Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 10:32 pm
Title: The Naming of Cats
Fandom: Good Omens
Rating/Pairing: PG, mainly gen
Summary: Well before the events of Good Omens, there is a demon that needs a drinking companion, a new name, and perhaps a bit of thwarting, and an angel that is quite happy to be there. Mainly for the thwarting. And the alcohol. Written for [ profile] wyomingnot as a very belated Sweet Charity offering. (H)

At some point after getting expelled from the Garden of Eden, people invented alcohol.1

It was, in Aziraphale's opinion, a good invention. Still needed perfecting, but yes, quite good. Granted, upper management hadn't yet decided whether it was a sin in and of itself, or if it needed to be imbibing in excess, or...

Well. Aziraphale was quite happily taking advantage of their indecision to drink. Rather a lot. It's not like it would get him fired. 3

"So I was thinking," said his drinking companion.

"Generally a bad idea," he said to his companion, who just happened to be a demon. (That, on the other hand, might get him into trouble. He had already prepared a defense regarding Gathering Vital Information On The Enemy, just in case anyone questioned it.)

"--I really need a better name."

"Wha's wrong with, uh..." Aziraphale squinted at the demon, trying to remember his name. Something slithery. Things were a bit fuzzy, but he was kind of enjoying it that way. "...the one you've got?"

"Doesn't really suit me. I mean, I'm not a snake any more, right?" There was a bit of a hiss on the s of snake, and a flicker of tongue, both of which Aziraphale ignored. "'Sides, I wanna be able to pass unnoticed."

Demons generally did, Aziraphale mused, regardless of what name they used. Something about the screaming hysteria that didn't tend to ensue4 despite the occasional oddities in appearance or behaviour or, well, general demonness.

"But I don't want a common name either," the demon continued. "I mean, look at William."

"Which one?" Aziraphale asked, because the ale-house was uncrowded at this hour but there were still four Williams. [5]

"My point exactly. I think." The demon frowned slightly. "Also, 'William the blacksmith's son' is all well and good, but 'William the (more or less) devoted servant of the Lord of Hell' is a bit ... inelegant."

"Not to mention unsubtle."

"That too."

"So." Aziraphale blinked, let himself sober up, then took another long swallow, because it was more fun that way. "Have you considered Zelophehad?"

"No, I can honestly say that I haven't."

"Nice traditional name, that."

"Not for a demon."

Okay, he had a point. "How about Micaiah?"

"That's the name of a prophet. On your side."

"Oh, right." Aziraphale stared at the dregs of his drink like they held the answer. "I've always been fond of the name Adam," he mused.

"Kinda isn't me."

"Um. You could always go by. You know. Your name."

"It smells funny," the demon sulked.

"So un-smell it. Do a variation. Cravely, or Crooly, or Crowley, or CruĆ¾ee, or, um."

"Crowley," the demon murmured, trying it on for size.6 "I like that. Thanks."

"Any time," Aziraphale said, wondering if what he'd just done was something he should feel guilty for. This was, after all, a demon.

It was also, in some indefinable way, his demon. So maybe it was okay.

"Well," Crowley said, "I should probably be off. Souls to damn and all that."

"Good luck," Aziraphale said, polite and automatic. "Er. I mean. I will thwart you, et cetera."

"Right, of course." Crowley smirked and leaned close to Aziraphale. His breath was alcohol and brimstone and honey. "Maybe we can thwart each other later," he said suggestively.

Aziraphale eyed him with suspicion.

"It's fun," Crowley said, with complete sincerity. "Honest."

"Demons are never honest."

"Sure we are. Well, I suppose it depends on how you define honest."

Aziraphale pointed out primly, "Honesty is a virtue."

"That," Crowley said, "is propaganda." He smiled. It wasn't a particularly comforting smile. It also did things to Aziraphale that angels shouldn't be feeling. "See you around, then?"

"Um," Aziraphale said. "Probably, yeah."

He watched Crowley leave, more -- of course -- to make sure he didn't do any obvious mischief than to admire his physical form, because he absolutely wasn't in any way enjoying the feeling he shouldn't be experiencing.

According to the rules7, this encounter needed to be reported. Somehow Aziraphale doubted that a minor name change was Vital Intelligence, though, and anyway, there was an implicit arrangement9 between the two of them.

Maybe the arrangement needed a name too, Aziraphale mused.

Or maybe he just needed another drink.10



1: It's a bit hard to know precisely when, partly because it was developed independently in multiple locations, but mainly because the people who invented it were too busy getting drunk to actually bother with announcing it, and subsequently had the worst hangover in the history of the world2 to contend with.

2: Due, of course, to imperfect alcohol consumed in disturbingly large quantities. Also, there hadn't been any other hangovers yet.

3: Technically, angels can be demoted; but then again, they rarely are. It's bad for morale. And anyway, it's not like he could get much lower.

4: Not for demons, anyway.

5: Also two Johns, and, inexplicably, a Xavier.

6: it was a little tight in the shoulders, but otherwise fine.

7: There was a handbook for angels, four volumes and counting, with a lot of Thou Shalt Nots.8 Each volume made War and Peace, which hadn't been written yet, look slim. Aziraphale tended to use them as doorstops.

8: There was also a handbook for demons. It was a lot thinner.

9: which hadn't yet grown a capital letter

10: And, possibly, a bit of thwarting.
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 12:57 am (UTC)
OMG the footnotes. Hilarious.

Also, I think "maybe we can thwart each other later" is FANTASTIC.
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
We've never heard of Good Omens except in someone's icons before this but this fic was very very very amazing and we loved it and it made absolutely perfect sense
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)

This was positively delightful and utterly worth the wait! :)
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
I like this very much! Is it Discworld?
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)

Footnotes are vital for a thing like this.