The first time Owen died he made a friend.
"HELLO," said the voice.
"Erm," said Owen, looking down at his body laying on the floor, a bullet wound in its chest. Jack was rushing across the floor and dropping to his knees next to the corpse, coincidentally passing right through what Owen was beginning to realize was himself. Just not himself in the form he had, until this point, thought inherent. He looked up.
"Nice scythe," he said, weakly.
"IT IS, I HAVE BEEN TOLD, TOTALLY BITCHIN'. THAT IS THE IDIOM, IS IT NOT?"
At some point Owen's brain was going to catch up with his mouth, he knew, but in the meantime he said, "Sounds right. 'Ace,' I would've said."
"AH. I WILL MAKE A NOTE." The voice coming from behind the cowl sounded almost proud. Or, Owen thought, more like the speaker had been told what pride was and was attempting to feel it, but didn't quite have the equipment.
"Am I going with you, then?"
"EVERYONE COMES WITH ME EVENTUALLY."
Owen thought about saying something inappropriate about that phrasing, but then he decided that Death had probably already heard it. Besides, he was experienced enough with Jack to recognize an evasive answer when he heard one.
"Am I going with you right now?" he asked, more insistently. Death gave a heavy sigh that sounded a bit like the stone lid of a sarcophagus closing with a hollow thud. A bony hand pulled out an hourglass from within the folds of the black robe. When Owen squinted, he could see one tiny grain of sand wedged between the bulbs. Death shook the hourglass, but the grain stayed caught.
"IT SEEMS NOT."
The sad thing was, this was far from the weirdest thing Owen had ever experienced. After the giant demon sleeping under the Rift, he'd found it harder and harder to be surprised.
"Pity," he said sarcastically. "I'm starved, and I was hoping you could point me to the best place to get something to eat in the afterlife."
Death dutifully offered what Owen supposed was meant to be a chuckle, sounding more like a row of tombstones toppling each other like dominoes.
"THAT IS VERY FUNNY," Death said. "OH HO." Owen couldn't help but grin. He was beginning to like Death almost despite himself. But then he sobered.
"And instead, what?"
While they'd been talking, the scene around them had changed without Owen's noticing. They were in the Hub now, his body laid out on the autopsy table and Tosh weeping quietly by his side. Jack swept in, carrying--
"Is that another glove? Bollocks!" said Owen. "That great tit, I can't believe that he'd--" Everything around him faded suddenly.
"GOODBYE FOR NOW," said Death, voice now faint. "BE SEEING YOU." Owen opened his eyes.
The second time Owen died, he did it with a smile on his face. Death shook the hourglass carefully, and then smiled back, revealing far too many teeth.
"I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU," he said. "BUT I COULD MURDER A CURRY."
Owen had to agree.