AN: This fic was inspired by a short story I wrote. That was, in turn, heavily inspired by another fanfic I read a long while ago. I am aware that the concept of Billy's soul needing rescue from a supernatural being has been done (and rather brilliantly, I must add) but hopefully this deters enough from that story that this is not regarded as the same.
Note: Id, ego and superego are all parts of the Freudian Psyche. I suggest you look that up before reading this in order to fully understand its meaning in this context.
This story deals with morality and ethics and questioning the reality of our world.
Mindfood for you all—chew, digest, repeat. =)
The little girl had no idea the Prince of Darkness fancied a good game of cards.
"Thank you for your hospitality, small one." He crooned, feigning kindness. He had nothing to worry about.
She crossed her arms over her chest in refusal, giving careful examination to the wooden table and cards lain out before her. An eyebrow lifted and she spat out a venomous response.
"Is this some kind of joke? I didn't bring you here to indulge in a game of Go Fish."
Hearty laughter met her ears as He relished in her naivety.
"You always were a surly one."
"Her name ain't Shirley!"
Her gaze shifted to the bumbling fool who stood, chained, beside the Fiend. The blonde stared at him coldly, a baleful reprehension for his idiotic outburst, until the sweet sound of defeated whimpers reigned over the present silence.
"You are a most amusing child."
"And you are beginning to annoy me." She droned in retaliation.
Her stare never wavered, seemingly boring a hole into the demon that sat before her. She had never been one to toy with or underestimate. She was a child veiled in detachment and unfeeling disregard from birth. She was cold, calculating and logical.
She was His perfect match.
"Little one, it's not often that I have company, and from younglings, no less. Please disregard my…apparent discourteousness."
"I'm not interested in your apologies."
"I take it you want his soul restored to his former flesh encasement, eh? Didn't feel that it was his 'time', hmm? My my, I do hear that all too often." Darkness took a puff of His cigar.
"There are still living beings who have yet to feel my wrath, and for that, I need his services as a subordinate." She replied in a quiet monotone.
Evil was genuinely interested in what this tiny mortal was thinking. She was a girl who looked no older than thirteen. Children her age were often more interested in the disillusionment of self-importance and glamour, rather than challenging the very fabric and nature of existence.
She wanted her friend back.
The friend that had so stupidly taken a large, uncaring automobile to the chest…and should, in all fairness, have been dragged down to Hell. The Reaper was nowhere to be found, having known when the redhead's time would come long before it had happened and avoiding the scene at all costs. This left Darkness to take care of the soul; an unusual and flattering event. It was not often that spirits were escorted below by the Lord of Evil Himself.
Under any other circumstance He would have paid no heed to the screams or pleas to be spared. But she had been able to see Him—something He thought impossible of a mortal, let alone a child. His disguise relied on the fact that emotions blinded humans from being able to see beyond reality. Only the dead, who were dispatched from all feeling and thoughts of morality and ethics, were supposed to be able to see Him as He dragged them down. But this girl….she had spotted Him.
She was covered in his blood, the gory scene seeming not to faze her. She must have been right beside him as the car splattered him across the road. He had noticed from the moment He arrived to collect the soul that she had kept her eyes focused on Him, as though she knew He were there. And so it seemed this suspicion was true.
"Stop. You can't take him away just yet."
He turned around, amused that a mortal could witness the departure of a soul.
"There is nothing you can do about it, small one."
"I want him to live."
"What you wish for makes little difference to me."
"I always get what I want."
He had smiled. She was an amusing toy.
"Alright then, small one. Perhaps we can have a chat over tea."
Now here He sat, in a child's room, at a child's table, sipping tea from a child's cup. The juvenile atmosphere did not befit the terrible demeanour of the girl sitting across from Him.
He snapped his fingers and the chains disappeared, allowing the boy's soul to bound over to his former companion.
She took her seat at the round table opposite Him and pulled the redhead down beside her. Apparently even immortal souls were solid enough to be touched and felt. How quaint.
"I wanna play 24!"
"Shut up, Billy. And it's 21, not 24."
The Prince began to shuffle the deck that still lay on the table, His face breaking into a wide grin.
She, in turn, remained blank.
"The meaning of these cards will become apparent in time." Another toothy smile and air of egotistical confidence…
"Wait, WAIT! We're playing cards? I thought we was playing football!"
"You'll have to excuse Billy. He's an idiot."
"No offence taken, small one."
His black lips curled upwards, forming the most hideous of smirks.
"You seem easily amused, Lucifer. I would have expected more from the Prince of Darkness."
The Lord of the Flies' face contorted into a look of shock before settling back into its mocking grin. He cleared his throat and replied indignantly.
"We shall see who remains amused in the end, child."
He pointed a clawed finger in the redhead's direction. He didn't seem to notice as he picked his nose thoughtfully, not minding that he was committing a most disgusting action in front of Beelzebub. Immediately his soul was turned to stone, a frozen portrait of chastity and immaculate virtue. The blonde whipped her head back to face Him, furious at this apparent destruction of the boy's entity.
"What have you done to him?"
"Tut tut, girl. I merely kept him from further interfering in our conversation."
A cold glare. She reached over the wooden table and poured herself some of the liquid that remained in her china teapot, unimpressed.
"You are so very intriguing, little one. Perhaps, if we can come to an agreement of sorts, you can have your plaything back."
"My terms are simple." She replied coolly. "Give back my property and I will spare your miserable existence."
Darkness could not help but throw back His head in a fit of laughter, spasms of glee coursing through His red face and yellow eyes watering in amusement. A few drops of His piping hot beverage spilt on her hand, singing the pale flesh, but she did not flinch.
"AHA! YOU dare threaten me, child? You are in no position to pose such outrageous demands."
He huffed and leaned close to her, so that she could smell His hot undead breath.
"Let me show you why you will bow down to me. Witness the frailties of mankind."
The Lord blew a cloud of smoke into her face, making her gag on the foul stench and staining her pink curtains a musty yellow. With a snap of His supernatural fingers a card lifted from the top of the nearly-forgotten deck and settled itself before her.
"Go on, little one. Flip the first card."
She complied, turning it over to reveal not a suit, but a hideous creature painted on one side. It began to writhe and jerk around, taking form as the brute clawed its way out of the paper material, until it stood, jerking, in front of her. Froglike, and a dirty brown colour; claws twitching and grin widened in an almost hysterical fashion.
"This is Id. Self-gratification and immediate pleasure: want embodied. He lives in you and all mortals. You worship him."
She barely took notice of the fangs that sunk into her knuckle and threatened to rip out a chunk of her flesh. A few drops of her tea were spilt on the deck of cards before her as the tiny creature flailed back and forth, gnashing its teeth and trying to inflict some kind of reaction.
"I worship nothing. Self-gratitude is for the weak; desire is for the spineless."
His ever-present smile shifted, His ego hurt. Now He was beginning to hate this girl.
"You will succumb to him in time." He breathed, His voice threateningly low. How dare she stay so silent? So…so…distanced?
Id's eyeballs began to swell and bulge inside of its head, its eyes turning into a glassy mirror. It stopped its thrashing for a moment to reveal an image in its irises. It was the blonde, a golden crown atop her head. Masses of humble slaves lay at her feet, under her complete and total control. The eyes presented what she had always wanted.
"Go ahead, little one. Worship Id and all that and more can be yours." The Lord took another drag of his cigar and chuckled.
A look of greed flitted across her pale face for a moment. What she had always wanted…
She slammed her hand down on the table, successfully splattering the tiny creature across its wooden surface.
"I don't think so." Came the curt reply. "I'll be Queen, in time. But for now I need my property back. You don't want to make me angry."
The Red Fiend's jaw dropped. He had played games with mortals for His own deluded pleasure, but none had been able to completely defeat their innermost wants. It seemed as though she placed the Innocent One higher on her list of priorities than even her most selfish of aspirations.
"Now, if we're finished with these petty games, I demand you return my idiot to me."
Beelzebub drummed His long fingers across the child's table in annoyance. How could He break her if she was not subject to temptation? He gazed down at the pile of cards, and suddenly a new source of entertainment presented itself. He smiled.
"You want your friend back? Well, best me in a game of Chance and I will spare him."
"I never lose."
He winced, then regained His sobriety. "Neither do I."
Another snap of His fingers, and a blank card flew from the centre of the pile and hovered between the two occupants of the tea table. He breathed onto its pure surface and the face of the beloved moron etched itself onto one side. The word INNOCENCE appeared above the face, a befitting title. He began to shuffle the damned deck, hands a blur of supernatural grace and fluidity. Obviously He had practiced His trade.
"The rules are simple," He whispered next to her ear. "We each draw a card until we pick the one representing Billy's soul. Whoever retrieves it gets to keep it."
Mandy swirled her tea around her flowery cup; eyes closed and a bored expression on her face.
Evil's eye twitched.
One eyelid opened, and she gave Him an almost disapproving look.
"Really, Satan? This dull game is the best you could come up with?"
He slammed His fists down on the table.
"How DARE you question my craft, you insolent little-"
"Yes, of course, you're all-powerful, etc etc. I get it." Her other eyelid opened slowly. "I only meant that this game could be made so much more interesting if the stakes were raised. Or are you afraid to accept the challenge?"
"Of course not!" He shouted in retaliation. "I fear nothing, little girl."
"Then let's wager both of our souls. If you draw either Billy's card or mine, we both belong to you."
"I see." The Devil caught on to her offer quickly, and stroked His pointed beard in thought. "I'll throw in my own card as an act of goodwill."
He bared His fangs at her.
"Not that you'll draw it, of course." A grin.
"Of course." She repeated. "It's two-to-one in your favour. Do you accept?"
"Definitely." He beamed. "Stupid, stupid girl."
She sipped her tea in silence.
Another twirl of his fingers and two more blank cards appeared before them.
Evil's grotesque face painted itself onto one white side. REALITY was His title.
Mandy's emotionless face painted itself onto the other rectangle. SUPEREGO was her name.
"I hope you understand what you're doing, little one. This is your soul we're talking about. If I draw yours you will be completely at my mercy."
To illustrate His point He took the card and made a small tear in its corner. Immediately, pain like white fire coursed itself through her small body, and she let out a slight grunt (the first sign she had given that she was not made of stone, as He was beginning to suspect) as it burned through her core. Once the agony lifted she was left panting and quivering, but her head was still held high and her goal remained undeterred.
Darkness pouted at her resilience and shuffled the deck once more.
"Draw." He muttered.
"Ten of Hearts." She droned.
"Ace of Diamonds." Displeasure heightened.
"Three of Diamonds." Tension rising.
"Two of Hearts."
"Six of Clubs." Frustration building.
"Four of Diamonds."
This continued for some minutes, Darkness growing more impatient with each draw, for all the while He was forced to stare at an impassive little girl's face. Deciding to make an attempt to break the silence, He gave a strained chuckle and gestured towards the stone figure beside her.
"At least he's finally quiet for once, eh girlie? Jack of Spades."
Her nose wrinkled in disgust.
"Don't ever call me that. And it's somewhat relaxing, yes. Queen of Hearts."
"I simply can't understand why you bother risking your eternal Afterlife for such filth."
"I need him."
"Why?" He mocked. "Don't tell me a wench like yourself actually spared feelings for such a disgrace?"
"Hardly. Feelings are a lie. Emotions do not truly exist to allow for such. People are blinded by the falsities of love and feeling that they so cleverly craft for themselves."
"Then why won't you let me take him?"
"He serves as my outlet for human company."
"I thought you just told me that emotional attachment was a lie?" He was intrigued.
"I am bound by flesh and blood, tissue and matter. The natural animalistic side that's buried deep within us all does not fair well in solitude. I keep him around because without a life's presence I would go insane."
She had, apparently, uncovered The Truth. That all that humanity stood for—goodness, virtue, and love—were a fabrication brought unto themselves by themselves only.
"He is a necessity with regards to my mental well-being. I harbour no emotions towards him other than as a tool. Nothing more, nothing less."
The only fear He had ever known struck Evil, and it struck Him hard. This was why His tricks had no effect on her; why His temptations would not deter her from her steadfast mission.
How could this tiny creature possibly be human?
"I am half a person without my complementary idiot. I don't succumb to id's petty demands because he is my id embodied. In eliminating Billy I lack the frailties that hinder most other people. I…am ego. I am superego." Her eyes had a far-away look to them, as though she were reminiscing.
"Why…why then would you want him back? You are the queerest little girl I have ever seen. You are almost…superhuman. You have no weakness because the boy is dead, and he is your only flaw. Why then do you want him back?!" He began to sweat—what went on in this youth's sick, twisted mind?
Mandy drew a card.
"But I already told you, Mr. Devil. You need to know light to be able to tell when it's dark. He is my anchor. He keeps me sane."
The Lord of Evil drew a card, His almighty hand trembling.
"You seem nervous, Lucifer."
He swallowed uneasily. She raised the china pot and motioned towards his empty cup.
His breath grew ragged, sweat beading on His crimson forehead and trailing down His neck. How this child knew so much about the true nature of the world, He had no idea—but He did know that she had to be eliminated. She knew too much. She was dangerous.
Evil raised the card to His face, and a smile stretched itself across black lips once more, though it was nothing like the one present at the beginning of their encounter. No, this grin seemed strained and half-crazed, like a madman realizing he had found a way to escape from his padded room.
"Look what I've drawn, you tiny fool! Witness this!"
He shoved the card into her face, taunting and crying more lunacy in relief.
She barely blinked as she stared at the painted side.
It was herself.
"Your soul is in my hands, stupid, stupid girl! Hahahaha….oh, do you see?! I told you that you can't beat me! Your being is trapped in this card!" Darkness bounded out of His chair and began to dance across the room in triumphant hysterics.
He began to monologue, His voice breaking crazily.
"You are only human! Goodness and badness do not truly exist, because each is limited only to perception. Much like morality and ethics, as I was so reminded this afternoon."
He began to kick over her personal belongings, scratching dressers and ripping her curtains to shreds.
"You may have figured out that Life is a game of sacrifice and power, not good and evil, and that therefore all humans are doomed to Hell."
He threw a small lamp at her from a distance away. It hit the china teapot, and the container shattered into a thousand tiny pieces, spilling its contents.
"Heaven is but a figment of the imagination, all too true, all too true. But you're mine anyways. Don't fret though--Death really isn't all that bad. In fact, I'm quite sure you'll grow to like it! AHAHA!!!"
He panted, regaining His breath, and realized that He did not hear the sobs that so accompanied those who had learned of their Doom. His muscles tightened in frustration.
"Why do you stay silent, girl?!"
He twirled around from the opposite side of the room, heaving in blind rage.
And then He froze.
In her hand were three cards.
His card. Her card. And Billy's card. When He had burst from His seat He had foolishly left her soul card lying on the table, where she had picked it up without hesitation. In His crazed romp she had calmly looked through the deck and retrieved Billy's card. The idiot had been released from his stone prison and was presently giggling at the awestruck look on Evil's face. The card that represented His soul had been in her hand the entire time.
She rolled her eyes.
"To think I used to admire you."
She held His card out in front of her, clutching it delicately between two white hands. In that moment realization dawned on Darkness' face, but He was far too late and still stood across the room from her.
"I warned you. I never lose."
And she ripped the card in half.
Flames began to engulf the pink room as Satan writhed in agony, His entity destroyed along with the paper card that served as its embodiment. Billy and Mandy watched as the Devil melted and scorched the carpet black, gazed on as the fabric of reality crumbled along with Him. Screams and more screams filled the air.
"D'oh, Mandy! What's gonna happen now that that big old ugly red guy is gone?"
"I don't know Billy. I don't know."
"It's really, really hot in here, and I feel all weird and funny inside…"
"Yes, Billy. Stay close to me and we'll find out what happens next." She held his hand in a vicelike grip, taking pleasure in the slight grunts of pain that ensued from her actions. She took his pain as reassurance that he had feeling and life in him; his restored awareness.
The redhead scratched his nose innocently and watched the flames grow higher.
The blonde kept a firm grip on his hand and finished the last bit of her tea.
AN: Yes. Mandy just drove the Devil insane. Then kicked His ass. Then destroyed reality. Can we expect any less than a chaotic ending from those two?
I must add that Mandy is an absolutely brilliant character to write for, and her relationship with Billy can open so many doors for analysis and philosophical meaning. Some may call it over-analyzing a silly little children's cartoon….but I say that, oftentimes, the most endearing of subject matter is found in the simplest of subjects. :)
Hope you enjoyed; I encourage you to read and review. I adore hearing other people's opinions on deeper thinking and having discussions.