The Sacred and the Profane (Good Omens story)

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Title: The Sacred and the Profane
Author(s): afrai
Date(s): Apr 29, 2002 – Jun 17, 2005
Length: 37k+ words; 15 chapters
Genre: Role Swap Canon AU
Fandom: Good Omens (novel)
External Links: FFnet, The Write Girls

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The Sacred and the Profane is a Aziraphale/Crowley fanfiction by afrai. It is an alternate canon story in which Crowley is an angel and Aziraphale is a demon. Summary: Somewhere else the happy ending was different.

In the story, Demon!Aziraphale is renamed Zirah and Angel! Crowley is renamed Caphriel. As the Tv Tropes page says, "Zirah is still a kindly, smiling bookseller, and Caphriel is still a sunglasses-wearing Deadpan Snarker dedicated to his job. They've just been translated through a dented mirror. The plot, while rather condensed, is largely faithful to the events of the book, but with a couple of necessary tweaks to match Zirah and Caphriel's characters." It is considered a darkfic and fans are often warned about the emotional distress it will cause.





Comments & Reviews

Readers note that a point of interest in the story is that, without making them OOC, Zirah is a far more evil demon than Crowley is in canon, and Caphriel is a far more good angel than Aziraphale. However, some see Zirah as being "crazy" without reason and Caphriel as a woobie.

Tomo Trillions chapter 5 . May 14, 2002
Ah. My. God. XD XD This is *the best* Good Omens fanfic I've *ever read*. It's creative, new, enthusiastic, incredible, funny, twisted, dark - Zirah kicks SO MUCH ASS. I am honestly in love with this guy. I *adore* the perfect, bitter, ironic twist you've added to each of their personalities and the expert way you manage the Pratchettian humor without going overboard with footnotes and analogies. I love the description of the relationship between the demon and angel, and I love the Gaiman-y flavor the whole story manages to capture. Please, more, soon, more Zirah and all his kick-ass psychotic coolness. This is definitely going on my favorite's list~ Thank you for this excellent addition to the fandom!
Darwin's Ape chapter 6 . Aug 1, 2002

This is an utterly amazing piece of work. I think your characters are about as true to the Book as I've ever read in GO fanfiction - this is exactly how I would see Crowley and Aziraphale reacting in the universe in which you're writing - and the narrative voice is darker, quirkier, wittier, more compelling and just better than I could have hoped for. I adore your premise, and would quote back a few of my favourite lines but there are far too many.

Yeah, so, wow. This is brilliant.
littleaphid chapter 15 . Sep 10, 2005

You know, generally I don't review stories. I just can't think of anything interesting to say, so I don't say anything. I still can't think of anything interesting or constructive, but after reading this I just need to tell the author that it was the most fucked up fan fiction I've read in any fandom.

The thing that I usually don't like about AUs is that the authors write it as if it's perfectly all right to turn canon upside down. I mean, obviously it is, in the general sense, but in a specific sense there should be a feeling in the story itself that there's something deeply wrong with the story. That's the feeling I got from this one. The way it was written there was just a sense of wrongness. Yes, I am repeating myself.

Also, it didn't just reverse the characters, it changed them further, and that made it really interesting. Rather than just reading the same characters with switched names, we got a feel of what it would be like if Aziraphale really had fallen (love the insanity there) and Crowley didn't. I also love the changed names.
This fic is classy. It's an AU that places Aziraphale and Crowley in different positions, and screws with the characterisations so that the exact same elements are present in it, except expressed in different ways. It is more than it should be.[1]
Thrice Seven Once Eleven chapter 15 . Jul 17, 2010

If things had been different.

It's interesting, the way Aziraphale was still himself even as Zirah. I've read a few fanfics about Aziraphale as a demon, and this is the only one I've found where he's still just the same old British, intelligent, "confirmed bachelor," just fighting for the other side (although I think he was really fighting for his own side - he wasn't really ON anyone's side except in name). The bookshop and tartan and tweed aren't affectations or reflections of Aziraphale's holiness, it's just who he is - just like Caphriel still wore sunglasses and dressed maddeningly well.

This was brilliant. And the ending was perfect. Have you ever felt like you wanted to cry, but that it wouldn't be appropriate or appreciated by whoever it is you're crying for?

That's how this makes me feel. I might go ahead and do it anyway. Because wow.
All this Supernatural stuff and talk of Angels and Demons (one of whom is named Crowley) has reminded me of my fondness for Good Omens. Which inevitably leads me to the best/worst/most horrifically gut-wrenchingly sad fanfic ever written for the fandom:

The Sacred and the Profane, by Afrai

In a nutshell, its a simple reversal where Crowley is still an Angel and Aziraphale is a Demon. But it goes so, so much darker, more twisted and more achingly beautiful than that.

If you haven’t read it and you like Good Omens, go do it now. Don’t worry, I’ll be waiting when you come back. I will even let you cry on my shoulder. [2]
I'm fully depressed now, you bastards! :-( (Sorry, you're not bastards, but... damn! I'm really down now! And the problem is that it's VERY easy to belive that sweet-hearted, sweet-tempered Aziraphale would have become that, would have broken if... Urgh). I know you wrote heart-wrenchingly good, but I didn't expect it to be so heart-wrenching.[3]

In 2019, during the second coming of the Good Omens fandom, interest in the fic was reignited. A fan said, "the new good omens fandom is so!! adorable and cute! and soft!!! they’re so pure and excited!! i can’t wait for them to discover the sacred and the profane[4]

Anonymous asked: Omg The Sacred and The Profane was the first fic that fucked me up so hard. It's been Years and I still remember not sleeping whole night just to finish it. I feel shook just thinking about it now and now you gave me a title for it (again!)

Okay just listen for a minute

I am legitimately enthralled with the fact that the fandom is suddenly Big because of the show, truly I am, but let me tell all you new folks the truth that I and this good anon already know


niche-pastiche responded to the post warning not to read the story "if you are in a headspace where something like that could hurt you."[6]

niche-pastiche then made a post about as part of a "Good Omen Book Fandom Classic Fic Recs" series. "I was going to make a list of fic recs and author recs from back when there was only the book fandom but then I realized that this one needs it’s own post. fic here. But I’m both telling you to read it, and to stay the heck away. If you are in a bad place emotionally, DON’T TOUCH IT. I am not even slightly exaggerating.[7] Many on Fail Fandom Anon called these warnings over the top – "I have never in my life seen a more patronizing post. This person is basically saying that people can't read warnings for themselves, but with so much bold and emphasis for no reason."[8]

annamarcellipalmer: Look at me, gushing over a fanfic written back when i was ten. LOOK AT ME, FALLING IN LOVE WITH SAD ENDINGS ALL OVER AGAIN, look at me, basically Boo-Boo the fool at this point, curled up in a ball, wishing I could forget all about a Good Omens fanfic I just favorited. I feel forlorn and small and utterly in awe of those hellishly talented people, the kind I am very much not, the kind that can arrange a bunch of words into the shape of a gun and shoot me in the metaphorical face. [9]
rubyanjel, Jun 30 2019:

Okay, so, it broke something in me. I didn't end up bawling like how some described themselves ended up being after finishing this wonderful fan fiction. But it's like a stretched string snapped and hit the inner walls in its whiplash. Holy shit though. Years after this was written and with the new TV series, it helped that they were visualized in the story. There's now voices connected to the characters. And it probably hurts even more.

My account has been dead for years and I logged back in to read and leave this comment because, boy, oh boy. I need to breathe.

Thank you for the wonderful story.


  1. ^ Good Omens by demoerin on fanficraves ,April 17 2007
  2. ^ The Sacred and the Profane, by Afrai by avelera, November 30 2011
  3. ^ What are the classic Good Omens fanfictions?, August 2019
  4. ^ June 12, 2019] by blerghie
  5. ^ Anonymous asked: Omg The Sacred and The Profane by words-writ-in-starlight, June 18 2019
  6. ^ replies by nich-pastiche, July 11 2019
  7. ^ Good Omen Book Fandom Classic Fic Recs and Warnings: The Sacred And the Profane by niche-pastiche, July 11 2019
  8. ^ Date: 2019-07-12 04:19 pm, received 90+ comments
  9. ^ Jun 25th, 2019