Disclaimer: All characters in this fic are either the property of Mutant Enemy or DC Comics. No infringement intended.

Another Conversation with a Dead Person

Pain.

There was sickening pain, and a horrifying feeling of dread and fear and terror and then...

Jonathan blinked, feeling dizzy. He was standing in a dimly lit room, and over on the other side was Andrew, who was talking to Warren despite the fact that Warren was dead and there was no possible way that he could be there.

Andrew. Indignant anger welled up inside him as his memory suddenly pulled itself into sharp focus. Andrew had stabbed him! He'd stabbed him! Why the hell had he done that?! It was a damn good thing that he wasn't... oh.

Jonathan looked down at his own corpse lying spreadeagled across the Seal of Danzalthar. Then he looked up again, and finally noticed the pale dark haired woman who was waiting politely a few steps away. But that meant...

He stared at her in dismay. "I'm..."

She nodded. "I'm afraid so."

"And he really..."

"Pretty much, yes."

There was an awkward pause, then: "Oh, this just sucks."

The woman looked slightly amused. "You probably wouldn't be surprised to learn that that's a common reaction."

"But it really does! I mean, everything was coming together! I finally had it all sorted out! All this time I kept trying so hard to be part of something bigger and finally I felt like... Like it didn't matter. Maybe I wasn't going to be part of the cool group; maybe I was never going to have a ton of friends. It didn't matter. I felt happy just being me! And he's... And now I'm... I'm never going to enjoy feeling good about myself. It's not fair!"

She smiled sadly. "I'm sorry, Jonathan. But that's the way it is."

He scowled. "Well it sucks!"

She shrugged apologetically.

He stared at her miserably. A dim thread of curiosity wound it's way through his mind. "Aren't you supposed to be skeletony with a black cloak?"

"What, and talking in a booming voice like in the Discworld novels?"

He blinked in surprise. "You read Terry Pratchett?"

"Why wouldn't I? I think he's very good, too." She cocked her head to the side. "And I can certainly be all black and skeletony if it will make you feel better; it's really up to you."

Jonathan frowned. "Well in that case I'll just take you as you are. I really don't need you to look any more scary."

"Do you find me frightening, Jonathan?"

He thought about it. "I don't know. I think I should. I think I just feel numb at the moment."

"Well, that's also a pretty common reaction."

"At least I'm being predictable." A sudden thought came to him, and he looked over to the doorway where Andrew and Warren were still deep in conversation. "And by the way, what's with him? Warren's dead, I know he is! How come he gets to come back?"

She wound her ankh necklace around a finger and swung it casually. "If it makes you feel better, that's not Warren. It's actually the form of something terribly evil."

He snorted. "Sure it isn't Warren?"

She looked at him mischievously. "Ouch. You obviously had a deep respect for the man."

"Yeah, right." He looked speculative. "So what was his reaction to seeing you?"

She looked amused. "I'm not sure I should tell you that. It kind of falls under the umbrella of 'patient confidentiality'"

"What, you're a psychiatrist as well as being Death?" he said dryly.

She laughed softly and replied with a twinkle in her eye. "Let's just say that Warren handled seeing me just fine, and there was certainly no screaming, running away, and crying for his mother. Definitely not."

He smirked. "I knew it! Thought he was so tough..."

She smiled again. "So...?"

Jonathan stepped back nervously. "What's going to happen to me? I know... I know I haven't been the best person. People died because of me. I'm not going to... Am I going to be okay? I died while I was trying to help people! Is that going to count?"

She shook her head. "Jonathan, it isn't my place to say. I'm sorry."

He shuffled from foot to foot anxiously and watched as Andrew and the false Warren finished their conversation and Andrew made his way out of the room, glancing back nervously one more time before he left. "I can't believe Andrew killed me. I mean, of all the people... I thought we were friends! We helped each other out in Mexico. We... we watched each other's back! I said I'd buy him a burro! Then fake Warren comes along and he just... he just..."

"Followed?"

"Just like he always has." He stared at the now closed door in frustration. "The idiot! He always does that!"

The necklace swung back and forth on the end of her fingertips. "You're right, he does."

Jonathan looked back at her. "He killed me. He really killed me."

"He did."

He closed his eyes and bit back the tears. "I... Am I an idiot for still giving a damn about him?"

"I think that depends on why, Jonathan."

He sniffed bleakly. "Because."

"Because?"

"Because... he doesn't know. He doesn't even realise. I bet it hasn't even occurred to him what a stupid, idiotic, appalling thing he's done. He doesn't... It's not real. None of this. Life . It's all just a big story to him, and he's drifting through it, barely even letting it touch him. I was like that once, but I was never as bad as him." Jonathan bit his lip. "He's in his own little dream. I kinda wonder if he'll ever wake up."

She nodded. "I don't think you're an idiot, Jonathan."

"I don't want to go with you. I wanted to, once. I though it was the only thing I could do. But now... Now I'm just scared."

She smiled sympathetically "I know."

"What's going to happen to Andrew?"

"I'm afraid I don't know. Only Destiny could answer that, and my brother's always been kind of tight-lipped."

He nodded, accepting that. "Will it hurt?"

In reply, she held out a hand.

He watched it helplessly.

"Jonathan?"

"I... I don't..."

"Take my hand, Jonathan."

He looked up into her eyes, and they were shining with warmth and sympathy and the wisdom of a thousand, thousand lifetimes.

Jonathan Levenson nodded sadly in resignation and took her hand.

And for the briefest of moments, the room that held the Seal of Danzalthar echoed with the sound of wings.