Summary: (AU) Once upon a time lived Allen Walker. Once upon a time he died. And once upon a time he became a grim reaper.

(Relatively) In-Depth Summary: Allen Walker considered himself a relatively normal fifteen-year-old boy-- a high school sophomore by day and a part-time worker by night. Allen finally thought his life was turning around. But Death had other ideas. After his untimely (and rather unorthodox) death, Allen discovers that the afterlife is not at all what he had expected, and finds himself in the company of other half-dead walkers; the Exorcists, a small group of undead souls who have gained back corporeal bodies whose job it is to reap the living's souls before they die and guide them to their final destination. They welcome Allen into the world of the undead, and into their seemingly morbid line of work-- grim reaping.

Author's Notes: ...Yes. I am actually trying my hand at a multi-chapter fanfiction. And will desperately be trying to keep it alive. This is an AU, and takes place in the "present" time.

The idea of this fic came from a Dead Like Me-watching session, and then was meshed with my D.Gray-Man obsession. Dead Like Me is a Showtime series that may possibly be the most clever series that ever came onto television. (Until it was cancelled.) So-- this fanfiction is and will be heavily influenced by Dead Like Me. I do not take full possession of the ideas-- I am not planning on taking plots or dialouge from the show. (With a few exceptions to get this fic on its feet.) However-- I do take credit for this idea and the concepts within it. I will try to make this fic as different from the show as possible, besides the main idea.

I am sorry if I offend anybody, seeing as how Dead Like Me is a humor series, and is much more successful at doing the humor in death than I. (xD) But I will most definitely try to put some humor in here, and am going to try my hardest to make it funny. :D

Special thaks to Otter-chan who pushed me to post this. :D

I do not own D.Gray-Man or Dead Like Me, (pshaw!) but I do own this plot and this wonderfully warped idea. Thank you. I hope you enjoy. I welcome reveiws.

((Edit: 3-24-08.))

oxo

--Dead Like Us--

Chapter One:

The Boy Who Died...

oxoxoxoxo

Let's hear a story. Not the story, mind you, just a story.

Once upon a time (doesn't it always go like that?), God (insert other being here accordingly) was busy creating the world. It's a lot of work creating the world, and so God gave Toad a clay jar containing Death, thinking that Toad, being the wonderfully responsible creature he was, could take it off his hands for a while. Toad was overjoyed to have such a responsibility, and gladly took it, oblivious to the fact that he was now the fall-back guy on the whole death thing. He agreed to keep it safe.

But then Frog came along. And Frog said, "Let me hold Death." Or whatever it's called.

Toad was dubious, but said, "Alright, but only for a second," and handed Frog the jar.

Frog was so happy that he began juggling the jar containing Death from hand to hand, much to Toad's chagrin. "No! Stop!" said Toad, but it was too late. The clay jar fell with a crash, Frog fled, and Toad was left with the blame. Death had been unleashed upon the world, and from then on, all living things had to die.

So there you have it. The mystery of death revealed.

Of course, it's never that easy.

In truth, Death, in all its black-clad inevitable glory, is much more complicated, and works in curious ways (if you're into that sort of thing).

Like a tornado-- every time one rips through some small poor town, and you see those photos of the small poor houses, blown through and obliterated as if they were nothing at all, and then there are the houses right next door or right across the way completely untouched and carrying on as normal.

And you sit there and go (don't deny it), "Damn, I'm glad that wasn't me."

Until it is.

-oxoxoxoxo-

In the street now, with the white hair and the matching button-up shirt-- that's Allen Walker. He's just died. And Allen Walker wondered what was so different about today. The answer was; nothing. But as he stood over his own body, he knew something had to have gone wrong. Terribly wrong.

The day was young when he had awoken not ten hours prior, the sun blinding in the early morning sky. As per usual, he was late for school. (He never considered himself chronically late, just never early.)

Racing down three flights of stairs with homework, keys, and whatever else he thought of stuffing into his raggedy old backpack, he only slowed only to wave his manager goodbye-- a strange red-haired man who never failed to obstruct one side of his face, whether with a hat or otherwise. Allen had known the eccentric man ever since he moved into the place, and, quite frankly, he was terrified of him.

Said manager yelled something about the rent, to which Allen hastily replied, "Tomorrow! I promise!" and thanked him quickly for being so patient with him. It was always a good idea.

With breakfast in his mouth (toaster waffles today, if memory served him), he was in school grounds within fifteen minutes.

School was uneventful. Even more less-than-memorable for the fifteen-year-old high school sophomore because summer was barely a month away. A couple of tests (all well-rehearsed for) and a movie in history was all he needed to do to keep the day moving along.

After school came work, which was included picking up his last check from the grocery store. He was never very fond of working there.

His bus stop (as he had no other form of transportation) was not too far from the grocery store, and sat in front of the history museum, which was rather small and, quite frankly, losing profits. A banner shouted from the arched entrance, "NEW! Dinosaur exhibit!", and when coupled with the impressive tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that stood out in the courtyard, made for an enticing visit.

Allen should have paid more attention to that T-rex.

As he stood at the bus stop before the busy intersection-- the bus always came at six-'o-seven on the dot-- he noticed someone he had never seen there before. It was getting dark, and his usual six-'o-seven passengers were all there-- the nice old lady with the tweed coat that smelled like cat food, the hobo who smelled worse, and the punk teen who Allen thought just rode the bus because he was too lazy to walk, but there was also someone else; a man, sharply dressed in formal attire, which was odd for that part of the city.

Only now does Allen remember the slightly awkward look of the man, the pale yellow paper protruding from his half-closed fists, the slicked-back hair that only let a strand or two fall back into his face. The way he smelled-- in retrospect, like death. Allen should have been more cautious of the man, but he wasn't (for Allen was a very trusting person).

He caught Allen's eye, and the boy blinked and turned his gaze downwards, embarrassed that he had been caught staring.

Instead of chastising the boy, the man offered a small smile his way. To Allen's surpirse, he spoke. "Excuse me, do you have the time? I seem to have..." he glanced at his wrist, his eyes gravitating towards the punky teen. "Er-- misplaced my watch."

"Uh, sure," said Allen, and checked his digital watch (Wal-Mart brand), making sure to keep his left hand hidden in sleeve. He had gotten quite skilled at hiding his deformity, and was going to keep it that way. "I have five minutes to six."

"Thank you," the man said, and turned his attention back to the yellow piece of paper.

The would-be passengers waited in silence. The old lady knitted herself another tweed coat, the hobo rocked on his heels to the punk's blasting music, and Allen ran a mental to-do list through his head.

"May I...ask you your name?" It was the man again, at six-'o-four, talking to Allen.

"Huh...?" Allen blinked, his white hair blowing across his face along with the breeze. He had grown it out to cover the scar that ran down the left side of his face. "Ah...I'm Allen."

It was getting cold. The wind blew stronger, and a creak came from the skeleton of the enormous T-rex, standing as still as ever outside the museum.

"What's your...last name?" the man asked, and gave him a look that was almost pleading him not to answer.

Allen should have known to be suspicious then, but he didn't and he wasn't, and answered innocently, "Walker."

"Ah...I see," The man looked grave, and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. "I...really must be going now," he said suddenly, and got up to walk away.

As the man brushed past him, his hand lingered ever-so-subtly longer on Allen's shoulder.

"I'm so sorry about this..." He whispered, so quietly that Allen almost didn't hear him over the traffic noises.

A shockwave ran through the boy's body, and it was as if cold water ran through Allen's veins. He turned to catch the man's fading back, curious as to why he was apologizing, but he had already disappeared into the busy sidewalk of people.

"W-wait!" he shouted after him, and pushed through the sidewalk to follow him. There wasn't as much as a glimpse of black-- it was as if the man had vanished into thin air.

A resounding crack rent the air, loud and nearby.

Allen jerked his head around, trying to find the source of the noise, and then came an ominous rumbling.

Allen should have known better.

He knew the museum's funds were depleting, but he never would've guessed that the establishment's manager was all but the stingiest of penny-pinchers, and that he neglected to pay someone to do maintenance on the poor T-rex skeleton. He didn't know that the tyrannosaurus model was second-hand and not very stable on its boney legs, or that the gusts of winds picked away at its support. So when a curious visiting child merely touched the poor thing, it had collapsed on itself, and its pieces were to roll down the steep steps leading to the entrance.

Allen didn't know.

But it did all of this, and even if Allen never knew, the skull of a giant prehistoric creature came tearing down those steep steps straight at him, like some deadly spinning buzz saw.

Allen never saw the pale gray of Death's chariot come charging at him in the form of a massive off-white skull until it was on the last step of the staircase, and he could have run right then, but his brain had froze on the spot and then--

"Oh--"

His last conscience thought was, to the extent of his memory, Why does it have to be a dinosaur?

Death doesn't arrive on black wings or in a burst of bright light like they say in the movies. No...It was more like the eject button on a falling jet as the pilot bailed. Allen felt no pain, he saw no light, and his life didn't flash before his very eyes, but instead he felt a jerk from somewhere of the vicinity of his heart, and suddenly he was watching the massive skull overtake his own body.

He was a third party, looking through the eyes of someone else, and he didn't like it.

But that was where Allen had found himself now, whether he liked it or not.

People screamed and rushed past him-- no, through him-- to his physical body. Really, there was nothing to see-- the skull had slowed to a stop in the street, halting all traffic, and he couldn't really make out himself in the dust kicked up...oh wait.

It was strange. There was a body in the street but it couldn't be him, it wasn't him, but it had his white hair, and his backpack lay in the street, too, all his belongings strewn about...

It was him.

The scene slowed to a crawl; mothers shielded their children from the scene, and vendors selling their wares on the street craned their necks to get a better look. Business men in suits pulled out their sleek cell phones and dialed 9-1-1.

And it hit him-- dead. He was dead. He was fifteen, and he was dead. He was dead and fifteen andthiswasn'thappeninghewasdead.

If you had told Allen that he was to die today at six-'o-six p.m. that morning, he would have given you a kind smile and, in his polite way, said that he really must get going now and that you really shouldn't worry about him.

But you would have been right.

The words hit him like a ton of bricks--dead?-- and suddenly he found he could not look at the scene. There was a hitch in his breath-- how could he be breathing?-- and his world began to spin dangerously. In the distance, he could hear sirens, coming for him, no doubt, and he felt weak.

He had just been killed by a prehistoric dinosaur. A dinosaur. That had died tens of millions of years before.

He was never a fan of irony, but this crossed the line.

People continued to rush through him, and he was no more than a wisp of essence-of-Allen, and that was when he began to panic. He paced frantically, his see-through hand to his see-through head. This could not be happening.

There was debris in the sidewalk; concrete, dinosaur bone fragments-- and Allen's legs phased through them all as he walked to no where in particular. His unsteady feet took him around in a circle, and no one seemed to notice that the soul of the boy who had just died still wondered the streets, but then again, why would they? His ethereal hands and legs were shaking, his head was a fog-- he was dead, and...

"There you are," called a voice, but Allen just assumed it wasn't meant for him, seeing as how he was, after all, dead.

"Hey! Hey, dead-guy-walking!"

Allen was distracted from his dazed pacing to see two people walking towards him. He blinked, confused. They couldn't possibly be talking to him...could they?

"Sorry I'm a bit late," smiled a man, dressed in what could only be called comfort clothes. He shifted his glasses-- which were slightly askew-- on his nose. A girl in two pigtails stood beside the man. She wore a pale-colored blouse and a faint smile. "I just got word. Had to rush over here from downtown-- it's a long way."

They were calm. Too calm for the hectic scene before them-- the sirens howling, the blaring lights, the dark blood-- and they stood out, but no one seemed to notice them at all.

Allen's voice shook as he spoke, still disbelieving. "H-huh?"

"Lucky Suman reaped you at the bus station..." the stranger ignored Allen's question, instead motioning to the skull in the street. "That looks nasty."

"Wha--w-what?" Allen sputtered. His death was nasty. Thank you, Mr. Stranger-Man, for that enlightening observance. You weren't just crushed by a skull, now, were you?

"Brother..." the girl said in a quiet voice. "Try to be a little more considerate."

The man shrugged and the girl moved her head in an expression of slight annoyance while Allen merely goggled at the pair.

"Who...who are you?" he asked, and though he didn't mean it to, it was more of a demand. But when your life's just been snuffed out like a candle-- by a dinosaur, no less!--, you tend to be a little out-of sorts.

They looked to him, and the man offered another smile. "We have the unfortunate distinction of being called 'grim reapers'-- though we have many other names. And we've come to collect your soul."

"Grim...Reapers?" Allen asked.

"That's right, kiddo," he responded. "You are dead."

"I...I know that-- I know that I--" Allen cut off; maybe he couldn't say it out loud. His brow furrowed, and his eyes flicked left and right, trying to work out a coherent thought-- a loophole that might prove he was alive and breathing. "But...but I didn't feel anything..."

"We, ah, do that as a courtesy for violent deaths like yours," offered the girl, and made a sympathetic face.

"But...but I didn't want to die," Allen said desperately, only slightly hysterical. So many things he wanted to do-- opportunities missed, paths left untaken, his rent...

Oh, why did it have to be a dinosaur?

"No one really wants to...except suicides, and they're very unpleasant...We reap your soul before you die-- that way everything is much less...traumatic," The girl was comforting in an odd way, and her words calmed Allen a little. "Remember that man? The one who had asked you your name?"

Allen nodded slowly, his breathing slowing now, and thought back to the sensation, like a chill creeping down his spine.

"He was a reaper. He took out your soul before you died. And right now, all you are is spirit. No one but us can see you," The girl seemed well-rehearsed in explaining these things.

"I-I'm sorry," Allen said, putting his hand to his forehead again. He had a feeling he was over his head, and this was way too much to process. "But-- what? What's this 'reaping' all about?"

"Ah, you needn't worry about that just yet," the man stepped up. "Come along now, we really should clear out..."

They motioned for him to follow as they made their way through the crowd, and Allen was inclined to do so-- where else could he go?

And so Allen took his first steps forward in the afterlife. With one last backwards glance at the scene of his death, he fell in step behind the two, looking quite anxious (though nobody could see except the two who walked before him), occasionally phasing through some person or another.

--End. One.--