Synopsis: Sometimes the afterlife is better than the first. /BeastxJoker/
A/N: I have no idea where this one came from. None whatsoever. I feel bad about Dagger in this one, though.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kuroshitsuji, its characters, plots, settings, etc. etc.
The woman raised an eyebrow at me, her stamp poised to stamp my papers, but hovering above it. "Really?" she asked me.
I narrowed my eyes. "Yes," I told her. "Is that an issue or something?"
The woman shrugged, still not stamping my papers. "Not at all, miss, but you..." She looked over my clothes. My circus clothes and the scarf that Joker had given me. "You don't really seem much like a beast." The distaste in her voice could have cut the air.
"Terribly sorry," I told her, waiting for her to stamp my papers. She didn't, just kept staring at me. "Is there a problem?" I asked her again, growing impatient.
She shook her head. "I don't see many girls like you up here," she told me.
Now this pissed me off. I had committed my fair share of sins and I knew that, but I repented. I prayed. I never did anything too bad-at least I never thought so-and even with my upbringing, even with everything that I could have done wrong, I tried to be good.
"What are you saying?" I asked her, trying to give this old hag the benefit of the doubt, but not really having much of an urge to anymore. "Girls like me?"
The woman smiled. "Let's just say that we don't have many girlies wearing leather and carrying around whips up here. You're a bit of an anomaly."
I frowned. "I was a circus performer," I told her. "It was my job to carry around a whip. I tamed lions."
The woman chuckled under her breath. "Sure it was, dearie. Sure it was."
"You don't believe me?" It was at this point that I got really irritated. I was in Heaven, wasn't I? Wasn't this stigma, wasn't this bullshit supposed to go away? It was bad enough not having a leg, but now I had to deal with the way that I dressed, too?
Maybe Hell would have been better. At least that way I would have been with more of my friends.
The woman looked up at me through a pair of thick glasses. "I've seen all kinds up here. I've seen saints who look like sinners and sinners who look like saints. You just happen to be one of the former. I've met shark hunters and aristocrats who haven't worked a day in their lives. I've met kings and peasants. But sometimes, someone comes around and surprises me. That just happened to be you."
This speech didn't impress me. Maybe it was because I had been in the circus for so long, but I was used to someone truly performing and performing well if they were to give a performance at all. "Can I go?" I asked her.
"Did you like working in the circus?" she asked.
I resisted the urge to roll my eyes. "Why do you care?"
She grinned. "Maybe your troubles aren't over yet. Maybe you have to deal with me and my questions in order to gain access to the Gates of Heaven." I frowned. "Just tell me, did you like working at the circus?"
I thought about my answer. I wanted to leave, to go and just spend the rest of eternity doing whatever I wanted, but at the same time, I didn't. Maybe it would be better to just mess this up and go to Hell or be a ghost or whatever. Maybe Heaven made you forget. Still, I needed to go somewhere. "I loved it," I told her. "But there were parts I hated." I sounded like a brat, but it was true.
The woman put down the stamp-without stamping my papers-and uncapped a pen. She began to scribble notes down on a piece of paper next to the ones that I had filled out and given her a few moments before. "What did you like?"
"The people," I told her. Then I thought of Smile and Suit. "Well, most of them." And Snake. "Most of the time." I paused. "The food was good, too. Better than anything I had ever eaten before."
"Because you lived on the streets?" she asked me.
I nodded. "Yes," I told her. Then I realized. "How do you know that?"
She grinned. "That's a secret." She cleared her throat. "What didn't you like?"
I took a step back. I didn't want to answer this. I hadn't thought much about it when I was alive, and didn't really feel like thinking about it while I was dead, too. Still, there were things I didn't like. "Dagger was a bit too frisky," I said finally. I didn't mention Father. I didn't mention how he had lied to us, given us hope and then dashed it away. "I guess, if I have to think about it."
The woman frowned and stared down at her pages. "Dagger..." She shifted through them. "I don't see his name anywhere."
My heart sunk. "I won't be seeing him again, then?" The woman didn't look at me, but her eyes remained focused on the papers. "He'll be sad about that."
"It could be a mistake?" It wasn't a mistake. Both of us knew that. I wanted to tell this woman that she didn't need to lie for me. I've gotten bad news before, more times than I could count. "Some shinigami are notorious for these sorts of mistakes. They're understaffed at the moment and-"
"Joker," I said without thinking. "Is... Is Joker's name on one of those sheets? Or is he alive?" My voice cracked as I said this; the thought hadn't even crossed my mind before.
My heart filled suddenly and tears sprang to my eyes. Joker hadn't been on the mission with us. Joker had not set foot into the death trap that we did. There was a chance, then. There was a chance that he was alive. Did it matter if I were dead if Joker had survived? If he was still on Earth, then there was something right. If he was still alive, then I could be happy for the rest of eternity. The mere thought of him still on Earth, still living with a purpose made me want to cry tears of joy.
"Oh, Joker?" The familiarity that she spoke with worried me. I grabbed the edge of the desk that she was working at, my knuckles white. "He was here a few hours ago. A jolly lad, too. I thought he had a good attitude for someone in his position. But when he asked about a few people... He got so down. A good, kind soul, he has. Are you a friend of his?"
There were many times in my life when I wanted to quit. When I wanted to lie down and die. There were many times where I cursed life and its unfairness, when I hated humanity and all that it did. Those were the times that Joker came into my tent and put an arm around me. Those were the times when he whispered in my ear that everything would be all right. There was no Joker then, to stop my tears from flowing.
A man paused behind me. "There's a tissue box in the corner of the room," he said, sounding bored.
"Greg," the woman told him with a harsh stare. "Now dearie, do you need a moment?"
I wiped the tears off my face, unable to admit how upset I was. "No." It was harsher than I had intended, but got the message across. I needed to leave that waiting room. Limbo, it said the door in. I woke-up with these papers in my hand with my face and my name and my life written out on them. Then I waited and waited for what felt like forever in this room called limbo. And now... Now that I knew that there truly wasn't anyone waiting for me, anyone left for me, I needed to move on.
"That's all you had to know, dearie." I looked up at the woman and smiled at me. "I think you're ready," she told me. She chuckled under her breath. "And... Even you're not, he's waiting for you out there. He has been for a while."
I was about to ask what she meant, but a door that I hadn't even noticed was there swung open and the most beautiful light-really, the most beautiful thing I had ever seen-shined through, beckoning me into it. I had just enough will to pull my face away to tell the woman, "Thank you" before entering the door.
The light felt so warm on my cold skin. And then I feel something strange... A leg appeared. Not a false leg, but a real one. I reached down and touched it, delicate, like it may break. But it didn't. When I touched it, I knew I was touching something connected to me.
"You'll never really get used to that." I didn't turn; I didn't think it was true. "I keep feeling like my arm is going to fall off, just like it would when we were all getting our measurements done for the first time and no one's prosthetics actually fit." She felt a hand on her back; it was warmer than the light. "But here it is. It stays on. You can feel it, right? How it's really a part of me."
Tears were flowing down my face for the second time that day. "I can't believe you're really here," I told him, still too afraid to look behind me. I could have been Orpheus and he, Eurydice. I didn't want to take that chance. I had lost him a long time ago, when fear separated us. Now that he was back, I didn't want to ever have be apart from him again.
His hand moved from my back and his other came around my chest, both of them holding me tight. "You didn't really think that I would have left you behind, right?"
I turned to face him and was stunned. Everything about him was the same, but so beautiful. His hair, his eyes, his smile, they all had the same effect on me as ever. Nothing had changed except for the fact that now we didn't have to pretend or be scared. There was nothing that could hold us back. We had been given a chance that all we had to do was take.
"I love you," he said. "I'm never going to leave you again."
"Promise me," I told him.
We held each other under that great light, soaking each other in like we had never done before. Life had never been easy, but that didn't mean that the afterlife had to be hard as well.