AN- Some bad language cropping up in this one. Last chapter! Thank you all so much for the reviews and feedback, I really enjoyed writing this and I hope you enjoyed reading it. If you're jonesing for more Beejfic, check out my Beetlejuice/Animaniacs crossover. It's called "Disenfranchised is a rather tricky word" and is quite silly and fun.
Beetlejuice arrived in Peaceful Pines without trouble, meaning Lydia hadn't said his name again. That was something, at least. He arrived in Lydia's bedroom, noting that the curtains were drawn. The bed covers were in a crumpled heap, her clothes had not moved from where they had fallen when he was last here. The lights were all off.
He poked his head out into the hallway. The lights were all off there too, and he couldn't see any light seeping up from downstairs, either. The house was cold.
He walked downstairs, his feet heavy on the floor. He suddenly felt very tense, and found himself aware of the silence saturating the house. As he moved downstairs, he discovered he was only moving further into the darkness, and silence. At the foot of the stairs, he stopped. From there he could see the front door, which was closed and locked, and a mysterious black shape slumped against it. He felt his curiosity rise.
Curiosity killed the cat, Beej.
But, Beetlejuice reasoned, licking his dry lips and trying to shake off the nagging sense of dread that clawed in his stomach, I'm no cat, right? He edged towards the shape, discerning features as he grew closer. Features like arms, legs, a chest, a face... and a kitchen knife sticking through the heart. Blood caked the figure's lank, blonde hair, and dried on the floor around her.
Alarm bells and klaxons went off in Beej's mind, screaming at him just to leave it alone and go back to the Neitherworld, now.
Against his better judgement, he reached out and lifted up the figure's head. The face, its blue eyes wide and frozen, was a disturbingly familiar one. It was the face of the woman he had been talking to not one minute ago. Except, when he had been speaking to her, she had been distinctly less corporeal.
"Shit!" Beej recoiled, losing his cool instantly. His hands sprung away from her, and he leaped back, flustered. "I... just... fuck!"
"Beej?" The voice came from behind him, making him jump. He turned to see Lydia, sat in one of the chintzy arm-chairs, her bare knees tucked under her chin, her night-shirt hanging off her. Her hair was thick and greasy; her eyes were shadowed, more than usual, and heavy. "I've never heard you use that word before."
"Lyds, what the hell? Are you alright?"
"She kept talking." Lydia was staring at the corpse, watching it like it might suddenly spring to life and start screaming abuse at her. "She kept saying how she wanted to save me. Take me away from the spectre of death. I think she was talking about you. Saying she felt a deathly presence with me, and that that she would absolve me."
"She wanted to take me away from you." She looked at Beetlejuice now, her dark eyes set firmly on him, watery and bloodshot. "I had to get rid of her."
"You... uh..." Beej stared blankly as Lydia stood up, walked over to the stereo, and flicked it on. After messing around with the frequency, she settled on a station playing Uncle Kracker's "Follow Me". The happy, upbeat tune was horribly out of place in this dark house, with Lydia's twitching fingers tugging at her nightdress, making no effort to look less dishevelled.
"Babes, you're not right."
"Aren't I?" Lydia was quiet, almost whispering, but she had Beej's undivided attention. She spun around, glaring at him with pure, unbridled disdain. "And how do you know this? Maybe if you'd been here, I wouldn't have worried."
"You're my everything, Beej! My friend, my lover, my reason to carry on in this fucking meagre existence..." Hearing Lydia swear was enough to slap Beetlejuice into a stunned silence; he found himself unable to move any more than a blink. She kicked the couch, glaring at Beej, tears rolling down her cheeks. "My degree went to shit because I was too busy being at your beck and call. I've lost three jobs on your advice; good, paying jobs! I've lost friends and lovers because you didn't like them. And now you finally say that we're going to seriously try to stay a couple, and you run off and leave me for two whole days? Is that fair?"
"Is it fair?"
"No." Beej conceded, blinking. "No, it's not fair. But, it's not fair of you to expect me to have all the answers and be here by your side twenty four seven. I may be dead, Lyds, but I still need a little space every now and then."
"Oh, and don't I fucking know it?" She spat, her wild, unkempt hair making her look deranged. "Hasn't that been the line you've used to pass me off so many times before?" She stormed over to him, pulling him down by his tie so that she could scream into his face. "I've been committed to you. I've been loyal to you. For seven years, seven god damned years, all I've wanted is to have you want me the same way. All I've wanted is for us to be together. Why can't you just give me that?"
"Lydia, I..." Beetlejuice was legitimately scared. This wasn't Lydia, not his Lydia. He gripped her by the shoulders. "I didn't ask you to do any of this. Yes, it was wrong of me to let you imagine this kind of stuff, but I can't read your mind. You shouldn't be defining yourself by me!"
"Well who else am I going to define myself by?" She sobbed, her bloodshot eyes and wet cheeks making her messy appearance all the more tragic. "I wasn't anything before I met you. Anything I could say about myself has been your influence! I just... I can't..." She turned away, running her hands through her hair, still sobbing, looking utterly lost. She crouched down, her head between her knees, her feet flat on the floor, curling into a ball.
"I don't know who I am unless I'm with you."
"Lydia..." Beetlejuice wasn't sure what to do. He tried reaching out to her, but he didn't want to touch her and have her freak out. "Lydia, I... I'm sorry. Please, please tell me what I can do. I'll do anything; I'll help any way I can! But... you're not well..."
"I need you." Lydia looked up, her eyes shining with sudden determination. She gripped his jacket sleeves, pulling him down so that their eyes were level. "I need to be with you forever, that way I'll always know just who I am."
"Whoa... Lydia, don't say that..."
"And we can be together forever." She sniffed. She had stopped listening. "All I'd have to do is take a knife. It would be so easy, right across an artery; I know where they all are..."
"Whoa!" Beej stood, hoping to conjure ropes to hold her still, but his heart was skipping beats. Just like when he was around sandworms, the fear was blind-siding him, stopping his 'juice from working properly. She ran through to the kitchen, and he found himself limited to running and grabbing at her, pleading and begging, but she wouldn't see sense. Eventually, he found himself screaming.
"Lydia Deetz, you listen to me now." He blocked her exit with his form, for although he had no supernatural powers, he was still a damn sight bigger than her. "If you harm yourself, not only will I not be able to see you again, I will not want to see you again!"
"What?" Lydia was startled into paying attention, staring at him with big, watery eyes. He held her shoulders, stroking her chin. He stared into her eyes, trying to push back his own emotion, which threatened to break through. His face crumpled, and he felt weary... weak.
"Lydia... you're not right. You're not the kid I made friends with. You're not the young woman I saw grow up. Please, Lydia, don't do this to yourself, or to me. Please." His eyes were honest, and filled with concern. He watched as her nervy, manic expression switched to one of dull comprehension, then one of sorrow. Her slender hands reached up to cover her mouth and her eyes closed. Her chest began to spasm, her breathing got heavier, and slowly she sunk to the floor, leaning on Beetlejuice as her entire body wracked with heaving sobs. Beetlejuice didn't resist. He sank with her, wrapping her in his arms, biting back tears of his own as Lydia's scared, confused moans and wails filled the silent house. His eyes fell on the corpse of Therese, and he found himself hugging Lydia tighter.
"Alright." He spoke, quietly. He was almost inaudible over Lydia's crying. "Alright. I'm done. You win!" Lydia continued to cry, pulling him closer. He raised his head, staring at the ceiling as he growled. "You win, d'you hear me? I can't set this right, not now, it's too late!"
Lydia's crying trailed off into whimpers as she looked up at him, still just as scared and confused.
"Who are you talking to?"
"The cosmos. The cosmos that screwed us both over because we said stupid things on the night of the carnival." Beej sat back, stroking Lydia's hair out of her eyes before pressing his hands against his face. The stereo ticked over, and began playing some god awful rock song that sounded vaguely familiar. Beej stood up, helping Lydia to her feet. He leant against the door-frame, closing his eyes and hugging her tight. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for a lot of stuff. And I wish I could set it right, but I can't. I'm not all-powerful, I can't fix everything..."
"I... I have to be alone." Lydia whispered, hugging him tight. He felt her slip out of his arms, and did nothing to try to catch her. He just stood, eyes closed, leaning against the door frame, recapping how everything had turned to shit in five days, pinpointing exactly how it had all fallen so spectacularly apart. The god awful rock song kept playing, getting louder and louder, until he found it hard to even think. He was about to ask Lydia to turn it off, when he felt a sickening lurch in his stomach.
He opened his eyes with a jolt, and found himself standing by a small bar, in the middle of the Neitherworld Carnival. He was wearing his white Carnival suit, and Arcade Pyre were thrashing away in the plaza a little distance away, crowds rushing to hear them. The scene was exactly as he remembered, but with one difference. Next to him, on one of the bar stools, sat a lugubrious figure with lank, black hair and silver-grey eyes, staring at him over the top of a steaming, colourful drink.
"Uh..." Beej stammered, staring down at the Bell Hop, who obliged with a shy smile.
"Everyone gets the night off for Carnival. That's why so much goes wrong."
"You... did you bring me back here?"
"Yes. I felt leaving you on that floor of existence would be cruel. So..." The Bell Hop's eyes flashed in a way that could have been mischievous or malicious; Beej really couldn't tell which. "I won't say anything if you don't."
Beej gaped for a moment, before stammering an affirmative. The bar man gave Beetlejuice his drinks, and the Bell Hop smiled at him, more warmly this time.
"Lydia, your Lydia, has so much potential. You aren't an ideal role model, but you owe her as much as she owes you. I hope this experience has taught you that much."
"It has." Beetlejuice nodded, picking up his drinks. "But don't ever do anything like it again or I'll make you into a snack for the sandworms."
"I won't, as long as you don't say anything else worrying tonight." They exchanged wry smiles, before Beetlejuice began to move away. The Bell Hop turned to the ebony-haired banshee on his left. "Happy Carnival."
"Like, is it?" The banshee sneered. The Bell Hop shrugged, before signalling for the bar man to refill her drink.
"If you make it."
Lydia was having the most fun she could ever remember having. The whole night had been amazing, and the way Beej had been leading her around, asking her thoughts... she turned to yell over the noise of the band.
"This is amazing!"
"Eh." Beej walked out of the crowd towards her, drinks in his hands. He gave her one, before downing his own. "Not really my kind of music. But I'm glad you're having fun." He shot her a wink, and then pointed at her, making her float up above the crowds so they could get a better view. He saw her, her fifteen year old self, exactly as he remembered, exactly the Lydia he cherished.
It was several hours later that Jacques, Ginger, Lydia and Beetlejuice all staggered back to the Roadhouse, waving goodnight to The Monster and Poopsie as they crossed the street. Beej, stepping aside as Jacques and Ginger entered, punched Jacques amicably on the arm.
"Happy Carnival, friend."
"Friend?" Jacques repeated, marvelling. "Zut alors, the Carnival spirit has certainly got to you, non?"
"Maybe, Jacques, maybe." Beej grinned, hands in his pockets. "Don't get too used to it; I'll be back to normal tomorrow." Emphasizing his point, he dug his pinkie into his ear, excising a large lump of wax. "Ooh, who wants earwax yellow in their colour predictions?"
"Beetlejuice." Lydia laughed, trying to sound stern. Beetlejuice stuck his tongue out at her, before raising a smug eyebrow as he saw her stifle a yawn. "I should probably get you hope kiddo... uh..." He caught himself, waving goodnight to Jacques and Ginger. "Young lady. C'mon, I'll walk you back to the door."
Lydia flushed with pride as she waved Jacques and Ginger goodnight, and was escorted back to the door by Beetlejuice. "Young lady." Not "kid", or "kiddo", or even "little miss". He was making a point, and she appreciated it.
"Well, let's see your colours." He grinned, looking over her poncho as they walked. "You started off with a little red, which is passion and creative energy... I figured I'd give you that since you've got it in spades... You've got green which is luck, blue which is vitality, purple is wealth, orange is fulfilment, and, d'aww. A big old splodge of pink on your back."
"What does that mean?"
"It means, at some point over the next twenty years, you're going to fall in love."
Lydia blushed ferociously. Beetlejuice, to his credit, made sure not to notice. "So, what was the highlight for you?"
They laughed and joked as they conversed throughout their brief walk, eventually coming to the door. As she was about to slip through, Beetlejuice grabbed Lydia's wrist, his face suddenly clouded with concern.
"Promise me something."
"Depends what it is..."
"No, I'm serious. You're an amazing kid who's growing into a wonderful adult. I've been thinking about the future a lot today... well, for a while now, I guess." He looked away, biting his lip for a moment, his brow furrowed momentarily. He looked back, his eyes locking with Lydia's, his hands grasping hers. "Promise me you won't do anything unless you want to do it. Don't let anyone make you feel like you're worthless. Someday, you'll make someone very happy."
"Beej..." Lydia blushed again, but this time it wasn't from embarrassment. It was one that suggested she didn't believe him.
"Lydia, trust me. You're a special person. And you can do just about anything you want to do. Heck, you've turned me into a softie, Lyds. Me! So just promise me you won't waste your time on anyone who makes you feel like you're anything less. Even if it's me."
"What? Beej... ok, I promise." She giggled, giving him a curious look. "What's made you think of that?"
"Just... experience." He shrugged, noncommittally. He held out his arms, and they hugged, before she slipped through the door.
"See you tomorrow!" She grinned, as the door closed. Beej smiled, waving until the door was shut and had disappeared. He zapped himself back to the Roadhouse, changing into his pyjamas and climbing straight into bed, not even bothering to examine the colours on his Carnival suit. He'd seen enough of the future, and was content for now to know that he could stop it from happening. And, with that rather confusing thought, along with others concerning the correct grammatical application of pronouns and timelines, he slept.