|The Part Before the End
Author: Shwoo PM
In this charming fanfic, Sam and Max die from old age and go to Hell. Slight spoilers for Chariots of the Dogs and What's New, Beelzebub?.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Friendship - Words: 2,520 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 5 - Published: 03-13-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4920248
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The office was very, very dusty these days. It had been dusty since they'd moved in, but after a hundred and twenty years of being Sam and Max's office, the corners appeared to be covered in organic, grey snow drifts. And— Max shivered as he felt a chill— it was getting cold in there too. Maybe leaving the window open all winter wasn't such a good idea, but they'd been doing it so long that it had become tradition. Besides, Max had never been very cold in the office before. He must be getting old, he thought. Another sign of this was the fact that he was thinking hard about anything, but of course Sam couldn't do that anymore.
"Hey, Sam!" he called. Sam had spent the night in the office, after falling asleep in the early afternoon and not waking up. Max hadn't wanted to disturb him. Sam needed his rest. Also, he tended to shoot things that came near him these days.
Sam didn't respond. Not wanting to spend the day bored, Max approached Sam and shook him, then ducked.
When he looked up, Sam still hadn't moved.
"Sam?" said Max, shaking him again. He felt kind of cold, and not just the kind of cold you got from sitting in front of an open window all night. He felt like a corpse. Like a... Max checked to see if Sam was breathing, beginning to feel a little irritated. He'd had his death all planned out, and Sam dying first would totally ruin it.
Sam wasn't breathing. He didn't have a pulse, either. Max was certain of this — he was good at knowing when things were dead. He pulled out his gun, put it to where he thought his temple probably was, and pulled the trigger.
Max thought he heard Sam calling his name as he opened his eyes. Then he groaned. "I'm never doing that again." He couldn't believe how much that had hurt.
He glanced around. He could see himself, lying a short distance away, Sam in his wheelchair, and then a slightly transparent Sam in his old detective outfit, right next to him. "Sam!"
"I'm glad you're here, little pal," said Sam, talking sensibly the way he used to. Standing up the way he used to, as well.
"What's with the outfit?" said Max, looking between the ghostly Sam and Sam's body.
Sam looked down. "I don't know. I wanted to wear my old clothes, and suddenly I was wearing them again. I guess it's some kind of ghost thing, or something."
"It's a pity you didn't think away that white patch on your muzzle that makes you look about two hundred years old."
"It does not! It makes me look sophisticated!"
"Right, sophisticated to Methuselah, maybe." Max was enjoying himself. Baiting Sam when he was senile was no fun at all.
"Well, why don't you try it?" said Sam. "I don't think you need that visor to see anymore."
"I'm gonna keep it," said Max. "It makes me look all futuristic."
"Those things have been on the market for thirty years, bonehead!" replied Sam, and jerked in surprise when Max suddenly hugged him.
"I missed you, Sam."
"I missed me too, pal," said Sam, ruffling the fur on Max's head.
Max released him, and said "So what are we gonna do now? Haunt this office for all eternity?" It didn't sound like a very interesting idea unless someone who was easily startled moved in.
"I hope not," said Sam. "Maybe we could go back in time and haunt our younger selves."
"Ugh, no," replied Max. "I've seen more than enough of those guys. Let's see if there's anyone we can annoy in the afterlife."
Sam nodded. "It's been a while since we've been to an afterlife."
"Hey, looks like he's waking up."
"Hit him on the head some more!"
Last time they'd ridden the soul train, they'd been given the VIP carriage, which was reserved for living beings who had some sort of business in an afterlife or who just wanted to look around. But this time, they had to ride with everyone else. Sam looked around at the pale faced, sad looking passengers.
"Sure is quiet in here," he said.
"It's boring, Sam!" replied Max, trying to balance on the back on his chair and nearly falling on his face. He cupped his hands over his mouth. "Hey guys, lighten up! Live a little!"
"We're dead, you moron!" someone called back in a wobbly, tearful voice. Sam heard a muffled sob from somewhere behind them.
"Whiners," said Max.
"Yeah," said Sam. "Just because they're dead doesn't mean they can't have fun."
"Like this!" said Max, jumping down from the top of his seat, landing on Sam's lap, and kicking Sam in the stomach.
"Ow!" said Sam, lunging for him.
Max dodged and hid underneath his chair.
The train slowed.
"I think this is our stop, Max," said Sam, standing up and putting away his spitball tube.
Max did the same. "Good. All these depressive ghosts are making my adorable white fuzz stand on end."
They walked out of the train into an oppressively hot, red landscape. There was a large building in front of them, with its name spelled out in gaudy yellow letters, but they didn't need to read them to know where they were.
"Aw, Hell again?" Sam complained.
"You'd think our intentions would count for something," said Max.
"You mean our intention to cause as much mayhem as possible?" said Sam.
A knife wielding man pushed past them. Every area of his skin that wasn't scarred was tattooed.
"Quit blocking the door, you stupid stuffed animals!"
Sam and Max moved out of the doorway and watched him go inside.
"You wanna go after him?" said Sam.
"At least he didn't call us cartoon characters," said Max with a shrug.
"Yeah," said Sam. "I hate it when they do that."
Neither of them said anything for a second.
"Sam, are we getting mellow in our old age?"
"Oh God, I hope not," said Sam, surreptitiously removing the white from his fur.
They probably couldn't use the visitor's entrance this time, so they headed towards the larger entrance, which was lit up with neon signs that hadn't been there last time. But before they could go inside, a slightly neurotic looking man stopped them.
"Sam and Max?" he said. There was something familiar about him...
"I know you!" said Sam. "You're that serial killer who made the news ten years ago!"
"I particularly liked your work on that bus full of school children," said Max. "Such class."
"Max, he murdered children!"
"Oh yeah, murder, right..."
"Th-they had to die," mumbled the serial killer, his eyes glazing over. "They w-were trying to—"
"What was your name again?" said Sam. "Larry?"
"I think it was Gary," said Max.
"Oh, right," said Sam. "Well, what do you want with us, Carrie?"
The serial killer shook his head violently, returning his expression to something slightly less unnerving. "You need to sign in, and then I need to show you up to the CEO's office." He showed them a clipboard.
"Okay..." said Sam, taking a pen. "Name... time of arrival... cause of death..." He handed the pen to Max, who filled out the form and handed it back.
Possibly Larry looked at it, then at Max. "Uh... you've put your cause of death as "natural causes", and I have here that it was a suicide."
"A suicide?" repeated Max. "Oh no. I'm not one of those people."
"I saw you, Max," said Sam. "You took out your gun and shot yourself."
"Yeah, but it wasn't a suicide."
Sam started to say something, then stopped himself. It seemed like one of those things that Max would not change his mind about, like the idea that a red light meant "go faster".
"I'll take care of it," said Gary, with a sigh. "Let me show you up."
The CEO's office was luxurious. There was soft carpet, expensive looking wood, a window that took up almost an entire wall, and a pervasive and annoying smell of varnish. Sam had lived all his life in a bad neighbourhood in Brooklyn, and wasn't sure exactly what luxury was even after Max had been elected president, but it was probably at least one of those things. Satan stood in front of the window, looking out over the landscape.
Sam and Max waited.
"Do you think we should cough politely?" said Sam.
"I'm against coughing unless it's to spread fatal diseases or gross people out," said Max.
Finally, Satan turned around. "Ah, Sam and Max. Take a seat." He indicated some seats that strongly resembled electric chairs. Sam and Max remained standing. "I expect you're wondering why I've called you here."
"How do you walk in this carpet?" said Max, who was sunk up to his ankles.
"Is this going to take long?" said Sam. "The sooner we start our eternal damnation, the sooner it'll be over."
"Ah yes, the damnation," said Satan. "Just between the three of us, we only torment our clients for a hundred years before we reincarnate them. Space reasons, you know."
"Holy leaf bearing trees of the Indus valley!" yelled Sam. "Reincarnation really does exist!"
"And this place always seemed so... Christian," said Max, looking around as though he thought crosses were going to spontaneously appear on the walls.
"Yes, well, we pick and choose from as many religions as we can," said Satan. "Humans are really so ingenious sometimes."
"Eh, humans are overrated," said Max.
"Yeah, I don't see humans inventing Iceball, Fizzball and, uh—"
Sam glared at Max. "Didn't we agree to never talk about that ever again?"
"If I may continue," said Satan, "as saviors of Hell and frequent contributors, you have a choice. You may take the basic package, consisting of a hundred years of torment before reincarnation, the plus package, consisting of a hundred years of working for Hell with exciting promotion opportunities and probable reincarnation, or I can reincarnate you right now."
"Hm..." said Sam. He wanted to stay himself for as long as possible, but...
"That hundred years of torment sounds good," said Max.
"No it doesn't!" said Sam, who felt that the half an hour he'd spent in his personal Hell was an hour too long. "I... I suppose we could work for you." Max whipped out his gun. "What the hell are you doing, Max?"
"You said that if you ever considered taking a desk job, I should shoot you right away."
"I don't remember that! Was I senile?"
"No," said Max. "It was right after we went into business together, and then again after we saved Hell the second time."
"All right," said Sam, who still didn't remember saying anything like that. He turned to Satan. "We'll take the reincarnation."
"Ooh!" said Max. "I wanna be Sam!"
"Very well," replied Satan, and Max vanished in a puff of fire.
"Hey!" said Sam, staring at where he'd been. "Bring him back!"
"I could, but then you'd cease to exist, and I'm sure you don't want that," said Satan, his broad smile not matching his tone of voice at all.
"What are you talking about, Satan?"
"Surely you've figured out that your soul and Max's soul are one and the same?" said Satan.
Sam hadn't figured that out, because that was stupid. "But... but... I'm not Max! Max is Max!"
"I think you'll find that you are Max," said Satan.
Sam tried to calm down. He still felt exactly like himself, and not at all like Max except for a slight craving for chicken, a love of fast cars, and guns, and general mayhem, and... and the fact that he was more like Max than anyone he'd ever met. He hadn't thought much about it before, but he really was a lot like Max, even before they'd met. Maybe Satan was right. "Then... I want to be reincarnated as Max."
"That would cause a temporal paradox," said Satan, inspecting his nails. "I'm sorry, but I signed an agreement about that after that last fiasco back in..."
He continued talking, but Sam tuned him out. He missed Max badly, despite having seen him only a minute ago. "Well, is there any way I could see Max again?"
"If you would consent to work for me, I could teach you how to unlock the memories of your past lives..." said Satan.
Sam thought about it, and wondered about his chances of not getting shot when he got Max back, even if Satan was telling the truth. "I'll take the reincarnation."
His back stung a little, like there were hundreds of blades of grass pressing into it. Then he remembered that there were. And his head really ached, like... Oh. That had happened as well. He opened his eyes and sat up.
"Feeling better, Strong Bad?" said Bubs, leaning into his field of vision.
Strong Bad cradled his head. "So... your past life regression therapy was really just you hitting me over the head with a giant, novelty sized mallet."
"I'll make a mint!" replied Bubs. "Did it work?"
"All I had was some weird dream about a couple of old adventure game characters," said Strong Bad, but he knew better than to demand a refund. Lately Bubs had been making his customers pay for the privilege.
The Cheat walked by and commented on Strong Bad's tendency to waste his money. No wonder he never had any.
"You crack me up, The Cheat," said Strong Bad.
Note: I feel that the ending requires some explanation. It's not that I think that Homestar Runner is awesome and should be in everything, or that Homestar Runner and Sam & Max are cosmically linked because the same company made games about them. It's because, in Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, when you try to do something that has no preprogrammed response, most of Strong Bad's responses are the same as most of Sam's in Sam & Max Season Two.
Naturally the only sensible explanation is that Strong Bad is a reincarnation of Sam, despite the fact that he appears to have a pirated copy of Sam & Max Hit the Road. So I guess I am saying that they're cosmically linked because the same company made games about them. Oh well. It was fun anyway.
Also, Sam totally played into Satan's hands at the end of the story. I guess he's a Strong Bad fan.