[identity profile] waxbean.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] go_exchange
Happy Holidays, [livejournal.com profile] evilweevil04!

Title: “Last Minute Shoppers”
Gift for: [livejournal.com profile] evilweevil04
Author: [livejournal.com profile] waxbean
Rating: PG
Summary: Aziraphale helps Crowley with his last-minute holiday shopping. Along the way, they run into the Four Horsepersons of the Apocalypse. (Aziraphale, Crowley gen -- also featuring Horsepersons and numerous nefarious toys).
Author’s notes: This is probably not how you envisioned your request, Evilweevil04. But inspiration struck when I was standing in line at a toy store, surrounded by insane children, volatile parents, and truly disturbing toys. I hope you enjoy it, anyway!



“Don’t even say it,” Crowley snapped as he dodged a threesome of quarrelling children.

“I wasn’t going to say a thing, my dear,” Aziraphale said gently. Then, in an uncontrollable rush of words, he continued, “It’s just that you waited until the last minute. I don’t know what you expected.”

“Ngk.”

Aziraphale eyed the lurid displays of holiday over-consumption with something not unlike disgust. Crowley’s proffered explanation of the maelstrom in which they were currently standing as the poshest toy store in London had only confirmed his initial revulsion. He sighed, knowing full well that Crowley wouldn’t be caught dea-discorporated showing up at Adam’s charity benefit party empty-handed, though. With a final sniff at the garish stacks of expensive toys, he decided that he would at least try to help his associate.

“We’ll find an appropriate gift and get out. We’re in a toy store. This should be easy,” Crowley said bracingly.

Aziraphale determined that he would begin being helpful by countering Crowley’s resignation with a cheerful attitude. But before he could respond, a particularly loud brawl erupted from the corner of the store. Aziraphale stood on his tiptoes with a plump hand on Crowley’s shoulder for support.

“I can’t see what all those children would be fighting over,” he said.

“Those aren’t children, you know,” Crowley corrected, as he pushed up his sunglasses. “Those are adults. You can’t even see the kids – I imagine they’re in the thick of it, though.”

Sure enough, several minutes later, the wailing of at least ten small children could be heard, even over their parents’ rather loud arguments.

“Well, I wonder what that was about,” Aziraphale mumbled, as he turned back to look at an old fashioned wooden dominoes set.

“It figures,” Crowley said, nudging Aziraphale a bit too sharply in the ribs.

Aziraphale lifted his head and caught a bright flash of red hair as a woman emerged from the center of a ring of fighting children and their parents. War. She was carrying a large glossy black box. Whatever it was, Aziraphale thought, it wasn’t a toy he’d seen before.

“Afternoon, Red,” Crowley said, with the faintest tremor in his voice. “I see that you waited until the last minute, too.”

“Deliberately, I’m sure,” Aziraphale muttered, as he looked back at the belligerent children.

Red gave them both a smirk. Then she licked her full lips (a bit lasciviously, Aziraphale thought) and held out her shiny parcel. “It’s the last one in all of London,” she said with a pout. “It’s likely that there’s not another in Great Britain.”

“X-B-O-X,” Aziraphale spelled out, non-plussed.

Red rolled her eyes. Three balding fathers and two mothers began arguing right behind her.

“Listen, lady, I’ll give you 400 pounds for that Xbox 360 right now,” the tallest of the fathers yelled. One of the mothers immediately shoved the man aside, knocking him into a badly stacked tower of Monopoly board games.

“I’ve got 500 pounds right here!” the second women shrieked as she shoved a fistful of brightly colored notes towards Red’s face.

“I’m afraid this one isn’t for sale,” Red replied sweetly.

Then she turned away from the angry parents and Aziraphale and Crowley and sashayed up to the counter.

“See you at the party,” she called, giving them both a long slow wink.

“What exactly is an Xbox, Crowley? And besides, I thought the spending limit was 20 pounds, anyway,” Aziraphale said worriedly, thinking of his own rather inexpensive gift of books.

“Do you really think a Horseperson of the Apocalypse is going to play by the rules? Even when they’re his?” Crowley asked, as they both watched War flirt dangerously with the clerk.

“And, to be honest, I’m not sure about an Xbox. But I sort of want one now. Don’t you?”

“Don’t be silly,” Aziraphale huffed.

Aziraphale didn’t want one but he freely admitted, to himself, at least, that whatever it was, it came in shiny-enough packaging.

“Now what about a nice game of Dominoes?” he suggested instead. “That’s a relatively new game. Quite fun, as I remember. Didn’t we play that time in Italy?”

“Angel, dominoes date back to the 11th century. They’re hardly new.”

“New to the Continent,” Aziraphale clarified, with slightly pink cheeks.

“And yes, we played in Italy – but even that was more than two hundred years ago. You and your ideas of modern… really, tartan and bebop and now, dominoes…” Crowley snickered under his breath.

Biting his lip to keep from snapping back, Aziraphale reminded himself that he was here to be helpful. “I’ll just go down this one, shall I?” he asked quickly before turning down a long aisle of pink.

Feeling momentarily disoriented, as if perhaps he’d walked into a bottle of that awful chalk-flavored digestive aid (something he’d actually first seen in Crowley’s medicine cabinet), Aziraphale stood still. He was completely surrounded by two categories of things: the color Pink and young female humans.

In their midst stood one tall, thin, dark-haired man. Surprisingly, the man didn’t seem as out of place as one might think he would, standing among so many giggly young girls.

Aziraphale nodded his head at Famine.

“Fancy meeting you here,” he said, as he willfully let his gut hang out just a little bit more than he might have if he was standing next to Crowley.

Famine inclined his head at Aziraphale with sheer economy of movement. Then Aziraphale watched as he returned his attention to the rows and rows of dolls. With great care, he selected several, all of them long, lean, scantily dressed feminine forms.

“Perhaps I mistook the instructions,” Aziraphale began, with the tone of one who has not been wrong about anything in centuries. “But I was under the impression that we were to bring gender-neutral gifts.”

With a pointed look at all the girls scurrying around them, Aziraphale continued, “These are clearly for girls.”

Famine laughed, a dark low raspy sound that made Aziraphale shudder involuntarily. Then he held up one of the boxed dolls.

“You think these are not for boys, then?” he asked, tauntingly. “I suppose they may not play with them… but they are most definitely created with males in mind as much as they are for females.” Gracefully, Famine picked up another doll, scrutinizing it closely. With a near imperceptible nod of his perfectly coiffed head, he placed the sickeningly pink box in Aziraphale’s hands.

“My own design, of course,” Famine smirked as he walked by Aziraphale, grazing his shoulder in what was a decidedly menacing manner.

Aziraphale had really never liked Famine.

He gazed back down at the doll. It certainly wasn’t the most tasteful of human caricatures – it strongly reminded him of Madame Tracey in her youth. Stumped by the apparent appeal of such toys, Aziraphale made an effort to listen in on the conversation between the two girls who were standing behind him.

“You can’t be Barbie, you’re too fat!” one girl exclaimed.

Discreetly, Aziraphale turned around just in time to see the deflated expression of a girl who was still standing with her stomach absurdly sucked in and her child’s breasts pushed out in a horribly lewd manner.

Wasting no time, the offended girl retorted, “It’s better than being black!”

As he placed the luridly pink box back onto the shelf, Aziraphale wondered if War had helped with the product design.

Aziraphale had barely cleared the wall-to-wall pink, when he stumbled into a disconcertingly vivid war zone.

“Out of the way!” piped a shrill voice behind him.

Nearly tripping over his own feet, Aziraphale turned quickly and stepped out of what he inanely recognized as a “line of fire.” Only when he was standing behind several young boys, did he realize that the agonizingly realistic images and sounds of guerrilla warfare were only two-dimensional.

With sudden insight, he turned to the nearest boy who seemed only to be watching the others play.

“Excuse me, young sir, that wouldn’t happen to be an Xbox, would it?”

Aziraphale saw the answer in the boy’s sarcastic expression.

Sounding very put-upon, the boy explained, “The game is Blood Wake, of course. And that’s a Playstation. But you can play this game on the new XBox platform.” Then the boy snickered. “But listen, grandpa, there aren’t any more Xbox 360s.”

Aziraphale lifted an eyebrow, perfectly mimicking an expression he’d seen on Crowley’s face a number of times.

“Thank you.”

Crowley was just one aisle over when Aziraphale found him.

He was facing someone. And though Aziraphale couldn’t see the person’s face, he knew he’d be able to recognize that long white-blond hair anywhere. Pollution.

Crowley seemed a bit too relieved to see Aziraphale. To be honest, Aziraphale was rather comforted to see him, too. A familiar evil was always preferable to the kind of unknown surprises that seemed to be lurking throughout the toy store.

“White was just giving me some … pointers about the gifts,” Crowley explained, gesturing with two small containers in his hands.

Aziraphale could hear the note of desperation in his voice. He didn’t have the wherewithal to over-think the wave of protectiveness he felt for his associate.

Already feeling annoyed, Aziraphale looked around.

“Hmmm… Let me guess, it’s the packaging, isn’t?” Aziraphale picked up a random box. “One toy and let’s count… one, two, three different kinds of wrappings. Cardboard and two types of plastic.”

Pollution’s eyes grew wide as he reached for the toy, gently prying it from Aziraphale’s fingers.

“I hadn’t even thought of that,” he quietly intoned.

Then, with a dreamy expression, Pollution read aloud from the box, “Parents are advised that plastic packaging constitutes a suffocation hazard for children.”

Aziraphale felt Crowley’s hand touch his arm – a warning of sorts, he supposed.

“Do you think they mean it?” Pollution asked distractedly, his eyes never straying from the shiny plastic box.

“I daresay it’s a bonus,” Aziraphale spat out.

“Aziraphale!” Crowley hissed.

“Thank you,” Pollution gave them both an oily smile. “I think this will do nicely,” he said, before turning and walking towards the checkout.

“What was that all about?” Aziraphale demanded.

Crowley put two greasy containers into his hands: Silly Putty and Play Dough.

“You really don’t want to know what’s in this stuff,” he said solemnly.

Aziraphale dropped the containers back into an open box, wiped his suddenly greasy hands on his trousers, and followed Crowley down the crowded aisle.

“I give up. We’re going to be late for the party as it is. Where were those dominoes? Let’s just get a few sets and get out of here,” Crowley said despondently.

Aziraphale patted his arm and pulled him towards the front of the store.

They both were reaching for two of the wooden sets when Aziraphale felt a sharp slap on his wrist.

I’M TAKING DOMINOES. FIND YOUR OWN GIFT.

Aziraphale held unto Crowley’s arm even as he felt his own temper begin to escalate.

“Let him go, my dear. It’s not worth it,” he whispered soothingly. “Competitively lining up blocks of wood, knocking them down, and then counting them? It’s a stupid game, really.”

Crowley’s mollified expression was the first thing that made Aziraphale feel like smiling since they’d entered the toy store.

“What am I going to take, then, Angel?”

With a small chuckle, Aziraphale looked around and picked up the first box he saw.

“My First Garden.”

“Very funny,” Crowley said, but he grabbed the gardening kit from Aziraphale’s hands without another word and headed towards the front of the store.

Thankful to be done with the store, Aziraphale followed closely behind, carefully jostling through all the rest of the last minute shoppers.

Date: 2005-12-29 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] takewing.livejournal.com
That was perfect. Brilliantly done, secret writer! :)

Date: 2005-12-30 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks so much! I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Date: 2005-12-29 07:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] htebazytook.livejournal.com
“And, to be honest, I’m not sure about an Xbox. But I sort of want one now.”

So Crowley XD


Facing the Horsepeople AND Last Minute Shoppers! Well, at least they had each other.

Aww.

Date: 2005-12-30 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks for your thoughts. I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

I think Aziraphale's shopping experience was pretty harrowing, indeed.

Date: 2005-12-29 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulgarweed.livejournal.com
This is SO dead-on and wonderful! Adam giving his party for charity, with a price limit. The XBOX! Famine and his dolls....goosebumps there. And the very ending, Crowley's present! XD Perfect!

He didn’t have the wherewithal to over-think the wave of protectiveness he felt for his associate.

Awwwwwwww.

The whole commentary of it, and the relationships between all the characters...it's something I didn't know I wanted to read so much until I read it.

Date: 2005-12-30 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for thoughts. Both the doll and xbox scenes were from my own experiences -- just stuff I really needed to process, I guess. It would make me feel better if we really could blame those kinds of toys on supernatural beings with nefarious agendas....

Writing Aziraphale and Crowley friendship (and not necessarily the kind with privileges) was more difficult than I would have thought! I'm glad that you think the relationships, as they're presented here, work.

Date: 2005-12-29 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] evilweevil04.livejournal.com
Oh gosh! I love it! That was hilarious. Awesome characterization, all the way through.

And, oh god, the dominoes. xD

Thank you so much!!

Date: 2005-12-30 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Oh, good, I'm so glad that you like it!

And the dominoes... yes, there's a fun game that's been around for thousands of years... somehow I came across some history of dominoes or something... and I couldn't help but think that Aziraphale and Crowley would have played a game like that... add that to some afternoon shopping at a toy store and suddenly, I needed to write this particular fic!

Again, I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Happy Holidays!

Date: 2005-12-29 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qtheallpowerful.livejournal.com
:D Death and the dominoes....LOL great job secret author

Date: 2005-12-30 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks! I'm glad that you enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to work on.

Date: 2005-12-30 02:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meyghasa.livejournal.com
Really fabulous! I was amused, given my recent experience at a toy store. -shudder- NOT an experience I'd like to have again any time soon, let me tell you. I wouldn't be surprised if Red was at my store too!

Date: 2005-12-30 05:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Oooooh, I think Red has definitely been making her rounds -- not just at the Toy Stores, either!

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this!

Date: 2005-12-30 03:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ida-pea.livejournal.com
I love the Horsepeople in this!

Date: 2005-12-30 05:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks for your thoughts! The Horsepeople were fun to write --- well, perhaps I should say that attributing evil toys to the Horses helped me to process said evil toys... and now I feel a little bit better about my own holiday shopping experiences.

Date: 2005-12-30 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aphrodeia.livejournal.com
“Do you think they mean it?” Pollution asked distractedly, his eyes never straying from the shiny plastic box.

“I daresay it’s a bonus,” Aziraphale spat out.

“Aziraphale!” Crowley hissed.


AHA! I laughed out loud at this. :D A totally unlikely setting, yet so well-done. Very nice!

Date: 2005-12-30 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for your thoughts. I'm really gratified that you enjoyed it!

Thinking about Aziraphale in a toy store was quite a bit of fun... even after my own holiday shopping, I went back to a toy store, just to try to see it through Aziraphale's eyes...

Date: 2005-12-31 06:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] clayin.livejournal.com
*shudders*
Oh Adam. I have enough problems shopping without dealing with the Four Horsepersons.
Crowley and Aziraphale managed it quite nicely, however.
Characterization is spot-on, and I loved the gift that Crowley ended up buying. Very appropriate ^_^

Date: 2006-01-02 08:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for your thoughts. I appreciate reading them. I am really glad that you enjoyed this story!

I am not a fan of shopping myself... but shopping in a toy store in late December????? Never again.

Date: 2006-01-02 02:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] magicicada.livejournal.com
Ooh. This is wonderful. I love they way you've fit the Horsepersons in to the toy store in ways that make complete sense, and Crowley and Aziraphale were fantastic. Nicely done.

Date: 2006-01-02 08:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] secret-kracken.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for your thoughts. I am really glad that you enjoyed this story! It was a lot of fun to work on.

I had to attribute those evil toys to the Horsepersons -- it's too terrible to imagine that humans are actually responsible for them.

Really, writing this fic was therapeutic!

Date: 2007-11-22 10:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sticktothestory.livejournal.com
Thank you so much for adressing sexism and racism in a Good Omens fanfic. I also loved the easy way you portrayed the Crowley-Aziraphale dynamic.

Date: 2009-12-05 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ashbaria.livejournal.com
You know, when Xmas shopping last year, and this fic so fits the scenes of mass destruction that I witnessed.

Date: 2010-01-11 07:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] maribella008.livejournal.com
Post-reveal is so fun. *g*
This was in my 'long' research list (as opposed to the 'short' pairing research list) for characterization, so I not only get to thank you for that, but to tell you I thought this was absolutely hysterical. Of course the Bikers of the Apocalypse would shop at FAO Schwartz. Of course they would.

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