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That Space Between Living and Dying

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Summary: Buffy has a conversation with Rube about what happens next.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Television > Dead Like MekerrykhatFR71626151,06317 Jun 1117 Jun 11Yes
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; Bryan Fuller owns "Dead Like Me" and related characters; I own nothing.

“You know, this really isn’t how I saw myself going out,” Buffy commented to the man standing beside her. In front of her, she could see her body crumpled on the ground, several of the passerbys on the street crowding around her. The cause of her death was, strangely enough, a fallen piano. She had been in Seattle visiting the contingent of Slayers stationed in the city when she decided to try to visit the original Starbucks. A spilled coffee and a fallen piano later, she was standing here next to a guy who said he was a Reaper by the name of Rube. It was all a little distracting, really.

“Most people don’t see it coming, although you’re a bit calmer about it than most,” Rube answered. “However, given your previous experiences, I shouldn’t be surprised. You’re a bit of a legend among the Reapers.” Buffy shrugged.

“What, with my inability to stay dead for long? I was hoping it was for my witty banter and my good looks,” she replied. “Although...” she paused, not sure how exactly to phrase this. “I don’t remember seeing one of you the last time that I, well...”

“We tend to stay away from Slayers. You have your own retrieval squad with special skills that allow them to reap your souls,” he said, beginning to walk away from where the crowd was gathered. “And in the rare occasions when somebody is pulled back, they don’t remember meeting us for some reason. Haven’t figured out why yet.” Buffy gave her body a last look before following.

“So why are you here now?” Buffy asked, her curiosity spiked. “Why aren’t they here instead?”

“Because it wasn’t a Slaying related death, I guess. I honestly don’t know, kid. I just get the names and hand out the assignments.” They were a good forty feet away from her body now, and the man stopped underneath a tree, leaning against it to watch the scene.

They lapsed into silence again as the paramedics covered her body with a sheet, waiting for the coroner to come.

“Do you think they’ll let me just rest this time?” Buffy asked quietly. “Do you think they’ll accept that I’m dead and move on this time around?” She didn’t know why she was asking Rube this. She didn’t even know the guy.

“I can only hope. It was hell after they messed with the balance by pulling you back. We were working overtime for over a year trying to get things sorted,” Rube replied. “I never understood people who couldn’t accept that death was a natural part of life. There’s no life without death.”

“You watched ‘The Lion King’, didn’t you?” Buffy accused.

“I may have watched it once.”

A glimmer of light caught Buffy’s eye. Turning to face it, she saw a series of multi-colored lights, forming the shape she hadn’t seen in far too long: her old house in Sunnydale. She started towards it before stopping and turning back to Rube.

“Does it hurt?” she asked quietly, memories of Glory’s portal and the excruciating pain that had accompanied that death.

“No.” Buffy nodded and started walking towards the house entrance before stopping again.

“Has anybody told you that you look like that sword guy from ‘The Princess Bride’?” she called out. Not waiting to hear his answer, she sprinted towards the house.

Rube watched Buffy Summers open the door and disappear inside the form her lights had taken. As soon as it closed, the lights brightened before disappearing.

“I’ve been told that once or twice,” he said quietly, thinking about her last question as he looked down at her Post-it. “I’ve been told that just a few times every year since that movie came out.”

The End

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