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Stubborn Souls

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Summary: George thought she'd have a normal evening collecting a soul, but then her Reap is killed by a werewolf, the soul turns out to be a Slayer, and she finds out vampires are real.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Dead Like MeMistralFR13926,5407427,60215 Sep 103 Oct 10Yes

Chapter One

Disclaimer: I own neither BtVS nor Dead Like Me, and I make no profit on any of this.

Author's Note: This story is AU with regards to both the BtVS comics and the Dead Like Me TV movie. I haven't read the former and haven't seen the latter. Written for scifibigbang over on LJ.

George slid into the booth across from Rube at Der Waffle House and tried to look normal. She couldn't tell from his face if she'd succeeded or not, because she could rarely tell anything from Rube's face, especially when it was really important. Rube didn't say anything, though, so either he knew what she'd done and would blow up at her another time, or he didn't know yet and would blow up at her another time. Either way, she was screwed, but she'd known that already.

Picking up the menu, even though she knew she'd be having oatmeal with raisins like she usually did, George stole a look at Mason and Daisy, who sat next to her and across from her, respectively. They looked completely normal, which, considering what they'd done, they really shouldn't. But she'd managed to make their little Ray-graveling problem go away, and they were both the type to put a problem behind them once it was solved. She wished she were that type.

Not that she had a problem. No sirree. Sure, her sister might have seen her on Halloween, the one day of the year when she could see her real face (and, she supposed, the real rest of her body). But maybe Reggie hadn't seen her. Plus, who would believe an eleven-year-old girl, if she started saying she'd seen her dead sister walking around near her grave? No one, that's who. So George had nothing to worry about, and Rube had no reason to blow up at her.

"Where's Kiffany?" she asked, craning her neck to look for the waitress.

"Doing her job," Rube said without looking up from his paper. "An example you would be well-advised to follow."

George put on her best innocent expression. "What'd I do?"

"With you, Peanut, it's always something," Rube said. He gave her one of his patented "I have my eye on you" looks, which she tried to shrug off. He just shook his head at her and then pulled out the book where he kept the post-its. "One for you, one for you, and one for you," he said, putting one down in front of each of them. "And when Roxy gets here -"

"She's here," Roxy said, suddenly appearing beside George. George sometimes wondered if that were an ability Reapers got after a few years - both Roxy and Rube seemed to appear out of nowhere, completely silently, whenever they needed to. But neither Daisy nor Mason seemed to have that ability, so maybe it was something innate in the two of them. Whatever it was, it creeped her out.

"Good," Rube said. He handed her three post-it notes.

"Three?" Roxy said, then added, "Oh. Never mind."

Mason craned over George to see Roxy's post-its, but she held them against her chest so he couldn't.

"C'mon, Roxy," he said, grinning that grin he thought was so charming. "What's going to happen? A multi-car pile-up? A gas-main explosion? Another piano dropped out of a third-floor window? Will you get the souls before the deaths this time?"

Roxy just glared at him, then turned pointedly to Rube. "Is that all?" she asked.

Rube nodded. "That's all," he said.

Roxy gave him a look, put on her cap and headed back outside, not even glancing at George or Daisy. Maybe Roxy knew what she'd done. But which thing did she know about - taking the soul of the Ray-graveling or showing herself to her sister? Since she had ignored Daisy, too, it was probably the former. George allowed herself a sigh of relief and looked back down at her menu.

"Problem, Peanut?" Rube said.

"Yeah, Mason sitting in my lap," George said, then trailed off, looking at her post-it for the first time since Rube had given it to her. "Yeah," she said again, meaning it this time. "Carkeek Park? At ten o'clock at night? Are you crazy?"

"Not even remotely," Rube said. "Excuse me, Daisy," he added, and slid out of the booth when Daisy moved. George looked up at him as he passed her, hoping he'd change his mind, but she wasn't surprised when he didn't. "Take Mason," he said over his shoulder. "Or better yet, take Roxy."

"Hey!" Mason said.

"You know, Georgia, it's not as though you could get mugged and killed," Daisy said, leaning forward to look at George's post-it.

"Bite me," George said.

George heard pounding footsteps behind her and spun around, prepared for the worst. Instead of the muggers she'd been expecting, she saw a girl about her age almost flying down the path, with someone behind her running almost as fast. The bright moonlight let her see the name on the girl's varsity jacket, so as they raced by, she reached out and took her soul. She wanted to do more - she wanted to reach out her foot and trip the girl's pursuer - but she knew she couldn't. So she just did her job; she took the soul, and at least the girl wouldn't feel her final moments, however horrible they would be.

She was so focused on not tripping the girl's pursuer that she didn't register what it was until it was already past them.

"Holy fuck, that was a werewolf," she said. She turned towards Mason, who was staring after the running pair. "Holy fuck. What will happen when he's done with her - will he come after us?"

"We're dead, Georgie," Mason said. "Not much good to a werewolf."

George shrugged. "Good point."

"Holy fuck, that was a werewolf," Mason said, suddenly sagging.

George rolled her eyes and started off after her Reap, letting one part of Mason's brain catch up to the rest of it, but before she got too far, she heard several more sets of footsteps thundering behind her. She stopped and looked around, just in time to dodge another woman also practically flying down the path, a big guy on her heels. He clearly wasn't trying to hurt her, but George had no idea what was going on in the park that night. Yet another girl ran up to them, then stopped, hands on her knees, gasping for breath.

"What the fuck is going on?" Mason said, saving George the trouble.

"No...nothing you need to worry about," the girl said through big gulps of air. "It's all going to be okay."
"Well, no," George said. "It's not." But, of course, this girl couldn't know that. She was about to go on, to try to come up with some explanation, but when she took a closer look at the girl, she realized that she wasn't one, not quite. Or not entirely. George squinted at her, trying to understand what she was seeing.

"What the fuck is going on?" Mason said again. "Where the fuck is everyone running to? And why are you a fucking big ball of fucking green light?"

The girl stared at him. George could see that, could see her face with a shocked expression on it, but she could also see what Mason meant. If she looked at the girl one way, she was a girl; if she looked at her another, she was a ball of glowing green light. It wasn't a sickly green - it looked friendly and healthy - but it was a fucking big ball of fucking green light.

"You can see that?" the girl said. "But you don't look crazy." She eyed Mason. "Much. How can you see that?"

"How can you be a ball of fucking green light?" Mason asked. He wasn't squinting; his eyes were wide open, but the difference in the ways of looking wasn't physical. George wasn't sure what it was; more a way of thinking, maybe.

The girl sighed. "It's a long, long story," she said. "I'm Dawn, by the way."

"Mason," Mason said. "And this is George."

"Mason," George said, whacking him in the arm. He was the one who was always reminding her not to introduce herself as George. Then, she remembered something. "Shit, my Reap," she said and took off down the path. Who knew what Mason would get up to with Dawn the Big Ball of Glowing Green Light, but she had a job to do.

She didn't have far to go, actually, but she found more than she expected. The second pair of people who'd raced by her were just standing there, but there were two bodies on the ground - the girl's and the werewolf's. For a crazy moment, she wondered if she'd taken the wrong soul, but she knew she hadn't. Plus, on closer inspection, the werewolf was still breathing. She squeaked, and the two people still standing turned and looked at her. The woman turned right back to contemplating the bodies on the ground, but the big guy smiled at her.

"This isn't what it looks like," he said.

"Really? So that's not a fucking werewolf?" George said. "And that's not a dead girl? And the werewolf isn't still alive? Bullshit."

"You're not going to explain this one away, Xand," the young woman said.

Xand - what kind of name was that? - made a face. "Guess Sunnydale denial isn't alive and well in Seattle," he said. He smiled at George again. "You see, miss, there are more things in this world of ours than you realize."

"No shit, Sherlock," George said. "For one thing, where's my Reap? I took her soul, and she's dead, so she should be here. Where is she?" She knew she shouldn't be saying these things to these people, who weren't Reapers or Reaps, though there was something odd about this woman, too, but she didn't really care at this point. She'd just found out that werewolves existed; she didn't think even Rube would blame her for blabbing a little. Well, maybe he would, but she didn't care.

Xand looked confused. "What's a Reap?" he asked.

George rolled her eyes. "I'm a Grim Reaper; I take souls just before they die...yadda, yadda, yadda. The point is, she's disappeared, and my boss is going to go apeshit."
"Good to know some things are always the same," Xand said. "Giles is going to go apeshit, too."

"Yeah," the young woman said. She looked sadly down at the girl's body on the ground. "This is the third one, Xand," she said. "The third one we got to too late. All killed by werewolves. It's got to be a pattern."

"And we'll find out why, Faith," Xand said. "But we can't do anything until the moon goes down, and he turns human again. Right now, this young lady's problem seems to be more pressing."

Faith gave him a long look under her eyelashes, but then turned to George.

"Let me get this straight," she said. "You're the Grim Reaper, and you're worried about losing a single soul? Out of the billions in the world?"

"A Grim Reaper," George said. "And billions aren't my problem. This one is." She heard footsteps behind her and turned to see Mason and Dawn approaching. "Mason, my Reap has disappeared."

"Fuck," Mason said. "You certain you took the soul?"

George rolled her eyes. "Yes, Mason, I'm sure I took the soul. She should be here."

"When?" Xand said. "I mean, you weren't here when she died."

George glared at him. "I wouldn't wait until she died - that would be cruel. I took it when she ran past me back there." She jerked a thumb over her shoulder.

"So you took her soul out of her body before she died?" Xand said.

"I just said that," George said, and Faith gave a snort of laughter.

Xand glared at her. "So, her soul's now out of her body, wandering around somewhere? Does she know she's dead?"

George and Mason looked at each other.

"They usually know it, deep down, but they often have to be...reminded," George said.

"Have it beaten into their thick skulls, more like," Mason said. For some reason, that made Dawn smile at him.
"So, we have a Slayer out there, who should know she's dead, but probably doesn't want to believe it," Xand said. "Does anyone else see the problem with this picture?"

"Fuck," Faith said. "She could be anywhere, doing anything."

"Well, not really," Mason said. "She can't touch anything, for one thing."

"Why does her being a Slayer make any difference?" George said. "I've never had this happen before. And, oh, yeah - what the fuck's a Slayer?"

Now Xand and Faith exchanged looks.

"A Slayer's a girl who kills the things that go bump in the night," Xand said.

"Woman," Faith said, and Xand shot a grin at her.

"Like werewolves," George said.

"Werewolves, vampires, demons," Dawn said. "Also, weird cyborg-type things and hell-gods. Occasionally, even Xander's dates."

George supposed 'Xander' made more sense as a name than 'Xand' did.

"Though we don't actually kill werewolves," Faith said. "They're human most of the time and not responsible for what they do when they're wolfed out. And we don't kill humans."

"Good to know," Mason said.

"Wait," George said, "if Slayers kill - or don't kill - werewolves, why was this Slayer running from one?"

Xander and Faith exchanged looks again. "She didn't know she was a Slayer," Faith said. "We didn't get to her in time."

"Okay," George said. "None of this means a rat's ass, anyway. All Rube is going to care about is that I lost my Reap. Fuck. I'm going to be in so much trouble."
"Maybe we can help," Dawn said. Xander and Faith turned to look at her, and she smiled at them. "We can at least explain that it was because she was a Slayer that she disappeared. And what a Slayer is."

"I bet Rube knows," George said. "He knows everything."

"Or he wants us to think he does," Mason said. "I'd give anything to see his face when he's truly stumped."

"Maybe you'll get your chance," Dawn said. She turned beseeching eyes upon Xander and Faith, and even in the moonlight, George could see that they were very beseeching eyes.

Xander sighed, but Faith laughed. "Someday, you won't be the cute little sister anymore," she said.

Dawn looked hurt. "I'll always be the little sister," she said.

Faith laughed again, but didn't answer her. "If we're going to explain to...what's your name, anyway?"

"George," George said, with a glare at Mason.

"Wicked," Faith said. "If we're going to tell all to George's boss, we'd better get going. This guy" - she nudged the sleeping body of the werewolf with her foot - "will sleep for awhile, but we should get him back to headquarters before he wakes up. And -"

She stopped talking and was gone so abruptly, George thought something was wrong with her eyes. Then she realized that several men had appeared out from under the trees, and Faith was fighting them. Or dancing with them; it wasn't quite clear. Even in the moonlight, George could see that their faces were ugly and ridged, that their eyes were almost glowing yellow, and that they had fangs.

"Vampires?" Mason said. "Bloody hell."
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