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20 September 2013 @ 12:44 am
FIC: Human Nature (11/11)  
Title: Human Nature (11/11)
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: After two years, it's finally done. My deepest thanks to awanderingbard and aelfgyfu_mead for actually sticking with me through this and offering nothing but support and encouragement. It's largely thanks to them that I managed to haul this thing to the finish line before another season of Sherlock went by. Despite how long it took me to finish this crossover, this probably won't be the last time I venture into this universe again. But I'll probably stick to oneshots for now.

“It’s all very impressive,” noted Aziraphale. “To think that the world, well, reality really could be so self-protective. So intricate in terms of its self-survival.”

“Are you suggesting that the world is sentient?” asked Crowley. “That’s practically blasphemous.”

Aziraphale gave Crowley a leveled look. “Hardly, dear boy. After all, who created the world? He did,” Aziraphale answered before Crowley could take a sarcastic stab at it. “And in His wisdom gave the world what it needed to survive. Stopping those souls from moving onward, allowing us to find Doctor Watson, already leading Mr. Holmes to those paintings. It was all part of the plan.”

“Yeah, only took two decades to-“ the slow whine of an electronic dying interrupted Crowley. Blessing, he took out his iPhone and watched the Apple logo flicker and fade out.

Hell was having an extremely busy few days. In fact, one might say it was being overrun. In general, the fiery pit of damnation tended to get a few dozen souls every day. But a good chunk of time had gone by during the souls being frozen on Earth and now that reality had been righted, there was suddenly a very, very long line. And as good as Hell’s systems were everyone was scrambling to keep up. During the large influx, Crowley’s phone had crashed three times during its attempts to update its files.

“That’s the trouble with technology,” Aziraphale commented with a smug sip of his tea. “Unreliable. Good old fashioned paper never expires on you.”

“Tell that to the librarians of Alexandria.”

“We’re all up to date,” Aziraphale continued on.

“Only because you got a 100 new souls, max.”

And I settled all the miracles.”

While Crowley had been fending off increasingly hostile phone calls and memos from Downstairs, Gabriel had charged Aziraphale to deal with lingering memories of Otherworldly activities witnessed by the general human population. Crowley didn’t know what Aziraphale was complaining about. He’d have much rather been responsible for knocking Sherlock out and messing with his brain than deal with yet one more Facetime chat with Lynch about how they were going to fit in all the sinners destined for the Whipping Unit. Which reminded him he had another appointment with Beelzebub.

Polishing off the last of the deviled eggs and gulped down his Earl Grey, Crowley folded up his napkin. “Well, thanks for lunch anyway. When I get more time we should celebrate stopping the Apocalypse for the second time with a bit more alcohol.” Crowley made to get up but was rapidly gestured to stay where he was by Aziraphale. “What?”

“This wasn’t just lunch, Crowley. We have something to settle.”

 “I don’t recall us making a bet recently,” said Crowley, confused.

“No. About Doctor Watson.”

“What about him?”

“Well, he helped us,” Aziraphale pressed, looking plaintive over the remnants of their tea. “He must have said something to Adam, I’m sure of it.”

“And for all his hard work we’re going to reward him with a second chance on this miserable planet?” Crowley asked.

“I do enjoy it when we’re of two minds,” Aziraphale smiled. “It makes things so much easier.”

Crowley sighed. “Remember how you noticed once that my voice sometimes doesn’t match what I’m saying? This is one of those times, angel.”

“What can you mean?”

“Look, Aziraphale. I know you have some sort of happy sappy idea of reuniting Sherlock Holmes with his one and only friend but come on.”


“And I know I say heaven’s deathly dull and it is,” Crowley added. “But I gather humans really love it and it’s certainly better than the alternative for them. What makes you think he’s going to want to come back?”

Aziraphale’s earlier frown only deepened. “He’s not with us.”


“He’s not with us,” Aziraphale repeated. “I told you we’ve already finished with our inventory and Doctor Watson isn’t with us so I thought…”

“Seriously?” Crowley said, incredulously. He remembered skimming Watson’s file and fine, he wasn’t a saint but he didn’t chalk him up to being hell bound. “Did you all get that much stricter about lapsed Catholics?”

“Never mind that,” said Aziraphale. “You see my point, though. He helped us. It’s only fair that we help him.”

Crowley opened his mouth to object but found he couldn’t quite form a proper argument as Aziraphale gave him that Look. Crowley hated that Look with a capital L.

“Fine,” he sighed. “Give me a couple of hours.”

Aziraphale beamed. “I knew I could count on you, my dear.”

“You breathe a word of this to anyone, even to yourself and I’ll deface your books.”


“Filming starts next week in Japan,” Jeremy fretted.

“I’ve always wanted to see Tokyo Tower,” Pepper said, cheerfully. “I can be a tourist during the day and write by night. I’m sure mum will be happy to take Boswell for a couple of weeks. Sorry, Bos,” she added, giving the terrier a vigorous rub as an apology.

“We were going to keep our schedules clear for the next month!”

“Sadly, fame and stardom are summoning you, darling.”

Jeremy grimaced. “That hardly sweetens the deal.”

“Well, doesn’t working with Mendes?” inquired Pepper. She tugged at his hand, pulling him to sit down on the sofa. Between them, Boswell happily panted and pointedly squished his head against Jeremy’s leg. He obligingly scratched at Boswell’s ears as he contemplated Pepper’s words.

“But we were planning on getting married in two weeks,” Jeremy said.

“We can get married in Japan. Or wait until you’re done shooting,” Pepper replied. “Wensley, we’ve been engaged for almost a year and we’ve known each other our entire lives. A few more weeks isn’t going to change anything.”

Jeremy smiled. No one called him Wensley anymore. Not even his parents who finally decided upon hearing their son announcing his intention on becoming an actor that he was sufficiently an “irresponsible youngster” enough to warrant going by his proper name. But the world of acting had done little to strip Wensleydale, now Jeremy of his tendency to behave like an old man trapped in a young man’s body. At least in his personal life. On stage and screen he could readily embody anyone.

“We didn’t send out Save the Dates, did we?” he worried.

Pepper rolled her eyes. “We were never going to send out Save the Dates because we knew anyone who was going to come would laugh at them. Don’t worry so much.”

Jeremy half vowed to keep worrying. If only because he enjoyed hearing Pepper tease him about it.

“Now, show me the script they sent over,” Pepper ordered.

“If I get to see what adventure you’re sending Penelope Parsons into this time round,” Jeremy countered.

They engaged in a slight stand-off while Boswell yawned and curled up by their knees.

“First act for one chapter?” Jeremy offered.

Pepper grinned.


“We have a problem,” Crowley announced. He slammed down what looked like a small forest worth of papers on top of Aziraphale’s desk. “Watson’s not with us either.”

Aziraphale hastily grabbed the first sheaf of pages at the top of the stack when they dangerously slid sideways. “Are you certain?”

“I checked our electronic files, I double checked our paper files,” Crowley gestured to the stack. “And I also had the pleasure of walking down a very long line of damned souls, hissing his name and turned up nothing. He’s not Downstairs. Is there any chance he went Up and you lot just missed it?”

“Hardly,” Aziraphale answered, sounding as close to scoffing as he was able. “Nothing gets by Peter.”

“Well, if that’s the case then he’s a zombie and we’ve got a whole different problem on our hands.”

“Or,” Aziraphale speculated. “He’s…” the angel held his hand up to eye level and wiggled his fingers meaningfully. Crowley’s eyebrows shot up toward his hairline. “He was a Catholic.”



Crowley let the stack of papers collapse. “Wonderful. This just has to be difficult until the very end.”


Mrs. Greenley sat at her breakfast table and sorted through her post. Nestled amongst the usual bills and such was a postcard from her son, Brian. It featured a South American landscape. Mrs. Greenley handed the card over to her husband. Brian was on his latest archeological excavation in Peru. While the Greenleys were extremely proud of their son, both had little idea of what his job exactly entailed other than it also involving a teaching post at a university. Whenever Mr. Greenley attempted to imagine his son’s job, his mind kept coming up with scenes from an Indiana Jones picture.

“When’s our next Skiing with him?” he asked, perusing the card.

“Skyping, dear,” Mrs. Greenley corrected. “Next Monday.”

Mrs. Greenley appreciated that the advancement of technology meant she could see her son even if he was an ocean away. But she still appreciated that he sent them tangible letters. Somehow they felt more real somehow. Seeing Brian three months ago on their computer against the Egyptian backdrop had been almost fantastical.

“It says here that he might be going to Japan for a wedding later this month,” said Mr. Greenley.

“How exotic,” Mrs. Greenley commented. Children these days seemed intent on seeing every square inch of this planet, particularly her own son. She supposed it was a good thing. Showed an adventurous spirit. She was perfectly content staying in her village and knowing exactly where to get the best pies from on which day.


The general belief around Purgatory from the Catholic Church was that it was a state of being rather than a physical place; a cleansing process that had to be endured before a somewhat naughty soul was given permission to enter the Pearly Gates.

The Church was partially correct.

Purgatory could be considered a state of being. But it wasn’t so much a cleansing period as it was a free for all marketplace for agents of Heaven and Hell looking to shop for a few ambiguous souls. A sort of last ditch effort to sway a person to either repent and accept the Lord or reject Him and go Downward. On average the agents of Hell left Purgatory alone because frankly, Hell was getting busy as it was with souls who trafficked in the usual way.

The issue of Purgatory brought up an additional complication. It was going to be challenging enough for Aziraphale or Crowley to petition their respective Head Offices that a human be allowed to return to life. But if John Watson was in Purgatory then it meant that both Heaven and Hell would each have to agree to relinquish their claims on him before the petitions could even be made.

Or so said Selaphiel when Aziraphale had inquired. If Selaphiel had been human the angel probably would have made an excellent solicitor.


“There he is, finally,” Crowley pointed, relieved.

“Does nothing about the Afterlife work properly?” demanded John upon seeing the two of them.

“Doctor Watson! So good to see you again,” Aziraphale greeted. It had taken a lot longer than anticipated to locate John in Purgatory. Asking for directions had been a nightmare.

“And this is the Afterlife,” Crowley added. “It’s working. Sort of.”

“So is this it?” asked John. “Are you here to take me somewhere? Wait, both of you’re here,” he realized. “Where am I going exactly?”

“That,” said Aziraphale. “Depends a little on yourself, Doctor Watson. How do you feel about returning home?”

“Home? You mean? That’s an option?”

“It is indeed,” Aziraphale replied, relishing in bringing optimism to people’s hearts for once. Only Crowley coughed meaningfully at this side. “That is, err…”

“You need to consider what it’ll mean,” said Crowley. In general Crowley was used to delivering bad news as it often when in line with making people miserable which was his job description. However, John was looking so hopeful that even he felt a little bad. “Right now your soul’s just good enough to probably, most likely get through the Upstairs Gates. You get sent back to live your life a little longer and you might not make the cut next time.”

“Or,” Aziraphale interjected. “You might do even better. Humans are marvelously good at redemption.”

“But you run with Sherlock Holmes so the odds aren’t exactly in your favor,” said Crowley.

John looked to the two of them and asked, “Does Sherlock remember everything? About angels and demons and me as a ghost?”

“Really?” asked Crowley. “That’s the most pressing question on your mind?”

John sighed, frustrated. “I mean, is he okay? I saw him on the field but then I was here.”

“He’s perfectly sound,” answered Aziraphale. “And I’ve taken care of his memories regarding the last week.”

While John looked vaguely uncomfortable about what he’d just heard, Crowley didn’t miss the brief flickering look of relief run across his face.

“Holmes would have been a nightmare about tackling religion,” said Crowley. “And the world could use a break after the last two decades.”

“Sherlock could use a break,” John snapped. “What makes you think me working with him will worsen my chances the next go around?”

“Well, there’s the high probability of killing someone.”

“We also help people.”

“You’d be surprised how much the ends justify the means argument doesn’t go over well in Heaven,” said Crowley.

“Either way,” said Aziraphale. “What we can agree on is that future events are unpredictable. Your soul may indeed grow increasingly impoverished or be enriched through your continued interactions with Mr. Holmes. The only question left is whether or not you are willing to take that chance.”


“John. John!”

There had been a very good reason why John hadn’t set his alarm. The reason being that Tuesdays were the days when he wouldn’t have to be at the clinic until early afternoon. Unfortunately, there was no scheduling involved when it came to working with Sherlock.

“Get up,” Sherlock ordered. He emphasized his point by whipping the covers off John. “I need you to go interview the workers at the delivery company in Clerkenwell that Ambrose uses to transport the paintings.” Blearily John stared at his clock which told him in cheerful red numbers that it was 6am. “First deliveries begin at 6:30am. If you hurry you can get there before anyone leaves.” Sherlock managed to wait 5 seconds before growing impatient at John’s lack of movement and clapped his hands by John’s head. “Quickly!”

“You do that again and I’ll break your fingers,” John growled.

“Good, you’re angry,” Sherlock approved. “It’ll get your blood going and help you get moving.”

It looked like he was about to clap again so John resigned himself to having to leave his bed. “Fine. Give me ten minutes.”

“Four minutes. You can get ready in four minutes, I’ve timed you before.”

“I’ll need the extra six for a cup of tea.”

“There’s no time for tea!”

“Jesus, fine.”

Approximately four minutes later, John was rushed out of Baker Street. Taxis were scarce at this hour on their street. He’d have to walk over to a busier road if he hoped to flag one to make it down to Clerkenwell in time.

“Excuse me?” John was just about to step off the curb when a tall man in a ratty trench coat waved at him. “Could you direct me to the National Gallery? I’m afraid I’m quite turned around.”

“Uhm. Yes, it’s quite easy.” As quickly as he could John rattled off where the man should go to get the tube to go down Trafalgar Square. While John pointed him in the direction of the tube, a taxi rushed past him, swerving a little on the street. The rolled up windows mostly muffled out the sound of the driver swearing up a storm from having burnt himself with spilt coffee.

“Thank you ever so much, dear man,” said ratty trench coat with a beatific smile. “You’ve been ever so helpful.” He turned and promptly walked away in the opposite direction of where John had been pointing.

“Wait,” John called after him. “You’re going the…” his words trailed off as the man disappeared around the corner. “Oh, never mind then.”

He crossed the road and hailed a taxi.


Crowley raised his glass and clinked it against Aziraphale’s.

“Well done,” said Crowley.

“Well done,” said Aziraphale.

They drank for a bit in silence, relishing the relaxing musty familiarity of the bookshop’s backroom.

“How did you manage to get your office to let Doctor Watson go?” Aziraphale inquired.

“Oh, the usual. Some stuff about how he has the potential to be a bad influence on people, snag some extra souls later on if he went back up top for a bit,” Crowley listed. “To be honest, I think Management was rather pleased not to have to deal with another soul coming down quite so soon. You?”

“I simply made the case that Doctor Watson’s presence was vital for Mr. Holmes work, the work which saves many lives. And there’s obviously the possibility that with Doctor Watson’s influence, Mr. Holmes may one day find himself with us.”

“You actually believe that, don’t you?”

“I have faith.”

Crowley rolled his eyes but politely sipped his wine rather than make a comment.

“If Hell has been so busy, it must have been quite the argument to get them to miracle Doctor Watson back to earth,” Aziraphale noted. “That’s very impressive even for you, Crowley.”

“Hm? I didn’t make that much of an argument. I thought you were going to do that.”

“Well, I did make the request but surely I thought it would have been your side. I practically told them that the particulars would be taken care of without much effort on their part.”

The two froze, looking at each other over the rims of their glasses.

After a beat, Crowley said, “Let’s, for once, just drink our wines and try to ignore it.”

If Aziraphale had been in the business of doing so, he would have rolled his eyes. “Since when exactly do we ever not drink and try to ignore it?” However, he obligingly tipped his glass back.

“You’d think the world would take the hint and leave us in peace,” Crowley agreed and followed suit.



Sophie waited until the water was near boiling before checking the tea tin. It looked like they were out of Earl Grey again. As best she could without touching too many of them, she tried to sift through the remaining bags of chamomile and green tea papaya (who even drank that one?) to see if there was something else suitable. She honestly didn’t understand how it was her coworkers somehow always ended up consolidating the tea bags into the one large tin that lived in the break room. It was practically contamination.

“Alright, Sophie?”

Sophie looked up from her scavenging of the tea bags and smiled when she saw who it was.

“Just trying to find something decent to drink,” she replied.

“Down to green tea papaya again?” he asked, sympathetically.

“Honestly, I don’t even know why we keep restocking them.” She watched Adam make himself a cup of coffee. “Good weekend?”

“Not bad, I suppose,” he said. “The usual. Took the dog for a walk, caught up on the telly.”

“Oh, right. Sounds like a good weekend in.”

Adam Young was the sort of man that Sophie’s mother would have called “a solid type.” Someone so reliably set in his ways and predictable that one could depend on him to always be exactly who you expected him to be. He was well-liked by his co-workers in that passive, non-committal way. But many of Sophie’s friends at the company thought Adam Young was as boring as they came which was saying something in a company full of accountants. But Sophie found she was rather smitten. There was something about Adam that she found endearing. And unlike most women her age who still fancied the adventurous personality, Sophie found Adam’s solidness and dependability rather comforting.

Plus, he had a slightly off kilter sense of humor which Sophie liked. Only last week she’d stopped by his desk to find him perusing through a wedding registry.

“Some old friends of mine are getting married in Japan,” he’d told her. “I’ve got to be in Bristol that week so I’ll just have to send a gift.”

“Oh, what are you sending them?”

“Good non-typhoon weather and this china plate set they’ve registered for,” he pointed to the screen. “That’s rather nice.”

Sophie had giggled, a bit nonplussed. He’d smiled back at her which nearly led to her giggling all the more. It had nearly been very embarrassing.

Adam wasn’t bad looking either. True, he mostly wore shapeless cardigans with ties in various solid, dull colors. The most fashionable thing about him was probably the red frames of his glasses but even that was stretching it a bit. Still, underneath all of it, he was quite tall with a lovely smile and had waves of light hair that Sophie caught herself fantasizing running her hands through.

Sophie self-consciously twisted the lid of the tea tin as Adam took a sip of his coffee. “I think I’ll have to make do with the dreaded papaya,” she said.

“Have you checked the cabinets?” asked Adam.

“Yes, that’s where I got the tin from- oh…”

Adam had reached behind where she was standing to open one of the cabinets. It put him in closer proximity to her.

“You’re in luck, Soph.”

In Adam’s hand was an unopened box of Earl Grey. Sophie could have sworn that hadn’t been there before but right now was about as wonderful as a bouquet of roses.

“Adam, you’re a miracle worker!” she praised.

Adam smiled. “Only with the small stuff.”


The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 20th, 2013 05:02 am (UTC)
And there was much rejoicing! *fanfares, high fives, parades* Congrats on finishing an awesome story, my lovely!

I really liked seeing what the Them were all up to, and Adam (awwww!). I love John's exasperation, because yeah, Purgatory probably sucks but he's used to the sort of thing. And I like you folding the story back around to the car accident. I love it when things come full circle.

I have sincerely enjoyed following this story. I know you had to fight with it, but you wouldn't know for reading it. The plot is great and how you've woven it together is wonderful. You should be very proud!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 20th, 2013 05:21 am (UTC)
I really liked seeing what the Them were all up to, and Adam (awwww!).

Those segments ended up being my favorite to write. I'd always known Pepper and Wensleydale would end up together. I liked the idea of Adam basically becoming Mr. Young and only occasionally using his powers for minor things. Basically, the world was saved because Adam was raised by good parents. Hopefully he'll marry Sophie and have a perfectly normal(ish) life.

And I like you folding the story back around to the car accident. I love it when things come full circle.

Thanks! I'm glad that worked. It felt a bit timey wimey but this was also a story that featured the Anti-Christ so hey.

Thanks so much for sticking with this. Two years is dreadfully long and all your encouragement really, really helped get my Word Fairy back.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 20th, 2013 12:51 pm (UTC)
Basically, the world was saved because Adam was raised by good parents.

Awww! This is my theory toward why Sherlock isn't more of an asshole than he is. Somewhere along the way, nurture overtook nature a bit.

Thanks! I'm glad that worked. It felt a bit timey wimey but this was also a story that featured the Anti-Christ so hey.

I am actually a big fan of timey wimey stories, so I approve.

Thanks so much for sticking with this. Two years is dreadfully long and all your encouragement really, really helped get my Word Fairy back.

I'm just very glad to see your Word Fairy return! I hope she stays for a long time so I can keep reading lovely stories.

aelfgyfu_mead: Sherlock and Johnaelfgyfu_mead on September 20th, 2013 11:35 am (UTC)
I am confused about three points:
1) John says, “I’ve never killed anyone while working with Sherlock!” Is he not counting the cabbie because he didn't consider himself to be "working with Sherlock" at that time? It seems to me that he was, even if Sherlock didn't know it yet.
2) Is the change to purgatory deliberate? In Catholic thinking, purgatory is a way station to heaven. No one there goes to hell. One is being purified in order to be fit for heaven. There are three options for a dead person, in Catholic theology:
purgatory until ready for heaven
Once you're dead, there's no movement between them; you've made all your choices.

C.S. Lewis's book The Great Divorce imagines purgatory differently, as a place where people can still make choices. He was an Anglican but not the most theologically correct Anglican. I don't know if there are others who think purgatory could lead to either heaven or hell.

3) Is the man in the ratty trench coat Aziraphale? I haven't read the book in years.

I'm very glad to see everything worked out so neatly, and Adam seems to be back on the right path. No, Sherlock would not handle memories of any of this very well.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 20th, 2013 04:02 pm (UTC)
1) Thanks for this catch, I actually had to go back and edit this out. For some reason, I was under the impression that the cabbie in SiP had survived. This is what happens when I only watch that episode once very two years!

2) It was a deliberate change for plot purposes.

3) Yup, Aziraphale!

No, Sherlock would not handle memories of any of this very well.

And the rest of the world would have suffered for it!
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 20th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
1) Thanks for this catch, I actually had to go back and edit this out. For some reason, I was under the impression that the cabbie in SiP had survived. This is what happens when I only watch that episode once very two years!

Butting in, pardon me.

I do wonder if he might have hung on a bit longer if Sherlock hadn't decided to step on his wound. That can't be good for your system. I'm not sure if John would aim to kill, either, I think he was trying more to intervene. I'd totally forgotten about the cabbie all together and I just watched this episode a few months ago. I could see John thinking of that as a form of self-defence over murder, too.

Also, if he had lived, Moriarty would have made the rest of his life very short.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 20th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure if John would aim to kill, either, I think he was trying more to intervene.

I think the reason why I thought the cabbie had survived was that it was a shoulder wound. And granted, yes, you can die from one but I had thought it was potentially non-life threatening versus say, a bullet to the head or chest.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 20th, 2013 05:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it definitely hit in a semi-non-vital area. But it was in his left shoulder, so there could have been some involvement with the heart.
aelfgyfu_meadaelfgyfu_mead on September 20th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
2) I can handle that!

I need to reread Good Omens, but I have so many other books piling up to read. . . . I did reread Vernor Vinge's Fire upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky, so I could certainly allow myself to reread GO. I love Aziraphale and Crowley, but I don't remember the children very well at this point.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 20th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
but I don't remember the children very well at this point.

I had to refer back to my copy during the writing of this thing to remember what the children had been like. I had completely forgotten that Brian even existed!
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 20th, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
Oh, good! I couldn't remember Brian either, I thought it was just me.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 20th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
In our defense, Brian is the least fleshed out Them. Wensleydale and Pepper both get their own little intros regarding their personalities and histories. Brian is just sort of dropped in.
The Writer They Call Tayawanderingbard on September 20th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
He's also got the only normal name, so it's not as memorable.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on September 20th, 2013 05:25 pm (UTC)
True. Poor Brian. He's like a somewhat necessary fourth member but also sort of superfluous.