sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-06 12:00 pm

GOOD OMENS/BLACK BOOKS: That's Why They Call It A Gift. PG-13 (profanity)

Summary: The true story of how Bernard Black acquired his bookshop.
Warnings: None.

Now a podfic by [ profile] blueyeti! And available in Russian.

Also available at AO3.

"I don't want to talk about it," Bernard Black said.

"You didn't kill anyone, did you?" Manny asked, looking alarmed.

"Christ no, what do you think I am?" Bernard retorted. "Don't. Don't answer that. I don't want to know what goes on in that...that peanut shaped head of yours."

Manny, momentarily distracted, felt his skull worriedly.

"Don't listen to him, Manny," Fran said, stubbing out her cigarette. "I think the way he got the shop is quite an interesting story, actually -- "

"No it's not! It's a very boring story! Even I'm bored with it!" Bernard cried, flailing. The two customers in the bookshop looked perturbed, but only barely; you saw stranger things every day on the street. Usually on the street outside Black Books, in fact.

"He stole it," Fran said to Manny, delight oozing from every syllable.

"I didn't steal it, you don't nick bookshops like candy bars!"

"He has a point," Manny said.

"Thank you, Sasquatch," Bernard muttered.

"He did steal it all the same."

"I did not! It was given to me," Bernard protested.

"But you didn't pay for it," Fran said.

"Of course I didn't pay for it, it was a gift! That's why they're called gifts! Because you don't pay for them! Can I help you!" Bernard shouted, addressing the last remark to a young woman standing in front of the desk.

"Do you sell newspapers?" she asked. Bernard blinked up at her.

"Sure, newspapers, right." He reached behind the desk and came up with a yellowing, several-months-old paper. He smacked it down into her palm. "That'll be fifty p."

"But this isn't today's!"

"What d'you want to go buying today's paper for?" Bernard demanded. "It's all war and parliament and football and things. Look on this, right, as a happier time," he said, tapping the newspaper. "Come on, come on, fifty p."

Startled, she dropped a handful of change on the desk and fled.

"You could have just said no," Manny suggested.

"Yes, but now I've got rid of that rubbish and I've got....eighty-two pence," Bernard said trumphantly.

"Ill gotten gains," Fran whispered to Manny.

"Were you here? No. Did you see what happened? No. Do you have any more wine?"


"Blast. Here." Bernard threw the change at Fran, who managed to catch most of it down her blouse. Two crumpled five-pound notes followed. "Stock us up then."

Fran giggled and shimmied as she stood up. The coins clinked. Fran gasped happily and ran from the shop.

"Are you going to tell me or not?" Manny asked, slumping down onto the couch and staring at the ceiling, which had several gobs of hard, dried peanut butter stuck to it. He might have been disgusted, except he knew that the peanut butter was sealing and concealing several cracks in the ceiling through which the mussels tended to wander if they weren't careful.

"All right. All right," Bernard said, heaving an enormous sigh. "When I came to London I was like a....thing. Fish. Sole. A missing fish."

Manny, who was beginning to pick up on things like this, suggested, "A lost soul?"

"The very article," Bernard agreed. "And I wandered. Aimlessly. Spent a lot of time wandering aimlessly."

"I'm sorry, was this when you first came to London or more sort of...this morning?" Manny asked.

"And wossisname, the bloke, the one who hates me."

Manny began counting silently on his fingers. Finally he looked up. "Which one?"

"Gerald! That's the one. He said we should nip down to this brilliant bookshop."


Bernard, who had not had his glass of breakfast yet (well, really, it was coming on time to drink lunch, to be fair) looked blearily up at Gerald.


"Why not?" Gerald countered. They'd known each other since childhood. Gerald spoke fluent Bernardese.

"Because I don't want to," Bernard snapped.

"Nonsense. Get you out of the house for a little while, take you out of yourself. You're just moping," Gerald insisted.

"I like moping."

"Come on, you'll like it. You like books!"

"I don't like bookshops. They give me the thingys. The horrible thingys. Books shouldn't be sold!" Bernard protested, even as he shrugged into his shapeless black coat and followed Gerald out the door. "It's like whoredom."

"It's what?" Gerald asked, amused. It was a crisp, clear day in London, and Bernard hated that. The sun was, he felt, entirely too bright. If they could get it down to about forty watts, he'd be a happy man.

Some people suffer from depression when the weather is dark. Bernard suffered from unwanted joy when it wasn't.

"It's like, you take a book, right, and you put your heart and soul into writing it, every little word, hundreds of thousands of words, dozens of pages...more than dozens of pages! And they wrap it up in a nice binding with glue and threads and things and it's all shiny and such and then -- and then..." Bernard made a moue of horror. "They smack it down on a shelf in a shop somewhere and it sits there until someone comes along and pays three quid for it and then they own your soul. And they can read your words and do whatever they like with them!" he added, gesticulating wildly.

"If you come with me to the bookshop I'll buy you dinner," Gerald said.

"Done," Bernard pronounced. They walked on in silence for a while, until a thought randomly sparked its way across Bernard's misfiring neurons.

"We've passed bookshops," he said.


"Well, couldn't you have bought your book," Bernard shuddered, "at one of those?"

"This bookshop's special," Gerald replied.

"Do they sell sweets?" Bernard asked.

"He has a lot of very rare and valuable books," Gerald said.

"And you buy his very rare and valuable books? Is that the situation?"

", not really, see the thing is, I like to go and look at them, and then we talk about me perhaps buying one for a while, and then I go away again," Gerald said. "Here we are!" he added, pushing his way into the little shop before Bernard could properly react to the utter nonsense spewing from his mouth.

"Ah! Gerald!" said a thirtyish, tweed-clad man from behind the till. "Lovely morning, isn't it? How are you today? You've brought a friend along, I see?"

Another thought crossed Bernard's mind. "Pimp!" he accused. "Salesman! Pharisee!"

The man looked perplexed.

"Would you like some tea?" he inquired.

"Ah, Mr. Fell, this is Bernard Black, he's an acquaintance of mine," Gerald said hurriedly. "He's not well," he added, in an undertone.

"My pleasure, Mr. Black," Mr. Fell said crisply. "Bethany, would you fetch the tea, please?"

"Coming with it now, sir," called a voice from the back, and a young woman appeared, carrying a tea tray.

"Splendid, splendid. Do you drink tea, Mr. Black, or is it against your religion?"

"Don't mind him," Gerald said.

"Excuse me! Mind me very much!" Bernard interrupted.

"He has this silly theory -- you'll laugh -- that books shouldn't actually be sold," Gerald chuckled. Bethany and Mr. Fell both looked at Bernard with renewed interest.

"Is that so?" Mr. Fell asked, sipping his tea delicately.


"And a month later he calls me up and asks if I'd look after the shop while he takes a bit of a holiday," Bernard finished.


"And that was five years ago," Bernard added blankly.

"And he just never came back? Do you suppose he's a fugitive from justice?" Manny asked, as Fran reappeared with a large paper sack. She began producing wine bottles out of it like clowns out of a very tiny car.

"It's all very mysterious," she said.

"It is not. It's as plain as the face behind your nose," Bernard asserted. "He knew I would not-sell his books."

"What happened to his assistant?"

"Happened? His? What? Assistant?"

"Bethany," Manny said patiently.

"Christ, has something happened to Bethany?" Bernard asked wildly.

"She took off ages ago, Bernard, you remember," Fran said, lighting a cigarette. "She met some chap who came here to not-buy books. Richard or Reginald or something. Tweed-wearing professor type. Promised her lots of chocolate and high adventure. Haven't heard from her since."

"Aren't you worried he's going to come back?" Manny inquired.

"Who?" Bernard asked.

"Mr. Fell."

"Why, what do you know?" Bernard asked, eyes rolling in wild paranoia.

"I'm just saying. What if he comes back?"

"Oh, I don't think he'll do that," Fran said. "And if he does, don't you think Bernard's done a rather good job not selling any books?"

"He might, and this is just a theory, object to peanut butter on the ceiling," Manny ventured.

"It's not really on so much as in...."


Aziraphael was also staring at the ceiling; it was a much nicer ceiling. It had a mural painted on it. The Italians would paint murals on anything that held still enough and some things that didn't.

"Mmf," Crowley said, from somewhere under the blankets. "Angel, I can hear you thinking. Stop thinking so loud."

"It's just that I feel as if I've forgotten something," Aziraphael answered. Crowley's hand crept across his belly, and he sighed peacefully. "Have we been on holiday long?"

"No, I wouldn't say long," Crowley replied.

"Are you sure?"

"Well, another few days won't hurt, if we have," Crowley insisted, nuzzling his way up Aziraphael's chest.

"No -- oh -- you're right," Aziraphael replied happily.


[identity profile] 2005-07-21 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
You write Bernard so well I'm sure it's illegal somewhere. The thought of Bernard and Azi being of the same mind when it comes to books scares me but in some way is so very very right. And there's just not enough Black Books fic around.

[identity profile] 2005-07-21 06:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :) I do so enjoy Bernard Black....

[identity profile] 2005-07-21 06:55 am (UTC)(link)
You write Black Books perfectly! It's spot on. And don't I remember you saying that you're hardly seen it?

Also, major love for the Remus cameo in here, missed it the first time around!

[identity profile] 2005-07-21 06:09 pm (UTC)(link)
Well, at the time I wrote that I'd seen all three seasons, actually *sheepish grin*

[identity profile] 2005-07-23 04:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I've never read a single Black Books fanfic, but I have to say, should I ever stumble across another it couldn't possibly surpass this. That is absolutely the best Bernard voice I've never read before. Not to mention Fran and Manny, of course. Brilliant. :D

[identity profile] 2005-07-23 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

[identity profile] 2005-09-27 06:44 am (UTC)(link)
OMG Brilliant.
I've only just gotten into Black Books and was talking to [ profile] kabeyk about a Remus/Bernard story, and she mentioned your GO/BB stories. I am so delighted to have found them.

Your Bernad is just gorgeous. And the peanut butter in the ceiling was a perfect touch.

[identity profile] 2005-10-25 12:29 am (UTC)(link)
Here via a rec - great story. I've not seen many episodes of Black Books, but I think you've captured Bernard & Manny brilliantly :D

[identity profile] 2005-11-06 06:57 am (UTC)(link)
This is wonderful! [ profile] la_joconde pointed me here after I made this rambling post (, and I'm so glad she did.

[identity profile] 2005-11-06 08:27 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

Way way waaaay late, but...

[identity profile] 2006-02-27 05:50 pm (UTC)(link) Loved it. You nailed Bernard and Manny.

Oh, and this bit:

"Splendid, splendid. Do you drink tea, Mr. Black, or is it against your religion?" made me giggle and squee. Sly Pratchett references have that effect on me :)

Excuse me while I go and fangirl you from that corner over there, okay? :)

Re: Way way waaaay late, but...

[identity profile] 2006-02-28 05:01 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :D

[identity profile] 2006-03-15 10:26 pm (UTC)(link)
I so enjoyed this. :)

[identity profile] 2006-05-18 11:09 pm (UTC)(link)
This was too good not to comment on. You've got Bernard's voice down pat, and him getting the bookshop because of his views on bookselling is just as great as Crowley tempting him to 'just a couple more days' holiday time.

[identity profile] 2006-12-02 04:29 am (UTC)(link)
I'm sorry, this is totally random, but I was looking over the comments on one of Copperbadges stories, and I swear I've spent the last 10 minutes staring at your icon. I've had to scroll the page down, just so that I could write this. I like it, but on my gosh mesmerizing. I think it took me a good coupla minutes to figure out what was going on. :) *is dense sometimes*

[identity profile] 2006-12-03 07:53 pm (UTC)(link)
And that my friend, is why it's my default icon. Feel free to take.

Pure awesomeness!

[identity profile] 2006-07-01 12:48 am (UTC)(link)
Brilliance! :D As soon as Gerald said that Bernard didn't think books should be sold... I could just follow Aziraphael's thought process. The ensuing scene change transition was just hilarious. XD Five years would seem like a rather short time for a 6000 year old angel, wouldn't it?
Rock on! :D

[identity profile] 2007-01-04 11:30 pm (UTC)(link)
*hearts you*
I'd never have read Good Omens if it hadn't been for this fic... is that bad? Thanks!!
*wanders off fangirling some more*

[identity profile] 2007-01-23 12:57 am (UTC)(link)
Brilliant! :D

[identity profile] 2007-04-03 09:09 am (UTC)(link)
eee! :D I love this! I was looking for Black Books/Good Omens cross overs and this is EXACTLY THE SORT OF THING I WAS LOOKING FOR!
That's just so... 'them'!
Thanks a lot for having written it!

[identity profile] 2007-04-03 03:15 pm (UTC)(link)
Glad you enjoyed it! I had a lot of fun writing it :)

[identity profile] 2007-04-03 11:37 pm (UTC)(link)
Would you mind if i recced it over at the community heard_of_it which is for obscure/less mainstream books/movies/tv shows?

[identity profile] 2007-04-06 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
Not at all! Knock yourself out :)

[identity profile] 2007-04-06 02:18 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, I've recced it. :) Hope it gets you some more readers.

[identity profile] 2007-04-06 10:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Came over via the rec on [ profile] heard_of_it. Having just mainlined the second season of Black Books this afternoon, this was an unexpected pleasure. Your Bernard in particular is hilarious.


[identity profile] 2007-04-06 11:51 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)


(Anonymous) 2007-04-25 12:10 am (UTC)(link)
I've read nearly all of your fics, and they are simply stupendous !(nice alliteration, eh?)

BUT, I've never heard of the Black Books. Or Lord Peter Wimsey.
Could you tell me some titles and where I might buy them?
They rather sound like my type of books.

~ The Vox Pops

Re: Ehrm...

[identity profile] 2007-04-28 09:43 pm (UTC)(link)
Black Books is actually a tv series, a sitcom that aired in Great Britain a few years ago, it's available on DVD. For Lord Peter, look for Dorothy Sayers' books :)

[identity profile] 2008-09-20 09:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Came by way of a rec on fanficrants. This is great! You've actually written Black Book fic that sounds like the characters! And it's a tremendously Bernard way of acquiring a bookshop. Brilliant!

[identity profile] 2008-09-20 09:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

[identity profile] 2008-09-23 03:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Fantastic. Absolutely bloody brilliant, as ever. Is there a spell to steal your talent, BTW? :)

Is It Done to write fanfic of fanfic? Because I've this great idea for a Stealing Harry/Black Books crossover now...

[identity profile] 2008-09-23 03:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not particularly keen on people fanficcing Stealing Harry, if only because there's such rich source material out there already. But I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

[identity profile] 2008-10-23 03:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, hurrah! I've just spent two days mainlining the show, and through much of this time I was thinking to myself: "There really should be Black Books/Good Omens crossover fic. Really really really. REALLY." And so I go and Google, and sam_storyteller comes up, and I punch the air (for lo, I have read things by you before, and they have been of the good) and, and, and YOU ARE MADE OF WIN!!!!

Cracking job! Brava!

[identity profile] 2009-04-30 09:04 am (UTC)(link)
I have no idea what "black books" is but this is a WIN XD
I think I could grow to love Bernard "and then they own your SOUL" XDDDD

[identity profile] 2009-04-30 11:08 am (UTC)(link)
Black Books is a hilarious britcom from the early 2000s -- google "black books quotes" for a better taste of it :D

[identity profile] 2009-06-07 01:33 pm (UTC)(link)
You are so very wonderful. And your Bernard is fabulously snarky. Just like the words from the mouth of the old reclusive wanker himself. Great story!

[identity profile] 2009-07-20 12:46 am (UTC)(link)
This is the most perfect crossover ever! *grins* I have no idea why more people haven't written it, but I'm so glad that you did, because it was great. So easy to lose track of time when you live forever...

[identity profile] 2009-07-25 10:32 am (UTC)(link)
I listened to the podfic of this last night and thought the story was awesome. It's perfectly Black Books and then at the end it was so adorably Good Omens:)

[identity profile] 2009-12-13 12:42 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my gosh, I love this so much! We only recently discovered Black Books and you've done such a great job with the voices, I'm so impressed.

[identity profile] 2010-01-09 02:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Believe it or not, I hadn't heard of Black Books back when you posted this, but I've *just* gone through the lot of them in the last couple days, started looking for fanfic ... and of course, you have it.


I should have known - the juxtaposition of a misanthropic drunk who doesn't like to sell books and a ridiculously upbeat angel who can't bear to part with his books was obvious to me from the jump. And I also thought of "Stealing Harry" several times, so knowing that you're quite familiar with BB makes perfect sense.

And yes, the voices are perfect. I particularly love the description of a "drink of breakfast" and time to "drink lunch" because that's Bernard to a T.

(I'm also in a tubful of squee at the moment because one of my Christmas presents was a shiny copy of Nameless!)

[identity profile] 2010-01-09 03:01 pm (UTC)(link)
LOL, it's brilliant, the show I mean, isn't it? :D I love Black Books. And yay for getting Nameless for Christmas! I hope you enjoy it thoroughly :)

[identity profile] 2010-08-06 09:08 am (UTC)(link)
How did you hack into Dylan Moran's brain to write Bernard's voice so perfectly? I swear I heard all of the characters voices right in my head. It was awesome.
random_nexus: (Road Go)

[personal profile] random_nexus 2010-10-03 05:00 am (UTC)(link)
love, love, love the whole CONCEPT of BB/GO, but this did the concept proud. FUN! And I entirely adore Aziraphael and Crowley on a snuggle/sex/tour with no idea how long they've been gone! *grin*

melayneseahawk: (Default)

[personal profile] melayneseahawk 2011-11-24 09:22 pm (UTC)(link)
*is ded of giggles*