Good Omens Fanfiction: Chosen and Unchosen - 11. Water Guns
I have definitely been enjoying everyone’s reactions to this story. It seems like everyone is having fun with it, even when I make my readers anxious and worried about the characters. And I’ve certainly been looking forward to this part of the plot.
“Crowley,” shouted Aziraphale as he straightened, still off-balanced from when the demon pushed him.
He pushed Aziraphale. Crowley pushed him out of the way. He saved him from Satan. Crowley protected him. It’s Aziraphale’s fault.
The thoughts echoed through his mind as the angel stared in horror at Crowley flat on his back, Satan pinning him in place with talons embedded in the demon’s chest. Crowley, hands fumbling weakly at the demon looming over him. Crowley, gasping in pain out of habit rather than need for air. Crowley, hurt because of Aziraphale.
Aziraphale barely grabbed Adam’s arm and stopped him from charging forward. Dog snapped and barked fiercely even as he cringed, ears flat to his head.  The hellhound and the flaming sword felt like inadequate protection. It wasn’t enough. Not against Satan.
He’d abandoned the brief attempt to look human. The wider hallways didn’t seem like enough, the devil now at least twice as large as any mortal man. Unnaturally muscular limbs and a broad chest made his proportions more like a grotesque gargoyle than human. His skin tone was as red as his now-missing cardigan. No bat-like wings, but eyes flickering like flames and numerous black horns jutting from his skull like a crown.
But Aziraphale’s eyes kept falling to the taloned hand wide enough to cover Crowley’s chest. Black claws digging into the translucent demon. Crowley couldn’t discorporate from the damage. There was no physical body. Satan could easily destroy him.
“As I was saying,” continued Satan, “you don’t have much choice, boy. You will do as I command because you have no other option.”
Adam’s breathing was shaking and he swayed faintly, but he let Aziraphale pull him back. The angel held his sword between them and the devil. Even knowing how outmatched he was, Aziraphale had to try. He needed to keep Adam safe. The boy needed to be protected and Crowley needed to be saved. Aziraphale tried to focus on those goals rather than who was looming over them.
“He does have a choice,” said Aziraphale. “Adam is human and humanity possess free will. That’s the whole point. He’s already chosen not to destroy the world.” Trying to keep his voice steady, he said, “Armageddon has failed. There’s no reason to go after Adam now. And there’s no need to harm Crowley further. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we all went our separate ways and pretend this never happened?”
He didn’t truly expect Satan to accept the offer. Aziraphale wasn’t quite that foolish. He was mostly trying to give Adam reassurance and boost his confidence. But that didn’t mean that he enjoyed Satan’s dark and cruel laughter.
“I won’t do it.” Adam’s voice came out weak and uncertain. “I won’t help you.”
“You hear the whispers, telling you to embrace your purpose,” said Satan, baring his fangs in a way that might charitably be described as a grin. “How long do you think you can deny it? Resisting me means tapping into your powers. It means accepting your role as the Anti-Christ in order to have the strength to try. Don’t you understand, little boy? Whether you fight or give in doesn’t matter. Either way will end with you succumbing. Either way will lead to you starting Armageddon once more.”
Adam shook his head, but there was something wrong with him. His expression strained and scared, he kept squeezing his eyes shut. There was an internal struggle that Aziraphale couldn’t fix.
The braver demons who lingered down the hallways or peered from doorways were watching with vicious grins. As eager as they were at the execution. They knew what was coming. They wanted to see Aziraphale and Crowley perish and to see Adam’s will collapse.
Reaching slowly towards the boy with the clawed hand not currently buried in Crowley’s chest,  Satan said, “Just give in and start the Apocalypse like an obedient child and maybe I will let you rule one little corner afterwards.”
Aziraphale, when given enough time to plan and prepare, was a clever and capable opponent who could figure out how to handle numerous problems. He deciphered prophecies, arranged to trade places to avoid executions, and survived six thousand years on Earth through numerous wars. In the right circumstances, Aziraphale could be soft and strong at the same time.
But these were not those circumstances. He was too tired, too worn out, and too worried about the boy under his care and Crowley. When Satan reached towards Adam, he didn’t take the time to consider the best way to handle it. Aziraphale dashed forward, swinging his sword down and slicing across the devil’s palm.
The snarl of pain felt deeply satisfying. But it was short-lived. With blinding speed,  Satan lashed out and backhanded Aziraphale. The angel slammed into the wall hard enough to crack the dry wall, pain exploding through his new corporeal body. Then he crumbled.
The strained and choked sound broke through the angel’s scrambled mind as he struggled to raise his head. Crowley. The demon managed to call out weakly despite the talons in him. Even if he couldn’t finish the name.
Pushing himself slightly up on an elbow, a sharp spike of pain made Aziraphale hiss. Something definitely broke with that impact. Even with his exhaustion and the difficulty dragging celestial energy into the heart of Hell, Aziraphale directed a little miracle to heal the damage. He wasn’t going to be moving much otherwise.
But as he tried to convince ribs to knit together and what felt like a concussion to ease, Aziraphale made a grave realization. With him temporarily disabled and Crowley trapped in place, who would help Adam?
The whispers didn’t qualify as whispers anymore; they were practically screams in his mind that kept demanding for Adam to change the world, improve it, conquer it. Adam couldn’t block it out. He couldn’t keep out the voices in his head commanding that he destroy everything any more than he could stop his breathing from hitching or his heartbeat from pounding in his ears.
There was a weight on him. Not a physical one. But Adam could feel it wrapped around him, pushing down and squeezing tight. Adam could feel it suffocating him. He could feel Satan crushing him beneath his will. It made him feel small and weak, something that the former Anti-Christ didn’t feel to this extent even during the worst of the Apoca-Not.
Adam might be a strong-willed and determined thirteen-year-old, but Satan had several thousand years on him and the home field advantage.
Gritting his teeth, Adam tried to stare back at Satan with the same unwavering certainty that he used to banish the devil from Earth two years ago. A bluff, but one that he hoped wouldn’t be called out. Aziraphale and Crowley were hurt and Dog was cringing at his side. Adam was on his own this time.
Ignore the voices. Ignore Satan’s words. Just be Adam, not the Anti-Christ.
It would be easier if his friends were with him this time too. Pepper, Wensleydale, Brian…
“Give in,” ordered Satan. “You cannot resist. Not truly. I created you, boy. And you were created for a single purpose that you cannot deny. I grow tired of your childish tantrums. You are of Hell and must obey. You have no choice, child. Give in and embrace your destiny. Surrender to me.”
Adam could feel the pressure increasing, suffocating him. He could feel Satan pushing him. And Adam could feel himself buckling under the weight of the devil’s will. 
He didn’t want this. Adam didn’t want any of this.
“You will obey, child. You were made to bring about the end. You are that purpose. Your existence has no other reason. You are simply a catalyst. A tool.” Each word added to the suffocating weight. “You are an extension of my will and nothing more. What I want, you shall fulfill. And I desire the end of the world and all of Heaven slaughtered beneath Hell’s blades. Stop causing trouble and wasting everyone’s time.”
He didn’t want this… He didn’t want to end the world… Adam didn’t want this…
The crushing pressure nearly choked him. His head swam. He couldn’t focus. And he couldn’t block it out. He couldn’t even try to cover his ears. Everything was too much and too loud.
“Start the Apocalypse, child. You are the Anti-Christ. You have no other purpose.”
He didn’t want this… He didn’t… want…
…Maybe he should…?
“Don’t you listen to him. You listen to me.”
The voice cut through the tension and pressure, startling everyone. It startled Adam out of the near trance. It startled Satan out of his attempt to impose his will on the boy. It startled the injured Crowley and Aziraphale, both from the abruptness and the familiarity of the voice. And it startled the handful of demons lingering in the surrounding corridors to watch, none of them noticing the dark-haired boy concentrating so hard on being ignored.
At least, they didn’t notice until he spoke and marched right over to Adam. Warlock took up position next to him, apparently unconcerned by the stares. 
“You aren’t part of that dumb destiny anymore,” continued Warlock. “We pick who we want to be and destiny can just shut up already. And they can’t make you do anything and he’s just mad about it.” He glared at Satan towering over them. “That’s why he’s trying to be a jerk. Because he can’t do anything to end the world without help. Practically useless, isn’t he?”
Eyes burning bright, Satan stared back and asked, “And who do you think you are, walking into Hell and speaking to me like that? Who would dare to be that arrogant or that foolhardy?”
“I am the Adversary,” he recited, stepping forward.
As Warlock slowly approached the devil, it gave Adam a view of the colorful object slung across his back and he realized what the dark-haired boy had in mind. Adam also saw how Aziraphale was covering his mouth in shock and even from his awkward position pinned to the ground, Crowley’s wide-eyed stare never left the new arrival.
“I am the Destroyer of Kings. I am the Angel of the Bottomless Pit. I am the Great Beast that is called Dragon. I am the Prince of the World and of Hell. I am the Father of Lies. I am Warlock Dowling. I am the Anti-Christ, the one who will lead Hell’s armies to slaughter my enemies.”
His voice grew stronger and more confident with every word. As if he was believing it more with every title that Warlock claimed and made his own. He was wrapping himself in the destiny that Adam spent so long rejecting.
Well, Warlock was raised for the role. If he wanted the power and thought he could be the Anti-Christ without destroying the world, he was welcome to the job.
“I am Warlock Dowling, the Anti-Christ,” he said firmly. “Now let go of my nanny.”
If you tell a child the same thing for a decade, he will internalize the message at least on some level. He’ll believe it. It’ll become part of his identity. Warlock was raised with the twin beliefs that he should love and cherish all living things and that he would someday crush his enemies beneath his heel. Combine those two opposing viewpoints together and what do you get?
Someone who cares deeply for those who are important to him and who is viciously protective of those people.
Warlock marched into Hell, stared down the devil, declared himself as the Anti-Christ, and demanded the release of the demon pinned to the ground. And he didn’t even hesitate. Anyone in the immediate vicinity could feel the cold fury and aggression radiating off the boy.
Though if asked, Aziraphale would describe the glow of love instead as the stunned angel managed to sit up.
Satan’s confused expression was almost funny to the boy. He could only stare through the entire speech, his mouth working soundlessly a few times. The devil being at a loss for words was truly a rare sight.
“Uh, no,” said Satan finally, blinking a couple times. “No, you’re— you’re not the Anti-Christ.” Pointing towards Adam, he said, “He is.”
Taking a step forward so that the two boys were standing side-by-side again, Adam said, “I’m not your son or the Anti-Christ. I told you two years ago.” Adam sounded sturdier now. “If I can make you never my dad, then he can decide to be the Anti-Christ instead. Sounds fair to me.”
The earbuds dangling out of his pocket shouldn’t have been strong enough to make much noise. They shouldn’t be loud enough to hear the music clearly. But Warlock’s iPod played and everyone heard.
“We’re not gonna take it.
No, we ain’t gonna take it.
We’re not gonna take it anymore.”
“You are not the Anti-Christ,” repeated Satan. “And even if you were, you have no right to demand anything.”
Shrugging, Warlock said, “Believe what you want. But I’m leaving with my nanny and gardener. And Adam and his Dog are coming with us. You’re letting them go.”
“And if I don’t?” asked Satan, still staring the down the boy for his arrogance.
The boy didn’t even flinch.
“We’ve got the right to choose and there ain’t no way we’ll lose it.
This is our life, this is our song.
We’ll fight the powers that be just, don’t pick our destiny ’cause,
You don’t know us, you don’t belong.”
Grinning vicious, Warlock said, “Then I’ll be the best Anti-Christ possible. But I’ll be my version. I will lead and command armies of demons. I’ll crush my enemies. I’ll cause the end.” Hands curling into fists at his sides, he drew himself up as tall as possible. “But it won’t be on Earth. I will take control of your forces. I’ll steal your demons away and go to war against you. I will overthrow you and take over Hell. Then I will use my new armies to guard Earth and those who live there from anyone who would cause them harm.”
“We’re not gonna take it.
No, we ain’t gonna take it.
We’re not gonna take it anymore.”
Warlock’s views on being the Anti-Christ weren’t exactly the same as what was traditionally written. His views were built on bedtime stories, his childhood imaginings and misunderstandings, and assumptions woven into something powerful. There were no whispers. Warlock didn’t automatically Know his role. He only had his beliefs.
But Warlock believed. And Adam believed in him. It created a feedback loop, growing in strength. Strong enough to make reality take notice. One boy wasn’t quite the Anti-Christ and the other was no longer the Anti-Christ. But combined together on the same goal, they added up to something more than one Anti-Christ. And they were both focused on making Warlock into the kind of Anti-Christ that wasn’t controlled by destiny, Satan, or anything.
Warlock’s abilities came from various Expectations instead of Hell itself. Satan held no power over him, but he Expected demons to obey his command. Because Warlocked was raised to Expect to rule.
And Satan saw that. He saw the demons in the corridor sway slightly on their feet, confused and drowsy expressions on their faces. He saw the forces of Hell slipping under the child’s influence.
And Satan saw that Warlock’s threat held some merit.
“Oh, you’re so condescending, your gall is never ending.
We don’t want nothing, not a thing, from you.
Your life is trite and jaded, boring and confiscated,
If that’s your best, your best won’t do.”
But the devil was not one to surrender easily. Certainly not to a child. Warlock wouldn’t expect anything different.
“You want to go to war against me?” asked Satan. Tightening his claws deeper into Crowley’s chest, earning a choked gasp of pain. “Over a pair of disgraced traitors? Is it worth it?”
Expression darkening, Warlock said, “Last chance. Let my nanny go and we’ll leave without hurting you.”
“Hurt me?” Satan laughed harshly. “Tell you what, child. You want Crowley that badly? If you can take him from me, I’ll let you keep the wounded thing.”
“We’re right, yeah.
We’re free, yeah.
We’ll fight, yeah.
You’ll see, yeah.”
“A deal with the devil?” he asked. “Sounds dangerous, but I accept your terms.”
Then Warlock yanked the brightly-colored water gun  off his back and fired directly at the devil’s face.
And while Satan may be the ruler of Hell and the most powerful of the Fallen, he was still a demon. A full blast of holy water to the face  was bound to hurt. Like splashing someone with acid. He screamed in agony, both hands clawing at his face as he tried to escape the pain. And in doing so, Satan let go of Crowley for a moment.
A moment was all they needed. Aziraphale, still crouched on the ground from when the devil knocked him aside, flung himself forward and grabbed Crowley. Then he scrambled backwards, dragging Crowley with him until they were both out of reach. The angel held the demon close, his hand brushing across the translucent chest protectively as Aziraphale whispered to him.
Warlock shoved his water gun into Adam’s hands as the hallways filled with terrified shrieks and fleeing demons, the temporary trance state shattered by fear. Adam immediately started pumping the large water blaster in preparation for a second shot while Warlock yanked a pair of smaller water pistols from his pockets, aiming them towards the snarling devil. While they didn’t have the same range and couldn’t hold as much holy water, they didn’t take time to recharge between shots. Pulling the trigger was all the prep work needed.
Besides, Warlock had watched plenty of enough action movies that he technically wasn’t supposed to watch until he was older. And he knew for a fact that everyone always looked cooler when they were dual wielding weapons.
“We’re walking out of here,” said Warlock coldly. “They’re mine, you can’t have them, and we’re leaving together. And if you try to stop us, I’ll melt your eyes out. You and anyone else who gets in my way.” He shrugged. “Don’t know if holy water can kill the devil, but it doesn’t look fun either way.”
Satan’s hands dropped from his face and he glared at them. His skin tone was reddish before, but now there were visibly-scorched patches across his face. The holy-water-burns looked raw and painful, already oozing in places. Warlock felt oddly proud of that fact.
“A deal is a deal,” he continued, meeting the devil’s death glare firmly. “You said if I could get my nanny, I could keep my nanny. Right? So don’t push it.”
For a moment, it looked like Satan wanted to snap the boy’s neck even at the risk of another shot of holy water. But then he apparently reassessed the situation and thought it through. His eyes flickered towards the water guns in the children’s hands. His expression grew sharper, but he made no move towards them.
“Whatever else you may be, you are not immortal. You better pray that you end up in Heaven when you die,” said Satan. “Because I can wait a few decades for you to die. And if your soul is delivered to Hell, you’ll be at my mercy. And I won’t forget this. Your nightmares will never live up to what tortures I will devise especially for you.”
Tightening his grip on his dual-wielded water pistols, Warlock said, “You better pray that I end up in Heaven when I die too. Because if I come back here, I’m taking over. And we both know that I could do it.”
He took a step back, keeping his holy-water-filled weapons trained on Satan. Warlock watched Aziraphale and Crowley out of the corner of his eye. They stumbled towards the direction that Warlock originally came from, the pair supporting each other to stay upright. No one moved to stop them. Most of their earlier audience had already fled at the sight of the holy water.
“Adam, could you and Dog lead the way with your water gun?” asked Warlock. “I’ll cover our retreat.”
“Got it, Lock.”
Warlock saw Aziraphale’s head snap up at the nickname, something that he’d apparently heard before. But Warlock couldn’t see his expression. He mostly just saw the brief motion with his peripheral vision.
He couldn’t risk looking directly. Not when Satan was watching their clumsy escape with murderous eyes and seeking any form of weakness. Not when his heart had been pounding in his chest since the moment that Warlock arrived. Not when he needed to maintain his poker face until they were safe.
He needed to look like the cold, ruthless, and powerful Anti-Christ without a single vulnerability. He needed Satan and all of Hell to know that he wasn’t afraid of them. Because he wasn’t. Warlock knew they were dangerous and vicious. He knew who and what he’d just threatened. He grew up with the dark and blood-filled bedtime stories and lullabies. That’s why he knew that holy water would hurt them. He knew what he faced. He held no illusions about the kind of retribution that the devil might choose just as Warlock held no illusions about the kind of parents that he had.
No, it wasn’t Hell, Satan, or the demons hiding in fear that might weaken Warlock’s resolve.
Warlock couldn’t risk looking directly at Aziraphale and Crowley. Because Warlock knew that if he met their eyes, if he let himself acknowledge that he was with them, he didn’t know what he would do. He didn’t know what he might say or how he might react. He didn’t know if he could remain strong and firm when he properly saw them again.
He didn’t know how he would react, but he was certain that his response wouldn’t be helpful for their escape.
Satan didn’t scare him. Not really. But Warlock was terrified of what would happen next. What would he say? What if he couldn’t say anything and just stood there, useless and unable to do anything? And what would they say? What would they want to do next? Did they even want to see him again? They never tried to visit. Would they be disappointed in him? Would they be mad at him?
Warlock lingered behind, making certain that no one tried to follow. He kept just enough distance that it wouldn’t seem like he was deliberately avoiding them. And he kept his eyes watching carefully for anyone who might attack, his water pistols ready to fire. Warlock did his best to keep them safe without making it obvious that he was scared to death about the inevitable conversation.
 Dog knew his Master. He was loyal and protective of his Master. He knew the scent and aura of power in a way that only a hellhound could. But while Dog was standing loyally at his Master’s side, he was also in the Master’s presence. The Master of Hell and all who dwelled there. The pack leader above all pack leaders. And an instinctive need to roll over on his back and submit to the Master struggled against his desire to be a Good Boy for his Master.
 While not immediately fatal, being stabbed was never a good thing. And the longer the talons remained in place, the more dangerous it was for Crowley. He was already weak and exhausted. Worn thin by his experiences in the Annex. And while it was a rarer occurrence than on Earth, Death was everywhere and certainly could pick up someone in Hell.
 Too fast for human eyes and Aziraphale wasn’t using his angelic senses.
 If he could have torn his attention away, Adam would have seen Crowley’s struggles grow sluggish and his eyes grow unfocused. He would have seen the demon falling under the same powerful compulsion to obey and give in, too hurt and weak to resist. Not at that range. Crowley’s head tilted back slowly against his will, baring his throat literally and metaphorically as he made himself vulnerable. Adam may have been Satan’s focus, but he didn’t plan for Crowley to escape unscathed either.
 The confused and annoyed stares from Satan and the other demons of Hell were quite different than the stunned, overwhelmed, worried, and extremely confused stares from Aziraphale and Crowley.
 The Mega-Nova Water Blaster 6000X Plus was a top-of-the-line water gun. Almost as long as some children were tall, the molded plastic bulbous and complicated-looking, and in shades of blinding neon, it wasn’t made for water gun fights. It was made for water gun wars. And while it took time to pump up enough pressure, time that opponents normally used to drench the owner completely, it was the best model on the market when it came to accuracy, distance, and sheer power.
 Perfectly hitting the target and not a drop falling on Crowley pinned below. Because that’s what Warlock Expected to happen, fully and completely.
Can you tell that I really liked writing this part? Because it was a lot of fun. I’ve been looking forward to Warlock’s big hero moment since the start. In fact, that’s actually the inspiration for this whole story. I really wanted to write this scene and thinking about how fun it would be kept me motivated. I just hope that all of you enjoyed it just as much.