Part of the Omniverse Project
by Benji: The Vampire Confuser
Based on characters and situations created by Joss Whedon and Neil Gaiman.
The car was stopped on what some might call a lonely stretch of road. But Fred didn't feel lonely, despite the fact that she was, in fact, alone. She'd left her parents several miles behind her on the way to the big city. Except, it was more than that, she felt.
"What, no, who, am I forgetting?" she thought. The sun was warm on her face as she reclined on the hood of the station wagon, gazing with, not just appreciation, but affection, at the beautiful scenery surrounding her.
Despite everything that had happened to her, this, this moment of her life, with everything to look forward to, fond memories behind her, and this magnificent vista, was her favorite. "It's the simple things in life we treasure most." she told her companion.
Her companion? She'd been alone a moment ago hadn't she?
That's when things started to come back. Fragments of time, times to come.
Writing physics on the wall. Kill the Cow. "Handsome man, saves me from the monsters." Gunn. Wesley. "Why can't I stay?"
"Oh God!" she cried, suddenly frightened. "I'm dead aren't I!"
"Yep," said the pale, raven haired girl reclining on the hood beside her, "Fraid so."
Fred turned and looked at her. The girl had just sort of appeared, or had Fred only now noticed her, wrapped up as she had been in the warmth of the moment. The serene look on the girl's face immediately made Fred feel better.
"Well," Fred said slowly, "If this is dead, it ain't too bad. Who're you?"
"You know who I am."
"Yeah," she said, realizing, "I guess I do. Sorry."
"'Sokay. Lotsa people ask that question."
"So," why did this feel like an awkward question? "I bet you get a lot of this too...what happens now?"
"Well see that's the thing." The serene look was now replaced by a more serious one. "Normally, it's up to you. Some people reincarnate, some go to Heaven, or stay behind as ghosts, all sorts of things. And yeah, lot's of people choose Hell."
"Normally?" she didn't like the sound of that normally, and was the sun suddenly not so warm on her skin?
"Yeah, you remember how you died?"
Why can't I stay?
Fred shuddered. "Yeah, I remember."
"Do you know why?"
"Uhm, supernatural version of Ebola?"
"Sort of. Back before humans, well, even most mortal creatures evolved, the world was ruled by Demons. Big ones. As the world cooled, it started to be less comfortable for them. 'Specially when the Dinosaurs arrived, those guys gave the Old Ones a run for their money sometimes. Well they managed to kill off the dino's, but as a result the planet became mostly uninhabitable to them as well. Only half-breeds were able to exist almost comfortably here.
"So they started to leave. But before that, a lot of them had killed each other off. They liked to fight. Well they're all buried somewhere under Europe. But one of them planned ahead."
"That sarcophagus." Fred realized. "That was one of the old ones? Holy poop."
Her companion grinned. Even now Fred was fascinated, she could tell. Okay horrified too.
"So anyway, that virus didn't just kill you, it hollowed you out, and everything you were was consumed by the Old One, Ilyria. Now it's walking around in your body, and sadly for it, suffering from Millenia of Jet Lag."
"Well so long as it's not enjoying itself. But why does that make my afterlife different?"
"When I said everything you are was consumed, I meant EVERYTHING. Body, and soul."
"What?!" Fred started to panic, and the sky started to darken. "My SOUL was DESTROYED?!"
"Calm down," the pale girl soothed her, placing her hand on her shoulder, "I didn't say destroyed, I said consumed. You can't actually destroy a soul. You can't really destroy anything. When you burn a piece of paper, it's still there, just in a different form."
"So, my soul is ashes?"
"Your soul is part of Ilyria now."
"So, what, I'm not really dead?"
"Oh you're dead alright. As far as anyone out there is concerned, you're gone. Irretrievable. Bound to Ilyria."
"So, I'm stuck here."
She really was a smart girl. The last few she'd had to explain this kind of thing too needed that part explained to them too. "Until Ilyria dies yeah. When that happens, I MIGHT be able to separate you two. More than likely you'll have to decide between you what happens then. But hey, don't worry about that. You picked a really nice fragment to be in. Enjoy the sun, enjoy the scenery. I'll even come to visit you sometimes."
The sky was starting to brighten again, but Fred was not completely reassured. "But what if it's millennia, or longer before Ilyria dies?"
"You're in one moment of time. So, you won't notice the passing of it. If it was two thousand years between visits, you'd think it was a minute. Relax. This is your fondest moment. Enjoy it."
Fred leaned back against the windshield and closed her eyes. The sun was pleasantly warm on her face, and every now and then, a cool breeze would blow, stirring her hair.
Death was right. This wasn't so bad for now. She could wait. In the meantime...
"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..."