sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-03 03:00 pm

LORD PETER/GOOD OMENS: Devil Took the Soldier Boy. PG-13.

Warnings: Discussion of PTSD.
Summary: Aziraphael and Crowley have a bet, with Lord Peter Wimsey's soul as the stakes.

Now a podfic by [livejournal.com profile] blueyeti!

Also available at AO3.

First Posted prior to 9.23.2005

When they brought the men up from the caved-in trench, there were two more soldiers watching than should have been, a soldier with his helmet tilted low over his eyes and another with the same fair, short-cropped and wind-ruffled hair that the Major had. It was the Major they brought up second -- he'd shoved the other man up through the hole first, and clambered almost all the way out before the sunlight made him gasp and retch.

"Why did we make this bet, Crowley?" asked the fair-haired soldier, softly, as arms caught the Major and supported him, pulling him slack-legged out into the world once more.

"Long history of things like this," replied the soldier with the low-tilted helmet, hands clasped behind his back, still watching while most of the other men were cheering or rushing forward to help. "We're not the first."

"I never agreed with what happened to Job."

"Dissent in the ranks, Angel?"

Aziraphael watched, pity in his blue eyes, as the Major collapsed sideways onto a stretcher.

"He's a favourite among his men," he said. "He's been lucky. He's brave and good at what he does. Men like him tend to draw attention."

"Of men like me?"

"You're not a man."

"I was speaking rhetorically, Angel."

"I wasn't, Crowley."

Someone was easing his way back into the collapsed trench in order to collect up the things the Major had left behind -- his pack, his helmet and, incongruously, a handkerchief.

"It's destroyed him," Crowley said shortly.

"No."

"Fine, go ahead and say it. I've destroyed him."

"You sound ashamed."

"I'm annoyed. I hate this helmet."

Aziraphael shook his head. "It hasn't destroyed him. Not yet. The bet isn't over."

"What d'you mean?"

"You remember the terms. We each had one act we could commit in order to save or damn one man. We chose the man and you've committed your act."

Crowley scowled. "And you've committed yours. They've found him and there's not a mark on him."

Aziraphael's lips curved, slightly. "That wasn't my doing. That was luck and happenstance."

"I hate luck and happenstance. It's always on your side."

"Funny, isn't it?" Aziraphael replied.

"I don't see what you could possibly do to save him now. You saw what happened in his head, down there in the cold and dark -- "

"That's because you don't see the beauty of humanity, Crowley, only the sublime nature of their ugliness. You revel in what they do to each other, but only when it's terrible."

"Well, yes. I'm a demon."

Aziraphael stepped forward and laid his hand on the shoulder of a barrel-chested, worried-looking sergeant standing nearby. He murmured something, too softly for even Crowley's excellent hearing, and then turned and gave the demon a tired smile.

"I have other places to be tonight," Aziraphael said, and vanished before Crowley could object.

***

The sergeant, so newly decommissioned that he still thought of himself as such, found the grand old house with the help of a friendly young man on a motorbike, and went directly to the scullery entrance, where the business of the house was proceeding as it generally does belowstairs.

"Oo're you then?" asked the scullerymaid.

"May I speak to the housekeeper?" the sergeant asked.

"Oooh, 'ee wants to speak to the 'ousekeepah," she retorted. "She's busy."

"I can wait," the man said placidly. And he proceeded to wait, so intently and purposefully that the scullerymaid was made nervous, and sent him to speak to the cook, who took one look at the sergeant and called for the butler.

"What have we here?" the butler asked. "I'm sorry, we don't see traveling salesmen -- "

"I am not a salesman," the sergeant replied confidently. "I have come to take up employment."

The butler chuckled. "I'm afraid we aren't looking for new footmen at this time."

"I have come to valet for the Major."

There was silence in the kitchen, deep and abiding. The scullerymaid crossed herself. Two footmen, lounging in the corner, visibly tensed.

"I toldjer!" the cook said to the butler. "I did tell yer! It ain't nach'ral! Send him away!"

"I beg your pardon, madam," the sergeant said.

"Ee's possessed and 'ere's 'is servant come to fetch 'is soul back to hell!" screetched the scullerymaid, and fled.

The sergeant frowned.

"Hysterical young woman," he observed.

"You'll have to forgive her," the butler said. "We're all rather at odds over the Major."

"Is he unwell?"

"It is rather doubtful if he has been well since he returned," the butler ventured.

"There's talk," the cook said darkly. "It ain't natch'ral, him sitting there all day, starin' at nuffink. He don't eat but when he's told to, he don't talk."

"Am I to infer properly," the sergeant said, incredulity dawning on his solid features, "that you suspect the Major of being possessed by some infernal force?"

"Well...he isn't right in the head, anyone can see that, and we've heard that...being locked up deep down in the earth...something might have gotten hold of his soul, as it were. Then you show up out of nowhere with no warning, claiming to be his servant," the butler said. "You can see why we might be a little confused."

"Take me to him, please," the sergeant said, in such a commanding voice that the butler was turning before he even thought to object.

He had to admit that the Major could not look worse if Satan had indeed laid claim to his soul; he was pale from too much time spent inside, the edges of his eyes standing out red against the parchment-like skin. Thin, too, far thinner than even when they'd been living on hard rations in the worst days of the war. The bones of his knuckles pressed white against his skin where he held a cigarette between his fingers, but it didn't look as if he'd smoked much of it. He was seated on a low couch in his bedroom, staring blankly out at the lush grounds beyond, and shivering, though he was wrapped tightly in a quilted silk dressing-gown.

"You may go," said the sergeant, and the butler, again without thinking, withdrew. The man on the couch didn't register the slightest reaction to the sound.

"Your lordship," the Sergeant continued. Pale eyes flicked away from the window, and the man's head turned slightly.

"What now?" he asked, exhaustedly.

"Has your lordship eaten today?"

"What?"

"Breakfast, my lord. Have you eaten?"

"Yes," he said vaguely. "I think so. Who are you?"

"Surely your lordship knows me," the sergeant said. "I cannot say that I regret having left my uniform behind, though perhaps it would have made me more recognisable."

The man at the window tilted his head slightly.

"Sergeant?" he asked, in a low voice.

"Yes, my lord."

"Sergeant Bunter?"

The sergeant smiled. "I'm afraid it's merely 'Bunter' now, Major Wimsey."

***

"And you say he showed up with no letters of recommendation, no advanced warning, no written arrangement with his lordship, and was promptly hired?"

The cook giggled at the astonshed look on Mr. Fell's face. Mr. Crowley, who had come to sharpen the knives and grind the scissors, scowled in the corner.

"You wouldn't believe the change," she declared. "Our young lordship what we were all certain 'ad been possessed by the devil 'imself, and blessed if Mister Bunter din't steal 'im back from the jaws 'o damnation."

"Did you hear that, Mr. Crowley? Bunter stole his lordship's soul back from the very devil himself," Mr. Fell called.

"Less gossip and more cobbling," Mr. Crowley replied. Mr. Fell bent back to his mending of the household's boots with a smile.

"I am but a humble mender of soles in my own fashion," he said to the cook, who giggled again.

END

[identity profile] acroamatica.livejournal.com 2005-09-23 07:20 am (UTC)(link)
Simply:

YES.

Yes, yes, YES.

[identity profile] harriet-wimsey.livejournal.com 2005-12-05 06:06 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, wow. I don't remember how I came across this, but it's marvelous. I am, obviously, a huge fan of DLS, and I've recently discovered Good Omens, too. Of course Aziraphale would send Bunter--he really did save Peter.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-12-05 06:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

[identity profile] djinnj.livejournal.com 2005-12-28 09:17 am (UTC)(link)
Ack! Wimsey!fic that I somehow missed!

Yay Bunter! I once wrote a poem 'bout Bunter lo these many moons ago....

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2006-01-08 06:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yes? Is it posted anywhere?

[identity profile] djinnj.livejournal.com 2006-01-08 06:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh no, I wrote it in college and it was very silly. I don't even know where it'd be at this point.
(deleted comment)

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2006-01-08 06:17 pm (UTC)(link)
Hooray! Another convert! :D

I'm glad you enjoy it. I learned more about the aftermath of WWI from Sayers than I ever did from history class *grins*

[identity profile] erinya.livejournal.com 2006-04-04 09:02 pm (UTC)(link)
You wrote a Wimsey/Good Omens crossover?

*blinks*

I love you. You have combined two of my favorite fandoms seamlessly. And your writing is lovely and clean and reminiscent of Sayers.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2006-04-05 03:41 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.
ext_942: (Default)

[identity profile] giglet.livejournal.com 2006-10-15 06:25 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, thank you!

Bunter is necessary, isn't he?

(Here by way of [livejournal.com profile] bethbethbeth's rec on crackfan.)

[identity profile] threerings.livejournal.com 2006-10-15 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
(Also here via crack_van)

Thank you for this! I love the relationship between Bunter and Lord Peter. Perfect.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2006-10-16 06:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks! It's a complicated relationship, I'm glad it came through well.

awwwwwwwwwwwww.

[identity profile] kormantic.livejournal.com 2006-10-15 09:27 pm (UTC)(link)
sweet, sweet.

[identity profile] aesclepius.livejournal.com 2006-10-16 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
yay! this story is just perfect. thank you for writing and sharing it, and thank heavens for crack_van leading me here to read it.

[identity profile] argosy.livejournal.com 2006-10-16 10:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Also here from crack-van. What a wonderful story. I'll never look at Bunter in quite the same way again.

[identity profile] theodicy.livejournal.com 2006-10-18 04:40 am (UTC)(link)
I've always wanted the backstory on that moment when Bunter arrives and takes over.

Thank you, thank you. Your voice is spot-on.

[identity profile] azdak.livejournal.com 2006-10-21 12:57 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm also here via crack_van. This is a very enjoyable story, and kudos for mixing two such unlikely universes, but may I venture two tiny linguistic corrections? A "solicitor" in the UK isn't a kind of salesman but a lawyer, so it's very disconcerting for a British reader to have Bunter announce, apparently apropos of nothing, that he isn't a solicitor. Also, Bunter would address Peter as "my lord" not "your lordship". Sorry to nitpick, but since you've otherwise done a very good job on the Britishisms I thought you might like to know.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2006-10-26 01:37 am (UTC)(link)
Ah! Thank you, I was actually rather surprised at myself when I re-read it that I mentioned solicitations *laughs* Glad you enjoyed the fic.

(Anonymous) 2007-02-17 06:43 am (UTC)(link)
Wow! I came here, looking for a Discworld fic I think you wrote, but when I saw this crossover, I simply had to stop and read it! Wonderful! You're brilliant! (I think I'm going to save this site in my Bookmarks.)

Cat Feral

[identity profile] beadattitude.livejournal.com 2008-05-07 08:10 am (UTC)(link)
::squeals joyfully::

[identity profile] evilstorm.livejournal.com 2008-10-20 02:43 pm (UTC)(link)
*FLAIL*

*LOVE*
trialia: River Song (Alex Kingston) drinking a cup of coffee. (Default)

[personal profile] trialia 2009-06-02 06:31 pm (UTC)(link)
Ooooooh, shiny! :D Just found this through [livejournal.com profile] crack_van, and I love the idea.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-06-03 02:03 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks! Glad you like it :)

[identity profile] elise-wanderer.livejournal.com 2009-12-10 10:39 am (UTC)(link)

Terrific! And I buy it completely--how else could Bunter have arrived just at the moment he was most needed, to win an eternal bet and rescue a soul very much worth saving. Nice crossover!

Thank you!

(Anonymous) 2010-12-02 01:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Just found this (by dint of googling "LPW fanfic" :-) ) and loved it. I'm a big DLS fan and "Good Omens" is one of my favourite fantasy novels. I also liked the little touch of having Bunter get directions from a friendly young man on a motorbike - given that DLS herself was a bike fan, and had her own "friendly young man with a motorbike" for a while in the '20s ;-)
laughingacademy: (Default)

[personal profile] laughingacademy 2011-02-13 05:18 pm (UTC)(link)
"I am but a humble mender of soles in my own fashion," he said to the cook, who giggled again.

Oh, SAM. *dissolves into helpless laughter*

[identity profile] titc.livejournal.com 2012-07-04 11:16 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, clever crossover!