Author: Sinister Tomato PM
Death of the Discworld, meet Urahara Kisuke of Soul Society. Play nicely and please try not to create any imbalances to your univereses, or is it universi? AU Crossover between Bleach and DiscworldRated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor - Death & K. Urahara - Words: 2,613 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 21 - Follows: 2 - Published: 06-03-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2972769
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Kubo Tite and the Death of Discworld belongs to Terry Pratchett.
Notes: An Alternate Universe speculation sort of thing. It's just a one-shot idea. Crossover between Bleach and Discworld. I hope I haven't ruined the characterization for either Death or Urahara too badly…And I'm not abusing the caps lock for any real purpose, it's just that Death speaks in capitals in Discworld. Slight UraYoru, but it can be taken any way you like.
He cocked his head to the side. "Aren't you a bit stereotypical?"
THAT IS NOT THE USUAL IMPRESSION.
As the words echoed off the curved walls of the Tower of Repentance like the slamming of a thousand coffin lids, the man wondered if what he heard was truly heard at all.
"I never knew one could meet a physical state of being. Or not being."
THERE IS MUCH YOU DON'T KNOW. LIKE WHETHER THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG CAME FIRST.
"That goes without saying." He shrugged. "Might be neither came first. I'm happy to say I'm not alone in the chicken/egg paradox."
BUT YOU ARE ALONE IN YOUR FATE.
He blinked and smiled a knowing and unworried smile that somehow unnerved Death, which was quite a feat, however, the man was unaware. "Yep," he crooned happily. "Are you here to stay?"
UNTIL THE TIME COMES TO ESCORT YOU, YES.
"Ah. Well, alright. Good night." He walked off to the other side of the room and laid on the cold marble floor, falling back asleep within seconds.
Bewildered and bemused at the lack of a suitable reaction, Death glided to the narrow window and watched the light of dawn glint off the gargantuan blade on the cliff and it's equally humongous execution stand, both of which stood ominously in the morning mist.
OH, he muttered. DRAMA.
Death reluctantly produced a wooden box with a folded playing board with thirty-two black and white pieces.
I DON'T LIKE THIS GAME.
The man pouted and slouched forward. "Oh? How unfortunate. You don't know what you're missing."
OH, BELIEVE ME, I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I AM MISSING AND I AM NOT MISSING IT ONE BIT. He never had trouble with the game, just with the two pieces that were thought to be 'noble'. It was just the name. There was nothing noble about marble or glass that Death could think of.
"Would it make you feel better if we played my version instead?"
NO. BESIDES, I WASN'T TOLD TO BRING THAT SET.
"Please, humor me with the western version, then. It is my last day as--er--mortal doesn't quite cut it, does it?" The man scratched his cheek with a finger as he tried to think of a word that would fit his current form of being.
CUT WHAT? OH. WELL, PERHAPS. PERHAPS NOT. WHY DON'T WE JUST LEAVE IT AT DEATH GOD?
He smiled a smile Death could draw no meaning from. It seemed to be a reflexive reaction. "Because I'm not a god. Let's just leave it as me, then." He grinned again.
Death returned it without much choice. YET ISN'T THAT WHAT THIS "FOLDING-OF-CRISP-PRETTY-PAPER-INTO-THINGS-THAT-LOOK-LIKE-ANIMALS-AND-PLANTS"--DAMN, THERE MUST BE AN EASIER WAY TO SAY THIS--TRANSLATED TO IN THE COMMON TONGUE?
Death heard the man snort and chuckle. "It's 'Shinigami' in my language. You have it confused with an art that involves folding paper. And that would be your common tongue. And another tongue quite similar to yours in this universe. But I always thought it was an odd translation. Gods aren't supposed to die. Sure, they seem to lose limbs and body parts, but they don't die."
YES, THERE IT IS; SHIN-KNEE-GAH-MEE. SO YOU SAY THEY DON'T. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN YOUR GOD?
"No. I think I'd rather not. I'd like to be burned to oblivion in peace without anything else to add."
EVENTS MIGHT NOT TAKE PLACE AS YOU THINK THEY WILL.
He raised an eyebrow, amused by the proceedings. "Are you trying to tell me something?"
IF YOU BELIEVE I AM TELLING YOU NOT TO LOSE HOPE JUST YET, THEN IT MIGHT BE PRUDENT TO BELIEVE IN SOMETHING ELSE. I AM MERELY STATING THAT YOU OF ALL PEOPLE IN THIS UNIVERSE SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS OF THE UNKNOWN.
H blinked. "…You're confusing me, you know. But that's alright. Confusion is a good experience."
It was Death's turn to blink, though only metaphorically. He had no eyelids with which to blink, anyway, and no eyes or eyebrows with which to look curious. So, he tried to look as curious as an eternally grinning skull with empty sockets could. IS IT?
"Yeah. Like it is when you fall and learn to stand up."
…NOW YOU ARE CONFUSING ME. He understood the meaning; he'd fallen before the previous New Death and rose again with literally no time of his to spare, but how it applied to anything they were speaking of he had no clue.
"Oh dear. Well, that won't do. All this confusion isn't getting us anywhere. How about we just return to the game at hand?" He jabbed a finger at the board.
I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU WOULD CHALLENGE ME TO THIS GAME WHEN IT IS NOT MY HAND BY WHICH YOU WILL DIE.
The man shrugged. "And I don't understand how I will be taken anywhere by anyone when I'm not even supposed to be reincarnated. Soukyoku doesn't leave much to reincarnate. You're the substitute of the one who was charged to take me wherever it is I'm supposed to go after being disintegrated, therefore you will be subjected to my whim of a challenge." He grinned widely at Death, which was usually not the best course of action, but certainly the most amusing to him.
IT WAS NOT MY CHOICE TO COME. I DON'T EXPECT ONE LIKE YOU TO UNDERSTAND SUCH THINGS, BUT ALL UNIVERSES ARE LINKED BY THE NONEXISTENT THREADS OF THE CREATORS. THEY MOSTLY ALL HAPPEN TO BE OLD MEN CARRYING THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL UNIVERSE IN A SMALL LEATHER POUCH WHILE THEY WANDER THE UNIVERSE THEY CREATED, BUT THAT IS IRRELEVANT. BECAUSE THESE THREADS EXIST, THE RULERS COOPERATE IN TIMES WHEN COOPERATION IS MOST NEEDED. AZRAEL SENT ME TO BE THE SUBSTITUTE KEEPER OF REINCARNATION IN YOUR UNIVERSE FOR THE TIME BEING, UNTIL HE IS WELL ENOUGH TO BE OUT OF ILLNESS.
"…Actually, I understood all that quite well. So, which one of those leather pouch-carrying old men is the god of my universe?"
THAT I CANNOT DIVULGE. SORRY.
"Well, where am I going after death?"
LET'S JUST SAY YOU WILL HAVE A WHOLE NEW EXPERIENCE.
A WORLD THAT MANAGES TO NEED SAVING NEARLY EVERY OTHER WEEK.
"So I would be in your world?"
I CANNOT SAY.
"Ah. I'm afraid your rather lengthy explanation and vague answers won't allow you to avoid this game."
DRAT. I HATE CHESS.
IS THAT COLLAR UNCOMFORTABLE?
The man unconsciously pulled at the red collar-like thing around his throat and pushed a pawn forward two spaces. "No."
WHAT IS IT? Death moved a rook to the side four spaces, taking his opponent's bishop of the white squares.
He smiled as if remembering a joke and was not about to let Death in on it. "Nothing important. Not exactly."
IT LOOKS LIKE A TIGHT FIT.
"It fits better than a noose."
The man took Death's offending rook with his last bishop.
With his last remaining starting pawn, Death jumped forward two spaces.
"Ah," the strange man sighed gleefully, which was something Death wondered if only this man could manage. "I've figured out why you don't like chess." His tone wasn't boasting, just stating something obvious.
Death grinned horribly. PRAY, WHAT IS YOUR THEORY?
"You don't know how to use the knights, do you?"
That was unexpected. Then again, he shouldn't have been surprised. Azrael had already warned him of the strange man's observational skills. Azrael had warned him of a great deal of things about the man, actually, and Death would not have believed it all if it wasn't Azrael who told him. The lord of the universe didn't joke. It would have ruined the whole onmipotent-powerful-ruler-of-one-of-the-universes-shaped-out-of-clay-by-an-old-man effect.
HOW DID YOU FIGURE IT OUT?
"You could've captured my bishop with it. And you aren't playing like one who makes frivolous mistakes."
I SUPPOSE YOU SHALL GLOAT?
The man seemed slightly taken aback for a moment and beamed the next. "Not at all. Trial and error, my dear Death of the Discworld," he said cheerfully. "No matter what you've done or not done, you must've encountered a time in your life as Death where you've had to use this system."
Death wondered if the man liked being presumptuous. Then again, he wasn't sure if the oddball was being presumptuous or was simply stating the obvious again. But he was right. Death had gone through a period of horses. A skeletal steed was too impractical and cumbersome because Death spent more time picking up it's fallen skull then he did collecting expired souls. Fiery ones tended to fizzle out whenever and wherever there was rain. Or snow. Or hail. Or anywhere where the air was thick with cold moisture. And the flames were too hazardous to his stable. So he stuck with Binky.
He understood perfectly.
WOULDN'T IT BE EASIER IF YOU JUST TOLD ME?
"Of course. But it would be more fun if you figured it out on your own."
And so Death moved one of his neglected knights and took the bishop. When he put it down and there was no reproach from the other for putting it in the wrong space, he felt quite triumphant.
Then the man captured the knight with one of his own.
Death grinned with irritation.
DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WILL BE RESCUED?
The man took several moments to think, then took a few more. "I'm kind of hoping not."
Death noticed the care he took to phrase his sentence. HOPING. BUT YOU BELIEVE YOU WILL.
"Wasn't it you who just said people shouldn't make assumptions?"
I SAID PEOPLE SHOULDN'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS ON WHAT THEY DO NOT KNOW.
He tilted his head to the side. "You know too, don't you?"
IN A MANNER OF SPEAKING.
"Is it who I think it is?"
IF THE ONE YOU ARE THINKING OF IS THE GOD--WHAT IS IT WITH YOU PEOPLE AND GODS?--GOD OF THE QUICK BRIGHT LIGHT, THEN YES.
There was a pause in which there was a metaphorical blanket of silence. Finally, Death himself theoretically pulled it off because it was too stifling. THIS PERSON WOULD RISK EVERYTHING FOR YOU.
He smiled cheerlessly. "I was hoping she wouldn't. Not this time."
WOULD YOU NOT DO THE SAME?
The man stared at him with a delicately raised eyebrow as if saying 'Please tell me that was rhetorical'.
Death shrugged as much as a skeleton in a robe of shadows could shrug. THEN WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
"She won't be happy."
THAT IS, IF SHE SUCCEEDS.
The man merely grinned, again not letting Death in on the joke. Death was growing steadily tired of that.
Death was rarely flabbergasted. This was not one of those rare moments. This time he was simply annoyed. Chess was not his game.
That the man did. He cornered the white king with his remaining knight, a rook, and the queen. The white king itself was trapped between two of it's own pawns.
YOU COULD HAVE WON SOONER. IF YOU HAD SACRIFICED THE QUEEN.
The man smiled pleasantly. "Sacrifices have to be made on the way to reach the ultimate goal. But I try not to sacrifice as much as I need. The queen in particular is a piece I'm a little hard-pressed to part with."
AND WHAT IS YOUR ULTIMATE GOAL?
"That, my dear Death, is so simple that you shouldn't really even have to ask."
Death nodded his agreement. He did know, to some degree, what the man had in mind. He raised his empty sockets off the board. THEY ARE COM--NEVERMIND. Death, while not being a creature with much emotion, felt he definitely would not want to anger this particular woman, especially if he didn't want to be broken. It wasn't quite fear as it was tact. YOUR QUEEN IS COMING.
The man grinned. "And she won't see you," he said immediately.
HOW DID YOU KNOW?
A shrug. "Just a feeling."
Death looked again out the narrow window. HMM. WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WILL ACCOMPLISH BY RUNNING FROM THE INEVITABLE?
"Eh? Good question." He beamed. "I'm not sure. I don't like leaving things half-finished. Besides, I'm not ready to die yet. When I have, you'll know, I'm sure. And you'll have this back." He waved the little shiny object.
DO YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE WON YOUR LIFE BACK BY DEFEATING ME?
The man smiled another pleasant, enigmatic smile as he ran a hand sheepishly through a mop of blond hair. "No. Everyone dies someday.
"I'm just borrowing a little time."
Death had never met Life. He told the 'shin-knee-gah-mee' so himself when he asked. Death often wondered what would happen if he did. Things that lived would die eventually and he would be there to collect the life force, not that Death often went around collecting the inanimate souls of potatoes. Life had no hourglass. She was something else completely, living on the same yet different lines as Death. She was Life. And Life lived on because there was no more for her to do.
He stared at the small hourglass in his hand. It had finally returned to him, materializing on his desk beside his own clock. It was much different than he remembered when he parted with it over a century ago. First off, there were green and white stripes where red should have been. Secondly, there was no sand. Where there should have been a tiny mound of golden sand on the bottom bulb there was nothing but empty space. An odd phenomenon, to be sure.
If the strange man was dead or not Death was not certain, but he made a mental note in his empty cranium to sort through the endless number of hourglasses and to visit a neighboring universe so as to be certain. He pocketed the striped hourglass.
The oddball owed him a rematch, whether or not in another universe, afterlife or otherwise.