Title: Wise Man
Rating:PG-13 (F-bomb and other curses used several times)
Disclaimer: The show or characters ain't mine, ok?
Characters: Rube (with George, Daisy, Mason, Roxy, Betty)
Genre: general
Word Count: 1,079
Summary: Rube reflects on how his gang of reapers look to him for advice. Even when he thinks he's the worst possible candidate for the job. Inspired by Rube's quote in 1x14: "A wise man knows how little he knows."

A wise man knows how little he knows. – Rube, "Rest in Peace"

Somewhere along the long and dreary road, I became known as the boss. The leader. The goddamn head grim reaper – if there is such a bullshit thing, anyhow. Everyone turns their inquisitive eyes toward me for answers.

Rube's so fuckin' old, he reaped Jesus! The words of my very own fuck-up, as heard through George, indicate me to a point. I'm the oldest of my fellow co-workers, so I guess I have all the answers. Hell, I remember as if it were yesterday when I joined the ranks of the undead. But who'd, among them, know that? Who'd give two shits?

No, to them – to the starlet, to the fuck-up, to the cop, and to Peanut – I'm Mister Know-It-All. I'm wise, supposedly, and I've got the world at my fingertips. Little do they know that, in reality, in this fucked up existence we call life and death, it is the wise men that know how much they don't know. And I know I'm clueless. I'm walking in the dark here, and bumping into walls.

What do I know?

Absolutely nothing.

And I keep tellin' them that, but do they listen? Daisy, the blonde with the plastered smile, walks around oblivious. She keeps her mouth shut, asking no questions (which I can appreciate), except blurting out the sporadic, yet frequent "I blew" insert-name-here. She's been around long enough to figure out the game and notice that despite the few set rules, we all gotta play the rest by ear. And Mason – as long as that moron's got his filthy booze and fuckin' pills to drown his troubles and misery, he does his job. Well, he does his job to the best of his ability after being drugged up, anyway … but he'll do it.

Peanut's a different story, though. She's a down-right fireball, ready to be shot at my direction to test my strength – or, more my nerves, I bet. That George hates everything about her situation. She hates her undead status, she hates the fact that it's her duty to be somewhat responsible for death, she hates being too far from that nut-job family of hers and yet so damn close for her comfort, and she hates that she can't get some peace of mind.

Everyday, she wants me to tell her something – something that will make her undead experience easier. She hates me, most of the time, for being unable to provide her with a reply. And I hate myself for that, too. I hate that, even with all that empathy, all the resurfacing feelings of my early days as a reaper, I can't do anything for her. She wants me to be her father, her teacher, her Santa Claus, her fucking Jesus Christ – I don't even know anymore. But I can't be any of that for her. I know I'm too lost, myself, still, to give her any guidance.

I think Roxy's the only one that is my one sympathizer. She gets it – understands that I don't know jack-shit, that it's a cosmic occurrence completely out of my hands. Ohhh, I tell ya, I feel sorry for poor Rox sometimes. My cynicism of the intangible and ungraspable truth that we're all ultimately pawns in an ever-lasting game of chess has rubbed off on her. No wonder she's a cop; at least, she gets to let out some of the brassed-off emotions and steam on pricks in handcuffs. Looks like our Roxy's a wise person too – totally and completely fucked over by knowing she knows nothing at all, knowing that's all she's going to find out for a long, long time, too.

Betty was the only other one that was on the verge of discovering her own ignorance. That piston – always smiling because she liked what she did – (And Betty,she just loves funerals. You'd think she'd never been to one before.) – she knew that the people she reaped went onto happier things. Problem was she started to become envious of them. She wanted what they got in the blue light and, piston that she was, couldn't wait for it. She had to take the jump for herself. That – and she secretly started worrying what was in store for her in the end if she stuck around for the long run, an entire unlife of hanging around just taking soul after soul, never quite sure when it'd be your last. Betty didn't want the feeling of uncertainty, of unawareness. So she took the easy way out.

Funny thing is, I kind of envy her for it. Sure, I miss her – that fiery redhead – and I curse her for leaving us. I mourn for her departure, but I wish it had been me sometimes. Wish I had had the balls to leave it all behind – just to stop the doubt, just to say I finally figured out all of it. I've got the fucking answers to this inevitable test every breathing thing has to face, and I'd gladly give them out to everyone who requests them, free of cost.

But, as with all people at all ages of their lives, I still don't know shit; I'm still a wise man at that.

"Hey, are we gonna get our post-its or are we just gonna sit around and chat, Rube?" Roxy says, disrupting my thoughts.

"Yeah, some of us have places to go, people to reap," Peanut quips.

"Unless there are no post-its. Then that'd mean a day off – which would be bloody lovely," adds Mason, hopeful.

"And I could get a manicure. I've been needing one, but I haven't found the time." Daisy takes this opportunity to glance over her fingers, gently picking at the inside of her nails.

I reach over to my side for my leather book. "Sorry, princess, your precious manicure will have to wait. One for you, and you, and you … and finally, you, my little peanut."

All four of them moan.

"This blows," I hear George say, before standing and putting on her coat.

"Oh," I begin. "Don't forget your umbrellas, my little darlings. It looks like heavy rain today." I really don't give a flying crap whether they get wet or not, I just want to give 'em something – some advice, warning. It's silly of me and, God, oh-so-ridiculous. But that's what happens when this idiot starts thinking.

"That's what we love 'bout you," Mason, grinning, says. "You're a wise, wise man, Rubey."

"Yeah. Yeah. I guess I am."

Too bad, huh?

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