A/N: So I know there's not a whole lot of fans out there for this show, let alone for this pairing, but back when I first got into this series (oh, several years ago now) I had a few ideas for fic for it. This was one of them.
This was spawned from an idea that took root in my brain after watching the Season 2 episode, "Ghost Story." You know which one that is...the one where George goes on the retreat with Happy Time? Well, Deloris makes a comment in the beginning of it about the lack of pictures of friends or family on George's desk, and I got to thinking...that cut out family she puts up isn't very much better, is it?
So, this takes place sometime after that episode.
Disclaimer: I disclaim all ownership of the characters from "Dead Like Me", and the world in which they live. I make no profit, monetary or otherwise, from the creation or sharing of this work.
"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away."
- Eudora Welty
"And does it?"
Georgia turned to look at Daisy, blinking in confusion, her mouth still formed around the word that Daisy had interrupted from coming out of her mouth. Mentally shifting gears, George answered with an intelligent, "What?"
Daisy rolled her eyes attractively, "Zen...the collating of papers..." when Georgia still didn't appear to grasp her meaning, she sighed, "Does the collating of papers allow for a Zen like state?"
"No!" Georgia answered, then, realizing that wasn't an altogether truthful response, shook her head, "Yes..." she exhaled in frustration realizing that wasn't right either, "I don't know," she admitted. Her hands flopped on the table in front of her as she glared at her roommate, "It doesn't matter!"
"Of course it matters," Daisy said patiently, "You can't start a story about Zen and collating papers and not know whether or not it does induce a Zen-Like state."
"That wasn't the point of the story," George insisted, "And if you'd have let me finish instead of barging into the conversation like..."
"I think it would."
Georgia stopped, once again foiled from finishing her sentence, to stare across the table at the last person she thought would've done her dirty, "Jeeze, Roxy, not you too!" she exclaimed in frustration.
"Well," Roxy opened up her eyes wide as if challenging Georgia to tell her why she couldn't have an opinion, "I'm just saying," she said casually.
"I agree," Rube added, casually glancing up from his crossword, "There is something mystical that happens to the human mind when the body is engaged in a repetitive practice such as manually collating papers which I would not doubt could in fact induce a feeling where one's mind clears and could theoretically achieve Zen."
Her desire to finish her original point momentarily forgotten (if not lost forever) Georgia narrowed her eyes at him, "You know," she said meaningfully, "You share an affinity with Delores that I, frankly, find rather disturbing."
Rube smiled at her, not the smile that meant he was really amused, but the smile that said she had just realized something she would never fully understand, which only prompted Georgia to roll her own eyes. Before she could even try to get back on track to her original story, however, their attention was drawn by the sudden flash.
All eyes turned to the door of Der Waffle Hause where Mason was just lowering a camera from in front of his face. "Say cheese!" he called as he approached.
"You're supposed to say that before you take a picture, dumb ass," Roxy pointed out bluntly.
"I know!" Mason said defensively to Roxy, "I just wanted to get you guys in an unguarded moment, that's all."
"Did you just take a picture of us?" George asked as she scooted over to allow Mason space to sit.
"Sure did," he smiled brilliantly at her.
"Why?" George asked.
Mason raised the camera and took another picture before she could even get the confused expression off her features.
"God, Mason!" George exclaimed, closing her eyes tightly and scrunching her face in the hopes of blinking out the temporary blindness caused by the close range flash. "Blind me why don't you?" she asked sarcastically.
"Sorry, Georgie," he said, laughing and clearly not a bit repentant. "You just really look cute when you're confused."
Opening her eyes and able to make out more than just dark shapes, Georgia glared at him and took the camera out of his hand, "Let's see how you like it!" she said, pressing the button so that the camera would go off right in Mason's face.
"Bloody hell!" Mason exclaimed, rubbing at his eyes as the colors exploded onto his retinas.
"If you children are done?" Rube's patient voice interrupted any further comment on either of their parts. "We do have business to tend to."
Mason took the camera back from George and settled into his seat, swiping a piece of bacon off her plate while he was at it. She glared at him but turned away from him when Rube cleared his throat and placed a yellow post-it in front of her.
"So," George said as they walked down the sidewalk later that afternoon, looking at the numbers of the building for the location of George's reap. "Where'd you get the camera, anyway?"
Mason motioned for the building and as they walked into the packaged air of the high-rise, he shrugged, "My early morning reap," he admitted. "Had it in his pocket," he finished, looking around at the posh interiors of the office building. "He asked me to throw it in the river cause he'd prefer that none of his family members got their hands on it."
"Why would he do that?" George asked. "It's just a camera."
"It had some pictures on it, of him and his boyfriend, and he hated his family, anyway..." he chuckled at the remembered conversation, "He even asked me to throw his body in the river, but I told him I couldn't do that."
"Were to lazy to do that, you mean," George asked, leaning against the wall as they waited for the elevator to come.
"Whatever," he shrugged.
George shook her head. It was no fun to tease him when he wouldn't get offended.
"So are you going to be taking up photography now?" she asked as they stepped onto the elevator and pushed the appropriate floor.
"Sure, why not?" he asked.
"I dunno," she answered, watching the digital numbers rise. She was about to say something else when the flash went off again and she realized Mason had taken another picture of her. She frowned, "Why don't you follow Daisy around if you're so hyped to take pictures of someone all day?" she demanded, "Daisy lives to have her picture taken."
The doors opened and Mason smiled, "Because she's not the one that needs pictures for her office cubicle," he said logically as he stepped out of the elevator.
Surprised, George followed him down the hall in a kind of daze. Her quest to find a picture of her family to put in her cubicle had been months ago. Was he still thinking about that, she wondered?
"I think that's your guy," he said, breaking her reverie.
George shook herself out of her thoughts and looked at where Mason was pointing. As she caught sight of the guy standing on the teeny tiny ledge, she sighed. "I really hate the jumpers," she said, walking into the deserted office. "Why do I always get the jumpers?"
"Just lucky, I guess," Mason offered un-helpfully.
"Why are we..." Georgia paused in the middle of her question to yawn, "...here again?"
"You need some pictures of activities," Mason informed her.
George shook her head, "You're taking this whole, 'make memories for Millie' thing all too serious," she told him as she followed him through the parking lot.
"Come on, Georgie-girl!" Mason said brightly, "Where's your sense of adventure?" he challenged.
"Taking a nap," she answered monotonously, blinking in an attempt to better focus on her surroundings.
"So, first order of business," Mason said, clasping his hands together and pointedly looking around, "Find George a cup of coffee."
George couldn't help it, she laughed.
Mason grinned, "That's more like it!" he enthused, putting an arm around her and starting to lead her toward the nearest kiosk from which the heady aroma of coffee beans emanated. "Coffee and then, up, up we go!" he said joyfully.
George looked up and up and up at the Space Needle glinting in the sunlight of the crisp spring Sunday. She hadn't been up on the Space Needle since she came with school when she was still Reggie's age.
So maybe this wasn't such a bad idea.
"Quite a fucking view, ain't it?" Mason asked as they stared down from the observation lounge.
She nodded, "It's like a whole different city than the one we live in."
He leaned against the glass wall and looked at her, "I love looking at cities from such a high place, it gives it the right perspective, you know?"
She remembered her first few days as undead and remembered the time Mason had suggested they sit on top of that building. She never would've thought she'd make it up there, but it was easier than she had suspected and the view was quite amazing then too...although they were not as high then as they currently were.
Betty liked high places too, she remembered that.
"It?" she prompted.
He shrugged, folding his arms across his chest, "Life..." he looked back out and pointing against the glass down into the streets, "Look at that, they're little ants running about their days like the world will stop and fall out of orbit if they don't get every bloody little thing on their lists of chores done or something." George was staring at him as if she didn't quite know who he was, so he shrugged again, looking back out at the city below, "Iunno," he half-mumbled, suddenly self-conscious. "Being this high up just reminds me there's a lot more going on in the world than my sorry excuse for a life."
She leaned against the glass, facing him, but turned her gaze back to the window, looking down at the teeming life going on obliviously below them. "Quite a fucking view..." she agreed.
"I hate fish."
At her dispassionate intonation, Mason turned to George with a wry smile on his face, "Not even to look at?" he asked.
George pursed her lips in distaste as a large something lazily swam in front of her in the aquarium. "Especially not to look at," she answered. "Look at that," she pointed at a different fish that was looking about rather lazily and not swimming at all, "It just looks dirty and smelly, doesn't it?"
Mason was smiling at her in that way that said he thought she'd done something incredibly naïve and cute, "Don't tell me you hate Flipper, too!"
She shrugged, "I'm indifferent to Flipper," she answered seriously, her eyes tracking the brownish fish as if it might surprise her if she stopped looking at it.
"Lolita?" he tried.
She sort of smiled and glanced at him, "Whales I actually like," she admitted. "They're sort of majestic, you know?" He nodded and she realized how she was sounding so she stopped, starting to walk away. Looking down at the visitor's map of the Seattle Aquarium they had been given, she noted their position in the map and brightened, "How about we go look at the Penguins?" she asked.
He smiled, "Oooh!" he looked at the map, "I like penguins!" After they had taken a few steps and he had returned the map, Mason mused, "You think they'll dance for us like they did in Mary Poppins?"
George exhaled and refrained from answering.
"You know," Roxie spoke something like awe in her voice, "I never thought I'd hear myself say these words, but this was actually a really good idea, Mason." She stopped and made a point of making a face, "Damn, that sounds weird!"
George chuckled as she reached into the picnic basket for a sandwich, "This is a good idea," she motioned the park and the blanket and the rest of her fellow reapers, "but he's been dragging my lazy ass all over the fucking city for days now." She glared at Mason, but he ignored her and kept right on spreading some sort of pate on a cracker, apparently oblivious.
Roxie looked at Mason and Mason glanced at her quickly before offering her a cracker, which she declined. He shrugged and stuffed it in his mouth whole, grinning around the half chewed food.
"Ew, Mason, close your fucking mouth when you're eating, please!" Roxie demanded.
Rube looked up from the book he was reading to shake his head at the spectacle. He adjusted himself against the thick trunk of the cherry blossom tree they were sitting under and returned to his book without uttering a single comment.
George figured his lack of comment meant that either the book was exceptionally good or it was his concession to the spirit of the day.
"Georgia, you simply must come see the display of artwork over yonder," Daisy chirped as she approached their gathering, demurely holding her umbrella to gather the best amount of shade for her face. "This one gentleman is actually doing chalk paintings on the sidewalk just like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins."
Georgia stood and handed Daisy a sandwich, "What's the point of coming to a park if you don't get a little sun, Daisy?" she asked as she watched Daisy attempt to eat her sandwich and hold her umbrella.
"Sun can damage skin beyond repair..."
"It's not like you're going to get cancer," George interrupted.
"Just because you do not wish to take care of your skin doesn't mean that the rest of us..."
George lunged for the umbrella and succeeded in taking it out of her grasp, "Now, sit down and eat your sandwich!" she said, closing it and holding it away from Daisy's reach. She knew Daisy wouldn't try to snatch it back. It would be too unbecoming.
Mason set the camera aside and extended the pack of crackers, "Cracker?" he offered Daisy.
"Ooh! Goose liver pate!" Daisy cooed, looking at the tub of spread Mason had out.
Mason looked as if he were going to be sick, "Is that what it is?" he asked and ran for the nearest bush.
It took her a couple of weeks, but eventually, Delores noticed the frames dotting Millie's workspace.
"And who's this?" Delores asked, picking up and staring at a picture of Millie and Daisy on a tennis court, Daisy perfect as always in white tennis skirt and pink polo, her hair picked up in a cute pony-tail while Millie was dressed in black shorts and a gray sleeveless tank, her hair sloppily piled on top of her head and held in place by a clip that had been dangerously close to slipping off the entire day.
"That's my sister, Daisy," George as Millie replied. She looked at the picture over Delores' shoulder and couldn't help but grin. Mason had snapped the picture when Daisy was in mid swing and George was crouched low, a look of pure intent on her face. (She had already lost two games to the more experienced player and had been determined not to lose another one.)
"Oh?" Delores asked, "I didn't know you had a sister!"
"Well, she's technically my ex-stepsister," Millie answered on the spot, "Her mom was married to my dad ages ago, but we've stayed in touch all these years and when she moved here from New York she moved in with me."
Delores put down the simple silver frame and picked up the next one, a cherry wood 5 x 7, "And here I know Rube, your sponsor," Delores announced, pointing to where he was sitting glancing at the camera. "But I don't believe I know this person," she motioned to Roxie sitting next to him, staring down at where she was cutting up her cake.
"That's Roxie," Millie answered, "She's Rube's wife, she's like a mother to me, really."
Delores picked up the next frame, a small 4 x 6 frame, horizontally sitting next to her computer and grinned, "Oh, I know this young man," Delores intoned, "This is your friend Mason who comes to the office to take you to lunch every so often!"
Millie smiled, "Yes, that's Mason."
"Is he your boyfriend?" Delores asked mischievously.
Millie knew where she could get that idea: the picture of them squinting against the sun while the Space Needle towered behind them might be taken in that context, seeing as how Mason had his arm around her and just before the Japanese tourists had snapped the picture, he had tugged her against his side, tucking her head under his chin.
Millie realized Delores was still waiting for an answer to her question and she looked from the picture to Delores and back again. "He's..." she hesitated. "A good friend," she finished.
Delores waited until Millie glanced at her and grinned, "Oh...I see...a good friend," she said in a conspiratorial whisper.
Millie knew exactly what Delores was suggesting and thought about correcting her. In the end, though, the sight of Delores so happy to be sharing a secret gave her pause. And by the time Delores had gotten through the other pictures on her desk (Rube and George eating breakfast at Der Waffle Haus; Roxy and George standing together outside a random building; Daisy and Roxy and George all dressed up for a cocktail where they'd had to go to do a group reap a few weeks before.) and she admired the other picture of Millie and Mason, this time sitting next to each other on the blanket during the Cherry Watching Festival -- the one he'd taken by lifting the camera in front of them and bringing their faces so close together their cheeks touched -- and gave her a broad wink, commenting, "Oh yes...I see how good of a friend he is, Millie!" Millie couldn't help it...she smiled.
"Yeah," she answered. "A real good friend."