Ideas are a funny thing. If you'd asked me even the day before I wrote this, I would've told you that my stock of GO/Murder Mysteries crossovers was exhausted. I'd written all of 'em that were in me. City of Angels, I would have assured you, was it.

I would also have told you that I was stopping at Friends of Dorothy, which was a joke really, and didn't count as fic, and anyway you weren't going to get any more Eroica fic out of me. Oh no.

And then, because I was a bit despondent that day, I asked on my LJ for people to tell me stories about Klaus with wings. They didn't, which was a good thing, as it turned out, because by the end of the day I was feverishly telling myself a story about Klaus with wings. So I wrote this.

Like I told you. Funny.

This story is in roughly the same neighbourhood as City of Angels, but set later in the continuity. It was written for Azarias, who asked for Eroica. I took the liberty of bunging two and a half more fandoms into the story, just 'cos.

Aziraphale and Caphriel (in slightly modified form) are from Good Omens. This particular interpretation of Heaven is from Neil Gaiman's short story Murder Mysteries. Baruch is from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials books, simply because he was a convenient angel whose name started with B. The Iron Archangel is, in another life, a machine-mad, uptight German NATO agent called Iron Klaus, and he is from Eroica.

The inspiriting interest was "non-standard uses of tent-pegs".

* * *

Angels Everywhere
by afrai

* * *

There was never much noise in the Hall of Being, no matter how busy it got. Even in the midst of the mad hustle of completing the universe, the designers maintained a reverent quiet -- a quiet that might almost be said to be superstitious, if Superstition hadn't still been in the working stages. All the same, it was an emotion very like it that kept the designers' voices respectfully low as they toiled over their great work. You didn't shout with a baby universe in the room.

There are a great many baby things in this story -- a baby Nebula, behind which Aziraphale and Klaus are currently hiding, and Aziraphale himself, who is little more than an infant, though the war's aged him a bit. And Klaus, of course, who is not very old himself -- but he doesn't count, because I don't think Klaus was ever a baby, even when he was a baby, if you follow me.

I think a baby universe would make a little sound. Like "peep".

Quiet was nothing new for the Hall of Being. But there was an eerie quality to its silence now, without the background hum of a million million angels working wing to wing.

I nicked the image of lots of angels working wing to wing from Rudyard Kipling's short story On The Gate. Sorry, Mr. Kipling. At least I haven't posted that Good Omens crossover with that very story that I started on two years ago, what?

Half-finished models of the world that was to be spun gently in space, or lay on their sides, abandoned by their designers. Aziraphale hunkered down behind one -- a draft of a Nebula, scrapped when the designer decided it wasn't big enough -- and tried not to shudder.

The angel beside him wasn't having any problems with that. He was looking over the edge of the Nebula, keeping his head low to avoid the Enemy's catching sight of him, and there was a gleam in his eyes.

Eyes that were growing greener as the blood-edged days of the war slipped past, and every angel became more and more itself. Aziraphale couldn't remember what his name had been before the war -- he hadn't known him as anything other than a vague figure in another department, absorbed in odd, sharp-edged ideas -- but it didn't matter. Aziraphale suspected that whatever his name had been, it probably wasn't his name anymore.

In this paragraph you see my incredible foresight and research skills and so on and so forth: I knew if I tried to name angel!Klaus, I would likely end up calling him Klausphiel or something, because I really am Just That Good. So I decided to do away with the name altogether. I worry that the Iron Archangel sounds a bit stupid, but I like it because "the Archangel" works well enough as an equivalent for "the Major", and it's a clue to his identity.

As for his eyes' growing greener: the angels in Murder Mysteries are all pretty similar in appearance, all silver-eyed and so on. I liked the idea that as time went on, the angels got more and more themselves, got specialised for their functions, as it were, like cell differentiation. So you start off with a crop of angels that are all pretty much alike, seeds of themselves, and then they grow up a bit and acquire their own personalities and you see that they're all different plants, so to speak. Of course the war helps the germination along, to carry the analogy further than it ever ought to go.

This isn't quite consistent with canon -- Raguel springs into existence fully defined as the Vengeance of the Lord -- but you know, it could kind of fit, and it's neat, and that's good enough for me.

Aziraphale's eyes are either Kindly Blue or Comfortable Grey, take your pick. Or they could be Warm Brown, though I don't think I've ever seen a fic featuring a brown-eyed Aziraphale before. People seem to think angels should have blue eyes.

The angels called him the Iron Archangel, after one of the projects he had worked on before the Darkness had come, and the great work was suspended. Aziraphale had no idea what Iron was supposed to be, but the title was oddly fitting. There could be nothing but Iron in the way the Archangel now smiled.

He was enjoying this, Aziraphale realised for the thousandth time. The thought still came as a shock. But after all, what could you expect from an angel who had been one of the principal designers of War, before he had been demoted to Weaponry? He probably felt right at home in the horror and destruction that had engulfed the Silver City.

Klaus was demoted because of his attitude problem. As in, his whole attitude was a problem.

"Are they coming?" Aziraphale quavered. He had been working on Books when the war began. Horror and destruction were things he'd only read about up till now. He wished they'd stayed that way.

"Four of them," said the Iron Archangel, with grim satisfaction. "Former Seraphim, with swords." He ignored Aziraphale's squeak. "Where is B?"

"Baruch?" said Aziraphale. "I think I saw him duck behind a prototype Mountain."

"And D is down, and C -- " The Archangel paused, and a vicious sneer distorted the classically beautiful line of his mouth. "He will wish he had followed D when I am done with him."

N. B.: Klaus is hot. I just thought you should know that.

"I'm sure Caphriel hasn't really defected," Aziraphale protested.

I'm not sure what happened just before this. I know the Iron Archangel took his team out into the Silver City to hunt down those of the Enemy they could kill, and that Caphriel defected and ran to the other side, causing the Iron Archangel to break off the original mission and pursue him, before the fallen Seraphim came after them and derailed those plans (look at all this exposition I didn't actually put into the story!) -- but why did Caphriel defect just then? Clearly he'd already been hanging around the Enemy for some time, but why did he choose that moment to switch sides? I think the Iron Archangel might have precipitated it, or something Caphriel saw during the fighting, but I'm not sure.

When I do know, I'll write the story from Caphriel's perspective. I expect he has a lot of things to say.

"Then you're an idiot," snapped the Archangel. "Shut up. I don't care how well-meaning he was, or how much genius he contributed to your joint projects. He betrayed the Name when he started hanging around Lucifer. He is one of the Enemy now."

"He didn't know what he was doing," said Aziraphale weakly.

"That is no excuse," said the Archangel. He looked at the object in his hands consideringly. He'd swiped it from one of the galleries they had passed in their pursuit of Caphriel. Aziraphale had never seen the like before, but the Archangel called it a Magnum, and the loving way he handled it worried Aziraphale. The Iron Archangel never looked like that over anything nice.

This bit makes me giggle. Hee. Magnum.

"At least we have weapons," said the Archangel. "You remember how to use your pistol?"

"I suppo -- yes," said Aziraphale hastily, at the Archangel's glare. Aziraphale could only vaguely remember the Archangel's barked instructions, and he wasn't sure he'd got the gist -- it seemed such a peculiar thing to do with an object, nothing like reading a Book or feeding a Duck -- but he'd rather go into combat with a fallen Seraph not fully understanding how to use his weapon than risk another of the Iron Archangel's glares.

"Gut," said the Archangel. "I will distract the Seraphim. When I give you the signal, fire at them. Don't try to get all the heads, if you take out the upper two it should be enough -- "

It makes absolutely 0 sense for Klaus to be speaking German when he's not technically either Klaus or German, but, well. If Aziraphale was English before there was ever an England -- and that's what I've always thought -- Klaus is definitely German even when there isn't a Germany.

The Seraphim, you will have noticed, are of the old school. They have four heads, six wings, and are scary sumbitches. Not the kind of thing you'd want to meet in a dark alley at night. I chose the old-school Seraphim because it made things interesting, but this caused complications later, as you'll see.

"Wait," said Aziraphale, his consternation overcoming even his fear of the Archangel, "wait, do you mean to say we're going to fight them?"

"If you have any objection, you know where you can go." The Archangel's tone was freezing as Snow, or Solid Carbon Dioxide. The threat of exile usually silenced any protestations on the part of the angels recruited by the Iron Archangel, but Aziraphale was too distressed to be daunted by it now.

Earth = Alaska. I am lame, but. hee!

The idea is that when the war started, the Iron Archangel gleefully threw off the shackles of his desk job, collared a bunch of angels who didn't seem to have anything better to do and were too cowed by him to object or run away, and went in with his guns blazing. I doubt he technically has the authority to exile Aziraphale to Earth, but technically is not very comforting when you have a personality like the Iron Archangel's bellowing down your neck.

"They're Seraphim! Four of them! We only have an Archangel on our side, and B's just a Virtue, not to mention on the other side of the room, and I'm only a designer, I don't know anything about fighting. They'll slaughter us!"

Daegaer has mentioned this before -- Aziraphale is a Principality, the book says, but if he was set to guard the Garden of Eden with a fiery sword, he must have been of a rather higher rank at that point, i. e. a Cherub. But if the Seraphim are scary sumbitches, so must Cherubim be (they have four wings and four not-particularly-pleasant-sounding faces, which doesn't sound much like Aziraphale).

I didn't want to let the scary Seraphim go, so I got over the difficulty by avoiding mentioning what sort of angel Aziraphale's supposed to be. It doesn't matter, anyway. Aziraphale's a designer. Rank doesn't make much difference to him.

Angel!Klaus, on the other hand, is the Compleat Archangel. He's been itching to fight demons even before there was such a thing as demons. You can tell he's having a ball.

Aziraphale ran out of steam abruptly at the look on the Archangel's face, but for a wonder, he didn't get yelled at. The Archangel merely gave him a long stare, and then said,

"We have only an Archangel on our side, true. But, Herr A . . . it's me."

He leaned forward. Aziraphale shrank, curling into the Nebula as if it could protect him.

"I'm here," said the Iron Archangel, "right beside you, and I have a gun I spent eternities working to perfect before the war. There are four Seraphim with swords over there, and they want to kill you. But let me tell you, what they want to do to you is nothing to what I will do to you if you do not go out there and fight like an angel."

He smiled, wide-eyed and cheerful.

A good expression on Klaus, that.

"Now ask yourself," he said, "who are you more afraid of? Those bloody traitors on the other side of this thing -- " he tapped the Nebula, which parped in tiny indignation -- "or me?"

I have always, always wanted to read/write a story in which the words "angels" and "parp" were both present. And now I have done it: my existence is validated.

* * *

Aziraphale was pressed up against a wall, waiting. The Iron Archangel had disposed of B's -- no, Baruch's -- fate in a similar fashion. Aziraphale wondered how the Archangel was going to tell Baruch what he was supposed to do. He probably wouldn't need to intimidate Baruch into doing his duty against the Enemy -- Baruch was newly promoted to Virtuehood, and no more than a glance from one of the higher orders was needed to make him skip to their command -- but he would have to communicate the plan to Baruch without alerting the Enemy. Perhaps he thought he was going to force the plan into Baruch's mind from across the length of the gallery through sheer force of will. Aziraphale wouldn't put it beyond him.

He thought of the Archangel's terrible eyes, and tightened his grip on the pistol.

Then he thought, Wait, he didn't tell me what the signal was . . .

He really ought to have had more faith, Aziraphale reflected later.

In any event, the next moment he knew what the signal was.

Of course the Archangel wouldn't need to tell Baruch, thought Aziraphale as he pushed off and charged around the wall, pistol swinging up as if he'd worked on Weaponry all his life. Baruch would know the minute his ears started bleeding . . .

Aziraphale had never heard a fallen Seraph sing. There were four of them now, and voices made to lift in glorious hosannas were warped by the endless rage of the Darkness. The singing of the Seraphim was a roaring like a great fire; it was a piercing shrill that scythed clean through the mind; it was a wild, aching, cosmically out-of-pitch wailing that spoke of depths of despair and hatred that Aziraphale could not conceive.

There might have been gnashing of teeth in there. Aziraphale's ears were too blasted out for him to be able to tell.

The noise was bad enough, but the sight stopped Aziraphale's willing feet in their tracks.

He was a designer, he thought feverishly. His hair was whipping around his head from the wind raised by the beating of many wings -- too many wings, six per nightmare, and yet not enough, because he could still see the heads through the whirling hurricane of feathers, and the faces that should have been shining with the grace of the Name were filthy beyond imagining.

He was just a designer, thought Aziraphale. The thought ran around his head, dully repetitive, followed by a conga line of fears: he was a designer. He shouldn't have to see things like this. He wasn't made for it. He couldn't deal with it.

Before the horror the Archangel stood, his gun aimed dead centre at one of the many foreheads, his wings spread and still against the storm. He was smiling -- not the bright, terrifying simulation of friendliness he'd turned on Aziraphale when threatening him, but a fiercely joyous smile, as if looking death in the eye was precisely his idea of a good time. His eyes were genuinely happy, and wholly forgetful of self. There was no fear in them at all.

See? He likes it! He's having fun! Awww.

Barely knowing what he was doing, Aziraphale brought up his gun and ran forward.

The Name must have been directing the bullets -- perhaps the Name was in the bullets, for they hit their targets beautifully, and had more of an effect than Aziraphale thought mere chunks of metal ought to have had on Seraphim. In the scrum, Aziraphale was conscious of Baruch shooting pointy sticks at the Enemy, using what looked like a very basic stringed instrument. He shrugged when Aziraphale glanced at him, mouthing philosophically, "Nothing else."

This is possibly the most undynamic description of a battle scene ever. I think it passes, though, because Aziraphale's not really a warrior type; a fight's just going to be this big blur of noise and terror and inept fumbling with unfamiliar weapons to him. I hope I've managed to convey that, but possibly it just looks like I'm very, very bad at writing fight scenes (which is true, alas).

Good chap, Baruch, thought Aziraphale, in the small, peaceful part of his mind that wasn't engaged in the battle. He would make a good Virtue if he survived this.

Baruch dropped with a thud behind something large and yellowly pulsating that an incompetent junior designer had tried to pass off as a Tree. Aziraphale felt as if his heart had jumped up his throat and was strangling him. He wasn't sure if the fear was more of facing the Seraphim with less one ally, or of being left alone with the Archangel if they won the battle.

He crouched behind the defective Tree and found himself looking into Baruch's wide eyes. Baruch was bleeding from the temple, but he seemed otherwise unhurt.

"I've run out of arrows," he said, incomprehensibly. "But there's only one of the bastards left. The Archangel's alone out there. Go!"

I think Baruch has a wee crush on the Archangel. Nothing big, because of course his one true love is Balthamos, but a little small hero-worshipy crush. But possibly that's just my fondness of Klaus speaking.

Aziraphale rolled out of hiding again, fumbling with the pistol, and looked up to see the last Seraph standing over him.

Aziraphale brought up the gun and squeezed the trigger with fingers numb from terror.

Nothing happened.

He realised several things in one eternal second: that pistols did not have an inexhaustible supply of bullets, and his supply was finished. That the Iron Archangel was having the same problem; Aziraphale could hear him snarling fruitlessly at his gun. That the fallen Seraph was leaning over him, the Darkness wafting off him like an evil smell. That his time was up, and he could do nothing but commend his soul to the Name and hope there was a place beyond the Silver City he could go.

I had a little scene in my head with the Iron Archangel going, I must change this thing about bullets running out, it is inefficient. But it didn't fit in anywhere, so I had to say goodbye to it. Goodbye, little scene.

I'm never going to get to finish Books, Aziraphale thought suddenly, and the pain of the thought was worse than any of the others.

This thought hurts me too. It probably hurts Aziraphale even worse than Caphriel's defection: Caphriel's a friend, yes, but books are books.

The demon giggled, and stretched its arms towards him. Aziraphale closed his eyes.

I hope, he thought in the darkness, I hope Caphriel doesn't --

The end of the thought was something like: "sound like that". Aziraphale fears, not so much the loss of his friend -- which he already suffered in some measure in City of Angels -- but the change in Caphriel. It turns out all right in the end, of course; Crowley's still a decent chap you can talk to, but Aziraphale's not to know that.

"Idiot!" roared the Iron Archangel, and the giggling stopped, cut off abruptly. Aziraphale's eyes snapped open just in time for him to see the dead Seraph, its eight eyes open in surprise, fall forward.

An iron hand clamped on the back of his neck and dragged him out of the way. The demon crumpled on the vacant ground.

Aziraphale was free, but he was staring an enraged Archangel in the face. He wasn't sure he didn't prefer impending death.

"You fool!" bellowed the Archangel. "That was the most incompetent display I have ever seen! Why didn't you kill it?"

Aziraphale found his voice, and dragged enough of it out to say,

"I ran out of bullets."

"Then you should have used something else!" The Archangel dropped him, turned, and kicked the limp body on the floor. It rolled over. There was something embedded in its chest.

"That's never a weapon," Aziraphale said faintly.

"No. It's a Tent-Peg," said the Iron Archangel. "Anything can be used as a weapon. That's the first thing you learn when you work on Weaponry."

He was simmering with fury. Aziraphale really ought to have been a great deal more frightened than he was, but he couldn't seem to work up the energy. He felt like he'd gone through fear and come out the other side. Nothing more could happen now.

That must have been why he said,

"Well, I wouldn't know. I didn't work on Weaponry and I'm glad I didn't.

"Books," continued Aziraphale, drunk on the truth and heedless of peril, "are much better."

Angels probably don't have adrenaline, but Aziraphale's running on something like it at the moment.

The blast of fury came from the Archangel, as expected.

"Only an idiot like you would think that!" bellowed the Iron Archangel. "If that's the way you feel, I'll send you to Earth! There are no weapons there!"

"All right," said Aziraphale recklessly. "I don't mind. It can't be worse than this. Nothing could be worse than this."

He'd been trying not to think about it, but at his own words the image of the fallen Seraph's dreadful face rose in his mind, and a swell of misery overcame him.

Caphriel was like that now. Caphriel, who'd been a decent chap, whatever the Iron Archangel said about weak moral fibre and foolishly impressionable minds. He'd been a talented designer -- nothing on a grand scale, but clever in his own way, and Aziraphale had always been able to talk to him. And now he was that. It didn't bear thinking about.

Aziraphale couldn't stop thinking about it.

"With claws," he realised he was hiccupping, but could not stop, "and fangs, and wriggling things in his eyes. Like the Seraph. Caphriel'll have them now, just the same. And his face, oh the Name. And he had such a nice smile. He was such a dear boy."

Were the wriggling things in the Seraph's eyes maggots, or things insubstantial, things even worse? I'm inclined to think that it's the latter, but you can take your pick.

The Iron Archangel stared down at him. From this angle his face was cast in dramatic shadow, and Aziraphale couldn't make out anything of his expression.

"If it weren't for you lot and your ideals," said Aziraphale. "You and Lucifer -- you simply don't think. We can't all go blasting after Seraphim with whacking great Magnums. We can't all spit at the Name and make it look stylish. Some of us just want to get on with our jobs and not be bothered. And now you've filled Caphriel's head with all these ideas, and he's gone and fallen, and he'll hate it, I know he will. He'd have been all right if you'd only just left him alone."

I've always figured the problem with Crowley is ideas. They seem to affect him more than they do Aziraphale. Consider him carefully furnishing his flat according to his idea of what a human like him would do, even though he doesn't actually use the flat -- and compare with Aziraphale, who really does do everything the man he appears to be would do. Not because he has an internal image of himself as Mr. Fell, middle-aged Englishman and bibliophile, but because he is that guy.

"Don't associate me with Lucifer," said the Archangel. "I'm absolutely opposed to him!"

"But you're like him. You're all the same," said Aziraphale. "Champions and nemeses. He thinks he's a hero too, I expect. You never think of the effect you have on everybody else. On the little people. You never think."

The Lucifer of Murder Mysteries probably does think he's a hero of the oppressed, etc. etc. It's harder to tell with Good Omens's Satan, who seems genuinely Evil and frightening in the traditional Satanic way, but you never know. Maybe even he was young and idealistic once.

He was exhausted. He sat on the floor, with its trails of blood and feathers, and looked up at the Archangel, waiting for the reckoning.

It didn't come.

"You think C -- Caphriel -- would agree with you?" said the Iron Archangel.

See, he remembered his name! He's nice really.

"I don't know," said Aziraphale, too tired to be anything but honest.

"Then you can ask him when you go to Earth," said the Archangel. "He will probably turn up eventually. I would send him there if I were his superior."

He turned on his heel and stalked off, shouting for Baruch, though of course he didn't use his name. Aziraphale watched him go.

Earth, he thought. He had been dreading exile for so long that the sensation of relief he now experienced surprised him. At least he would escape from the Iron Archangel there. Any world that didn't have an Iron Archangel in it had to be an improvement.

Of course, if the Iron Archangel was somehow reincarnated as Klaus von Eberbach, that would no longer hold true of Earth. A meeting between him and Aziraphale would be worth seeing, I think.

There weren't weapons on Earth yet, but there would be in time. But there would be books there, too. In time, there would be everything on Earth.

Maybe, thought Aziraphale, maybe even a lost friend.

It needs some thinking for this view of events to work with canon -- if you read the beginning of Good Omens, Aziraphale doesn't seem to be talking to Crowley the way you talk to a longlost friend. You could explain this a few ways. Currently I'm going back and forth between a couple:

a) Aziraphale knows Crowley is/was Caphriel, but isn't sure how to deal with Crowley-as-a-demon, hence the careful, uncertain politeness, or
b) Aziraphale hasn't recognised Crowley yet -- fair enough, since Crowley is a snake, and Aziraphale has a lot on his mind.

I'm not sure which I favour, though the second offers some interesting possibilities: what happens when Aziraphale does realise? When, and how? And so on. There might be a story in that.

Of course, I think this is going to be my last GO/Murder Mysteries crossover. But you never know. That's what I said the last time. This might not be the end.

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