Somewhere Under The Rainbow
As Will, Julie, and the recently-deceased Henry R. Bafford left Yankee Stadium (dealing with all of the dead man's questions along the way), Will asked Julie what they were going to do with him now that the soul was no longer attached to a body.
"Just wait a couple seconds and you'll see," she replied with a wink.
Once the three of them were in the parking lot, Julie pulled on Bafford's arm, stopping where she stood. Will stopped as well, following Julie's gaze to see a shifting, glimmering mirage hovering about three feet off the pavement a ways ahead.
"What is that?" asked Bafford in awe.
Julie patted him on the back. "That's your ticket out of here."
Bafford smiled as the mirage began to take the shape of two men – one crouching down and in full catcher's gear, the other standing and holding a baseball bat at the ready. A small glowing ball of light appeared and flew towards them, and the man swung his bat, making a solid connection with the ball as the faint sound of cheering momentarily overpowered the distant noise of traffic in the city. Instead of running to first base, the man held out the bat towards Bafford, who looked to Julie with uncertainty. "Go on," she said, patting his back again. Bafford's face broke into a grin, and he strode forward to grab the bat. As he took his position to swing, he and the rest of the light show began to disintegrate, evaporating into the atmosphere. Within moments, there was nothing there at all.
Will stared at the empty space, stunned. "Where'd he go?"
Julie shrugged, beginning the long trek across the parking lot back towards the subway. "It's not for us to know."
Will frowned, contemplating what he'd just witnessed until Julie called over her shoulder, "Come on, new guy! Rachel's waiting for us at Millie's."
Back at Millie's Diner, Will and Julie found Rachel in the same booth as before, sitting across from an elderly man in a tweed jacket and a cap that looked like it had been made in the '30s. Julie slid onto the bench next to the man, while Will sat next to Rachel.
"How did the reap go?" Rachel inquired, delicately sipping an Earl Grey tea.
"Swimmingly," Julie said absentmindedly, glancing over the diner's menu. "I'm starving. Will, you want anything? It's on me."
Will shook his head. "Thanks, but—" he started.
"Will's tab is on me until he finds a steady income," Rachel insisted.
"Rachel, that's not—"
She flapped her hand dismissively. "I'm the boss, Will, it's my job to make sure that all employees are properly cared for until they get their feet solidly planted on the ground."
Will gave his head a shake, still in the process of absorbing everything. The idea of Rachel supporting him on a financial level would take some getting used to.
Will had almost forgotten about the elderly man sitting next to Julie, and apparently Rachel had as well. "Oh, sorry. Will, this is Jack – he's our fifth reaper."
Jack reached across the table to shake Will's hand. "Pleased to meet you, William," he said with a wide and welcoming grin. His eyes crinkled and his voice sounded as if he'd once starred in a movie with Irene Dunne.
The waitress from before appeared, asking if Will and Julie wanted anything.
"I'm gonna get a cheeseburger and a Pepsi," Julie said. "Thanks, Alison."
Alison nodded and went to fill out the order.
"Now, Will," Rachel said, her tone changing from idle to business-like as she pulled a fat, leather-bound daily planner out of her purse. "I've found a place for you. It's a bit small, but I think it'll be fine, at least until you can get a new place."
"Where is it?"
She peeled a neon-pink Post-It note out of the notebook and handed it to him. "That's the address. It's about two blocks away from Central Park, great location, and the space is well-organized."
Will frowned. "What does that mean?"
"Well, as I said, it's a little bit small."
"Ninety square feet."
Will's eyebrows disappeared into his hairline. "Ninety?"
"Aw, come on, Rachel," Julie protested. "You couldn't find anything bigger?"
Jack shook his head, tut-tutting. "It's criminal to live in a space that small."
"I said it was well-organized," Rachel defended herself.
"Is there even enough room for a bed?" Julie asked.
"Of course there is – the bed's on a loft."
"Oh, so it's got a low ceiling as well."
"William's quite a tall boy! He'll be hitting his head every five minutes!" Jack exclaimed.
Will frowned at Jack's use of 'boy', and Rachel rolled her eyes. "Well, you could at least give it a look before you dismiss it as a hole-in-the-wall." She turned to her former teacher. "Just come see it, Will. I think you'll actually like it."
Will sighed, but forced himself to see reason. He now was burdened with a job that paid nothing (less than nothing, actually, if he factored in the time it would suck away from any other money-earning opportunities that could present themselves), stuck living in Manhattan, and, judging by the growling in his stomach, just because he was dead didn't mean he didn't have to eat. "Fine," he said. "I'll take a look at it."
Half an hour later, Rachel and Will had taken the subway to Central Park and then walked two blocks to a four-story brick building that was painted white. Will had to admit that from the outside, it didn't look half-bad. Of course, his opinion was probably going to change once he saw the mousehole, so he wasn't about to move in just yet.
Inside the building, they squeezed into an old, cramped elevator with a gate that you had to slide shut. "I love it already," Will said dryly. Rachel gave him a look.
"So how long have you been a Grim Reaper again?"
Rachel blew air through her nose, looking up at the graffitied ceiling in thought. "It's been about… three and a half years now. May nineteenth is my death day."
Will wrinkled his nose. "Death day?" he echoed. "You don't actually celebrate those, do you?"
She shrugged. "We have to celebrate something, don't we?"
The elevator pulled to a stop and Rachel yanked the gate open, leading Will down the hall to a narrow door at the very end. "Here we are," she announced cheerfully, taking a ring of keys out of her purse and trying the first one. "Damn. I could've sworn I remembered which one it was," she said, half to herself.
Will looked around the deserted and ill-lit hallway. "How did you find this place, anyway?"
"I have connections in the other Divisions," she explained over her shoulder, trying another key. "I can always ask about spaces that recently opened up."
Will swallowed, suddenly understanding what she meant. "Wait, there's… there's not a dead person in there. Right?"
"No, of course not."
"The former resident threw herself out of the window."
"Oh. Of course she did."
A/N: Yes, the name of the diner is a subtle homage to the original Dead Like Me cast of characters. Please leave a review!