Title: Cast Thy Bread Upon The Water
Author: Daeleniel Shadowphyre
Feedback: darkone2813 at mindspring dot com
Fandom: Gundam Wing/Good Omens
Genre: General, Supernatural, Humour
Rating: PG (for language)
Summary: Quatre just wanted to relax for a moment.
Warnings: Um, vague headtrippiness?
Disclaimer: Gundam Wing and related characters and themes belong to Yoshiyuki Tomino and Hajime Yatate, Bandai and Sunrise, and the Sotsu Agency. Good Omens and related characters and themes belong to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This is a non-profit work of fiction.
Notes: Written for the SDQB 444 Challenge #10, Patience. Of which, by the way, I do not appear to have much. The inspiration for this came mostly because no matter how hard I tried not to my recent third reading of Good Omens would not leave me alone. At all. Many pokes, er, thanks go to Inanna for saying this was okay (see? Not my fault) and to Hera for being my guinea pig, er, beta reader. As tired and out of it as I was when I wrote this, I could not have made it coherent without you two.
Dedication: To QueenStrata and Nell, Goddess of Insanity-- I don't care what you say; any Good Omens fic I write is your fault!
Distribution: Ask, and ye shall receive.
It was a quiet park, a smallish patch of greenery set aside in the rampant industrialisation of Western Europe. Quatre usually wasn't one for surrounding himself with leafy green, colony-born desert-bred man that he was, but he did occasionally find the lush vegetation to be soothing. When he'd first stumbled across this remnant of a pre-Colony public park, his first thought had been that it was peaceful there.
His second thought had been to wonder why there were mechanical ducks in the pond when every time he'd come there at least one flock of living ducks was swimming around, eyeing the metal contraptions mistrustfully. They'd been happy enough to see him, though, until they realised that he didn't have any bread for them and had swum away disappointedly. He'd remembered to bring at least a roll or two with him every time after that.
This particular day, however, Quatre found himself not really able to concentrate on the ducks. The meeting he'd just been released from had left him with shoulders trying to climb their way up to cuddle with his ears and a strange ringing in the back of his mind. He sat on the bank of the pond, heedless of the way the damp grass was clinging to his dove-grey suit and absently tossed small chunks of bread into the water as he tried to focus on what felt so... off today.
It wasn't something particularly glaring, really. Just a vague feeling of something not quite in line with everything else. Quatre frowned, fighting through the ringing to focus on that feeling. It was almost like someone was...
'--don't need to be so defensive, my dear,' a gentle male voice murmured, sounding amused. There seemed to be an echo of chimes underneath the voice, fuzzing out the words a bit so that Quatre had to strain to hear. 'It's only a simple question. Nothing to get excited about.'
'How soon they forget!' another voice answered, dark with sardonic humour and the faintest hint of sibilant hiss brushing through the words. 'You never ask simple questions about our various sides' influences without there being something major about to happen. Like, say, the End of the World?'
Alarm snaked its way through Quatre at those words, though he wasn't sure why. Acting on a hunch, he twisted around sharply as if something had stung him, pretending to check his unharmed side even as he peered up through his lashes towards the direction he thought the voices were coming from.
He wasn't wrong. Off to one side of the pond, not so very far from Quatre, stood two figures. They both appeared male, though it was hard to say because they seemed to shimmer, as if the shape they were currently in was barely containing something else, something bigger. The darker of the two was dressed all in black, reminding Quatre very strongly of Duo right down to the devilish smirk. Except, unlike with Duo, "devilish" seemed entirely the right word to describe this man-shaped creature, and Quatre had to fight down a shudder.
His companion, however, was just as light as he was dark, his hair pale blond and slightly flyaway, and an oversized and threadbare tartan jumper nearly swallowing him. If one could ignore the sheer Presence he radiated, Quatre mused, one might dismiss the man - or whatever he was - as a harmless librarian or bookstore clerk. Currently, he was frowning in disapproval at the dark man.
'Really, Crowley, dear,' the blond man was saying sternly, 'I only ask because one of ours seems to have found our park and it got me thinking. You have to admit that "sides" were rather confused this time around.'
'One of yours is here?' the dark man, Crowley, perked up. 'Where? You mean that little blond pretty-boy over there making a mess out of that Armani suit?'
They're talking about me, Quatre realised with a start. He smoothed the wrinkles out of the fabric of his suit jacket and twisted back around, smiling apologetically at the ducks whom were all gazing reproachfully at him for not carrying on with feeding them immediately. His ears, however, remained fixed on the conversation near him.
'Now, now, dear, patience is a virtue!' the blond man laughed. Quatre clamped down on the urge to roll his eyes.
'It may have escaped your notice, angel, but I'm far from being an advocate of virtue,' Crowley replied, the smirk audible in his voice. 'Unless you ask nicely, of course.'
'Of course,' was the faintly exasperated reply. 'And yes, I was referring to that blond young man, although I should imagine he'd be a bit put off to find he's been working for us during the war.'
I should think so, Quatre thought to himself, miffed. It didn't matter that the war - both wars, in fact - were over; finding out you - and most likely others with you - had been used without your knowledge still stung as harshly as it had the first time. It brought a fresh wave of remembered pain so sharp that Quatre missed the next few sentences.
'--nestly, Aziraphale, why do you think we're so good?' Crowley was saying when Quatre finally got himself back under control and tuned back into the conversation. 'The humans that end up being our agents know full well they're being used and they don't care; they use each other constantly on the mortal plane and probably think they can use Hell the same way.'
'So you were backing Romefeller,' "Aziraphale" said, managing to sound almost but not quite smug.
'Well, of course!' Crowley said, sounding quite as if he felt this fact should be obvious. 'Just like you were backing those five pilots and, whatchacallem... OZ. Kind of risky backing two groups trying to kill each other, wasn't it?'
'It was necessary,' Aziraphale replied, and Quatre imagined he shrugged. 'Much like your manipulations of the Peacecraft children, I suspect.'
'Hey, I just liked the irony,' Crowley protested. 'Brother and sister, separated for years, the brother with a major complex about his dad, and the girl having her world turned upside down just about everywhere she went...' There was a pause, and then, 'You know, neither of them was really stable to begin with. I didn't have to do much at all to get those two to do their little waltz across the battlefield.'
'That still left me with my hands full trying to keep them from killing themselves or each other,' Aziraphale replied in a tone that was probably intended to be tart but couldn't quite manage to be any harsher than good-natured resignation. There was a pause, during which Quatre wondered absently if he should be concerned that he was going mad, and then Aziraphale said quietly, 'How much influence did you have over the Mariemaia girl, anyway?'
'Truly, angel?' Crowley mused. 'None.' At a disbelieving snort from Aziraphale, he added, 'I keep saying that these humans are more than capable of coming up with some pretty impressive and twisted shit to put their own people through. Hell, most of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, I just sat back and fucking took notes! You know I even got a commendation for the Spanish Inquisition? I didn't even do anything!'
'So you've said, my dear,' Aziraphale said with the air of someone who has been through the same argument many times for a very long time. 'At any rate, I believe it would be best if we continued this discussion over dinner. We seem to have given young Mr Winner quite a headache, poor boy.'
'Serves him right for listening in on conversations between discorporealated otherworldly entities,' Crowley snorted, his voice getting fainter as the pair moved away from the park. 'Where do you want to eat? I know you mentioned that new sushi place two blocks over from where the Ritz used to be, but...'
Quatre sat on the bank of the pond, uncaring of the damp grass clinging to his Armani silk suit, a half-shredded roll cradled limply in one hand, eyes staring vacantly as he tried to process what he'd just heard. None of it wanted to make sense, though, each sentence spinning around and around in his head until he thought he might not even know what the individual words meant anymore. Finally, out of self-preservation, his brain shoved the entire conversation into a closet in the back of his mind and locked the door before hanging a sign over the latch reading, 'Do Not Think About This EVER AGAIN!'
It would be nice to believe that, during Quatre's vain attempt to comprehend that he had, in fact, been hearing a conversation between an angel and a demon who were not, actually, manifesting themselves onto the physical plane, that the ducks were waiting patiently in the pond for Quatre to remember they were there and give them the rest of that tasty bread. Ducks, however, are not given to patience any more than demons are, and in short order Quatre's suit was thoroughly ruined, the bread was fought over and devoured, and Quatre had decided that he was not coming back to this park again, no matter how peaceful it might be.
As he stalked out of the park, headache worse than when he'd arrived and despairing at the ruin of the suit, he made a mental note to take extra bread with him next time.
- Owari -