Summary: Crowley encounters the Inevitable Song, and Aziraphale plays air drums.
Author's Note: This one requires a bit of explaining. Okay, the song in question, 'It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)', is marvy and written by R.E.M., who are truly excellent. Reading through the list of Good Omens fics on I saw a summary of one story that said something along the lines of 'It's the end of the world as they know it, and they don't feel fine'. This inserted what I would call a plot bunny into my brain, only this organism is several rungs further down the evolutionary ladder than a rabbit. Perhaps it's a plot amoeba. No matter. I wrote this with great passion and glee (at night, naturally) (instead of doing chemistry, naturally), and it ended up being less of a mental exercise as to what would happen if an angel got 'The End of the World As We Know It' stuck in his head and more of an excuse for me to create other victims of Michael Stipe's sexiness. Now I'll probably have to set up a support group. Anyway, I know that in real life—er—I mean—well, you know what I mean—neither Crowley nor Aziraphale would probably find him sexy. My warped brain just drags him into everything it can. Also, to explain why Crowley ends up muttering drunkenly about throwing rugs into fireplaces: Michael Stipe (singer/lyricist for R.E.M.) is known primarily for his weird, generally incomprehensible lyrics, and you can spend absolute years arguing about what they mean. I thought that would irritate a demon of Crowley's temperament, especially a drunken one. Right, I'm shutting up now… (Oh, and the bit about the skirt? That's true.)
Warnings: Angelic air-drumming (I cannot mention that enough) and slashy inferences. I didn't mean for them to be there, but as with Kurt Wagner and angst, it is physically impossible for me to write Good Omens fic without inserting slashiness. I am a bad, bad person.
Disclaimer: Crowley and Aziraphale belong to the truly dynamic duo of Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I lick their metaphorical boots. All songs mentioned below belong to R.E.M., who are tremendously bloody awesome. I lick their metaphorical boots also. For more information, go to for lyrics, bios, etc. etc. etc.
The being known as Aziraphale was not very musical. He could have been if he'd wanted to, of course; in fact, as he was an angel, it was rather expected of him to have dulcet tones, perfect pitch, et cetera. This was part of the reason Aziraphale resisted music, actually. Technically he wasn't supposed to have free will, but that didn't mean he had to be a cardboard pop-up angel.
Nevertheless, sometimes Aziraphale was filled with the urge to—well, in about twenty years he would begin to refer to it as 'boogying down', causing a certain demon to refuse to be seen in public with him for weeks. Even ethereal beings are occasionally bitten by the beat bug.
So it was that Crowley entered the bookshop in Soho one pleasantly springy Saturday to find Aziraphale thumbing through an elderly copy of Bibliophile's Quarterly(1) and humming absentmindedly to himself. It was disgustingly cute, really, Crowley thought as he listened to the angel's voice (which was not quite reedy enough to be immediately irritating and was also, despite Aziraphale's best efforts, perfectly on pitch). He could be on a bloody Christmas card. Hallmark's angels in tweed.
The angel was too intent on his multitasking to notice Crowley's presence, so the demon turned around and was about to leave when he recognised the tune Aziraphale was still singing under his breath.
"It's hmm end of hmm hmm as we hmm hmm, hmm hmm doo doo the world as hmm know it, it's the hmm hmm hmm hmm doo doo know it, and I feel fine…"
He proceeded to play some vicious air drum and mutter something about six o'clock and television. Crowley revolved slowly on the spot and stared at him with a mix of amusement and horror(2).
"Are you bloody insane?" he managed after a moment.
Startled, Aziraphale jerked his head up, losing grip on his invisible drumsticks.
"Good heavens, Crowley!" he said weakly, clutching his chest with one hand. "You gave me such a fright!"
"Yeah, well, look at you, Mister…" Crowley hesitated, about to say 'Mister Stupid' and becoming aware that 'Mister Stupid' lacks a certain panache. He gave it up and said instead, "What were you just singing, angel?"
Aziraphale flushed and averted his eyes from Crowley's face, muttering something.
"You know, generally interpersonal communication is a lot easier if you open your lips to speak," said Crowley sourly.
The angel sighed. "I heard it in a shop a few days ago," he said. "It was… catchy, is that the right term? So I asked at the desk, and they told me the name of the record. I've been listening to it, although I must say I had quite a bit of trouble manipulating that infernal device needed to play it."
He gestured into the back room; Crowley craned his neck sideways until he saw a large, boxy object sitting sullenly on a small table just inside the doorway. It was an elderly and extremely dusty record player. Looking back at Aziraphale, he said with a straight face, "Newfangled gadgetry, eh?"
"I've never gotten the hang of it," Aziraphale agreed, apparently oblivious as always to demonic sarcasm. "Still, it's worth it, it's a good song—"
"No," Crowley cut in curtly, "it's not. It's a bad song."
"Oh, Crowley! Surely we needn't bicker about my taste in music—"
"That's not—all right, I admit it, it's weird," Crowley snapped. "I never had you pegged as the pop-rock type, but what I'm worried about is—"
"You're never worried!"
"Well, I bloody well am now!" Crowley said loudly, in an attempt to drown out any further interruptions. "We just barely got through The Big One, angel! Don't you think it's a bit cocky to be singing 'It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)'? Anyone could be listening!"
Aziraphale looked at him blankly. "Do you mean," he said slowly, "that you think I'm tempting fate?"
"Well… yes!" said Crowley, somewhat defensively.
"You," said the angel, a grin spreading across his face, "are superstitious, aren't you, Crowley?"
Crowley shifted uncomfortably. "Can't be religious, can I?" he muttered. "'M a demon, aren't I? Besides, what's the point believing in something that I know exists? Superstition's my only option, really. After all, I've got to believe in something, don't I?" he added into the silence.
"Not really," said Aziraphale, crossing his arms, "but I'm glad you do. Because it's damned funny, Crowley," he added, seeing the demon's questioning look.
Crowley groaned. "Excellent. This is going to be another one of those Spanish underpants things, isn't it?"
Aziraphale smiled. "I wouldn't worry, dear boy," he said soothingly. "I expect that if They didn't come down on us after the Incident, they won't bother me about my musical choices. I know it's more than your job's worth not to be paranoid, but Upstairs seems to be trying to ignore me at present." He looked back down at his magazine.
Looking unsure, Crowley asked, "But… you know… the band is a bit… can't you get in trouble for… Well, they're not very Christian, are they?" he finished lamely.
"No, not at all, although in 'New Test Leper'—" Aziraphale began, then paused. He looked up at Crowley sharply and cocked his head to one side. Then he snorted in a highly un-angelic manner. "You," he said, "are worried about me, Anthony Crowley."
The demon blanched. "I am not!"
"Oh, yes, you are," retorted Aziraphale, smirking. "I expect you would just pine if I was recalled, wouldn't you? You'd waste away to nothing without me to keep you on your toes, and you know it."
"Well, so would you without me!" Crowley said hotly.
The angel nodded. "Yes," he said, "I expect I would." He came out from behind his desk and disappeared into the back room.
"Why do you like them, anyway?" Crowley asked, as the first strains of 'Finest Worksong' leaked into the room. "They're not very… you, really."
There was a chuckle from the back room, and Aziraphale walked back into the room, regarding Crowley from the doorway.
"Honestly?" he said, the corners of his mouth twitching. "The singer's dead sexy, Crowley." And he winked. He actually did.
Crowley stared at him, trying to figure out whether he was kidding or not. At last he said, shaking his head ruefully, "You really are a pouf, Aziraphale."
"Of course I am," the angel said, crossing the floor to stand in front of Crowley. "Now," he said, as bass beats shook the floorboards, "teach me."
"Teach you?" Crowley said blankly. "Teach you what?"
Aziraphale sighed melodramatically. "Teach me," he said, "to dance. I'm tired of the gavotte."
"I'm a demon," said Crowley in as cool a voice as he could manage; he was someone distracted by the music and the presence of the angel less than a foot away from him. "We don't dance."
"But you know how to."
"Well, yes, but that's not the—"
"Oh, shut up, Crowley, would you? Put theory into practice. Er." Aziraphale coughed a small cough and looked at his fingernails.
The demon looked at him quizzically, then nodded, resigned to his fate. "Come on, then," he said, taking the angel's elbow and pulling him away from tables, bookshelves, and assorted other sharp objects.
After only a few moments, there came:
"Ouch! Damni—bugger, angel, my foot!"
"Well, I never said I was particularly coordinated, did I?"
A bit later:
"Is that a saxaphone?"
"I think so. Is there something wrong with saxophones?"
"Well, no. It's just… quite cool." A pause. "Don't smirk at me like that, angel."
"Angels don't smirk, Crowley."
"Tell that to your face."
"Wait till you see a picture of the singer."
"You are such a pouf, Aziraphale."
"You're really improving, you know."
"Do you think so?"
"As much as can be expected from a being with two or more left feet. I do have one tip, though."
"I am all ears, my dear."
"You might want to move your hands from their present position." A pause. "I meant upwards, Aziraphale."
"Are you sure?"
"Then I think perhaps you should readjust your hands first, my dear."
And later still, after afternoon had become evening, bottles had been uncorked, and the final strains of 'Oddfellows Local 151' had long faded away, someone said:
"My only point. My only. My only point, right, is. Is that it doesn't make any sense. I mean. Who bloody cares about throwing rugs into fireplaces? What's the point, right? What's he getting at? Why can't he, right, why can't he just say it?"
"I think you'll find, my dear, that it's a bit of a pointless arger—argra—argur—debate. B'sides, 's part of the charm."
"Mm." A pause, then a rustling. "'S a picture of the singer."
"He wears a skirt in concert sometimes, you know."
"How d'you know that?"
"You can't use a bloody record player, but you can surf the Interw—Intra—web thing?"
"More like float."
"Crowley, you are highly inebriated."
"I just thought I should mention it. 'M sobering up."
"You're a killjoy, angel. Don't wanna go home yet."
"No. Oh, no," said Aziraphale, standing up and smiling a wholly unholy smile as he extended a hand towards his Fallen colleague. "We're only just beginning."
1. This doesn't exist. But it should.
2. To replicate demon's current emotional state, mix two parts horror to one part amusement. Stir till dissolved.