Watches The Watchers?
G, gen, humour. It's a lovely day for a picnic in the
park. Co-written with Am-Chau.
"Ah, it's nice to be planet-side again," Jack sighed, lying back and
casually leaning his head on the Doctor's thigh. "Sun, trees… you
wouldn't think you'd miss them, but you do."
"At least in London you've got those things without having to go too far
from shops and stuff," Rose added, dipping into a recently acquired bag of
"To top it off," the Doctor agreed with a grin, sliding his leather
jacket off in final deference to the heat, "you can try and spot the
Rose looked around. "Apart from you and Jack, I don't see any," she
said. "But some of them could blend in."
"What about that chap?" Jack said, pointing gently with his hand
tucked into his hip so that it wasn't obvious. "The shabby-looking man,
going grey, with his dog. That dog doesn't seem exactly normal."
The Doctor frowned at it, then smiled. "Doesn't look dangerous,
though," he said, as the shabby man issued a firm command and the dog sat
down, obedient if slightly reluctant. "Pass the cherries, Rose."
"Sit down, Snuffles," Remus said irritably. Sirius's dog-face looked
sadly at him, trying the puppy-eyes trick, but when Remus kept frowning, he
"Good boy," Remus said. "Here." He passed Sirius a chew, and
dug the bag Molly had forced on him that morning out of his pocket. There were
two items: a bar of chocolate, long since melted, which he gave up on at once as
utterly unsuitable to the weather, and a brown cardboard box. On closer
examination, this turned out to contain a pair of dry cheese sandwiches.
He extracted the cheese and gave it to Sirius, who snuffled it down with every
sign of glee, and abandoned the concept of eating. It was too hot for anything
besides fruit, anyway. When he visited India, he'd lived on nothing but cherries
for a week.
Idly, Remus began to observe the many other occupants of the park. A man in a
fluorescent jacket had given up litter-picking in favour of reading his
newspaper under a tree; a pigeon was attempting to court an utterly
disinterested mate. Beyond a party of schoolchildren, a pair of men sat: they
caught Remus's eye because they were both wearing tweed.
The older one had taken off his blazer and tie and was leaning against the tree,
but the other one-who looked like he didn't get out much, from the pallor of his
skin-was formally dressed, perched on a plastic bag, and only nibbling at his
Marks and Spencers' sandwiches. He looked uncomfortable, and Remus wondered if
he wasn't supposed to be out... but his companion looked so happy, so-Remus's
brain seemed to have run into a small patch of haze. He looked... familiar.
It couldn't be. Could it? He didn't think it could.
He'd be sure, if he could get close enough to smell the man… but this was a
public park, and the last thing he wanted to do was attract attention to himself
and Sirius. But he frowned, and kept watching them-consequently failing to
notice Sirius shifting his paws back into hands for an attempt at the melted
"I'm not sure we should be out in the open like this," Wesley said
stiffly. "Someone might see us."
"Lots of people can see us," Giles pointed out calmly, sliding his
arms out of the hot blazer and resting his back against the tree. He'd taken his
tie off as soon as they had escaped the committee meeting, and loosened his
collar by the time they'd left the Watchers' Council building. "However, as
long as we're not playing rock music at over eighty decibels or being arrested,
nobody's going to look at us."
"I suppose you're right," Wesley conceded, extracting his sandwiches
from the plastic bag before spreading it on the ground. "I still feel
exposed here, though."
"It's broad daylight," Giles said reassuringly, trying not to snigger
as Wesley perched himself carefully on the bag. "No vampires or demons.
Probably remarkably few aliens, wizards, or man-eating cows."
"Remarkably few?" Wesley repeated. "The man over there-just under
the first lime after the path-looks like a demon to me. Black hair, snakeskin
"Highly unlikely." Giles examined a slice of cucumber from his
sandwich intensely, before finally decided that it was safe to eat. "Looks
more like aristocracy to me-he arrived in that Bentley over there, parked inside
the gates. That's good taste, not demonic at all. And his friend looks like he
fell out of the window of Buckingham Palace's library."
"Don't say such things about the home of our monarch!" Wesley said,
aghast. "Besides, it's only really other Watchers we need to worry
"Why are we here?" Aziraphale enquired wearily. He'd felt very guilty
about enjoying the ride in the Bentley, and was determined to make the demon pay
for it. Technically, it wasn't even unangelic to torture the servants of Satan,
especially if it was only a little bit and marked by intolerable good cheer.
"To see each other," Crowley replied, "and to watch the people at
their everyday business."
"And interfere with it, I suppose?"
Crowley shrugged. "Just giving them the creeps by staring at them is
usually enough. Take those three in the sun, eating cherries, for example. I bet
they indulge in all sorts of fantastic evils - for starters, the two men show
every sign of being sexually intimate."
"That's not really evil, you know," Aziraphale protested mildly.
"Paul got a bit confused-all that Leviticus stuff was supposed to be left
out of the second edition, but they insist on dragging it in."
"What about threesomes?" Crowley asked, but then held up a hand.
"No, don't tell me, I enjoy them, and if I found out they were allowed it
would ruin the fun."
"They're probably just friends."
"Don't you want to watch them for further signs of evil?"
"No, thank you," the angel said, slightly snippily. "I see enough
of that in my job; this is supposed to be my afternoon off."
"So, you're not interested in them. What would you rather be doing?"
"I could be at home with a book, Crowley," the angel replied.
"This is a beautiful sunny day, you pathetic sunlight-hating
biblioholic-it's not the sort of day you spend with a good book. What's the
matter with the park?"
"It would be nicer if the people here weren't stealing each other's food,
fighting over footballs, and being talked into paying for deckchairs,"
"So let's send them home, angel," Crowley said. He clicked his fingers
and it began to rain.
Sighing, Aziraphale pulled an umbrella from thin air and handed it to a woman
with three children. "I wish you wouldn't do that kind of thing."
The clouds swirled, grew darker. There was a thunderstorm on the way.
"I quite like storms," said the Doctor enthusiastically.
"Bombardment of positive ions, very good for general mental health."
"Shut up, Doctor," said Rose, holding her hoodie over her head while
gathering the cherries into the paper bag. "This is all your fault."
"I'm not omnipotent, Rose. Almost, but not quite. Why is an unexpected
shower my fault?"
"She's right," Jack said, shamelessly pulling the Doctor close beneath
the shelter of his own jacket. "The TARDIS databanks specifically said the
fifteenth of July, 1996, was guaranteed to be fine, sunrise to sunset; in short,
a perfect day for a picnic. What happened?"
"The TARDIS is definitive." The Doctor shrugged. "Reality is
frequently inaccurate. Now where did I put the key?"
"Oh, for crying out loud." Rose dug in her pockets for her own key,
but was distracted by the large black dog they'd seen earlier bounding up to
her, sniffing for the fallen cherries. It was closely followed by its owner, who
gave them all an apologetic look before putting two fingers in his mouth for a
The dog visibly quailed and trotted back. Jack grinned. "I do love a man
who radiates power," he said happily, and followed the others back to the
TARDIS, hidden behind a tree.
Had anyone been looking at it, the viewscreen would have shown the dog come to
stop, tail wagging guiltily. "Do behave, Sirius," said Remus wearily,
waving one hand in a precise gesture so the rain began avoiding his head as
though magnetically deflected. "You're getting us in trouble."
"Nice work," said a man behind him. "I could do with a
rain-shield round about now."
"Thank you," said Remus uncomfortably; he hadn't meant to be seen,
especially not by the familiar man in tweed. "I should be going."
He suited the action to the word, trudging through the trees towards Green Park
Tube station, his dog following obediently at his heels. Giles watched him go,
recognising something about those careful steps, but keeping the suspicions in
his mind still and quiet, at least for now.
"Come on, Mr. Giles," said Wesley, tugging at his sleeve. "You're
"My dear boy," said Giles sadly, "do allow me the simple pleasure
of English weather." After a pause, he added: "A pleasure that will
shortly be denied me in California."
"I'd rather go to a committee meeting than get wet," Wesley said
earnestly, and Giles sighed, stuffed his hands on his pockets and went after
him. On the way to Westminster, a blue-eyed man with perfectly manicured nails
handed them an umbrella.
"I do hope you're happy," muttered Aziraphale as they sauntered across
the now almost empty park. "Such a lovely day, all spoiled."
"You didn't want to be here anyway, angel," Crowley pointed out, still
with sunglasses on.
"That's not the point," argued Aziraphale, handing out yet another
umbrella to a nearby family. "Just think of all the disappointment you're
"Lovely, isn't it?" Crowley said, inhaling deeply. "Can't you
just smell it? The air is full of disappointment and broken dreams and
afternoons wasted drying off in front of the television. That's
Aziraphale narrowed his eyes, but he breathed in slowly, paying attention to
every nuance of the scented air, and for a moment his face became drawn.
"Eden after the rain," he said wistfully, and followed the demon home.