adam. "Nobody else has stuck around here half as long. If anyone's going to be good at distracting Heaven and Hell and letting this new Antichrist learn about the world, it'll be you two." He nodded, half to himself, half to them. "Let him be human."

Aziraphale sighed as the command settled into his bones, or would have if he had bones.

"Just-- let him grow up human?" Aziraphale said in a resigned sort of tone.

"Let him grow up human," Adam agreed. "Things will turn out right."

There was a long moment that seemed to stretch on forever, even though Aziraphale knew it was actually only a minute or two. Time had a funny way of stretching and bending in its own way, though.

The angel looked over to Crowley. "We have to try," he said, and then patted Crowley's arm. "Besides, if we succeed, then it was all part of God's plan, wasn't it?"

"I suppose I have a FEW ideas," Crowley said slowly, and Aziraphale began to smile.

1. And anyway, Above didn't deal in credit - that was the provenance of the other side. A gold star next to your name and possibly a tin of biscuits could be expected though. (back)

2. Dusting, it seemed, was one of those Universal Constants. Aziraphale often accused Crowley's side of coming up with it, but Crowley vehemently denied it, saying that they were plagued by it just as much, and since God apparently had this Ineffable Plan, surely dusting was a part of it? (back)

3. Meaning three years and four months, give or take a few days. Time had a tendency to creep up on immortals, smack them upside the head, and then bolt snickering in the opposite direction when they looked around. (back)

4. How the British found out about this was a matter of debate. No one Above was willing to own up to spilling the secret, and no one Below wanted responsibility for introducing a comfort to the world. Aziraphale's bet (if he were a betting being - which he wasn't. No, sir. Not even a friendly side-wager with Crowley) was on Michael, who always seemed to have a soft spot for the young Victoria. (back)

5. Grin Number 483 (half-relieved, half-dangerous) in Aziraphale's personal catalog of Crowley's grins. The angel was nothing if not meticulous. (back)

6. He did, in fact, have one. Written on the finest parchment in glowing gold letters, Aziraphale kept it rolled up in his lower left desk drawer and only brought it out on special occasions. Or when he'd been hitting the Sambuca a little too hard. (back)

7. Angels aren't very good at lying and even after centuries around Crowley, Aziraphale still hadn't mastered it, or the art of wriggling around the rules. (back)

8. He did the angelic equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and singing "La-la-la-la." This involved a cherubim choir and -- you know what? Let's just leave it at that. You're happier not knowing. (back)

9. Adam did know what both Crowley and Aziraphale were thinking. Over the years since the Incident, Adam had tried not to use his powers too often, but sometimes people thought too loudly for him to block out. And both immortals thought VERY loudly. (back)

10. This was another thing Adam tried not to do very often, but sometimes the VOICE just couldn't be avoided. It was sort of like death and taxes that way. Or taxes, at least. (back)

11. As mentioned previously, angels aren't very good at lying. Dissembling and prevaricating fell into that category as well. Really, Aziraphale just should have kept his mouth shut. (back)


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