Oh my goodness, I am so sorry this took so long! I honestly was in the midst of writing it back when I was still working on Manchester Lost, but then school picked up, afterwards I lost two grandparents in two weeks, and then my dog's cancer was revealed to have not been affected by the chemotherapy he was on, so I lost a lot of will to do pretty much anything. In fact, in order to get into the mood to write this, I had to send it (mostly unfinished) to my beta, the indomitable Quantum Witch. But here we are now!
I have two links I want to share before we begin:
Someone created a TV Tropes page for ML located here: http:// tvtropes. org /pmwiki/pmwiki. php /FanFic/ManchesterLost ... I have no idea who did it, so I just want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! It seriously made me wibble in joy. Check it out!
Also, ML is being translated into Hungarian, and if you want to peruse you may do so here: http:// fanfic. hu/ merengo/ viewstory. php?sid= 50844. I don't know a word of Hungarian but I think the language looks beautiful, so I thought I'd share. Thank you fejezet - both for translating and for correcting the link!
So, many many thanks to my wonderful continued beta Quantum Witch, who actually threatened me if I didn't ask her to be my beta again! I couldn't do any of this without you, dear! Also, thanks to my wonderful lj friends list for letting me bounce ideas off them. Thanks to you for reading and humoring me yet again, and of course, most importantly, try to enjoy!
The Story Thus Far
As told by Aziraphale and Crowley
(While having a fight)
To two five-year-olds
"Once upon a time," said Aziraphale cheerfully, "there was a demon and an angel and they met in a garden. The demon caused the downfall of all Humanity and the angel smote him for it, but not permanently because that would be very mean and you oughtn't do such a thing ever. Then six thousand years later the demon begged the angel to help him stop Armageddon-"
"And the angel didn't know that a dolphin was a mammal," Crowley interjected wryly, "and the demon didn't need the angel's help but figured he could get it just by offering him alcohol and food, considering how much the angel eats."
Aziraphale2 and Bentley Pulsifer stared at their two babysitters in bewilderment.
"And the angel did help the demon," said Aziraphale1 with narrowed eyes, "because the demon was such a sad, pathetic, er, sleeper, and clearly needed all the help he could get. And the angel knows exactly what a dolphin is. Aquatic mammal, breathes through a blowhole, gives birth to live young, has very small hairs on rubbery skin, eats fish, excellent at doing tricks."
"Has big brains. Kind of fish," Crowley retorted with a tongue-stick-out.
The utterly confused expressions on the two children's faces did not change.
Aziraphale primly replied, "You were the one harping on the size of their brains, if you recall."
"Maybe they use a spaceship," Crowley drawled.
"Oo, spaceships are neat," Bentley cooed.
"Anyhow," Aziraphale continued frigidly, "so the demon and the angel decided to watch over the Antichrist to make sure that he didn't destroy the world. Only, thanks to the demon's ineptitude, the child they watched wasn't really the Antichrist."
"That wasn't my fault; that was all the nun's. Stupid nuns. I hate nuns," Crowley grumbled, looking distinctly uncomfortable.
"In fact, the Antichrist had grown up to be a very nice little boy," Aziraphale continued, "and he decided he didn't want to end the world, because he liked it."
"Aren't stories s'possed to have morals?" Bentley asked.
"It does, dummy," Aziraphale2 informed him, "Just 'cause you're born somethin' doesn' mean you have to stay it."
"That makes no sense," Bentley wibbled.
"That's 'cause you're stupid," Aziraphale2 retorted.
Aziraphale1 cleared his throat again. "Now now, children. The story isn't over yet."
The two five-year-olds returned their full attention to the blond angel.
"The angel got really pi-"
"- angry at the demon and stepped on a different, meaner demon who wanted to kill the nice demon and the angel, all because the nice demon was nice and gave the angel's bookshop a makeover. The moral of the story is that you shouldn't do nice things for people."
"Crowley. That's hardly the point! The moral is that you oughtn't go messing about with someone's property!"
"But it was messing in a good way."
"You turned my shop into a large-scale retail book store! With a dance floor!"
"It smelled so much better, though."
Aziraphale huffed and went silent.
Crowley sighed. "Anyhow, kids, so after that, the angel managed to get himself kidnapped by Hell and the demon had to rescue him."
"To be fair, I – er, the angel was, er, sleeping at the time."
"So the demon rescued the angel, and then the end of the world started coming around again, so the demon rescued the angel yet again by taking him to visit the real Antichrist."
"That was hardly a rescue, my dear. All it involved was y – the demon driving his car. Which he does more often than not anyway."
"And then the angel Fell because he's an idiot, and stole the demon's car because he's a bigger idiot, and fought with the Prince of Hell because he's the biggest idiot in Creation."
Aziraphale gave an affronted gasp. "You were the one who chained me – er, the demon chained the ex-angel up in his car!"
"You kidnapped my car!"
"You kidnapped me!"
"You kidnapped my car!"
"Quit trying to make it sound as if that's somehow worse!"
"It is worse!"
"It is not!"
"I have no idea what they're talking about anymore," Bentley confided to his twin sister, who nodded in agreement.
"I was saving you from yourself, you martyring wanker!"
"And trying to end the world in the process, you selfish prat!"
"But you both lived and everyone lived and there was a happy ending, right?" Aziraphale2 voiced.
The two angels – one fairly newly returned to the Host – looked back at her. "Oh, right, of course dear," Aziraphale1 said sweetly. "It ended up rather nicely."
"Never mind that we both died," Crowley snorted.
"Temporarily. Remind me to make Adam a fruit basket for somehow indebting Death to himself."
"Can I go to bed now?" Bentley asked loudly.