AN: First time writing any Grim Adventures fanfiction. I wanted to add a few references to some of my fav. episodes. (I tried to keep everyone in character!) The way I see it, Mandy may be cruel but she is capable of love and the only way she might accept being in love is if it's convenient. (Speaking of convenient, isn't it convenient that Grim happens to have a tongue?)
"From now on you sleep here."
It had been an 'innocent' enough request. More of an order really. But innocent nevertheless, after all, she was only ten years old. Though to be fair, she already knew about 'sexual reproduction', even at her young age. She was an intelligent girl, sharp, witty and charmingly cynical with her low almost monotone voice that only seemed to convey anger and frustration, aside form apathy.
A power hungry child, to her, sentiments and emotions were a weakness she never seemed to suffer from. She was the voice of reason in any given situation.
Mandy was icy cold. Always so calm and level headed…
Love was not an option for her future, attraction even less. She'd cut off her heart if necessary, Grim wouldn't mind. Actually he'd probably enjoy it as much as Billy at that damn sock store, where he'd eat and eat until his heart's content.
Her demand wasn't one made out of care and certainly not attraction. When she demanded the Grim Reaper stay in her house, in her bed. She only meant to keep things normal, or as normal as things get in Endsville. No ghosts coming out of dim-witted Billy's mouth (as if Billy wasn't enough trouble on his own!) trying to teach him how to be cool. But mostly she did it because it was convenient for her. Because everything she did was planned and calculated. Because she was power hungry. And the Grim Reaper (aside from being a personal slave) was power.
When she was twelve, having the Grim Reaper sleeping by her side had become almost natural or necessary. Sure there were those moments when she'd order him to sleep on her floor (and really, he was asking for it. How dare he disobey her and not finish his appointed chores?) but usually he was right there next to her, looking like a fish out of water, for lack of a better metaphor, in the entirely pink 'boudoir' of his young master.
She had grown used to the bag of bones as an extra weight on her bed. Like a giant pillow or stuffed animal. The extra weight had actually become… comforting. (She dismissed this thought as soon as it came though. Really, what was she thinking?) It became one of those things you can't function without. Not like food or water but like television. Something you had grown so accustomed to it would be terribly hard to go on without it. Being so close to death put her to sleep.
Now Grim had to admit, with Mandy it was a much more peaceful sleep (Billy kicked and spoke random idiocies while dreaming) the girls bed was soft, unlike her hard and unforgiving personality. The woman rivaled Satan himself! But she always slept with her back to him and he was eternally grateful for that, he didn't want to start and end each day staring at his keepers scowling face. Surprisingly, she slept like the dead. Of course he knew she wasn't really dead, but he could dream right?
When she was twelve-
Yes, that's probably when things began to get strange, even for Endsville, where a walking skeleton taking two young children to the beach was as normal as the town's football team loosing another game.
Nothing really changed between death and the children; Billy was still dumb and terribly disgusting. A perfect slave for someone like Mandy, who exploited the weak mercilessly. Grim was still disgruntled and threatening the kids with chopping their heads off (an honor he'd reserve only for himself) and Mandy was still the cynical deadpan of a child she always was. They were the bizarre of trio of death, ignorance and evil, the three musketeers, all for one and one for themselves.
Grim was the only one who seemed to be aware of this strange occurrence though.
One morning (he couldn't remember the day exactly for his mind was elsewhere) he had been awakened from a particularly pleasant dream where he had seized control of the underworld. There were walls of fire and the smell of burning flesh was overwhelming. There were bombs and bodies and blood, in the sky, in the ground, on his scythe…
But when he opened his empty sockets the first thing he noticed was a small pale arm over his ribcage and the sleeping little girl he thought rivaled Satan himself, nestled by his side, breathing calmly as she slept. Frowning slightly even in her sleep, which didn't surprise him at all.
If he were alive he would've had a heart attack; and who wouldn't!? This was Mandy. The most horrible, insensitive, cold, selfish, self-centered, megalomaniac girl in existence! The first thing he felt was confusion washing over him, then total shock (he was scared shitless actually, he didn't even want to imagine what were to happen if she woke up) and then he just felt sick.
The child he felt nothing but contempt for was so close to him and in a more than friendly position. He didn't even want to think about how morally wrong the situation was (even he had some ethics, thank you very much), so he did the only rational thing to do.
Bite his tongue, slowly remove her warm arm (so different from his cold bones he noticed) and get the hell out while he still could before evoking her wrath.
"What's wrong with you? You've been acting weird all day, Grim." She asked venomously. He had been distant and unable to look at her in the eyes. Every time he did all he could see was small arms circling him and a blonde, round head snuggled up on his side.
That night Grim stayed over at Billy's house.
Neither of the two had a peaceful sleep.
When you're immortal time seems to go by in the blink of an eye…sometimes. And it didn't take long for Billy and Mandy to hit their teen years. Or at least it didn't seem that long to Grim. He had to admit, ever since he became 'best friends' with Billy and Mandy the years seemed to roll by slower than usual. Perhaps it was his own displeasure of the situation he was currently stuck in, that or his lack of work. (He didn't have as much time to go out reaping that much and people just seemed to be holding on to life longer, advances in technology he figured…) He rarely had time to enjoy himself anymore, what with the kids ordering him around as their personal slave. (And they called it friendship!)
Grim returned to stay over at Mandy's house, to his dismay and relief. It was a much easier sleep and a much cleaner place. He couldn't understand how Billy could live in his home; it was a garbage pit.
He never spoke to Mandy of the 'incident' and he swore he never would. He wasn't about to risk his chance to sleep in a soft, comfy bed. He might end up being Saliva's chew toy… and that was the best-case scenario. He shuddered at the thought of the slobbering mutt gnawing and drooling on him. So he never spoke of the strange morning and it never happened again.
Until that one time…
She was thirteen going on fourteen, still early in her teen years yet acting nothing like her peers. She began to use makeup, and bras and all those things that distinguished little girls from their mothers, and she traded her girlishly childlike pink dress for a skirt. She rarely wore pants, which always surprised Grim slightly.
'So evil yet so... girly' he mused.
Her physical appearance was a contradiction to everything she was and stood for. But aside from that, Mandy was never one to act like others her age, or anyone else for the matter. She never whined over life's 'cruelty' or teenage angst. Instead she scoffed at her peers for their whining and open display of weakness; their constant whining over tiny imperfections and the horrors of suburban living.
She didn't go out on any dates, nor to any party (if she was invited that is) nor become lost or confused like so many other teenagers trying to find themselves in cheap thrills, music and rebellion. She was beyond that. Mandy was some sort of evolved other worldly being. A being so imperfect by normal standards that she actually seemed perfect. Pure bred for leadership.
She was the exact same girl she was when she was ten, only sharper, smarter, more sadistic, and as demanding of the Reaper as ever. Her body had begun its transformation into womanhood as her years left in the mortal plane diminished, but she was still small in height compared to Grim and Billy. (She knew she'd never reach Grim though, he was like six feet tall. But she was well aware that size didn't matter).
Billy had grown as well, but he was still the same moron and probably would always be. Trying to pick up girls and go against the rules with Irwin. And Irwin… did anybody really care about Irwin? The poor sap still pinned after Mandy, who in her usual fashion, crushed all his hopes again and again and broke his heart every time. But even she couldn't break his iron will to be with her. It was admirable, in a sort of messed up way, yet horrendously annoying. Aside from that, Irwin wasn't really interesting, despite his effeminate tendencies…
The girl was something, alright. She crushed not only Irwin's heart but Billy's as well. He had held some feelings for his best friend (like it usually happens in friendships of the opposite sex, whether one sided or not) and out of the blue decided to tell her.
"Yes?" Billy fidgeted, unsure of what was about happen. She glared at him impatiently from the opposite side of the couch. "Well, I've been having these strange feelings when I'm around you. And I…" he trailed off. "You what, Billy?" she asked. "Well... I think I love you." Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open, which was a mistake as Billy then tried to move in for a kiss. He was pushed back roughly the minute his mouth was les than a centimeter above hers.
"Don't you dare touch me!"
"Look Billy, things are just fine between us as they are. I don't need affection from you or anyone else. Especially from you! It wouldn't work, not even if you were the last guy on earth. I could never love you." The cruelty of her words stung him and he never mentioned his feelings again.
Love is for the weak minded.
She still believed the same thing about love since she was a child. She refused any form of affection brought to her from anyone and anything. Like her skin would melt off at someone's touch. Even so, Grim found himself in another awkward morning with her. He awakened when he felt her stir next to him and felt something pressed onto his ribs. He noticed her blonde head, lying under his shoulder, under his arm, and perfectly manicured (his doing, of course) hand over him, clutching onto his robe.
He wondered if she was just cold last time, but this was an even more intimate position than last, one he felt was reserved only for lovers, or people who actually cared about each other.
Just like the last time, he was shocked, confused and scared to himself, but the sick feeling was subdued, he felt a lot more nervous and embarrassed than sick. She wasn't such a little girl anymore...
He engrossed her small hand in his, large by comparison, fleshless fingers and carefully moved the young lady off of him. She stirred slightly but that was all he saw for he left the room as soon as he freed himself.
It wouldn't be the last time the messenger of death would find himself with the girl on him. It happened again and again throughout the years. Sometimes months would pass, sometimes it would be two days straight. But the routine stayed the same. He'd wake up, pry her off of him and exit quickly, never uttering a word about it.
He would be as silent as the graves.
"Grim, do you think I'm… pretty?"
Grim was taken aback with the sudden question. It wasn't new to him. She had asked him this before when she was about ten and entering a beauty pageant to defeat Mindy. She was sixteen now and almost fully grown, though her hair was styled in that devilish fashion of her childhood, her…fleshy expansions were proof of her growth.
Grim pondered her question, more concerned with why she'd suddenly become so self-conscience than actually answering the given question.
"Why are you asking? Trying out for another beauty pageant?"
"Can't I ask, Grim?" she snapped. Lately he had begun to notice a certain conflict in her eyes. Some sort of uncertainty. He loved the idea of Mandy finally showing a weakness but couldn't help but wonder what was wrong with her.
He'd be lying if he said he didn't care, after years of living with the brats he had developed a certain fondness (or something like that) for them. Of course, he'd still hack their heads off when their time came. He might not be the merciless being he thought he was, he had to admit he had gotten softer while on earth, but he still had a duty he planned to fulfill.
His 'friends' still had plenty of chores to keep the Reaper busy, from homework to dish washing to the now rare trips to the underworld. Mandy had a particular curiosity on how things were run there.
And when the time came to reap her soul (he wouldn't give the pleasure of such a moment to anyone) he figured she would eventually take over Hell, dethrone Satan as ruler of evil, expand her army to the world of the living and give him more work… which isn't really a bad thing.
"Now why do you suddenly take an interest in the world's perception of you?"
"I asked if you thought I was pretty."
Grim was at a loss for words, as she expected.
Mandy glared at him waiting for an answer. She didn't really care for the opposite sex, and the actual thought of sex revolted her. (Partially a lie, she did think about it; she blamed it on hormones. She had less than pure dreams about the opposite sex, they were rare, but they still existed. But she assumed the lust would fade as soon as her teen years went by.) But what really bothered her was who she dreamed about by her side as she ruled the world. It unnerved her (and scared her, but she'd NEVER admit that.) and she wasn't sure what to do.
It was never in her plans for the future to feel attracted to anyone and not be able to do something about it, aside form ignoring it. She planned to take over the earth, she was certain she would, and she would always have Grim and Billy by her side… well, behind her actually. It wasn't in her plans to share the world with anyone when she took over, much less….
She didn't even want to think about it.
Long ago she asked Grim to remove her heart. She said, 'Love is for the weak minded' and with his help (he didn't cut off her heart as requested, she regrets that now) she got over her dumb crush on the gothic looking kid with 'Hate' over his belt. But this crush was different and she couldn't tell Grim about this problem. That was the key to success. She wasn't going to show anybody her weakness.
"Well… you turned out pretty good, I guess. You don't look like such a short little brat anymore."
She was more of a shrew, but unlike Shakespeare's play she couldn't be tamed. She wasn't a great beauty like Eris, but she could pass off as one of those dangerous yet glamorous women in the movies. Those evil bitches who backstabbed the hero one minute and the next, had them worshipping her and her independence like she was in fact the woman of their dreams. If Grim didn't know her for the monster she really was he might have found her attractive…maybe.
Mandy looked at Grim for a few moments with an unreadable expression before casually suggesting they go out for ice cream sundaes, which he agreed to. Billy met up with them on the way and the three stuffed their faces. (Or at least Billy did, he was an animal)
Grim didn't give the question much thought until he got ready for bed.
The routine continued the morning after.
When Billy and Mandy were both seventeen incoming changes were made a lot more noticeable. Sure, the unusual trio went out to the mall or the movies or even the underworld (there really wasn't much to do in Endsville) and even Toadwarts (Nigel Planter, who thought himself a player, still flirted shamelessly with Mandy who in return refused all of his advances) but things changed inevitably.
Mandy was going to college after graduation and Billy… well he was never the sharpest boy, what with an I.Q. lower than a candy bracelets. But he was a relatively normal boy. Despite befriending a dark, cynical girl and the Grim Reaper and being related to a shape-shifting demigod from the center of the earth (who had finally grown a backbone, much to Mandy's relief. So much power shouldn't have been wasted on a whimpering little freak!) and being a father to an annoyingly cheerful spider. Billy was a good kid, all in all, dimwitted and irresponsible but never evil. He was more interested in rebelling against society, girls and school spirit, much like Irwin.
Being so normal actually made him abnormal.
Mandy had grown more attached to Grim than Billy and Grim likewise, spent most of his time in her company. A lot of times it would be just the two of them who went out, gaining a lot of stares (which she didn't understand the reason for because Grim had been in Endsville for over seven fucking years and they had been to the same exact places with Billy millions of times) but she ignored them all as she grasped the skeletons hand to drag him along wherever she went.
One time they went to the movies to see President Evil when Mindy caught sight of them and couldn't resist a verbal assault.
"Mandy, what an unpleasant surprise."
"I didn't think you'd ever get a date with a face like yours but I'm impressed. I didn't think you'd be interested in older men."
Mandy narrowed her eyes, "You done, Mindy?"
"I always knew you were interested in death and all that moldy junk, but I didn't think death would be so into you! I must admit you make a fetching couple. You're both so… grim!" she laughed at her own pun, even if she was the only one laughing. Grim tried to protest only to be silenced by Mandy.
"It take it this is your new boy-toy."
"This is Mike. His father owns one of the largest chains of fast-food restaurants FYI."
"Mike huh. You must be pretty darn popular at barbeques." The boy told her of his families secret burger making recipes and Mindy smirked, dreaming of a life of fame and riches as the burger queen. "Fast-food chains sell nothing but mediocre crap to the public, and expect them to pay insane prices for burgers they craft into perfect, ordinary food products that all taste the same, so the general public feels they are eating something fine."
"You're just jealous because I'm dating someone rich and popular!"
"Grim here is one of the most powerful beings in the underworld which makes me, the most powerful woman on earth." Mindy huffed and pulled Mike with her inside. Mandy dragged Grim away without letting him say a word.
"Great, now everybody thinks I'm dating you." he scowled. "And what is wrong with that Grim?"
He decided he wouldn't dwell on the subject any longer.
That was probably one of the turning points in Mandy's life. She had convinced Grim to take her, well, she forced him to, but he took her anyway.
She looked good, even Grim had to admit that. Her dress was bright red, a last minute alteration to the original pink dress she bought a week before. The minute they stepped out of the house she asked Grim to turn her dress red. It was strange, Mandy wasn't prone to doing things on a whim, but he turned her pink dress into devil red. It suited her, he thought. He asked her why she didn't take Billy or Irwin with her. Both had been unsuccessful in finding a date and she turned both of them down and insisted Grim take her.
He on the other hand, wasn't too thrilled with the idea. Going to a dance with a bunch of teenagers hoping they'd score when the night was over just made him feel out of place, like a chaperone or something…
All in all, it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. They danced to at least one song, even though Mandy hated dancing. He was surprised she accepted his invitation, he had asked trying to make small talk actually. They spent most of their time sitting and eating or drinking punch. Billy and Irwin ended up swing dancing together trying to impress a few girls there. Aside from that, it was an uneventful evening. They went home earlier than expected, around eleven, Mandy couldn't stand being there any longer.
"Well that was a waste of time."
"Then why did you insist on taking me if you didn't even want to go?"
"It's my prom Grim, besides, I figured I'd do something normal for a change."
"So you take me! I'm the Grim Reaper for crying out loud! Who takes a Death to their prom? It's like a soap-opera… " he sulked. "I'm too old for this." They made their way upstairs, Mandy went to the bathroom and changed.
"You're immortal Grim. Who else would you expect me to take anyway? Billy? Irwin? I wouldn't be caught dead dancing with them." She yelled from behind the door. "I could arrange that… not like you danced to more than one song anyway." He mumbled the last part. She came out ready for bed and he followed her to her room. "You wouldn't kill me, you've lost whatever nerve you had. If you ever had any." He scowled.
"I know the exact moment you'll die and believe me, I'll be waiting eagerly."
"Oh. And when will that be?"
"Sooner than you think."
Mandy paused in front of her door momentarily. "How soon is that?" she turned around to face him. "I'm not supposed to give a mortal any warnings or notice of their death. Goes against the laws of nature."
"And yet you can add time to a person's ending sandglass. How is that?" she asked. "Look, I can't tell you alright. I prefer not to mess with the natural order...again." Mandy's frown grew even harsher and she slammed the door in his face.
He'd just take the couch tonight.
Grim didn't think it'd affect her that much that he couldn't tell her. She knew if he told her she'd be ready to stop her death no matter how. They might take his job away if he told her when and how it would take place. It would be eleven years, five months, 2 weeks and a day from now. She would be shot. Why, he didn't know. But that was how it was written on his list (he had looked though the millions of names in search for hers and Billy's one day and was surprised to see hers would be so soon. Billy would live to see his grandchildren, if he had any…) and that's when he'd take her soul to judgment, where they would probably send her to Hell. He didn't need to question the reason he'd have to take her there after her body expired.
At one in the morning Mandy went down stairs and found Grim sleeping uncomfortably. It only took the mention of his name to wake him. He sat up and made room for her to sit. She was silent for a moment before asking him about her death again. It wasn't until now that she really worried about her death. Being around Grim all the time must have taken her mind off that obstacle in her plan for total domination. She always thought that since she controlled him, she wouldn't have to worry about her mortality. But it seems mortality is not something she was in control of after all.
"Can't you just give me a hint? 20s? 30s? 40s?"
He sighed, a hint wouldn't hurt, and it wasn't like he was going to tell her the exact time. "I say you got about ten years. Make the most of them while you can."
She contemplated this for a long quiet moment. Ten years would pass by quickly, as soon as she'd fulfill her plans of world conquest she'd be taken away, probably to hell, for eternity. Her power would be gone. She'd have nothing. No Grim, no army under her command….
She ignored him as her mind ticked. Perhaps she was looking at this from the wrong point of view. Perhaps emotions weren't the enemy. In the short run, they would prevent her from taking over but in the long run, death would be her undoing.
Mortality was the true enemy.
Emotions were nothing but pawns used by mortality to inspire fear or distract one from death. She was sleeping with the enemy all this time and was to blind too see it. It angered her, her hands curled into fists. Grim noticed this and moved back, fearing she'd take her rage out on him. But she uncurled her hands and had that look on her face, the one that people get when they realize the answer was right in front of them.
If she could turn the enemy into her ally….
Mandy finally turned to acknowledge Grim's presence. His eyes looked over her in uncertainty and confusion as she pushed him back and clutched his robe tightly. He fidgeted under her as she stared at him a little uncertain.
"Shut up Grim."
She pressed her lips over his lipless mouth and held him tight so he couldn't escape her. The sudden change shocked him but regaining his senses he pushed her off of him. He gripped her shoulders and kept her at arms length from himself, trying to regain his composure. "What do you think you're doing!? Have you gone mad!?" she grabbed his wrists and moved his hands off of her shoulders.
"I know exactly what I'm doing and what I want." Mandy never doubted herself. It was one of the first things he noticed about her. But this was totally unexpected. First she wanted to kill him and now she wants to make out with him? It made no sense! Was this just some scheme to get him to reveal the exact date to her? He searched through his millions of memories for a hint of something, anything to help him rationalize her actions.
A sudden realization dawned on him.
When she asked him if he thought she was pretty and when she didn't deny Mindy's idea that they were romantically involved. When she turned down every boy that asked her out… there was a slim chance, but she could have done it all because she wanted him. The idea seemed ludicrous, but at the moment it seemed like the only reasonable answer. The question was: why now? Could she-
"Mandy this could never work out-"
"I thought I told you to shut up."
She pinned him down again and kissed him even harder than before. If emotions were nothing but pawns then she would use them to fulfill her megalomaniac plans.
Suddenly it didn't seem so bad when she dreamed about the Grim Reaper.
When she was twenty-one she let Grim go.
Since that night she kissed death, their relationship had… changed. For better and for worse. Mandy had dragged Grim off to college with her after a bet with Billy over who he'd stay with for the next few years. This time she won Grim in a card game, Go Fish to be precise. They would visit their moronic friend regularly though. (She promised they would.) When traveling through portals one could get to different places so much faster.
Billy was forced to work with his father as soon as he got out of high school. He was exited at the idea of becoming a man. So work seemed like fun to him. Even so, he could still be found at his home playing Pat the Baker with Irwin.
Some things just never change.
He seemed oblivious to anything going on between them, not that it was obvious anything was 'going on'. Mandy was as sour and as domineering of both of them as always.
Their visits back to Endsville were pleasant (despite the fact that Grim seemed to always get hurt in those visits) and there was always some new problem arising with Billy around. Grim's scythe in Billy's hands was never a good thing. But it was still entertaining and it reminded Grim of when Billy and Mandy were ten and still in awe when he'd take them to the Underworld for the first time, back when it was his terrain, when a trip to the underworld was a privilege.
To say their relationship changed drastically would be a lie. They were pretty much the same as ever. The domineering master and her unhappy slave. But things were a little easier on Grim now. For a while he felt like he might actually gain the upper hand with Mandy feeling the way he figured she felt about him now. She was quick to literally knock some sense into his skull and prove him wrong.
She was still the boss. No matter what they did behind closed doors.
Grim simply gave in to her advances. He figured if he was going to be with someone it might as well be Mandy. She was an attractive girl and he couldn't help but admire her imposing aura (except when he was the target of her wrath) and dammit, he was lonely! She might not think highly of lust but she didn't complain when he snaked his arm around her and laid his dead fingers over her hip, hell, he was sure she liked it. She was just stubborn! Her attitude seemed to suggest annoyance but then she didn't really mind when he'd stick his tongue in her mouth.
The girl was a paradox in his eyes.
Mandy had her own apartment. She wouldn't stand sharing a room with any idiot (unless it was Grim) and if she was going to drag Grim along with her anyway she didn't think keeping a walking bag of bones in a dorm with other people wandering around all the time would be such a good idea.
The little apartment was big enough for the both of them anyway. Grim usually just hung around watching TV or cleaning for Mandy while she was at college. That or he'd just go to work. His list was pretty short sometimes (he was convinced it was this new technological era) so he was thankful that crime had gone up and people seemed to be reverting back to their violent primal stage. Mandy rolled her eyes at this, telling him that if she took over no one would even dare defy her law.
She told one him one time of how she would turn all those useless idiots in the world into productive tools. He suggested she made them mow her lawn for her.
"What? Well, I won't do it!"
For her part Mandy (as expected) excelled at everything. Every class from psychology to chemistry. The woman read about everything and absorbed every bit of information like a giant sponge. It got to the point where she got bored in college. She was too smart, too sharp and too hungry for more.
She asked Grim occasionally about other countries weak points as she devised plans in her sharp mind to exploit every weakness she found and find a way to gain power. 'She'll have overthrown the world in less than ten years…' he thought. And with him by her side, it might take even less time.
Of course he wouldn't be there to see it first hand.
She had graduated from college and begun her pursuit of greater power, Grim by her side naturally. They had just returned home from another visit to Endsville and Mandy wasn't too pleased with the trip. Billy had unleashed another monster from Grim's magic chest and it had almost killed her. She had yelled at Billy for his stupidity and at Grim for not doing enough to keep it from attacking her. He told her that he didn't need to be worried for her safety because even though she thought she could've died he knew when her time would come and it wasn't here yet. That's when the argument got worse.
"So when the time comes what are you going to do? Just stand there and watch me die?"
"What else am I gonna do? When it's your time, it's your time! I can't intervene!"
She was taken a back by this. She firmly believed, honest to God, that Grim would save her. (Not like a knight in shining armor, but like her secret weapon.) She was convinced that Grim would stop her death (he had the power!) and she would live forever, escaping mortality's grip on her and becoming an eternal dictator. She was going to rule the world forever, not expire! She thought-
"What do you mean? You have the power stop my death, whenever it may be, so why don't you? Don't I mean anything to you, Grim?"
"Mandy, whatever happens between us can not change the fact that you will pass away and I will have to take your soul to another world. That's just how it is." She gritted her teeth in frustration. He was supposed to grant her immortality! Not have his way with her and then just reap her soul, shrug it off and go back to the underworld!
"What about Jack O' Lantern? You granted him immortality and let him go on playing his stupid pranks on everyone."
"I also cut off his head." She hmph-ed. "I had no choice anyway, he took me scythe!"
"That's not the point! You granted him immortality and yet you're just going to take me away without any remorse aren't you?"
"It's my job. You know that, I'm the Grim Reaper. I told you, it doesn't matter what you do with me in what time you have left on this mortal plain. It doesn't change anything."
"So you've finally grown a back bone, Grim. Nice timing."
"I've always had one, if I didn't I couldn't stand up straight."
"You know what I mean and you better not give me anymore lip or you'll get what's coming to you." he wisely stayed silent. She was fuming. Grim was supposed to attend to her every wish and biding like the weak-minded being he was. She wondered how in the world she ever became attracted to him. He was a walking skeleton! And was just so…
"Ever since I met you, you have been spineless. You're a total wimp. You're the most powerful being in the underworld and yet you're the butt of every joke. You're an idiot. Nobody respects you. And it was like that even before you met Billy and me. You've always been humiliated and stepped all over and you're too much of a coward to do anything but cry. You're pathetic."
Grim glared at her furiously, gripping his scythe so hard it could break. And yet he couldn't find the nerve to reap her soul right then and there. He hated admitting it, but she was right. He was pathetic. He was the Grim Reaper! He was supposed to have an army of darkness, black stallions and horrendous creatures at his call. He was supposed to be feared by all. Instead, he let himself become slave to two mere children! He was death. What was he doing baking cookies and moping?
"You don't even have anything to say for yourself. You know I'm right… And it bothers you doesn't it?" he refused to say anything to her which only irritated her. "You coward. You've wasted your existence. And what good are you to me if you can't even do what I need you to do? You're worthless."
Grim wondered for a moment if she ever did care about him. Or if she was simply trying to charm him into giving her immortality. The feeling of being used wasn't new to him, but it bothered him a lot more this time. He couldn't say he was heartbroken (technically, he didn't have a heart) but he felt something close to it. He was begging to actually feel more than simply fondness for her. It had taken time but he-
"You're free. I'm breaking our deal. You're services aren't needed anymore."
He was shocked now. Free. He didn't have to answer to Mandy's every wish anymore. He could go back to the underworld. He was too stunned to cry out in joy as he always thought he would when the moment came. Everything was so sudden, her insults, his freedom, it all crashed into him and he seemed lost in the mix of emotions, unsure of what to make of everything. One question plagued his mind though, and suppressed his excess of emotions.
"And everything that happened between us? Was that all an act to get me to give you immortality? Or is 'Mandy the Merciless' capable of falling in love?"
He searched her face for any sign of emotion but found none. It was ironic how his face conveyed much more expression, despite the lack of facial features. She looked at him straight in the eyes (or where his eyes would be) but said nothing.
He opened a portal and tried to read her face again but came up empty handed. In a flash he was gone. And much like in her younger days, she would wake up to find death had escaped her as soon as morning comes.
And even if she'd never admit it, this time it bothered her.
When she is twenty-eight and about two months away from her birthday her time finally comes.
The world had been conquered and everyone obeyed and feared her. Except those few rebels that planned to overthrow her and find a way to bring things back to normal. Her empire was grand, and she had accomplished it all in less than ten years. Without Grim's help. Things were more efficient, and a lot stricter. Some people didn't mind, those truly mindless ones, they were practically begging someone to tell them what to do. So she milked them for all their worth. There were statues in her honor, a worldwide curfew and true punishment for lawbreaking citizens. Everyone had a job, everyone ate, and everything seemed to be in perfect order.
She had her subordinates build her a castle where she monitored her empire and gave out orders to those she assigned to control the population in areas she couldn't possibly be at all times. (She let Billy take care of Endsville. His reward for being her friend through so many years.)
But she was a mortal woman. She had no supernatural powers. She didn't have a removable head or the power to regenerate. She was vulnerable.
She had employed guards and protected herself well, (even if though she seemed to poses an unnatural ability to come out unharmed in most situations) and even had a few powerful friends help her. But in the end it wasn't a hundred percent effective. Rebels had gotten through her defenses and attacked her, wounding her fatally. She didn't know how they could have possibly discovered a weak point. Someone must have been bribed or have been very displeased with her. It was probably the former. She speculated it was some sort of sick retribution for all the people she had harmed and killed in her quest.
Laws of Karma and such, they were terribly annoying…
Her reign seemed to be over. At least on the physical plain known as the earth. She was shot and died minutes later. A very anti-climatic death, in Mandy's opinion, one not worthy of her being. There was no struggle, no big fight to the finish, just a woman caught by surprise and shot before she could move.
She waited patiently in her dead body, even after the rebels had celebrated in victory and went off to 'free' the world. She hmph-ed. The world was much better off with her in command. So society wasn't as 'free' as they wanted to be. She speculated things would degenerate back to the way they were eventually and people would continue destroy themselves. The world wasn't much of a prize in the end. People died and whatever they possessed was taken away from them in the end when Grim came to collect their souls and take them to judgment.
It was fun while it lasted.
Her wait wasn't long. A portal opened in the fabric of the universe and the Grim Reaper's dark form emerged, calling her forth. He looked exactly the same as he did when she was ten. His large frame towering over her and his scythe shining (She could see her reflection on the prized blade) as his long, bony fingers held on tight to it.
Her train of thought went back to a time when he'd wrap those cold fingers around her and she wouldn't fight or complain about his actions. Instead, she welcomed them (never eagerly, she wasn't affection needy) and she would give him the illusion of control and let him do as he pleased. At least for those moments. His dead hand would travel about her arms and waist and she would kiss him in return, as he tried to move his hands lower. That way she'd slowly win him over. Gaining control over her emotions and his.
"It's been a while." He allowed a small smile to creep over his face. "About seven years." He looked around her domain and fought the urge to laugh. His prediction was right on target. "You said I had about ten years. I'm almost twenty-nine. You were about two years off."
"I said you had about ten years more or less. I wasn't going to give you an exact date." Grim took the opportunity to take in her appearance. A long wine colored dress with a bullet through her chest (he noticed throughout the years that she had begun to trade her girlish pink attire for red and a few darker colors) and a cape fit for a queen. All she was missing was a crown. "I see you have been busy these past few years. I like what you've done to the place." She wasn't sure if he meant her lavish castle or her 'improvements' on the world.
"Well it's all over now. So what you been up to Grim? How are things in the underworld?"
"Pretty good actually. My reputation's gone up. Of course my little bet with you and Billy isn't something that's easy to get through. I doubt anyone will forget about it for the next millennium or so. But the higher ups are pleased with me. I have a lot of free time now, so I'm taking my job a little more seriously now. Getting things done a lot quicker."
"Got tiered of chasing old geezers, huh."
"It was getting tiring. I'd just rather cut the chase and get right to the point. Makes things a lot more enjoyable when the mortal knows he has no chance to out run me. "
"Does that make me special then?"
"Well I don't normally stop to chat with my victims."
"I doubt they have anything interesting to say anyway."
"Eh, You're probably right. You're probably the only exception. Everyone may know about death but not many people have had such a close and personal relationship with me." She caught the emphasize on close and personal.
"Aren't I lucky…."
They were quiet for a moment; doubts and questions running through their minds. They hadn't seen each other in years. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask all those questions that had plagued them ever since they met and all the doubts they harbored since the last time they were together. Their last conversation wasn't all that pleasant and the memory would never be forgotten by either party. This was like starting over.
"Do you regret loosing that bet all those years ago?"
"Of course I do! Who wouldn't regret being held hostage by two brats for over ten years? You'd have to be crazy not to regret something like that!" she smirked. It was the closest thing to a smile she would ever allow to grace her face.
"But I guess I should be thankful." She raised her eyebrows at this. "That day you set me free, I started thinking. You were right, I was spineless. I was the laughing stock of the underworld for who knows how long. So, I decided I'd fix that. I haven't felt this good since the medieval times! You're not gonna catch me baking cookies anymore."
She blinked. So Grim finally stopped being a wuss. Or so he says. It seemed like a lot of things changed in such little time. She hoped Grim wasn't exaggerating and really did grow a backbone. He could be a force to be reckoned with, if he used his power wisely.
"Speaking about that wonderful day. You never did answer my question."
"What are you talking about?"
"You never did tell me if you're affection was all just an act or if you really meant it." She opened her mouth to respond but he didn't let her answer. "At first I thought it was. I didn't think you were capable of such a thing as love. But then I remembered all those mornings I'd wake up to find you holding on to me."
"Even before we were… together, (the idea still seemed odd to him) you'd move in your sleep."
"So what? It's an unconscious movement-"
"But then, when we were together it became a nightly routine for you. Every morning I'd wake up and find you over me in some way." He remembered waking up every morning, removing her grip on him and leaving. Morning after morning. He could never stay and simply go back to sleep. It was just too strange for him. (And he'd seen just about everything there is to see)
"That doesn't mean anything."
"Maybe. But I realized later on that you did feel something. That's why you asked me if I thought you were pretty, and why you dragged me off to your damn prom with you. And why you looked for me in your sleep, unconscious or not… You fell in love with me." He smirked, looking as smug as he could. She scowled at him, wanting to open her mouth and spit out a horrendous string of words but deciding it wasn't really worth it. Not right now anyway…
"It's kind of amusing though." he continued, "While your feelings grew from simply hatred and annoyance into something a little more humane, mine decreased, and now I've regained some of my power back in the underworld."
"What power did you ever have? Were you the leading expert on gardening tips? From what I remember you were all washed up and a total joke."
"Again, I have you to thank for helping me fix that."
"I see…" Mandy thought for a moment on how she'd bring up her proposition to him. Her new plan. "I never saw you as power-hungry, Grim."
"Everyone has dreams of total domination. Only a few like you ever accomplish those wild ideas. Never really ends up quite well for you mortals though. Just look at Napoleon and Hitler. At least they, kept me busy those few years. The French revolution was particularly pleasant. I enjoyed myself these past few years as well."
"What if I could help you take control over the underworld? I'm sure your dreams of total domination revolve around there. I can give you back the respect you so badly want and lost, Grim. "
"Are you kidding?"
"Do I ever? You know I can make it happen. If I could do all of this," she pointed behind her to demonstrate her life's work, "all alone, then with you, the underworld is as good as ours." If creatures in the underworld thought similarly to those on earth, taking over the underworld would be a piece of cake.
But this time she couldn't do it alone.
"Ours? What's the catch, Mandy?"
"Grant me immortality. Together, we can rule the underworld, the both of us, equals. You know you're gonna come out winning in this deal and I've never know you to back down from a good opportunity. There's no catch this time."
He rubbed his jaw in thought. "Equals? Shouldn't I get more power?" he then laughed at his own question. For Mandy to share power with anyone is a one in a lifetime opportunity. He shouldn't be greedy.
She waited for a response.
There really wasn't much to think about. All he had to do was give her what she wants and in return she'll help him take over the underworld, going from laughing stock to king. And it could actually work! The more he thought about it he realized, there was no way they could loose. The idea that they would rule together was unlike Mandy, but both were fully aware they needed each other for this to work. Truth was, Grim was kind of hoping she'd bring up a proposition such as this. (Mandy was a very persuasive and very powerful woman, even as a mortal…) It was more than just a win-win situation, more than just a partnership; it was more than anything he could ever dream of.
"So you plan to become immortal, marry me and take over the underworld."
"Is that a marriage proposal, Grim?" he smirked. "Best you'll ever get from me."
"At least you weren't corny."
"I couldn't even if I tried." She raises an eyebrow at him, reminding him of just how sentimental he used to be.
"I don't really love you, you know."
If it bothered her, she didn't show it.
"Since when did love have anything to do with this?" (she conveniently left out the part that mentioned he was an ugly sack of bones and it wasn't like he was an eligible bachelor.)
A loud bang echoed in the background and shook the walls of the former empress' throne room. Fire encircled them and the walls and pillars began to shatter like glass. Outside the rebels danced around the crumbling castle, rejoicing in bliss as darkness fell on the era of their dead dictator, still inside with a bullet through her heart. The lady and death stood amongst the destruction and the momentous celebration, unharmed by the grace of god-like powers. All the champagne and fireworks in the world would not be enough to celebrate this new beginning.
They would bring order and strike fear into every demon's core, commanding undead armies with iron fists. She was a brilliant woman and she would show no fear when confronted with a being much more powerful than her.
She would have death as a spouse.
With her mind and his power nothing would stop them. They would become immortal kings and no one would dare challenge their authority. They would share a room, and he would wake up one morning to a fleshy arm over his ribcage and a pale-haired head on his shoulder and everything would be right in their world.
Grim extended his fleshless hand to her and she accepted it, placing her once warm hand over his, accepting the gift of immortality.
They had all the time in the world.