Title: An Encounter With Death
DESCRIPTION: Angel (Doyle, actually, as always)/Discworld crossover.
SUMMARY: What happened after the Beacon - new angle.
RATING: A little coarse language and drinking - PG.
DISCLAIMER: Belong to WB/Joss Whedon and Terry Pratchett, not myself.
When the pain stopped, Doyle stumbled back, away from the Beacon. He watched the machine in shock. Yup, it seemed to be off now. Thank heavens, he didn’t think he could have pulled of a thing like that much longer.
THAT WAS VERY BRAVE OF YOU.
”Yeah, well, at least it worked,” Doyle said, rubbing his arms where the Beacon had burned his flesh away. It wasn’t burned now. Something occurred to him, and he turned to look at the person who had spoken. It was a skeleton, dressed in a long, black robe, and with blue tinkles in the back of his empty eye sockets. By the skeleton stood a chubby little white horse. Doyle took in this, and then turned to see Angel and Cordelia, who were hugging each other. Their faces showed immense shock and grief. He took in that as well.
”Oh,” he said. ”Dead, am I?”
Doyle nodded, not showing much emotion. He had known he could never survive the power from the Beacon.
SO, Death asked, WHERE TO?
This took Doyle by surprise. ”Aren’t you supposed to tell me?”
I ONLY TAKE PEOPLE WHERE THEY BELIEVE THEY WILL GO. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN?
Doyle pondered that for a minute. ”To tell you the truth, I have avoided that thought as much as possible. I believe in the PTB, obviously, since they’re to blame for all of this, but where they would send me… I have no idea.” He looked up at Death. ”Sorry, mate. Hope I’m not causing trouble for you?”
Death shrugged his bony shoulders. AFTER WHAT YOU DID, I THINK YOU HAVE DESERVED A LITTLE SERVICE. LET ME REPHRASE THE QUESTION. WHERE WOULD YOU WANT TO GO?
Doyle looked down at his friends. They were crying now. He wished he could have comforted them, tell them that death wasn’t too bad. In fact, he seemed like quite a decent fellow.
”I don’t know. I’d rather stay here.”
AS A GHOST?
”No.” Doyle thought some more. He would have gone through hell and high water for these people, but ghost business seemed rather pointless. ”I’m never going to see them again, am I?”
NOT IN THIS LIFETIME.
Not in this… that usually meant never, but Doyle realised Death meant it literally. Angel and Cordelia would die too, some day, and chances were he’d meet them again then. That was comforting. Parting isn’t half as bad when it’s only temporary. Doyle let go of the thoughts of his friends, of this life, and started to think about what he really wanted his afterlife to be like. Obviously not Hell. Heaven? Well, it was supposed to be a nice place, but he didn’t know. Valhalla? Better, but it was for warriors, not for messengers. Reincarnation? Well, why not?
”Could I be reincarnated?” he asked.
CERTAINLY. ANY SPECIFIC WISHES?
”Somewhere fun,” Doyle said. ”Good company, people who know how to enjoy life and don’t mind a drink now and then. Preferrably a body more impressive than this one, you know, good in fights and all. Wouldn’t mind if it was something the ladies like as well. *Not* a demon body, mind you. I don’t mind being around magic, I’m kind of used to it, but I don’t like the demon stuff. Having two separate bodies might be fun, of course, but not if one of them is an ugly thing like that.”
He stopped, looking hesitantly at Death. ”Am I asking too much?”
If Death had had enough of a face to show expressions, he would have looked thoughtful. NO… I THINK I HAVE FOUND A BODY IN LANCRE THAT WOULD SUIT YOUR WISHES.
Lancre? Never heard of it. ”Where’s Lancre?”
IN ANOTHER UNIVERSE.
Wow. That was pretty far away. Not much chance of stopping by his old friends. On the other hand, it seemed like quite an adventure. He gave Angel and Cordelia a last glance before turning back to Death.
”Sure, go ahead.”
The next thing he knew, he was being pushed through a very small opening. Coming out on the other side, he felt warm shapes touching him and something icky surrounding his body. Was he being born? But if he was, why was it still so dark and quiet? His body felt different, too. There was something below his back that hadn’t been there before, and for some strange reason he could feel things near his face, even though they didn’t actually touch him.
Something strong and rough moved over his body, taking away the icky stuff. When it touched his face he sneezed a little, and for the first time in years, that didn’t make his body change. The thing touching him seemed familiar. It wasn’t hands or a towel. In fact, it was quite a lot like a big cat’s tongue.
He was being reborn as a kitten.
That was certainly not what he had expected, but it explained the new body sensations. It also explained the quiet darkness; he remembered that it takes a while before kittens can hear and see. He wondered for a while if Death had made some sort of mistake. Even if he had, Doyle didn’t know what to do about it. Besides, it could have been a lot worse. He had always liked cats, and being one was better than being a demon, even if it wasn’t what he had wished for.
He got some control of his four legs and crawled up to his mother, grabbing her tit in his mouth. Everything smelled a lot more than it had done before, but it was a nice smell of milk and cats. He felt a sibling on each side pushing him a little, and he pushed back, while his paws opened and closed in comfort. He could get used to this kind of life.
The drunk old witch looked at the little kittens playing around their mother and picked up the biggest of them. He was a feisty little thing, and his baby blue eyes stared at her without any sign of intimidation.
”Hello little thing,” she said, patting his back until he purred in delight. ”Would you want a drop?”
She opened her flask and poured out a minute drop of whiskey in her hand, letting the kitten smell. First he sniffed a little uncertainly, but then he eagerly licked it up, and continued to lick her hand to taste it as long as possible. She chuckled a little.
”Aren’t you a sweetheart!” she said. ”I think I’m going to keep you. After all, a witch needs a cat. I’ll call you Greebo. You like that?”
He did, and he lay himself comfortably in a little circle in her lap. She patted him until he fell asleep, softly singing him her favourite lullaby:
”You can buggar a bear if you do it with care…”