Author's Note: An incredibly pointless fic, written while waiting for/on a plane. Much longer than originally planned, so chopped up into two bits. Good Omens/Discworld crossover, with unimportant GO spoilers and eventually a reasonably important Thief of Time spoiler. If you don't know who Susan is, you will probably be quite, quite lost. Thanks for reading; I apologize in advance for any loss of brain matter that may result from reading this.
Disclaimer: I do not own anything of Discworld or This World That's Probably Ours But Only Way Better. If I did, I would be happy as a clam, but since I don't, I'm off to paint my fingernails black. Ta!
It's a job. It's a club. It's a way of life.
"I don't see why you need me to come," Susan said peevishly.
I NEED SOMEONE TO WATCH BINKY.
"Excuse me? You need me to be a horsesitter?"
"Why can't he watch himself? He usually does."
IT'S THOSE WHEELIE THINGS, MOTORED CYCLES. THEY MAKE HIM NERVOUS. I SUPPOSE HE WORRIES I WILL WANT TO UPGRADE HIM AT SOME POINT.
"So he's nervous. He's a horse. So what?"
YES. HE IS A HORSE.
"I did just say that. I heard myself say it."
AND WHEN HORSES GET NERVOUS…
"They… What? Oh. He does that?"
I SUPPOSE YOUR FATHER NEVER TOLD YOU THAT STORY. WILL YOU HELP ME?
"What's the magic word?" Susan snapped.
Death stared at her.
"Oh, all right," Susan grumbled. "But don't expect me to hold your scythe or anything. I'm not a bloody squire!"
NO. I WILL NEED IT, IN ANY CASE.
"Someone offing it, then?" She brightened despite herself.
NO. BUT I WILL NEED IT, NEVERTHELESS.
Susan, her eyes tearing in the wind, watched the ground keenly as they came in for a landing. The place looked the way the majority of teenagers perceive their hometown: dull, brown, flat, empty. Boredom personified. Flora was represented by dead grass. Fauna was probably represented by worms.
There was one building in view, with one door. It was boxy, off-white, and windowless, reminiscent of a shrunken factory. There was no driveway up to the building. There was no road anywhere in sight.
Nevertheless, there was a figure in front of the building, standing next to several two-wheeled vehicles.
"Grandfather?" Susan asked, as Death steered Binky downward.
YES, he said. He sounded distracted.
"Where are we, exactly?"
THE MIDDLE OF IT, IN FACT.
Binky's hooves brushed the tips of the grass, which crumpled and fell the few centimeters to the earth. Then Binky touched down.
Death dismounted, turned awkwardly, and bowed his head slightly to the woman slouching by the door. GOOD DAY, MISS, he said nervously.
The woman rolled her eyes and stubbed out her cigarette on the seat of a motorcycle. "And good day to you, laddie buck," she said sweetly, acidly.
WAR, I MEANT. WHAT DID I SAY? I MEANT WAR. WAR.
"Mm. Well, hallo," said the woman, sounding bored. "The rest are in there. Dunno where your boys are."
CLOSE. THEY WILL ARRIVE SHORTLY.
The woman raised an eyebrow. All she said was, "That's good." After a moment of silence, she tipped her chin up at Susan, still on Binky, and said, "Who's that? Your sidekick?" She grinned.
There was a sproinggg sort of noise as Susan's hair escaped its bun and stood up from her head, curling and uncurling in an agitated way.
Death sighed. NO. MY GRANDDAUGHTER, he said.
The woman raised her other eyebrow.
Ignoring Death's tardily-proffered hand, Susan hopped nimbly down from the horse and snatched up Binky's reins. She glared at the other woman, clearly expressing her sincere desire to chop the bitch up into a thousand pieces.
Then she felt something crawling over her feet. She looked down.
The fauna, it turned out, were also represented by ants. Thousands of them, storming through the jungles of dead grass and tiny roots. And they were fighting each other. Each ant fighting each other ant. No sides. Pure carnage.
Susan watched the sea of insects, contemplating the flotsam and jetsam of crowd-surfing thoraxes and antennae with a very thoughtful expression on her face. Then she looked up at War, still glaring, and said brightly, "Would you excuse us a moment, please?" She gripped Death's arm and dragged him around the side of the building.
IF I HAD NERVES, THAT WOULD HAVE HURT, Death said reproachfully.
Ignoring this, Susan snapped, "Who in any and all of the various hells is that woman?"
NO ONE IN ANY HELL, said Death. SHE DOES NOT WORK FOR ONE OF THE BIG FIRMS. SHE IS WAR.
"She is not War! Don't tell me she's War, I've met War, he's—"
WAR. YES. HE IS. AND SO IS SHE.
Susan glared at him, figuring it was better than her other main option. (Goggling, which is undignified, according to most authorities.)
Death sighed. SOMETIMES, SUSAN, he said, YOU CAN BE REMARKABLY BLOCKHEADED. SHE IS FROM… SOMEWHERE ELSE. ANOTHER WORLD. SHE IS HOW WAR IS PERSONIFIED SOMEWHERE ELSE.
"And why is she here, please?" Susan growled.
I INVITED HER. He raised his voice over Susan's protests and continued, AND A FEW OTHERS AS WELL. I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE BENEFICIAL TO… COMPARE NOTES, AS IT WERE.
Susan stared. Then she laughed. "You've started a club for Horsemen? That's—"
APOCALYPTIC ANTHROPOMORHPIC PERSONIFICATIONS, Death corrected. AFTER ALL, THEY RIDE MOTORCYCLYES. AND WAR OBJECTED TO THE 'MEN' PART. THE OTHER WAR, I MEAN.
"This is really stupid," said Susan. "You do realize that this is stupid, don't you?"
THANK YOU FOR YOUR OBSERVATIONS, Death said tartly. HERE COME THE REST, he added, lifting his skull to the sky.
Three horses were galloping down towards the ground, shaking off residual cloud matter and the leavings of several surprised birds. One was red and robust; another was gray and sagging, with patches of gangrenous green; the color of the third generally went unremarked upon, as its every bone was visible and crying out for notice.
Death said, YOU ARE HERE.
War said, "Yes."
There was a pause. Then:
"Late," sniffed Famine. "Again."
"He said he'd catch us up later," volunteered Pestilence.
"Wants to make a bloody fashionable bloody entrance," grumbled Famine. "Always has. Unnecessary drama. Do you remember—"
YES, I'M SURE I DO, THANK YOU, said Death hurriedly. HE WILL BE ALONG SHORTLY, I'M SURE. NOW LET US GO IN, PLEASE. THE OTHERS ARE WAITING. SUSAN, PLEASE WATCH BINKY. MAKE SURE HE DOESN'T CHEW ON HIMSELF.
"Yes, Grandfather," Susan said tiredly.
"Helping out your granddad, eh?" boomed War. "Good girl. Say, could you keep an eye on the old mule for me, too, would you mind? There's no hitching post, you see, and—"
Susan suddenly found herself holding four bridles as the Horsemen swept past her, around the corner, and into the building.
She glowered at the four receding backs until she felt eight horsey eyes on her.
She whirled around. "Oh, what do you lot want!"