Things to Do on Dark Angel When You're Dead
by pari106

Disclaimer: All the characters herein belong to FOX, Eglee, Cameron, and DA's wonderful writers…none
of whom I intend any offense or infringement with this story. This is all just in fun.

Rating: PG


Warning: Character death…sort of.

Spoilage factor: Uh, minimal. But I do mention a few characters and events that belong to Season 2, so if
you haven't seen any of Season 2…and don't want to hear about it here…don't read this.

Summary: Have you ever wondered where the Dark Angel characters go when they die? Or what happens
to them when the writers don't write them anymore? Sometime in the near future, Syl finds out.

A/N: This is something silly I felt like writing, just for the fun of it. In this story, Syl isn't aware of the
events of "Designate This" or any episode after.

A/A/N: There are some itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie, vague allusions in here to some DA fics you may or may
not have read/written. This, again, was not done to offend or infringe on anyone. If I've referred to
something you've written, and you don't like it, just let me know and I'll remove it or credit you. Thanks.

Things to Do on Dark Angel When You're Dead
by pari106

So this was death.

Syl could feel it creeping into her limbs, numbing her reflexes. She could see it encroaching upon her
vision, swallowing the world around her; leaving only darkness. The pain in her chest receded into
nothingness. She receded into nothingness. The sounds around her disappeared until all she heard was the
sound of her own labored breathing; the sound of her own erratic heartbeat.

And then even those sounds ceased.

She was dead.

'So this is death…' dead Syl thought. Then she wondered how it was that she could still think, being that
she no longer had a head on her shoulders with which to perform that simple task. Actually, she didn't
have any shoulders either. Or, if she did, she couldn't feel them. She couldn't feel anything; couldn't

But then, suddenly, she could.

She could see a bright light drawing near…

If Syl could still have felt her lips, she would have smiled. A bright light…how cliché. But then a sense of
dawning fear filled her. Could it be? All that mumbojumbo humans liked to spout about religion and the
afterlife…could that be true? Had her brother Ben been right about the Blue Lady and the Good Place?

Slowly, Syl seemed to be returning to herself. Her sense of touch began to return. She could hear again,
and a soft, swishing sound was coming from above. Syl could feel a cool breeze against her face, and she
suddenly realized she was lying down. She could feel her chest and back again, but the pain that had
paralyzed her moments before was now just a memory.

Syl's vision cleared then. Turns out that bright light "drawing near"…was really just a light bulb attached
to a …

"Ceiling fan?" Syl sat up.

"What the…"

She was in a white, window-less room, wearing a white gown. The table she lay upon and the fan overhead
were the only other things she saw…until she noticed the door in the wall behind her.

And by the time she noticed that, the door was opening and in walked…


Syl watched, speechless, as her dead sister, Tinga, approached her with a huge grin on her lovely face. She
and Syl hadn't seen each other in over a decade, but Syl would know her sister anywhere. Those eyes were
unmistakable. She was wearing a gown just like Syl's – white, ankle-length – and her dark hair hung past
her hips. It was like she hadn't cut it since the escape.

"Tinga…" Syl just stared at her sister for a long moment, and Tinga laughed, reaching her side at last.

"Hello again, Syl," she said.

"I thought you were dead!" Syl couldn't help exclaiming.

Then she remembered…

She was dead now, too.

Tinga just gave her a knowing smile. "Yes and no," she replied cryptically.


Tinga sighed. How could she explain this? It was always hard – the explanation. The realization of who
and what they were; why they were here. And Syl had always been the most skeptical of all of Tinga's
brothers and sisters.

Tinga put a comforting hand over one of Syl's.

"I'm not dead, Syl," she told her. "Not really. And neither are you."

Syl blinked.

Not dead? But Zack and Max had told her…and Syl had been shot six times in the chest. She'd felt each
bullet pierce her flesh. Of course she was dead. What was Tinga talking about?

"What are you talking about?" Syl demanded aloud.

Tinga stroked Syl's hair and spoke to her as she would to her young son, Case. God, how she missed

"I'm not dead, Syl," she explained. "Because I never really lived. And neither did you. You're a character
on a t.v. show."

Syl stared at her. Then she laughed.

Oh, great. She was dead. She and Tinga were dead and in the afterlife. And the afterlife had driven her
sister mad.

That's when *he* walked in.

"Thought you could use some help," he said, leaning against the doorframe. His words were for Tinga, but
they caused Syl to hop off her table as if shot. Again.

The man standing before them was dressed also in white. He was tall, fit; blonde with blue eyes. 'Sexy,'
Syl thought appreciatively. But that was before recognition hit her.

Syl's jaw dropped.


Ben! It was her brother Ben!

Shock and years of separation put a grin on Syl's face, and she was hugging her brother before she could
think about her actions. Ben, amused, laughed and hugged Syl back. But then memory once again caught
up to his sister. She pulled away.

"Wait a minute. You…"

But before Syl could finish the thought, Tinga was again at her side. She took one of Syl's hands into one
of her own, and grasped Ben's hand with the other.

"It's okay, Syl," Tinga said. "Ben's fine. That business with the "nomalies" was just a part of Ben's role.
He's not really crazy." Then she smiled at their brother. "Not really."

"Hey!" Ben said, feigning indignation, but he smiled, too. He reached over and tugged on Tinga's hair.

Syl was confused. "I'm confused," she said aloud. 'Role'? What role? What were they talking about?

Ben ruffled her hair.

"Limbo's made you kinda slow, huh, sis?" he teased.

Syl frowned and smoothed down her hair. But she was too perplexed to form a comeback. Or even a good
right hook.

Tinga tugged on her hand.

"Maybe you'd better come with us."

As Syl walked the corridors of…this place, she grew more and more certain she really was what Tinga told
her: a "character". Only the character she was thinking about was named "Alice". And she'd just fallen
down the rabbit hole…

"So Max isn't dead?" Syl asked again. At least something good had come out of all this.

Ben snorted, but Tinga replied. "Max? Max is the main player here. She'll never die for good."

Syl thought about that.

She had a lot to think about, actually. She was a character…in a t.v. show. A science fiction t.v. show, of
course. A figment of someone's imagination; created by some Eglee person, and that guy who did the
"Titanic" movie. Her whole life…Manticore…her death…it had all just been fodder for some sort of
television series.

Syl's frown deepened.

She could just kill somebody…if she weren't here in limbo. That's what Tinga and Ben called it –
"limbo". The place the dead characters went.

"Why don't we just disappear?" Syl asked.

Ben shook his head. "Doesn't work that way," he explained. "This is a *science fiction* show, remember?
Dead isn't dead till the show's cancelled. Or till the writers decide to bring you back somehow."

Syl looked up sharply. "They can do that?"

Tinga put an arm around Syl's shoulders. She didn't want to squash her sister's hopes…but she
remembered all the nights she'd spent here, wondering if the next morning would see the episode where
she returned. That episode had never come. And each time it didn't, it was like losing her son and her
husband, Charlie, all over again. She didn't want Syl to go through that.

"Don't count on it, sis," she told her gently. "There's some of us who've been waiting since before the first
ratings sweeps."

Syl blinked. What the hell was that?

"Us?" she asked instead. Who all was there?

Tinga smiled again, and suddenly they came upon a pair of large, double-doors. Ben motioned to them.

"Go see for yourself," he told her. So Syl walked in.

Syl couldn't believe her eyes.

The room before her was simply packed. It was a large room – some sort of communal area is what it
looked like. There was a food court, couches, libraries, game areas…all done in monochromatic white.
And there were television if Syl ever wanted to see one of those again. There were all sorts of
people there, too – big people, little people. There were doctors and soldiers (some Syl had probably sent
here herself) and people Syl had never met before. Dr. Vertes was napping on a couch. Two kids (who
looked an awful lot like Max and Zack when they were young) were sitting in a booth, mumbling
something about puberty and age discrimination laws.

Syl even thought she glimpsed Eva and Jack walking by, but then their faces were lost in the crowd and she
wasn't sure she hadn't imagined them.

"All these people died?" Syl asked, turning back to her siblings. Ben shrugged. "Most of them."

"Some just got used for one episode," Tinga said. "Some for just a few. Characters who get retired come
here, too."

Syl continued to look around. Some of the people here didn't even look like people. A bald, black guy
with a Jamaican accent was sitting at a table, playing poker with a blonde who was sitting on the lap of an
overweight police officer. And the thing playing cards with them…

"What is *that*?" Syl asked.

"Hmmm?" Ben and Tinga looked in the direction she indicated, then nodded.

"Oh, that's Ridge," Tinga told her.


"Because of the cartilaginous ridges over his eyes," Ben explained.

The name worked, Syl supposed. Ridge looked more like a lizard than a man. He was humanoid, but
covered in scales. He was wearing sand-colored Manticore fatigues, and when he blinked it looked like he
was shifting two sets of eyelids. His speech consisted of a series of clicks and whistles…which his
companions had obviously learned to interpret. When the blonde won the hand, and everyone threw in
their cards, Ridge…clicked…something. Everyone at the table, except the blonde, laughed, and the black
man gave Ridge a high-five and quoted Bob Marley.

Syl just shook her head.

"Second season, second episode," Tinga was saying.

"They said he was designed for desert combat," Ben went on. "Max really took a liking to him. But there
wasn't any room in the story line for him so they killed him off."

Syl silently fumed. She was really beginning to resent this "they"; the writers. Who gave them permission
to play gods with people's lives? So she and her brothers and sisters and lizard boy were t.v.
characters…so what? They were people, too. Sort of.

'If you've pricked us…,' Syl thought. 'Do we not give the appearance of having bled?'

Then a man and a woman walked up. The woman was tall and thin, with long, red-gold ringlets falling past
her shoulders. The man was tall and broad, with spiky, blonde hair. Syl saw Tinga and Ben smile,
obviously knowing this couple. Then she started when she realized these strangers were giving her the
same look her brother and sister were giving them. But she didn't know…

Or maybe she did.

"Jondy?" she asked carefully. The woman grinned, and exchanged a look with the man.

"Zane?" Syl continued, smiling now, too.

Two more of her siblings were here, too!

"Hey, sis!" Zane said before sweeping her up into a bear hug. Jondy slipped under his arm to kiss Syl on
the cheek.

"Long time, sister," she laughed.

They all, including Ben and Tinga, had goofy grins on their faces.

"But you're not dead!" Syl couldn't help pointing out.

"Same difference," Zane said with a shrug, setting her down. "They never use us."

"So you're retired?" Syl asked.

Jondy snorted. There was the slightest bitterness in her smile now.

"Not exactly. The writers thought us up," she explained. "But they never put us in an episode."

"Like we need some spectacular entrance," Zane whined. "I'd be happy just to *be*. Forget about why or
what my existence does for the story line."

"Yeah," Ben drolled suddenly, in a monotone, straight-faced. "Your life sucks." Zane wasn't getting any
sympathy from him. The writers had made him into Psycho with a barcode, for crying out loud. He had
his own problems.

Everyone else smiled, knowing Ben's trail of thought. But Syl frowned.

"Those writers are sick," she said.

"Tell me about it," Jondy mumbled. Yeah, Ben had had a shitty role. But at least he didn't have to go
through life looking like Jennifer Love Hewitt with red hair…

Finally, Syl had to lighten up. This was just too good to be true. She and half her brothers and
sisters…reunited at last. They had so much catching up to do. But first…


"Yeah, Syl?"

Syl drew up the courage to ask her next question. Not knowing if she really wanted the answer.

"You said Max is alive…but Zack was captured at the same time as her. I don't see him here. Does that
mean he made it, too?" Syl asked.

She didn't miss the way everyone's expression suddenly sobered.

"Let me take you to see Zack," Ben finally volunteered.

Syl followed her brothers and sisters across the communal area, until they had cleared the crowd inhabiting
the place. As they traveled, Syl continued to look around her. This place was even larger than she'd
thought at first. This room was difficult to see all the way across, and the ceilings were impossibly high. It
seemed to take them forever to make it to the back wall. When they did, Syl saw that very few people were
milling about back here. The walls were apparently lined with built-in benches, and some kids were
sleeping on one. And in a corner, a man sat in a wheelchair with his back to the communal area. Max saw
the back of the man's blonde head, and something told her automatically that this was Zack.


Syl's heart filled with relief at seeing the brother she had thought was lost to her, but also with dread. Zack
was in a chair? But she didn't think anyone was hurt here. She'd come into this place without any of the
wounds that had killed her; so had the others. What had happened to Zack?

When they reached Zack's side, Syl realized Zack wasn't sitting in the wheelchair because he was injured.
He was restrained – in a straightjacket and ankle manacles. And he was sleeping.

"We had to sedate him," Jondy said sadly, reaching out to brush a stray lock of hair off of Zack's brow.
Syl looked in the faces of all her siblings and saw the same expressions: worry and affection and regret.

"Why?" Syl asked, heart hurting for her brother; for whatever had happened to him.

Zane shook his head, and crossed his arms. "He won't believe he's really dead."

"He keeps insisting they're going to bring him back," Tinga explained.

"You don't think they will?" Syl asked, studying her brother's face. He'd been so strong the last time she'd
seen him; he'd been their CO…the "big brother". He'd always watched out over the others. Now he was
talking in his sleep…mumbling something about "episode seven".

Ben shrugged. "It's possible. But there's no use obsessing about it. Zack's convinced he's only here by

That's when Syl noticed a change in attitude overcome all her siblings. Their eyes suddenly sparked hot,
and their mouths twisted into frowns.

"It's all *their* fault, you know," Jondy muttered. The others nodded.

"If I could…" Zane let the threat hang in the air. His seemed to be a sentiment all the X5 siblings shared.

Syl had no idea what they were talking about.

"They're the ones who put those crazy ideas in his head, you know," Tinga said.

"They?" Syl asked.

Her brothers and sisters exchanged a look. Then Ben nodded at Jondy and she went to a terminal set in the
wall behind them. Syl took a seat on the bench on that wall and looked up at the monitor. When Jondy
clicked it on, Syl saw the security surveillance being transmitted from the other side of limbo. The camera
was aimed at a huge, metal door covered with locks and reinforced with forcefields and lasers. A small
army of soldiers, young and old, circled the door with their guns at the ready. It was if they were afraid to
look away from the door.

" 'They' are the writers," Tinga told Syl.

"The show's writers?"

Jondy laughed and shook her head. Then her smiled disappeared, and she looked around her, as if afraid to
speak the name aloud. She leaned over and whispered in Syl's ear: "The fanfic writers."


Ben nodded at the monitor. "That's the door to their realm," he explained.

"They're constantly breaking in here and stealing people," Tinga told her, her voice full of emotion.

"We don't know how they get in," Zane added, again shaking his head.

"We've all been taken before," Jondy said. "But Zack more than any of us. Those damned fanfic writers
won't let it rest. *They* insist Zack's only here by mistake. So now they have him believing it, too."

Ben stood there with his arms crossed, practically fuming. "Bastards," he muttered.

As one, the four X5s who'd been in limbo for some time, shivered, thinking about their own experiences
with "fanfiction". Those fanfic writers were devious. Worlds more so than the show's writers. They'd
done everything from having Ben kill Max, to having him fall in love with her. Jondy had returned from
one incident convinced she and Zack were meant to be together. And one twisted soul had even paired
Zane off with Krit! But Zack had certainly, by far, suffered more than any of them.

Syl looked back up at the monitor, watching those soldiers guard the door to fanfic with wary eyes and
steady guns.

She'd have to be on the look out so that none of those fanfic writers ever got a hold of her.

It was some time after Syl's family had brought her to see Zack that she noticed another person was there
among them. She hadn't seen her right away, because she was so intent on Zack, and because the woman
was lying under one of the benches. She, too, was in a straightjacket like Zack's, and she had short, spiky,
platinum blonde hair and sharp features.

Syl only noticed her, really, because as she and the others got up to take Zack back to his room, each of her
brothers and sisters stopped to kick the woman as they passed.

"Hey!" she objected when she saw this, reaching out to grab Ben's shoulder just as he was about to kick the
woman again. "What are you doing?"

At first, no one seemed to know what she was talking about. But then realization dawned.

"Oh…her," Ben said.

"Yeah, her!" Syl said incredulously.

"Don't worry about her," Jondy said, glaring down at the woman. "If you knew who she was, you'd kick
her, too."

Syl wasn't sure she agreed with kicking someone, bound and unconscious, regardless of who they were.
But then…she didn't think Zane or Ben or Tinga or Jondy did either. This woman must have really done
something awful to them.

"Who is she?" Syl asked. But Tinga just shook her head.

"You don't want to know," she told her. "Let's just say she's someone we don't like very much."

Ben snorted. "Yeah. Every time the fanfic writers get her, we keep hoping they won't bring her back. But
they always do."

The others nodded lamentfully at this, and they wheeled Zack away. Kicking Renfro one more time as they

The X5s hadn't gotten halfway across the commune area, however, before Syl just couldn't take it
anymore. Something had been bothering her for some time now, and she had to get it off her chest.

"So, if those fanfic writers have a way to get in here, why don't we have a way to get out?" Syl asked.

Tinga looked over at her.

"What do you mean?"

"You know," Syl said. "A way to get back on the show."

"You can't get back on the show unless the writers write you back on," Zane said matter-of-factly.

"Why?" Syl asked.

Jondy looked at her as though she were daft. "Because that's the way it is, that's why."

Syl frowned. Damn. "So there's no handy door, then?"

The others exchanged looks that were distinctly uncomfortable.

Syl stopped in her tracks.

"There's no door, right?"

Ben rubbed the back of his neck. "Well…"

Syl's jaw dropped open. There was a door? There was a way out of this place and no one had taken it?

"Let me see it," she demanded.

"Syl…," Tinga began, but Syl cut her off. "I said I want to see it," she said.

Finally, Ben sighed and walked to the nearest terminal. This one was set in a pedestal rising out of the
floor. With a few modifications, he managed to tap into the surveillance cameras trained on the door Syl
was talking about, and suddenly they were staring at a picture of the entrance/exit to limbo. Again, this
was a large, metal door, but…

Syl kind of squeaked. No locks!

"There aren't any locks!" she exclaimed.

"They don't need any," Zane told her.

Syl couldn't comprehend this. "Don't need any? Why would they not need any? Don't you all want to go

Tinga sighed. She knew explaining things to Syl would be harder than usual.

"Syl, that's not our home," she explained gently. "It's just a t.v. show."

"And we're t.v. characters!" Syl reminded her. "So that's not our home. And this is?"

Syl paced in front of the monitor.

"I can't believe I'm hearing this. You mean, there's a way you guys could get out of limbo, and you've
never even tried? You just stay here…eating and sleeping and playing poker and watching television?!"

Ben frowned. "What else are you gonna do when you're dead?" he asked, rationally.

Syl raised her hands in the air in frustration. "Try to get back, that's what! I say we get everybody together
and rush the place!"

Jondy laughed.

"I'm serious!" Syl told her.

By now, several of the other people milling about the communal area had overheard Syl's remarks, and had
gathered around their group, rapt. Syl turned to them.

"What do you say?" She asked the crowd. Tinga looked about her at the growing audience, warily. "Do
you wanna wait here in limbo for the rest of the series' run?" Syl demanded of her listeners. "Or do you
wanna cause some noise and get back in on the action?"

The crowd cheered.

Tinga frowned. She tugged on Syl's arm. "Shut up, sis! You're getting Zack all upset!"

"Good!" Syl insisted. And she went to work.

"What are you doing?" Jondy asked, incredulously. Syl was unfastening all the straps on Zack's
straightjacket, and loosening the manacles on his ankles.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" Syl asked her. "I'm letting him go. I know he'll agree with me on

Tinga, Ben, Jondy, and Zane took a step back as Syl gathered a couple of others to help her get Zack out of
his chair. Before long, she was standing on a chair, addressing the rabble around her and stirring their
rebellious urges. When the last of his sedatives wore off, Zack was standing by her side, helping motivate
their "troops".

"I can't believe this is happening!" Tinga said from the side.

But, to her surprise, Ben just shrugged. "I don't know…why *haven't* we tried to get out before?" he

"Because there would be no use in it," Jondy told him.

But now Zane was starting to sway to the other side as well. "I don't know. Maybe Syl's right and we
could get back into the show and we pushed our way in. How do we know if we don't try?"

Tinga just shook her head. "The writers won't like this…" she was saying.

Then Jondy snorted. "Like we should care what they like. They made us. Now they can deal with us," she
said. Looked like she was starting to think about Syl's suggestion, as well. Tinga frowned. Was she the
only sane one amongst the group?

Then Ben put a hand on her shoulder. "Come on, sis," he pleaded. "Think about it. Don't you want to see
Charlie and Case again?"

That was the one argument Tinga couldn't fight. Could it really happen? Could she see her family again?

"Well…what should we do?" she finally asked. Ben smiled, then turned to the others. "Zane? Jondy?" he
asked. Zane and Jondy looked at one another, and Zane shrugged with a mischievous grin.

"I'm in if you all are," he said.

Jondy turned back to Tinga and Ben. "Let's do this," she said.

Ben rubbed his hands together, plots already beginning to swarm in his mind. With him, Syl, and Zack
working together, those writers wouldn't stand a chance at keeping them in limbo forever.

But then something occurred to Jondy.

"Hey, wait a minute," she said with a frown. She knew Tinga wanted back on the show to see her family;
she and Zane wanted back because they'd never gotten the chance to be on in the first place. Syl and Zack
wanted their lives back. But what about Ben? He'd had a terrible role on the show. Why did he want back
so bad?

"Why do you want to go back, Ben?" she asked. "You hated your part."

Ben cocked an eyebrow. "Yeah…but now I've got some major ass-kicking to do," he told them.

As one, Tinga, Jondy, and Zane rolled their eyes.

"Oh, Ben…" Tinga began.

"You're not going to start whining about 494 again, are you, bro?" Zane asked.

"Hey!" Ben pouted. "I do not whine…," he insisted.

Everybody looked at him skeptically…

"But why does *he* have to get the recurring role?" Ben continued.

And the others just shook their heads. Then they started weaving through the crowd that had formed before
them to join Syl and Zack.

"I was way cooler!" he insisted after them.

…the End…for now ;)