Maximus supposedly dies in an attempt to destroy Atomic Betty and from that day on strange things start happening. Could Maximus somehow be behind it and what does the Grim Reaper have to do with all this? Atomic Betty x Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy crossover.

Soul Collector

"Minimus how long is it until we get there?" Maximus asked impatiently for what felt like the millionth time.

"Just a few more minutes your impatientness," Minimus was tired of hearing the same question over and over.

"How many?" Maximus did not bothering to look at the number on the screen of the ship's computer.

"See for your self!" Minimus' angry face growled. Maximus looked up from his comic book. Such a simple action was enough for Minimus to switch back to his normal face and attempt to avoid being hit on the head. "Ten more minutes oh impatient one!"

"It's taking too long. This better be worth it!" Maximus continued reading the comic book, wondering if the author would ever reveal the true origins of the main character. Maximus had heard of another pharaopian ship, similar to the one he found years ago and wanted to investigate. For all he knew, this could be what he needed to finally destroy Atomic Betty. His ship was filled with nothing but silence, save for the occasional soft sound of a page being turned. After finishing the last few pages of his comic, Maximus handed it to Minimus who opened it and started reading. "Don't read it put it back where it belongs and bring me the next part!"

"How come I never get to read these comics?" Minimus complained.

"Go!" Maximus kicked Minimus, who left and soon returned empty handed. "Where is the next comic?" Maximus demanded.

"Sorry your evilness, that was the last volume we had. You'll have to wait until the next one comes out." Needless to way Maximus, was not happy with Minimus' reply.

Ignoring the fact that the clock indicated that they should have reached the ship by now, Maximus changed the screen to display another comic, this one online. The pages were in bright colors with very nicely done art. He had taken a liking to reading comics lately. After he defeated Atomic Betty once and for all he, planned to find he best artists in the universe to draw a full color comic about his battles against the Galactic Guardians, or his own versions of them. After reading all the pages available at the time, he closed the little window annoyed, to find another cliffhanger. He noticed the count down clock was at zero, meaning they should be right in front of the pharaopian ship right now, but his ship was still moving forward since it had not detected anything that would make it automatically stop at a safe distance.

Maximus switched the ship's controls to manual. As soon as he noticed, Minimus jumped on a seat and put on his seatbelt, afraid of the way Maximus usually piloted his space ship, especially if he wasn't in the best mood.

Making a U turn, Maximus examined the area. "Where it is? It should be right here." He went in circles several times, until he noticed something strange. The coordinates that indicated his ship's location didn't change. It looked as if they were moving but they weren't.

"Are we trapped?" Minimus asked looking at the coordinates.

"We're not even inside the pharaopian ship yet, we can't be trapped already." Maximus set his ship to the highest speed and the engines began to overheat faster than usual.

"Your evilness, what if the ship blows up?" Minimus pleaded to slow down.

"Shut up! I'm an expert in blowing things up and the ship will not blow up!" Maximus yelled as the engines continued overheating. Electricity started to surround the ship, but the shields kept it from reaching inside.

"Maybe we should leave," Minimus had a bad feeling about this. He somehow knew something bad was going to happen.

"I'm dropping the shields, generating them is heating up the system too much," Maximus was looking at some status numbers on the screen. "The electricity won't damage the ship as much as the heat," he concluded.

"But the heat and electricity are outside and on the engines, not in the control room. Can t you at least leave the inner shield active? Otherwise we'll be hit by the electricity," Minimus pointed out.

"The control room is surrounded by an extra layer of metal and the doors are closed. Nothing will come in." Maximus was a little too sure of himself and over confident as usual.

"But metal conducts electricity!" Minimus reminded him.

Of course Maximus didn't pay attention to the warning. "Shut up and let me concentrate, I'm the one who's in charge here. I'm the super villain and you're just a sidekick" The shields around Maximus' ship were deactivated, allowing for some of the heat to be less intense, but the electricity filtered in. Maximus quickly moved his hands away from the controls. The electricity was stronger than he thought. He could see small sparks on the surface of the screen and then it went black.

"Your evilness, turn the shields back on!" Minimus felt the electricity starting to reach him.

"It won't work!" Maximus found that not only was the screen damaged, but none of the controls functioned at all.

Many of the battle robots Maximus had brought along for the trip started to short circuit and explode as the electricity became stronger. Suddenly the ship's speed increased, as well as the heat around it. With a massive wave of electricity going through the ship, it broke free from the invisible beam that kept it trapped in place and went inside force field around the well cloaked pharaopian ship.

Maximus' crash landed into the larger pharaopian space ship and its engines exploded, making the smaller ship go on fire. The auto repair system automatically activated, but it was able to do nothing more than put out the fire in it's damaged state. At least they appeared to be safe for now.

"Your evilness?" Minims was now an overly fluffy ball of fur and he imagined Maximus must be too. He looked towards the pilot seat but Maximus wasn't there. He must have fallen off during the crash. Minimus rushed to find him in the back on the control room, unconscious on the floor. The ship's lights flickered and dimmed. As a skeleton dressed in black and holding a scythe, approached, coming from the shadows, Minimus was paralyzed in fear. Was that the Grim Reaper?

The Grim Reaper looked at Maximus as if he was undecided about what to do. Then Maximus moved a little and said something about hating Atomic Betty. "Soon," the Grim Reaper voiced before disappearing into the shadows.

The lights flickered again and went out completely. Minimus didn't like this. "Your evilness?" He made his way to Maximus, hoping the Reaper was gone for good. "Your evilness, are you alive?"

"Minimus? Why is it so dark? Did we reach the pharaopian ship?" Maximus asked.

"You are alive! Yes, we crashed into the pharaopian ship," Minimus replied.

"Of course I'm alive why wouldn't I be? The ship must be badly damaged if not even the lights work anymore. I see some light outside. It must be from the pharaopian ship. Let's go find the control room and move it to attacking range from the Galactic Guardians Headquarters," Maximus commanded.

"But your evilness, this place will be like a maze. What if we get lost and besides, Death is following us." Minimus was very frightened. "The Reaper should have taken you away, now he ll take both of us," his angry face added.

"Don't be ridiculous, Minimus. There's no one else here, let alone Death itself." Maximus stepped out of his ship. He was feeling a bit uncomfortable with the overly fluffy fur due to the static, but it would go away on its own after a while.

"You don't understand," Minimus followed Maximus inside the pharaopian ship. "I saw him, I saw the Grim Reaper. I thought he was going to take your soul but he didn't. He said soon, it was so scary!"

"It must have been your imagination. All that electricity made you dream while awake, it wasn't real," Maximus insisted.

Minimus noticed that Maximus paled when he told him about the Reaper, despite his firm denial. "You heard him didn't you?"

"No," Maximus lied. He did hear a voice and it wasn't Minimus. He felt strange, cold, lost, almost dead, almost.

Minimus decided it was best not to insist with the question. Maximus did hear the Reaper, Minimus knew he must have heard him. In a way he didn't really blame Maximus for his lie this time. No one would like to think that their life is about to end. But was it really?

Maximus didn't really look sick. Maybe something will happen, some kind of accident that no one will be able to stop. But when? How far into the future is soon? Does time flow the same way for the Grim Reaper as it does for mortals? Soon could be a few minutes for a mortal and years for the Reaper. "Your evilness..."

"Forget about it, forget about what you thought you heard. It was nothing," Maximus reaffirmed.

"But what if it's true?" Minimus refused to drop it.

Maximus hit him on the head. "I told you to forget about it! I'm not going to die any time soon," as Maximus spoke, he opened a door. The next room was quite large; it had a pool of boiling acid with a thin metal bridge in the middle that connected to the other side of the room. Seven oversized axes were swinging back and forth close to the bridge, attached to the ceiling of the room.

"This could be it! This must be what the Grim Reaper was waiting for," Minimus shivered fearfully.

Maximus was tired of Minimus constantly talking about the Grim Reaper. But most of all, he wanted to prove to himself that it was all his imagination when he thought he heard the Reaper. Minimus imagining the same thing was a mere coincidence. If Maximus got to the other side of that death trap, he would feel a lot better about what happened on the ship. If he survived this, then the Reaper wasn't coming for him after all. "Wait at the other side. I'll be right there," Maximus ordered.

"How am I going to get to the other side?" Minimus had a feeling he wouldn't like the answer.

"Like this," Maximus picked him up and threw him all the way to the other side of the room.

Minimus hit the wall and fell on the floor. "Ouch!" At least he got to the other side alive. He watched as Maximus prepared to cross. He couldn't jump that far and Minimus couldn't have thrown him all the way, so his only choice was to run.

Maximus looked at the bridge, which he had thought of as a death trap. That's what it was; it was designed to eliminate intruders who were foolish enough to try to cross, brave enough in his case, or so he thought. Maximus took a deep breath and approached the bridge, it was now or never. He had to get to the other side and he had to prove that Death was not as close to him as Minimus thought.

Maximus ran; he ran for his life. He was certain he ran faster than ever before. Minimus was at the other side watching with unblinking eyes to see what Maximus' fate would be. He was almost there, almost, just a little further. Maximus was but a few steps away from safety when he felt a sharp pain on his neck. Minimus' eyes widened and he opened his mouth as if he wanted to scream but no sound came out.

Maximus stumbled forward holding his head. He felt as if he didn t hold it in place, it would fall right off. The room became darker as if the lights had started to fail after the ship remained lost in deep space unattended for so many years. The room felt colder, even with the boiling acid close by, and the Grim Reaper appeared. "The Reaper!" Minimus finally managed to make some sounds come out.

Maximus looked at the skeleton dressed in black, holding a scythe. The pain started to fade away but that didn't really improve the situation since Death was standing before him. Did this mean he didn't make it past the bridge? Was the injury enough to kill him? Maximus didn t want to continue looking at Death, but he dared not look back for fear of seeing a decapitated version of himself lifeless on the floor. "It is time," the Grim Reaper announced.

"No! I'm not dead. I'm alive, I'm alive!" Maximus yelled with the beginnings of a temper tantrum.

The Grim Reaper took a moment to study his behavior while the lynx stomped his feet and screamed like a little brat. Perhaps taking him to the underworld was not such a good idea after all. He certainly didn't want to put up with someone like that, but Maximus time had come and as the Grim Reaper had no choice but to remove him from the world of the living.

A melody started to play. The two mortals and Death looked at each other as if trying to figure out who was to blame for the interruption. Then Grim noticed it was him. "It's me cell phone. Excuse me for a moment."

Maximus and Minimus watched as the Grim Reaper pulled out a magical version of a low tech communication devise. Such a thing was only used in pre-contact planets where holograms were not very common. This particular 'cell phone' devise was powered with the Grim Reaper's magic to have a signal anywhere in the universe of the living and beyond.

"Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi," Maximus knew the song sounded familiar, but he didn't quite recognize it until then. He had stopped his temper tantrum to concentrate in trying to remember where he heard that melody before.

Grim nodded indicating that Maximus' guess about the song was correct, as he listened to a one way conversation. "Hurry up Grim! Don't forget you have chores to do. After you're done with the house work, you need to walk my dog, Saliva. What is it Billy? No, you can't say hi to Grim."

The word "c'mon" was heard being said over and over again in the background with an occasional sad sounding stretched "please" in between.

"Fine," Mandy conceded in monotone, sounding completely indifferent yet annoyed all at once.

"Hi Grim!" Billy yelled into the cell phone, cheerful as usual.

"Hello Billy," Grim replied not too enthusiastic.

"Bye Grim! I just wanted to say hi, but I'll let you talk to Mandy now, cause I know you want to talk to your girlfriend about stuff!" Crash! Billy's voice was cut off by the sound of glass, possibly a vase, being broken near by, possibly on his head, most likely by the hands of Mandy. The big nosed idiot had taken to calling her Grim's girlfriend lately and she couldn't get him to stop.

"Er... Mandy?" Grim waited for her to pick up the phone which Billy must have dropped on impact. "Mandy, are you there?" Then he noticed a certain lynx staring at him.

"He saw you your evilness! Don't anger him or he might kill us both! Quick come back here. Didn't anyone tell you you're supposed to stay as far away as possible from Death?" Maximus completely ignored his sidekick.

"What is it? Do I have something on my face?" Grim wondered why Maximus was suddenly so curious about him.

"You're made of bones right? You're a skeleton aren't you?" Maximus curiously asked.

"Yes, isn't that what you expected the Grim Reaper to look like?" Grim was now he was curious to know what kind of odd picture Maximus had in his mind about how the Grim Reaper should look like.

"I did think the Grim Reaper was supposed to look like this, only a lot scarier." Before Grim had the chance to prove that he could be quite scary when he tried, Maximus asked the question that had caused his curiosity. "How come you blushed if you're only made of bones? Isn't that biologically impossible?"

"What? I did not!" The lynx did have a point. If Grim was doing biologically impossible things for Mandy now, who knows how far things may go. "This isn't working out, I'll come back later." With that said, Grim disappeared into the shadows.

xoxox xox xoxox

Grim continued listening to Mandy's one way conversation. She always bossed him around extra harshly whenever Billy made comments about them being a couple. He wasn't sure if that meant she liked or disliked him. Then again getting some form of reaction from Mandy for whatever reason, was never simple. Her frozen expression was either very good or very bad, never in between, most of the time very bad.

However, when Grim was finally able to put some words in, you can be sure he was the one to say the last words. "Yes, Mandy," then the conversation ended.

A very frustrated Grim teleported himself back to Earth, to Billy's house to be specific. "Billy was playing with this earlier," Mandy handed him an hourglass as soon as he arrived. This hourglass was golden with a cat like symbol on top formed, in rubies and onyx. Grim shook his head. Maximus' ego was actually big enough to modify the appearance of his hourglass of life.

"What did he do with it?" Grim asked. There was a tiny bit of sand left in the top half, which should have been empty by now. That explained why Maximus didn't die as he should have.

"He was shaking it because he thought it was a snow globe," Mandy replied. That must have thrown a little sand back up, but it would run out soon anyway.

xoxox xox xoxox

Meanwhile in the pharaopian ship Maximus and Minimus were still avoiding traps. Maximus' supposed injuries were non-existent for reason unknown and things were going well so far. Minimus had a few minor injuries but nothing too big, just a few scratches. Maximus had a few close calls but nothing happened, at least not since the incident on the bridge. "I saw it," Minimus insisted.

"I told you to shut up!" Maximus hit Minimus on the head. "We both saw that alien. Not the Grim Reaper, an alien who happens to look like him. How he came in and out of the ship I don't know, but it doesn't matter. I'm certain that couldn't be Death. The Grim Reaper wouldn't carry a communication devise with a Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi song or any song for that matter because songs are happy and Death is gloomy. In fact, the Reaper wouldn't communicate with mortals at all."

"What about the bridge? That giant axe cut your head off I saw it! If you didn't hold on to it, it would have fallen on the floor. You must have felt it; then it reattached itself somehow." Minimus refused to change the subject until he got some answers, even if it meant a few more hits on the head. He was somewhat used to it by now.

Maximus stopped walking. He did feel as if his head was cut off and he had the need to hold it in place. But then the pain was gone and there was no blood, no cuts, no scars, nothing. It was as if he was instantly healed. Everything had disappeared when the sand moved back into the upper half of the hourglass as Billy shook it. "I don't know what's going on, but the real Grim Reaper will be coming for you if you don't shut up!"

"Well he's not very good at his job if he didn't take you away," Minimus' angry face caused Maximus to glare at him. Minimus quickly switched back to his normal face. "I'll be quiet now your evilness," he listened to his survival instinct.

"You better be," After Maximus spoke, a deadly silence overcame the pharaopian ship. Deep down Maximus knew after meeting the Grim Reaper twice in the same day, that his time in the world of the living was limited. Maybe the Grim Reaper's girlfriend or who ever he was talking to before, would call again and that would buy him some time.

Some say felines are the guardians of the underworld. Others say lynx can sense Death. Maximus knew this. He knew his time would end soon, he knew that no matter how much he denied it, that was the real Grim Reaper. He didn't know how he escaped Death, but he knew the Reaper would return and there would be no escape next time. So there was only one thing left to do, take Atomic Betty with him.

xoxox xox xoxox

On Earth Betty was at the movies with her friends Noah and Paloma when her bracelet chimed. A few people made a 'shh' sound at the girl who was making noise in the middle of a movie. "I'll be right back, I'm going to get more popcorn," Betty whispered getting up from her seat.

"You'll miss the movie. You can have some of my popcorn," Noah offered.

"No that's okay, you have butter popcorn. I like caramel popcorn," Betty's bracelet continued to chime as she tried to cover it with her hand. At least she covered the light but not he sound.

"I thought you liked both. Paloma has caramel popcorn. You'll share with Betty right?" Noah asked.

"I would share if I had some," Paloma did have plenty of popcorn left, but she knew Betty needed an excuse to leave and she already used the bathroom as an excuse ten minutes ago when there was a false alarm.

"Right, I'll go get us all some more popcorn. There's probably a lot of people in the snack stand so don't mind me if I take a while." Betty rushed out of the movie room.

"Paloma isn't that your popcorn over there?" It was dark but Noah could still see the large bucket of caramel popcorn Duncan insisted on buying her. "This is from Duncan. To give this to Betty would be like giving her poison. I'm not going to eat it and neither should you."

"Hey they're not poison!" Duncan who, was sitting in the row behind them, argued loud enough to catch the attention of several people. "Shh, yourself. C'mon Paloma you can eat it I didn't put anything strange in it." Years after she scared him away with her orange feline eyes, Duncan started thinking that it must have been some kind of trick. Paloma looked normal enough; it must have been nothing but a harmless prank with contact lenses.

Paloma sighed. "You know what I really want? Something to drink, I'm very thirsty, in fact why don't I come with you to the snack stand." Paloma thought Duncan needed a little reminder of that time years ago.

Obviously Duncan didn't object to this offer. "Sure!" Paloma had refused to let him sit next to her and that's how he ended up in the row behind them. He pushed people aside and made his way out of the row of seats, then left the movie room with Paloma.

'Why is it that I'm the only one that ends up actually watching the movie?' Noah thought. Whenever he tried to invite Betty to the movies, she was either late or missed the entire movie. This time they went as a group and he still ended up alone. Oh well, it shouldn't take Paloma too long to get rid of Duncan and Betty should be back with her popcorn soon, or so he thought.

Paloma and Duncan approached the snack stand, which was empty since everyone was watching the movies at that time. "What do you want to drink?" He asked.

"Pepsi please," Paloma answered in her sweetest voice thinking, of the scare he would get soon. After Duncan brought her drink and they were heading back to the movie, Paloma stopped to look at a promotion poster. "Look Final Fantasy: Fan Service is showing next week!" As the title indicated the movie was full of what the fans wanted. The poster featured Sephiroth who was considered one of the most handsome men in the universe in many planets.

"Paloma are you listening to me?" Duncan asked, getting Paloma out of her trance. After all, what girl doesn't like staring at Sephiroth regardless of her species? Even Betty liked him, though neither of them as much as Penelope, who squealed at the top of her lungs when ever his name was mentioned.

They heard Penelope's last argument with Dylan was because she kept asking him to cosplay as Sephiroth and when he did, she wanted him to stay like that all the time. "Did you say something?" Paloma woke up.

"I said that we could come watch it next week," Duncan repeated. Paloma didn't respond right away, she knew there was a catch, besides Duncan's presence. "We could come watch it and... not watch it."

The meaning of that was pretty obvious. "Not even mistletoe worked," Paloma reminded him.

"I'm willing to forgive you for that," Duncan grinned.

She knew he would be there at the Christmas party were all her classmates would be, but she didn't hide. She walked right over to him and politely asked him not to try to catch her under mistletoe then she went outside. When he, as she knew he would, followed her out, mistletoe in hand, she changed her appearance showing him her true form and giving him a good scare. Not that she wasn't pretty in her true form, but some earthlings find all aliens scary and Duncan was one of them.

Paloma thought she would be rid of him forever, but deep down she had a feeling he would return. Duncan was so frightened he tried to drink away the scare and ended up so drunk that the next morning he blamed the entire incident on alcohol and concluded that it was all a drunken dream from secretly spiked punch.

Duncan still kept his distance from Paloma just in case, until Penelope got that restraining order and since Duncan couldn't bother her without risking police involvement, he started following Paloma again.

"Wait a minute," Duncan realized something. "How do you know about the mistletoe if I never found you at that party?"

"Oh yes you did. You followed me outside remember?" Paloma's eyes changed to feline orange eyes. She made sure only Duncan saw.

"It was real!" Duncan ran away screaming his head off and knocking random things over in his haste to get away from the alien.

Paloma smiled satisfied and took a sip of her Pepsi. She shrugged when the employee from the snack stand directed a confused look at her. He nodded as if understanding, she must have dumped that guy, the employee assumed, and the ex was upset about it. Without wasting another minute, Paloma headed back to the movie.

"Welcome back, you missed the best part and so did Betty," Noah whispered. He was beginning to wonder if it was his fault he always ended up alone. Paloma usually returned when she ran off and though Betty also did most of the time, she took a long time to come back. Betty was running out of good excuses and Noah wasn't very convinced by the excuses she was giving him anyway.

"You can tell us about it later, or we could come back, or watch it when it comes out on video," Paloma said.

Noah noticed the drink she was holding. "Did Betty get her popcorn? Where did she go?"

"They ran out of popcorn," Paloma lied. "They're making more. Betty said she would wait for it, but there are a lot of people waiting for the popcorn. They might run out again and Betty might have to wait for them to make some more."

"But this place never runs out of popcorn!" Noah suspected Betty had left again and Paloma was covering for her.

"There's a first time for everything," Paloma knew Noah would start asking questions about Betty now. Just the look in his eyes was enough to tell her he was getting tired of Betty's constant disappearing act.

"Tell me the truth Paloma. Betty has been doing this for a long time. She keeps disappearing and I've been trying to figure out why for years. She used to do this to you too in the past, but then one day you started making excuses for her. You know what's going on. Is it that she doesn't like being around me and doesn't have the heart to tell me to get lost? Is that it? Did she tell you to cover for her?" The movie room was filled with complains, Noah had spoken too loud.

"Betty's not like that. Don't speak so loud, people are getting angry," Paloma defended.

"I'm going to find her," Noah decided.

"Noah wait," Paloma called and people were getting annoyed at her too. "Sit down, I'll tell you what's going on."

Noah sat down ignoring the movie and the complaints, "the truth."

Paloma took a deep breath. She was certainly not going to tell him about Betty being a Galactic Guardian, but she had to make something up.

xoxox xox xoxox

While all of that was taking place on Earth, in space, Atomic Betty, Sparky and X-5 had arrived in the pharaopian ship. The force field around the ship was weakened by Maximus' ship enough, for the Starcruiser to go in virtually unharmed. By now Betty, Sparky and X-5 had a few encounters with traps and gotten Maximus and Minimus out of a few. But the super villain and his sidekick escaped from the Galactic Guardians and ran deeper into the pharaopian ship.

Now they stood at a long corridor. "Captain, I pinpointed the location of the ship's control room behind that door," X-5 informed.

"Then we have to stop them!" Sparky rushed in.

X-5 extended his arm, catching Sparky's foot and dragging him back. "I advise that you do not rush in. My sensors indicate that there are silent death lasers up ahead."

"Silent death?" Betty didn't expect to find such deathly technology in this ancient ship. The main defense consisted mostly of traps, puzzles and its maze structure. "Don't go any further; there are silent death lasers ahead!"

Minimus stopped and ran back to where the Galactic Guardians stood. Realizing his sidekick was no longer following him Maximus stopped. "Are you going to believe that?"

"It's true, come back here before you get yourself killed!" Atomic Betty urged.

"Maybe she's telling the truth your evilness. Remember you know who?" Minimus was referring to the Grim Reaper.

Maximus ran further into the corridor; he was very close to the door. Atomic Betty ran after him, then Maximus stopped. "Captain!" "Chief!" Sparky and X-5 called. Betty stopped as well.

Maximus turned around, walking a few steps in Betty's direction. She was only about five feet away. He hated himself for making such a foolish mistake. Silent death lasers could not be seen or heard. They could be detected with the proper technology, but even then it was hard to know their exact location. They damaged the cells inside the body, putting vital organs in a state were they could not function and could not be healed. Usually the heart and lungs were the first to go. Being exposed to the lasers for a fraction of a second was enough to start a chain reaction that had, in all the cases so far, inevitably ended in death.

Maximus had seen Death today. He got a warning after the ship crashed. He got a second chance at the bridge but he still threw it all away. It must have been inevitable that he would cause his own downfall. Maybe the Grim Reaper knew he would make this mistake and that is why he left. "You were right about the lasers," Maximus admitted with some difficulty and collapsed.

"Maximus!" Betty tried to do something, anything. But there was no first aid to be given. It didn't look like he had any injuries but he was dying. "X-5 how do I stop this?"

"There is no known way to stop or reverse the process," X-5 searched in his database to no avail. "There is a one hundred percent chance that he will..." X-5 paused, recalculating his statistics, he rarely got one hundred percent on any possibility. Maybe ninety-nine point ninety-nine percent, but not a hundred. "He is going to die," X-5 finally confirmed.

Grim watched as the sand finally ran out on Maximus' hourglass. He could let him live a little longer, but sooner or later he would have to face this. Maximus wasn't just another soul to take; he had a job to do in the underworld. With the sand completely gone, the Grim Reaper was off to do his job.

Minimus kept saying something about the Grim Reaper and switching faces in a panic. It was nearly impossible to understand him. Sparky was starting to lose his cool as well. "Chief what do we do?"

"Stay calm, we'll figure something out. There's a healing capsule in the Starcruiser. We'll use that," Betty knew it would be useless, but they had to try. Without a moment to waste, they returned to the Starcruiser with Maximus. They were in such a hurry they didn't even see the Grim Reaper standing in a dark corner with a familiar soul watching the empty mortal body be carried away.

xoxox xox xoxox

It was dark and windy. The skies were gray covered almost entirely in dark clouds. Thunder was heard and lightning lit up the sky. Atomic Betty wasn't sure how she got there, or how she would get out, but such details were not a part of the dream. Someone approached. "Maximus?"

"That's what I used to be called," he said.

"What do you mean used to be?" Betty asked.

"When I was alive, you could have stopped me from running off. You know how stubborn I can be sometimes. You knew I wasn't going to take a warning so easily. I'm certain you could have stopped me. but you didn't. I guess it's because you hate me." The Maximus in the dream said.

Betty was quiet for a moment, but it was obvious he was waiting for her answer. "I don't hate you," was all she managed to say. "Villain or not, I didn't want that to happen."

"I suppose you don't really dislike anyone enough to hate them do you? But you still let me run to my death. No one is supposed to die with Atomic Betty around, not even the enemy. You failed as a Galactic Guardian." Maximus stepped closer as his eyes glowed red.

"I tried my best. I did what I could," Betty backed away.

"No you didn't, you could have done better. People put too much trust in you. They're better off without you," Maximus sounded menacing.

"That's not true!" Betty suddenly felt as if there was someone standing behind her. She turned to face the Grim Reaper and with his scythe he ended her life.

xoxox xox xoxox

Betty woke up at the exact moment of her death in the dream. She had been having that nightmare ever since, what she considered her first real failure as a Galactic Guardian happened, a week ago. She was spending the night over at her grandparents' farm and it was only five in the morning. She doubted she could get back to sleep so she quietly got up.

xoxox xox xoxox

"Good morning Betty," Beatrixo greeted.

"Good morning Granny," Betty tried to sound natural.

"You're up early today," Beatrixo observed. "Is everything alright?"

"Remember the mission I told you about?" Beatrixo nodded taking a seat indicating for Betty to do the same; she knew her granddaughter needed someone to let it all out with. "I had the dream, again except this time it wasn't just Maximus giving me a guilt trip, the Grim Reaper was there too. I died in the dream, the Reaper killed me and then I woke up."

"You're blaming yourself again?" Beatrixo asked.

"I try not to," Betty honestly answered.

"But you do. Betty you need to stop blaming yourself for what happened. I know no one has ever died in one of your missions, but many of those missions involve a lot of danger. There was always a possibility that something like this could happen. I trust you and trust in your skills and abilities, you should too, but no one is perfect. You can't force yourself to be," Beatrixo comforted. It was hard to explain or find something to say to make it sound any better.

The galaxy had been very quiet since Maximus died. The Galactic Guardians let Minimus go, since he wouldn't cause much trouble without Maximus around. He returned to the lair and no one heard from him for the past few weeks. People were enjoying the peace and while Betty was happy that they could go on with their lives without worrying about an attack, she didn't like that they were happy Maximus was gone. It just bothered her. "I guess I need to stop thinking about the what ifs."

"That's right" Beatrixo continued gently speaking, trying to cheer up her granddaughter, but Betty couldn't hear her. The image of her grandmother became blurry as she felt time around her come to a stop. "Betty!" Beatrixo called in alarm. Betty had never fainted like this before, she tried to wake her up but it was no use.

Jim came back inside with some milk and eggs he just got for breakfast, since they lived on a farm and all. "Bea, what happened to Betty?"

"I can't wake her up and I can't feel a pulse. Jim her heart's not beating," Beatrixo was trying desperately to revive her granddaughter but nothing worked.

"Granny, Grandpa, I'm over here!" Betty called.

"It is no use, they can't hear you and I hid myself from them as well," the Grim Reaper explained.

"You're the Grim Reaper. The one Minimus said he saw. Why are you here? I can't die now. There's no reason for me to die, it makes no sense," Betty argued.

"I know, but it does have an explanation. This death is only temporary, come with me and it will all become clear," Grim requested.

Betty didn't have much of a choice, so she followed him, disappearing from the world of the living and reappearing in the Underworld. There she saw Maximus. He looked a little different but she was certain it was him. "Maximus? The real Maximus?" She wondered if this was a dream within a dream and if she never actually woke up.

"Atomic Betty, looks like your life ended faster than expected," Maximus greeted.

"Since you two know each other, I'll leave Maximus to explain everything. There's somewhere I need to go, when I return I expect everything to be back to normal." That last part was directed at Maximus. Grim disappeared, leaving Betty in this strange place.

It looked like some kind of cave made of black rocks with little light. "Welcome to the Underworld Atomic Betty. You'll be staying here for all eternity so get used to it."

"The Grim Reaper said my death was temporary," Betty reminded him.

"Not if I have anything to say about it," Maximus laughed evilly.

The anger and tension were building up. If things continued like this, they might have an all out battle right there in the Underworld. "What's going on?"

"Since you'll be here for a very long time, I might as well tell you," Maximus decided.

But before he could say anything, another voice was heard. "Daisy come back!" A boy with a nose almost as big as Sparky's, ran by chasing after a pink chupa-cabra.

"A chupa-cabra!" Betty had seen them before. It wasn't the strangest alien creature, but not one she expected to find right now. Then again, there was no telling what could be in this unknown place.

"Billy, take your chupa-cabra and go back to the world of the living before I tell Grim you let her out of the video again!" Maximus yelled.

Billy had finally caught Daisy and was now holding her, while she chewed on his nose. "But she wanted to visit!"

"Doesn't that hurt?" Betty pointed to the chupa-cabra chewing on the boy's nose.

"Just a little, but I know she cares. Her name is Daisy and mine is Billy, what's your name?" The strange boy smiled.

"Betty. Don't take this question the wrong way, but are you alive?" Betty had to ask. The Grim Reaper said she was temporarily dead but Maximus was dead, so maybe Billy and Daisy were too.

"Yes, I'm alive. Are you alive, Strawberry?" Billy asked.

"Alright that's enough," Maximus cut in. "Billy, take your chupa-cabra and leave now! If you don't I'm calling Grim right away. Or worse, I'll tell Mandy what you did yesterday."

Billy gasped. "No don't tell her and don't tell Grim about Daisy. I'll return her to her home on the video after she's done visiting. Bye new friend Strawberry!" Billy waved goodbye as he ran off.

"He was kind of odd," Betty noted, and he couldn't even say her name right.

"He's stupid," Maximus grumbled. "He's one of Grim's friends. He's actually alive. I'm not sure how he keeps finding a way into the Underworld. The chupa-cabra is dead, but her soul is trapped on a video."

"I guess there must be a lot of unusual people here," Betty commented.

"There are," Maximus agreed. "Grim is always with Billy and Mandy. He lost a bet to her years ago. It had something to do with a hamster, or so I heard. The point is, now she has Death to boss around."

"Is Mandy a human too?" Betty asked. "At least I think that's what Billy was, even with the big nose."

"Yes, a human mortal, also still alive, but she's different, evil maybe," Maximus answered.

They had begun walking as they talked. It looked as if things were as calm as they could get, given the situation. "Will you tell me now why I'm here?" Maybe this time Betty could get some answers.

"It's because you're dead. Grim said your death is temporary but he's wrong," Maximus explained.

Betty knew he must have something to do with it, but how? Isn't the Grim Reaper completely in control of these things? What could have Maximus done to cause her to temporarily die. "How would you know? He's the Grim Reaper. If he says it's temporary then it must be."

"I am the guardian of the Underworld. I know these things; things that not even Grim knows," Maximus tried to sound powerful.

"But if you're the guardian of the Underworld, then you work for the Reaper right?" Betty asked.

"That doesn't mean anything. Besides, he spends more time on Earth with Billy and Mandy than doing his job anyway. It's not all about the Grim Reaper, there's something else that is needed," Maximus insisted.

"What would that something be?" Betty was close to knowing what was really going on, very close.

"You don't need to know that. It won't change anything," Maximus had said too much. If she found out he froze her hourglass of life, she would start looking for it until she fixed what he did. He couldn't let her do that. There was nothing he could do to control death unless he stole Grim's scythe, which Grim closely guarded from him.

Betty knew she had to be patient if was going to get any information out of Maximus. He could be like a stubborn child sometimes. "Fine then, it's obvious you have something to do with this, though I'm still pretty sure Grim will have the last word since he's Death and all."

"You're only saying that because you want your death to be temporary, but eventually you would have to die anyway, just like I did," Maximus countered.

Betty stopped. "Well of course I want to live again and I know I can't live forever," she paused. "Do you blame me for your death?"

Betty looked as if the question was important to her and Maximus didn't understand why she would suddenly ask such a thing. "Why do you ask? Did you have something to do with those lasers, because I didn't think you did."

"Of course not, but I thought, well... I wish I tried harder to stop you. I wish I could have helped," Betty revealed.

"It's not so bad here," Maximus admitted.

"What do you do all the time?" At least Betty felt a little better knowing he didn't blame her like in her nightmares.

"As the guardian of the Underworld, I guard it. There's not much here. The real Underworld is over there," Maximus pointed at a large black door. There didn't appear to be anything at the other side or around it. It was just a door standing alone. "That's the portal. I'm supposed to make sure it stays closed and if someone or something escaped, I have to bring it back. But that hasn't happened for many years. It happened once a long time. The first guardian made a deal with Grim back then. When the portal to the Underworld was broken open and many spirits escaped, he made a deal with Death to help recover them and guard them if he could have his own place in the Underworld. Years later, his descendant would take over as guardian of the Underworld and the previous would enjoy the rest of eternity in his castle. The castle got pretty full and Grim created a dimension that is an extension the Underworld for the first guardian of the Underworld and his descendants to live at. They're all there, including my mother, it was her family line."

"But you don't have descendants, not that I know of," Betty pointed out.

"That's exactly why I'm stuck with the job. There's no one to take over for me, so I'll never go to that dimension. I visit it every now and then, but I can't stay," Maximus complained.

"It must be a nice place if you really want to go there," Betty noted.

"It is and staying in front of this door all the time is boring. I leave sometimes, but then Grim eventually finds out and teleports me back here. It's so annoying! This door doesn't even need a guardian anymore. The door over the portal has been reinforced and made practically indestructible. This portal won't open without the key, which is Grim's scythe I think," Maximus revealed.

"Is that why I'm here? Because you're bored guarding the door by yourself? But if Billy was able to find his way here even if he is alive, then others must come too," Betty reasoned.

"No one can come here without permission unless Grim brings them. Billy is too stupid to follow supernatural logic, so he's the exception." Maximus purposely let out the part about explaining why he brought Betty there, so as to not accidentally provide clues as to how.

"Tell me why I'm here. I need to know," Betty asked once more, refusing to allow Maximus to avoid the subject.

"Hi new friend Strawberry! Hi guardian Maximus! Daisy went home so I came back here to visit," a certain big nosed human called, interrupting the conversation.

"Why are you here again? How do you keep getting to the Underworld? And don't call me guardian Maximus, guardian could be a lot of things not just a guardian of the Underworld and I don't want it to sound as if I was a Galactic Guardian or something," Maximus yelled.

"Sorry kitty friend, but for a kitty you're kind of mean sometimes." Billy started crying loudly.

"How do you make him stop?" Betty covered her ears.

"I don't know!" Maximus yelled over the noise, "I tried kicking him last time, but that only made him louder.

"Billy, shut up!" At the sound of Mandy's sudden voice, Billy fell silent.

Betty and Maximus were greatly relieved. "Finally..."

"Enough of this, Billy keeps complaining about how the new kitty guard won't be his friend and he's more annoying than usual," Mandy spoke coldly.

"Maximus is stuck with the job and I'm stuck with him, those are the rules," a silent pause followed Grim's statement. "What?"

"Super villains don't follow the rules!" Maximus yelled.

"I order you to solve this, Grim," Mandy emphasized. "If Maximus is gone, because no even I am cruel enough to ask him to try to be friends with Billy, then the idiot will forget about him eventually. This door doesn't really need to be guarded, send Maximus back to the world of the living."

"Oh fine," Grim finally conceded, "but first he has to tell me where he hid Betty's hourglass and caused the flow of the sand of life to freeze."

"I guess I would be bored conquering the universe without my rival to fight with," Maximus admitted, "her hourglass is in Nergal's freezer, behind the glowing green ice cubes." Of course Nergal was different to say the least, hence why his freezer was different as well.

When the hourglass was taken out of the freezer, Betty's life was restored and she was sent to the world of the living along with Maximus. Thus it was the end of that adventure, and soon, too soon for some, the beginning of a new one.

End

Disclaimer, I don't own Atomic Betty, The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi or Pepsi. This was written before season 3 and though it takes place in the future, it doesn't take into consideration the events of season 3 concerning Noah and Paloma. Also, Regina and Chaz are not in the story since they were not introduced until season 3.

xoxox xox xoxox

My Site: piratesboard DOT net SLASH mikari

Art Archives:
mikaristar DOT deviantart DOT com
mikaristar DOT sheezyart DOT com
fanart-central DOT net SLASH profile-AzureMikari DOT php
artgrounds DOT com SLASH gallery SLASH Mikari
anipan DOT com SLASH 21462
pinterest DOT com SLASH mikariazure SLASH
pixiv DOT net SLASH member DOT php QUENTION id EQUAL 4828776