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03 September 2013 @ 10:16 pm
FIC: Human Nature (8/11)  
Title: Human Nature (8/11)
Author: joonscribble
Fandom: Good Omens & Sherlock (BBC)
Rating: R for language
Timeline: Set 20 years after the events of Good Omens. Set two months after "The Great Game."
Spoilers: All of Good Omens. Spoilers for only season 1 of Sherlock.
Disclaimer: See the first chapter for it.
Summary: The world was saved back in 1990. It all went downhill from there
Author's Note: Some stuff is explained in this one but not everything since there's a bit more story. But a bunch of characters decided they wanted to show up and talk. We're finally nearing the end!


By the time the third roadblock presented itself, even Aziraphale looked tempted to swear. Crowley muttered something uncharitable about the British road systems and waved the barrier aside, allowing the Bentley to continue its path as the potholes quickly decided to fill themselves up sharpish.

“That’s handy,” Sherlock commented from the backseat. He twisted around to observe the barrier almost sheepishly reassert itself on the road. “I could save a luxurious amount of time if reality would bend to my will,” he added, looking wistful at thoughts of making any idiot he pleased disappear or mute with a wave of his hand.

Next to him John shook his head. “If you get bored now, being able to manipulate reality is going to have you going out of your head with how dull everything becomes.”

“Life would be rather colorless without its challenges,” Aziraphale translated, putting his own poetic spin on it.

“Not this many challenges,” groaned Crowley as they approached a police blockade. “Oh, come on!”

Since the start of their journey to Lower Tadfield, there had been a series of obstacles. It had begun mildly with a detour here or there and the odd traffic jam due to an accident. Most had been minor enough that Crowley had acquiesced to Aziraphale’s insistence that they not abuse their powers. But as they got closer to exiting London, the obstacles had grown in number and difficulty. A man stepped out of one of the many police vehicles lining the road and waved at Crowley to stop.

“Is that…?” John leaned forward in his seat as the man approached the car.

Without waiting for anyone’s suggestion of a game plan, Sherlock rolled down his window and stuck his head out. “Ah, Lestrade. I see my mind has decided to loop you into the state of affairs. I was hoping if I was going to continue with this case I’d have the pleasure of working with a historical figure I admired.”

Lestrade stared at the backseat in shock while everyone sunk lower in their seats. Everyone save Sherlock who merely gazed at Lestrade with an intensity that suggested that perhaps he was trying to get his brain to replace the detective with Planck or Bernoulli.

“Sherlock? What…” He took in Crowley and Aziraphale who did their best to look non-threatening. It didn’t seem to really work. “What’s going on?”

“You tell me, Lestrade,” Sherlock replied, gamely. “It’s your police barricade.”

Without taking his eyes off of the two in the front seats, Lestrade slowly nodded. “Yeah, we’ve had multiple shootings in the tube systems today. You must have heard. The city’s going into lockdown.”

 Crowley and Aziraphale shared an alarmed look.

“Is he doing this? The Anti-Christ, Adam?” John asked, taking full advantage of the fact that he couldn’t be heard by Lestrade. Aziraphale nodded but at Lestrade’s stare attempted to make it look like he had been trying to shake off a bee.

“You’ll have to turn around,” Lestrade instructed, addressing Crowley this time.

“A chance for another disappearing trick,” Sherlock announced with no small amount of glee. “Is Anderson here? We can try both.”

“Sherlock, are you okay?” Lestrade now looked concerned at the nonsense being sprouted. Sherlock could see Lestrade was trying to assess if he was on something and doing a poor job of disguising his evaluation. He gave his mind points for consistency. “I’ve been trying to reach you since you returned all the files on John’s accident.”

“Falling off buildings and going into comas,” Sherlock answered cheerfully enough.

“What?”

“You’re as pedantic and dull in my imagination as you are in real life, Lestrade.”

“Inspector, I don’t suppose we might be able to push through?” Aziraphale inquired, politely.

Lestrade eyed the angel with some skepticism. “Who’re your new friends?” he asked Sherlock.

“We’re assisting on a case,” Crowley explained quickly. “And that involves driving out of London.”

Lestrade looked less than convinced but Crowley could practically see the wheels turning in his head as he assessed whether or not odds were that Sherlock was being kidnapped or at the very least in trouble. “Yeah, well, that’s not going to happen. Like I said, the city’s going into lockdown.”

“But this is very important,” insisted Aziraphale, pleading. “Surely you can’t believe your colleague is involved in such a terrible affair.”

Lestrade grimaced as he looked at Sherlock. “I don’t really know what he’s capable of these days. Now turn around.”

“Maybe we can call Mycroft?” John suggested.

“Mycroft?” asked Crowley.

Sherlock scowled. “Under no circumstances is he coming into this.” He looked betrayed at the notion that his own mind would turn to his brother for assistance.

For his part, Crowley was half tempted to do just that to simply piss Sherlock off but thought better of it. Instead he cracked his fingers in preparation. “Right, maybe we should just move things along.”

“By along that means you turn this car aro-“

In midsentence Lestrade dropped to the ground.

“Jesus!” John swore. “Is he okay?” he asked Crowley the same time Sherlock casually inquired if Lestrade was dead.

Crowley stared down at where Lestrade lay by the Bentley and realized all the officers in the other vehicles were similarly slumped over. He looked at Aziraphale who was guiltily holding up his right hand. Crowley slowly grinned. “Well done,” he congratulated. “Gabriel will be furious.”

“They’re just asleep!” Azirphale practically wailed. “We were wasting time!”

“You don’t need to tell me,” said Crowley, throwing the car back into gear.

“Wait, you’re not just going to leave him like that, are you?” demanded John. Lestrade was flat on his back on the road, looking peacefully dead to the world.

John barely got the words out before the Bentley lurched forward and careened past the police cars, the ones in their way sliding across to give them access. “We’ve got bigger concerns, Watson,” Crowley said as he accelerated.

“Everyone will wake up in a few minutes.” Aziraphale sounded worryingly more hopeful than confident.

“It’ll be fine,” Crowley assured.

Sherlock looked out his window at the sleeping policemen they were leaving in their wake. “Handy,” he repeated.

**

The sun was shining with particular cheer by the time the Bentley passed over into Lower Tadfield. Even over the roar of the engine, birds could be heard chirping in the trees and the flowers in the fields were in full bloom.

Nevermind that it was the middle of winter.

The last time he had been in Lower Tadfield, Aziraphale had experienced a feeling of extreme happiness, as if all of its residents truly loved living in their quaint village. Only now that feeling seemed amplified. The people really, really, really loved living here to the point where Aziraphale could feel the strain of their unabashed happiness. Crowley slowed the car down to a crawl and parked it near what looked like a post office from the 1950s.

“GPS won’t be much help,” Crowley said. “We might as well travel on foot and find where Adam Young lives. It’s an English village. Someone will tell us where he is and most likely what kinds of biscuits he eats with his tea.”

Getting out of his car, Crowley surveyed his surroundings. “Well,” he commented, getting out of his car. “This place hasn’t changed much. Or at all.”

They hadn’t seen much of the village on their last visit, but the model of the cars parked and the fashion of the residents now milling about were a bit of a giveaway that time seemed to have skipped over Lower Tadfield.

 Following suit, Aziraphale got out of his seat and opened the door for John. “This must be the problem,” guessed Aziraphale. “Adam must have stopped time from touching this place. This entire village is a fixed point. No wonder the world has gone awry!”

A small blip in reality was hardly an issue. Crowley had altered the fabric of things in minute ways more times than he could count. But stopping time in an entire location was something else. If Lower Tadfield was truly frozen without any sort of outside influence touching it, then slowly but surely the implications of that would only ripple further out. Out of town relatives of the people in Lower Tadfield would have to stop visiting, land surveyors and builders would have to ignore this place, skip over it as urbanization continued to spread. It might have started out as small tweaks first but in 20 years it had added up. And apparently reality couldn’t take it anymore.

“When we have to deliver our report of this to our Head Offices, I think we should really underline the fact that this wasn’t our fault at all,” Crowley suggested.

“But why would he stop time here?” asked John. “What possible reason?”

“Take a look,” waved Crowley. “This place gives Garden of Eden a run for its money.”

 John took in the perfectly mild climate and the well structured village road that was neatly lined with small, quaint shops, a perfectly lush but not too overbearing tree inserted between every other store.  “It’s…really nice,” he agreed, surprised. “And this is where the Anti-Christ lives?”

“You were thinking more fire and brimstone?” Crowley guessed. “Trust me the day air conditioners were invented, we were all a lot happier. Hey.” He rapped his knuckles loudly on Sherlock’s window as the detective made no move to exit the entire time. “No dawdling, let’s go.”

From his seat, Sherlock continued to stare out with a grimace on his face. “I don’t like this place,” he announced from inside the car.

“Fresh air and sunshine. It’s hell on earth,” Crowley said, sarcastically. He yanked the door open. “Come on.”

Retying his scarf, Sherlock stepped out of the car. If Aziraphale didn’t know any better, he would have thought the man looked frightened of something.

“Right, let’s look for someone then who could point us in the right direction,” Crowley suggested. “My money would be on a little old lady. They know everything-“

“I don’t see anything,” Sherlock interrupted. He spun in a circle, taking in the middle aged couple who were entering a nearby butcher’s shop as well as the little girl with blond pigtails skipping down the road. He stared at them as well as any other passerby with enough intensity that most would have stopped to glare back but everyone continued on their way, seemingly oblivious. “Nothing. There’s nothing. I can’t see anything!”

“Can you tell me how many fingers I’m holding up?” asked Aziraphale, waving a hand in front of Sherlock’s face.

The detective slapped it away. “I’m not blind, you idiot!”

“He means he can’t deduce anything,” John realized.

“There’s nothing to see about these people,” Sherlock continued to rant. “They’re like paintings or drawings.” He stalked over to an elderly woman in a straw hat who was exiting the post office, nearly knocking her over as he grabbed her by the shoulders.

“Oh!” The woman nearly dropped her purse in surprise.

“Sherlock!” John exclaimed, rushing over as if he could pull Sherlock away.

“Christ, don’t let him punch an old lady,” warned Crowley.

Sherlock stared at the bewildered woman for a beat. “An old woman,” he said, sounding half frightened and half in awe of his own mind malfunctioning on him. “You’re old. Just old.”

“Yes, dear,” the woman replied with a mild smile. “…And you’re quite tall?” she added as if this might be some sort of say what you see game.

Aziraphale pried Sherlock’s hands off of her. “So sorry, madam,” he apologized. He reflexively moved to soothe any fright she might be feeling away but couldn’t sense anything like that from her. Only a low simmering contentment.

“Quite alright,” the woman assured, straightening her hat. She watched as Sherlock walked away muttering to himself.

“My body must still be undiscovered. The cranial pressure must be building leading to brain tissue decay,” he listed.

“Cranial pressure doesn’t cause brain tissue decay,” John corrected, exasperated. “Maybe it might give you irregular breathing and lack of oxygen that can lead to brain damage but you haven’t got that, have you? A fall like that would have killed you, not given you a concussion.”

“Watson says your science is wrong,” Crowley translated.

“Shut up!” snapped Sherlock.

“Oh, dear. Is he one of those touched people?” she inquired with loving concern. “My uncle Morris was one of them. Talked to himself all the time about all sorts of nonsense.”

“Never mind him,” Crowley waved aside. “Do you by any chance know where we can find Adam Young? Blond hair, blue eyes…” Crowley contemplated his next description before adding with some trepidation, “About…eleven years old?”

The woman smiled. “Of course, dear. We all know Adam Young.”

**

“Burn the virgin! Burn the virgin!” chanted Brian and Pepper.

“Mm od ha rcy on r so!” cried a muffled voice from inside the barrel.

“What?” asked Brian.

“Mm od ha rcy on r so!”

“We can’t hear you,” Pepper called.

“Hang on.” Adam ran up the hill and unplugged the cork from the barrel.

“May God have mercy upon your souls!” shouted Wensleydale’s high pitched imitation of a virgin girl’s voice.

There had been a momentary quarrel amongst the players as to who would be the virgin sacrifice. The automatic expectation had been Pepper as she was the only girl amongst them, but she had bitterly argued that it was sexism and that boys could be virgin sacrifices as well. In the end they’d compromised that the virgin would be a girl but Wensleydale could play her.

Burning a Virgin in a Pagan Ceremony wasn’t a game Adam found particularly interesting but his friends had gotten bored of the historical plays and were in the mood for something more fantastical. The part where they’d painted Wensleydale with symbols before putting him in the barrel (their stand in for a wicker man) had been pretty entertaining.

“Once we burn you our fields will be blessed with a bountiful harvest for another month!” shouted Brian from under the hood of his plastic mack that was doubling as a pagan robe.

“That doesn’t seem that long,” said Pepper as an aside.

“Six months!”

“Harvests don’t last six months, do they?” Wensleydale asked in his own voice from the barrel.

Adam was about to offer a correction when a faint wind rustled through the tall grass, the warm air gently bending the stalks. He whirled around to look down at his house that looked like the perfect country cottage from his vantage point on the high hills. Pulling off his dad’s old robe that had been his costume, he took off down the hill.

“Adam!” he could hear Brian shout after him. “We haven’t finished!”

Ignoring him, Adam ran.

**

“Well, here we go,” Crowley murmured as grabbed the iron knocker on the cottage door. Aziraphale clapped a hand on his shoulder with a supportive shake which Crowley thought to brush off but gave into the fact that it did make him feel better before he rapped on the door.

After a momentary pause the door opened to reveal a middle aged man in a camel colored cardigan and stripped tie.

“Yes, can I help you?” he asked politely.

“Mr. Robert Young?” Aziraphale asked, though he didn’t need to. He recognized Adam’s father from the day the world nearly ended. The man looked like he hadn’t aged at all.

“Are you here to sell magazines?” inquired Mr. Young. He vaguely gestured to something behind him with his pipe. “Deirdre usually deals with those. She’s just in the garden.”

“That’s the father of the Anti-Christ?” John asked skeptically.

“Oh, religious magazines, is it?” Mr. Young guessed. “Well, the wife and I aren’t much for that, I’m afraid.”

John stared at Mr. Young, his shocked expression mirrored on Aziraphale and Crowley. “Did you just hear me?”

“Shouldn’t I?” said Mr. Young looking confused. “Errr…were you trying to whisper because it was quite loud.”

From his place just behind John, Sherlock nearly sighed in depressed defeat. “And a man talking to himself. This brain damage is getting tiresome.”

“Sorry?” Mr. Young frowned.

“You can see him?” Aziraphale gestured to John. “This man? This man standing right here?”

“Am I not supposed to?” asked Mr. Young.

“He can see me!” John exclaimed, excited at being seen by at least one other person even if it was the father of the Anti-Christ. “The old woman couldn’t though. Why him?”

“Were you trying to hide behind this one?” Mr. Young inquired, pointing to Aziraphale and trying his best to take the least absurd guesses.

“It’s okay, dad.”

Suddenly at Mr. Young’s hip was Adam Young.

Like his father, he looked just as he had all those years ago, a young boy who had the sort of beauty that could almost scare you with what it promised once he grew up and was a man. Right now, one of his perfect hands gently pulled his father to stand behind him. “I think Mum needs your help in the garden,” he suggested. It would be comical or at the very most sweet that a boy would be trying to protect someone who was almost an entire person taller than him. But on Adam, the act made Crowley shiver with fear.

Once Mr. Young was gone, Adam turned his full gaze upon the four of them on his doorstep. Crowley fought the urge to not turn around and simply run away.

“You shouldn’t be here,” said Adam. “You don’t belong here.”

 “Yes, errr…but the thing is…” Crowley struggled to speak properly while also resisting the urge to simply bow down and praise Adam as his Lord and Master. It had been a small burning desire at his very core 20 years but felt only that much more amplified now.

“I gave you back your car,” Adam stated, sounding like a king who had to remind his subjects of the pardon he’d given them five minutes before their execution. “And I gave you new books. The first editions just as you liked them,” he said to Aziraphale. “It’s what you wanted, for things to go back to normal like before.”

“Oh good,” Sherlock interjected, rejoicing with as much sarcasm as could fit into a human voice. “A cherubic child with a misplaced god complex is my manifestation of the Anti-Christ. The only consolation I have at how humiliatingly pedantic my mind is becoming is that at least no one else can witness it.”

Crowley braced himself to see Sherlock end up a smoking pile of ash. But Adam merely gazed at Sherlock, evaluating him. “You want to see your friend,” he surmised finally. “That’s easy.”

While nothing seemingly changed for anyone else, Sherlock jolted and stepped back a pace as he stared down to his left where John Watson stood.

“John?”

For a moment John looked like he didn’t dare to hope before replying, “Please say you can hear me too.”

“Are you going to be the last thing I see and hear before brain death?” asked Sherlock, sounding more curious than anything else.

A large smile broke over John’s face. “Thank God!” he exclaimed. “No offense,” he added to Adam. “Finally, I’m no longer Claude Rains. You can see me, you can hear me so those bloody games of Telephone can stop,” John celebrated. “And you’re not going into brain death,” he continued on, talking like a man making up for lost time. “You’re not in an alley. You’re not in a coma. You’re in an English village with an angel and demon and all of this,” he gestured widely with his hands. “Is real.” John took a deep breath and let it out. “That felt good.”

Sherlock gaped at him, his face frozen in shock. “Claude Rains.”

“He was the Invisible Man. Nevermind,” John waved off.

“I don’t know that reference,” Sherlock murmured in realization. He reached out to touch John’s left shoulder. His hand went straight through. Pulling back, Sherlock stared at his own hand as if it were a foreign object.

“He’s still a soul but you can see him so you can go now,” Adam dismissed.

“But we can’t,” said Aziraphale. “Do you know what’s been happening out there?” he asked. “Stopping time here in Lower Tadfield has caused a terrible ripple effect throughout the rest of the world.”

“I don’t care about the rest of the world. Now leave me alone.”

“Seriously, souls are not moving onward after people die,” Crowley interjected, gesturing toward John. “Watson here’s a prime example. You have to let this place go.” Adam turned his blue eyes on him again. “Uhm…if you please, your Excellency?”

“No,” Adam stated simply. “I don’t want things to change. Things are good as they are now. So go away.”

“But-“

“Go away!”

And just as there had been four men standing there, three were now gone.

John whirled around to the empty spaces next to him. In shock, he looked back to Adam who wore a surprised expression at John’s continued presence. “Where are they? Where did you send them?” John demanded.

“Go away,” Adam commanded again.

John remained standing in front of him.

“Go away! Leave! GO AWAY!!” Adam shouted.

Nothing happened.

NEXT

 
 
 
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 4th, 2013 03:18 am (UTC)
Ohmigosh, this is so good! I love Sherlock's childlike behaviour while he's assuming he's In a coma, and that's a perfect way to get him to realize he's not--having a reference he wouldn't know. I like John's automatic correction of Sherlock's inaccurate medical theories. The characterization is really wonderful, and the Them sounded perfect. I like your characterization of Lower Tadfield too, and Sherlock's inability to deduce there, and John knowing what he meant right away. Lovely!

I hope John can talk some sense into Adam, and Sherlock doesn't go too mad in the realization that there are some things he can't explain,

formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 4th, 2013 03:33 am (UTC)
I drove myself a little crazy trying to logic how Sherlock might start to entertain the idea that all of this is real. HIS logic was so solid I nearly ditched the idea of him starting to doubt all together. Him just hearing new information and names wouldn't work so I'm hoping my later explanation of the Claude Rains thing will make sense.

I hope John can talk some sense into Adam

There's a bit more coming regarding what got Adam to freeze Lower Tadfield in the first place. Let's hope John has it in him to save the world.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 4th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
I think it works already, so I don't think you'll have to justify it too much. I can believe that Sherlock be so disdainful of pop culture that he wouldn't believe himself capable of even inventing any. :-p

There's a bit more coming regarding what got Adam to freeze Lower Tadfield in the first place. Let's hope John has it in him to save the world.


I have faith in him!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 4th, 2013 04:09 am (UTC)
I can believe that Sherlock be so disdainful of pop culture that he wouldn't believe himself capable of even inventing any. :-p

Heh. I wonder what his experience was when John forced him to sit through the James Bond marathon.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 4th, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
He live blogged it on his website, I think. Hold on...

http://www.thescienceofdeduction.co.uk/forum/page3 (partway down the page)

My personal opinion is that Sherlock deletes most things after he experiences them, and rediscovers them later with new enthusiasm, much to John annoyance/amusement.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 4th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
I expected Sherlock to comment more angrily about why James Bond goes about the most inefficient way to collect information. That is if they're watching classic!Bond.

"It's all pointless innuendo. Ask proper questions!"
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 4th, 2013 04:26 am (UTC)
"There's no possible way a wire that thin could hold up a grown man of that size. If the metal in that hat were strong enough to cut through flesh, it would be too heavy to comfortably wear. A volcano is an extremely stupid place to build a secret lair. Why hasn't anyone just shot him yet?!"
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 4th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
"I get it, Sherlock. If you were a Bond villain the movie would be over seven minutes."

"Four minutes."
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 4th, 2013 04:34 am (UTC)
Ha! One can only assume that Sherlock is a typical boy at heart and enjoys gunfights and explosions as much as the next person.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 4th, 2013 04:50 am (UTC)
True. This is the side of Sherlock I always have trouble keeping in mind when I write him. He's a kid in so many ways and not just the negative ways.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 4th, 2013 04:57 am (UTC)
There's quite a bit of hedonism to Sherlock, I think. He operates purely on what's fun, and has never learned that sometimes we have to do not fun things as well.
aelfgyfu_mead: Sherlock and Johnaelfgyfu_mead on September 5th, 2013 12:24 am (UTC)
Him just hearing new information and names wouldn't work so I'm hoping my later explanation of the Claude Rains thing will make sense.

It worked for me, actually. It may just be the tipping point; Sherlock has had a lot to take in recently.
aelfgyfu_mead: Watson plotaelfgyfu_mead on September 5th, 2013 12:22 am (UTC)
AAAAHHHHH! You can't leave it hanging there; I hope the next installment is soon! He can't command a soul to leave, can he? Because Adam doesn't really control souls. Does he have any idea how bad the things he's doing are? Or is he just eleven in his mind, too? I can only imagine what Daughter would do with powers like that (and I have to stop imagining pretty quickly because it gets scary).

I'm thrilled that Sherlock can see John again and apparently believes him; if John had known it just took a reference that Sherlock didn't understand, he could have taken care of that problem long ago!

“Christ, don’t let him punch an old lady,” warned Crowley.
Is that a curse, or a prayer?
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 5th, 2013 12:34 am (UTC)
He can't command a soul to leave, can he? Because Adam doesn't really control souls.

Yup. Humans, demons, angels, and reality he can control but souls are outside of his area. Kind of like how Satan and God can't control souls either because humans have free will.

Does he have any idea how bad the things he's doing are? Or is he just eleven in his mind, too?

There will be a bit more (a lot more) about why Adam's done what he's done.

Is that a curse, or a prayer?

Heh, I had it in as a curse but now I can't stop seeing it as a prayer.