Adam Young sat morosely on a bench in the baggage claim at LAX, occasionally kicking his satchel as an expression of his frustration. Bloody stupid America had to be so bloody damn big. And he couldn't do anything mundane about it – couldn't hire a car, his driver's license wasn't valid in the States; couldn't get a flight to San Francisco, because Mum and Dad were hardly made of money and his own funds had been just enough to get here; and maybe there was public, a bus or something, but how was he supposed to find it? All the signs and adverts on the walls were for car rental agencies and buses to local hotels.
He fussed with his phone, trying to get Google to tell him how to get a bus to San Francisco so he wouldn't have to use his other options. The data plan didn't work in the States and the airport didn't have free wifi, so he was trying to find an unsecured network he could hop on. Strengthening the signal of an unsecured network seemed to him more legitimate than, say, hacking a secure network, and much more so than, for example, shortening the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco so he could hire a taxi. He was definitely not going to go that far.
"Hey there," he heard a man say. "You look frustrated. Anything I can do to help?"
Adam looked up. There was a tall, skinny man with shaggy brown hair in a ponytail, the almost-not-quite sprinkling of facial hair on the chin that people were calling a "soul patch", and light brown skin of the kind you might see on an Arab, or a Greek, or given that this was the States, maybe a Mexican. He was dressed in very nondescript American clothes – gray t-shirt, plaid long-sleeve shirt unbuttoned, blue jeans, sneakers – and had the kind of friendly smile that made you immediately want to trust him and tell him your problems. Adam was deeply suspicious.
"Oh, no, don't put yourself to any trouble on my account," Adam said. "I've just got a thing I need to work out, is all."
"No problem," the man said. "But if there's anything I can do to help you, please, just ask. We're family, after all." He grinned widely.
Adam blinked at that. "...Family?"
The man extended his hand. "Josh Carpenter. I'm your cousin."
Adam's da had no siblings. Mum had one, Adam's flamboyantly gay uncle who definitely did not have any children or Adam would have been hearing about them his entire life. "I don't have any cousins."
"Well. Okay. Technically I'm your uncle, but you and I are a lot closer in age than the rest of the family so I really don't feel comfortable calling myself an uncle."
"I've only one uncle and you're definitely not him."
"Other side of the family," Josh said.
Adam stood up, preparing to put some distance between himself and the obvious scammer. "My da hasn't got any brothers or sisters."
"Other other side, Adam," Josh said. "The side you don't like to think about much."
And that knocked the wind out of him. Adam stared at the other man, who looked to be at most a year or two older than Adam himself. "...My other other side. You mean... my bio-father."
"That's a rather cold word to use, but I can see why it would be your choice," Josh said. "Yes. Your bio-father's my older half-brother."
"So you're a—" He hesitated. How did you publicly call someone an angel, or a demon, and which would it be? And wouldn't it be offensive if he got it wrong? He'd gotten the distinct impression from Crowley and Az that most of their people were not nearly as laid-back or friendly as they were, and if this was an emissary from his bio-father, was he going to have to unleash his other side after all? They weren't supposed to interfere on Earth, not in any way that inconvenienced him, anyway.
"Oh, no, no. I'm as human as you are." Josh smiled again. The expression lit up his entire face, making him practically radiate 'I'm a great guy, you should want to be my friend.'
Adam was about to retort that if Josh knew as much as he thought he did, he'd know exactly how human Adam was, and wasn't, when his brain finished processing the name "Josh Carpenter" in the context of the other things the man had said, and realized who he was talking to. "Wait – you're – my God." Abruptly he realized that what he'd said was so apropos it went out the other side to being inappropriate. "I mean—"
Josh laughed. "Don't worry about it, I know what you're trying to say," he said. "Anyway, I'm not, you know. Not like people think, anyway. I'm basically like you."
Adam, entirely too aware of how close to being a god he was, was not reassured. "So, um... do we need to fight now, or something? Because I really don't want to fight anyone."
This time Josh's laugh wasn't a gentle chuckle, but more like a belly laugh. "No, no!" He got his hilarity under control. "No. You made your decision when you were eleven, and I'm really glad, because I never wanted any of that nonsense either. And to be perfectly honest I don't think Father did either. The whole thing came from John's predictions, and I think they all somehow got the idea that John was channeling information directly from Father because he was one of my best friends, but the truth is? John was... a little weird, to be honest. Wonderful guy, great friend, but... he was never all that grounded, if I'm being honest."
"So wait. None of that business was in the Divine Plan after all?"
"Contrary to popular belief I don't generally have any more idea what Father is up to than anyone else, but I do know Him better than most, and no. I don't think any of that was His idea."
Adam must have made a face that somehow indicated his bemusement, because Josh asked, "What?"
"It's just... I've got a pair of friends. Well, I'm sure you know about them if you know about the Apocawasn't, and Crowley and Az both refer to God as Her."
Josh shook his head. "It's a thing He's been encouraging lately because the English language doesn't have a good neuter pronoun, and obviously God is larger than any concept of gender, and He's not really thrilled with what humans have assumed about Him based on the pronoun. But He doesn't really care which you use, as long as it's respectful, and... I had a biological mother. I've had quite some time where I've been using masculine pronouns, so I'm not going to switch unless He asks me to."
"But it's okay that I call Her my grandmother? Because that's hilarious."
"Sure. Grandmother, grandfather, granddeity... whatever you want. Long as it's respectful enough."
"I'm not sure my mental picture of God in a babushka kerchief and a rocking chair is respectful though."
"Ah, 'respectful' when I say it doesn't mean what the people who supposedly listen to me mean when they say it. I'm Jewish. If you want to picture God as rocking in a chair and wearing a kerchief, maybe doing Her knitting, creating a planet or two? That's fine. The respect we're called on to give to God – and by we, I mean humans, but I don't think it's much different for half-humans like you and me – is exactly like the respect you give your grandmother. If your grandmother says something that's stupid and insensitive, you challenge her, because it was stupid and insensitive. If she has rules that make no sense, you challenge them. If She disowned your brother and most of his friends because he talked back to Her, absolutely you get to call Her on that and tell Her that was a dick move. But you still respect her, because She's your grandmother. You exist because She gave you life, directly or indirectly."
Adam thought he had stopped talking about a merely hypothetical grandmother about halfway through that. "Really? You tell God that something She did was a dick move?" He laughed.
"Every chance I get," Josh said, grinning. "We actually disagree about a lot of things, but He listens to me more than He does to anyone else, I guess. Youngest son syndrome or something."
Adam had in his life had conversations about ending the world, about life on the planets of Alpha Centauri, and about the management structure of Hell, but this still counted as one of the more surreal conversations he'd ever had. "So. Um. Were you just doing something when I happened to stroll by, or did you actually come here to see me?"
Josh put up his hands. "Guilty, I admit it," he said. "I knew you were here and I knew you were in a little bit of trouble. I didn't want to pry enough to find out what, though, so you want to tell me? I can probably help out."
"I don't need a miracle. I can do that for myself."
"Good for you. I don't do them anymore unless it's an emergency, either, so I think we're on the same page about that. What's wrong?"
Adam sighed. "It's such a bloody stupid mistake to make. I forgot how big the States are. In particular, this state. I came here to see Pepper at Berkeley, she's doing her grad studies there... you know my friend Pepper, right?"
"She was there that day, so yes, I do."
"You weren't there, though."
"The angels knew I disapproved of the whole thing and kept interfering with me getting a chance to talk to you, but I definitely checked out the whole thing afterward. So yes, I know of Pepper."
"Right. And the price for a flight to Los Angeles was so much less than San Francisco, I could afford it myself without asking Mum and Da for money. And I had completely forgot that it's a seven hour drive between the two cities, because seriously? That's much too much for the same state! Who even drew the boundaries for this state, because it's ridiculous!"
Josh laughed. "I won't argue against that. And I think I may have just the thing. Although it might take a miracle of the more mundane variety to get it to actually drive for seven hours straight without breaking down, but I do have a pickup truck."
Adam raised an eyebrow, taking in Josh's appearance. "I'd have thought some kind of, I don't know, tiny enviro-friendly electric car would be more your thing."
Josh snorted. "Do you have any idea how much those things cost? If I had that kind of money, it'd go straight to a soup kitchen, maybe a homeless shelter or two. My pickup's not the greatest, but it still runs, and it lets me carry furniture donations and things like that."
"You do some kind of ministry or something?"
"Always," Josh nodded. "Though not like you're probably thinking. My day's over; I'm here on Earth because you are, not for my own sake, so I let humans take the lead. I do volunteer work for several of the local Jewish charities, helping the homeless, the hungry, you know." He leaned on the wall with one hand. "So. Up for a road trip with your cousin?"
"You're making me feel old."
"You're two thousand, I should hope so!" Adam said, grinning.
"Yes, but all my brothers and sisters are billions of years older than me, so by that standard, you and I are practically the same age." He pushed off the wall. "And speaking of my brothers. Did you know your father is in town?"
Adam went cold. "Wait, what? The Devil is here in Los Angeles?"
"Yes. Running a nightclub, apparently." Josh put a hand on Adam's shoulder. "You know, I really think you should meet with him. You shouldn't completely shut your father out of your life even if you don't want to be close."
"He's not my father," Adam scowled. "My Da's the one who taught me to ride a bike and who read stories to me at night and cooked me terrible hash browns when Mum was poorly and couldn't make supper."
"Right, I get that," Josh said. "My dad taught me how to build a house, or a cabinet, and taught me how to ride a donkey, and used to walk me to Temple so he'd know where I was because he said I was going to go anyway so he might as well walk me there. But I also have a Father. It's okay, you know, to acknowledge more than two parents. Step-parents and adopted parents have been a thing since humanity came into existence."
"Yeah, well, your Father never appeared to you as a giant monster crawling out of the pavement trying to destroy your entire planet."
"And I really think you ought to try to meet up with Lucifer and talk to him about that. Put some of those conflicts to bed. He was frequently a pretty terrible person when he was running Hell, but... it's Hell. It makes people terrible even if they were great to begin with. He's so much better now that he's not there anymore."
"What, do you hang out with him often?"
Josh shook his head. "He doesn't even know I'm here. I haven't gone to look him up in person, but... you know how it is. If you're interested in knowing about a person... sometimes it just happens. That happens to you, too, right?"
Adam nodded slowly. "Yeah. Actually it does." The thought occurred to him that Josh was the only other person on the planet who might really understand some of Adam's challenges and sorrows in life. The stress of having to restrain near-omnipotent power, so often, because you wanted to be a human and to fit in with humanity, not to stand above it as some sort of lonely god – or devil. Crowley and Az knew a bit of it, but they'd never been human, and Warlock understood some of the weirdness of Adam's life but had never had the power to perform miracles.
He made a decision. "If you're offering, I'll take you up on that trip to San Francisco, and you can maybe talk me into... meeting my bio-dad. Maybe. No promises."
"That's all I can ask," Josh said.
"But if your car will hold together well enough... I've got a friend in the States, out on this coast, but I knew Washington was much too far away for me to visit him without a second plane trip. Maybe we could head up north and see him?" Warlock had fled the East Coast and the influence of his toxic parents as soon as he'd turned of age to do so. Adam had met him once or twice after the Apocawasn't, when his father had had to come back to England – he hadn't been the American ambassador anymore but he'd still had reasons to come back – and Crowley and Az had brought him to see the boy who should have been his parents' son, his quasi-brother, at his insistence. But they hadn't met in person in a few years; Warlock wouldn't take money from his parents to fly to England and this was Adam's first trip to the States.
"Sounds like a plan to me."
Adam grinned, remembering something. "Oh yeah. Is there an ice cream place around here? I heard as a kid that America has thirty one ice cream flavors."
Josh laughed. "Only thirty-one? You're in for a treat. Yeah, I know where to find the nearest Baskin-Robbins, that's the chain that advertised about the thirty-one flavors. There's actually a lot more than that. Though sadly, Baskin-Robbins' stores don't generally have all thirty-one at once." He gestured toward the door. "Come on. It's kind of a hike. I couldn't afford to park in the closer lots."
Adam picked up his satchel and followed Josh. "I don't mind a walk," he said.
The Good Omens category doesn't have any taggable characters, no one from Lucifer has entered the plot yet, and Jesus Christ is technically not a character from either fandom (well, he iappears/i in GO but from a while back), so no characters are tagged. However, this is basically going to be about Adam, as a young adult, and Jesus (aka "Josh") on a road trip with Pepper and Warlock, meeting Lucifer, and eventually the Ineffable Husbands will probably show up because what do you mean Adam has vanished? Most likely Linda will make an appearance as well, as well as Amenadiel and Charlie, and sooner or later we'll see Chloe. Oh, heck, probably all the Lucifer characters will show up at some point or another.