Hey guys! Back with some more One Piece writing. This is a little different than my usual stuff though. Recently I've been participating in 30_onepiece's prompt theme challenge, where they provide 30 different themes and challenge you to write 30 different character fics centered around said themes with a time limit.
The character I picked was Zoro, so this'll be a collection of 30 different Zoro-centric fics (with plenty of other Straw Hats too, of course!)
Because they are individual stories bundled together, this'll have a blanket PG-13/T rating (this is the highest it gets), but they can vary from G/K to T/PG-13 (and from here on out I'm using movie ratings). Also note that all stories are nakamaship only and contain no pairings, and that the genres can vary from comedy to angst, so read all the individual warnings before each fic to know what you're getting into. And unless otherwise stated, all fics take place between Thriller Bark and Sabaody.
And now, without further ado, the first fic!
Title: Not Your Average Death
Theme: #4: Wings
Rating: PG-13, mostly for foul language and some morbid themes.
Warnings: Set after Thriller Bark, so possible minor spoilers. The aforementioned foul language. Also, character death...sort of. But not exactly. (It makes sense in context, okay!)
Disclaimer(s): I do not own, or pretend to own, One Piece or any of its subsequent characters, plots or other ideas. That right belongs solely to Eiichiro Oda. I do not own the prompts either—those are assigned by 30_OnePiece.
Zoro woke in a dark, misty emptiness. There was no ceiling, no walls, no stars, no sky, no nothing. He was reasonably sure there was no floor either. He could feel himself laying flat on his back on some sort of surface, and yet inexplicably he also knew there was nothing there.
The train of thought was confusing as hell, so he abandoned it, and tried to decide just where the hell he was and what was going on. The last thing he remembered was an enormous full-scale battle, with the entire crew at his side. He'd leapt into the thick of the fight to try and protect one of them and had taken a positively enormous axe blade straight through the gut despite all his efforts to block it. No, wait, he had that wrong; there hadn't been time to block it. That was right.
He considered the emptiness, and came to the fairly reasonable conclusion that he must be dead. Or close to it, anyway. Well that sure as hell sucked.
Zoro unexpectedly became aware of a second presence near him—or more like, the presence suddenly faded into existence out of the blackness and the nothingness. Zoro sat up with a groan and regarded the figure standing or sitting or floating or whatever the hell it was doing nearby skeptically.
It was like nothing he'd ever seen, and Zoro had seen a hell of a lot in his few months on the Grand Line. The figure wore a dark, tattered cloak, so black it looked more like it was made out of night than an actual fabric, which made no sense at all when Zoro thought about it, but it was the truth all the same. He just...knew it, somehow. The same way he knew there was no ground beneath him but he was still sitting on something. The figure's head was shrouded in the hood, making it impossible to really make out a face, although as far as Zoro could tell that face consisted more of cloudy, literal shadows than skin, anyway. A pair of rotting, half-skeletal hands extended from the wide robe sleeves, although that was about it for what Zoro could make out of its body—the cloak, even ripped, seemed to billow around the rest of the creature. But perhaps its most striking feature was a pair of enormous tattered black wings. Half the feathers were ripped out, making the appendages look rather lackluster and bony, but what did remain was folded carefully forward and around the creature's shoulders, forming a sort of rotting feathery mantle.
Zoro supposed under normal circumstances the cobbled-together collection of rotting and generally creepy parts would have made the creature look formidable and possibly even terrifying (but he'd fought zombies before without flinching, so what the hell did he know). But the ancient, frightening image was sort of ruined by the fact that the creature appeared to be sitting back casually on a not-actually-visible chair, legs crossed under its billowing robes while it casually flicked with dexterous rotting fingers through pages of a bright-pink tabloid magazine with The Undead Enquirer stamped in bold letters across its front.
"Um," Zoro said, because even he was sort of at a loss as to how to respond to this one, "Hello. I'm guessing you're Death. Or something."
The figure looked up (Zoro thought—it was sort of hard to tell without seeing a face), and there was a sigh of obvious exasperation from the creature as it glared at him (or at least, Zoro was reasonably sure it was glaring at him). "Dammit to hell, Zoro, can't you try to keep yourself alive for at least one battle? Do we seriously have to play out this scene every time you get into even a minor fight?"
Huh. Not exactly how Zoro expected Death to react. He kinda figured there'd be more...gloating. Or something. "I've never met you before in my life," he said instead, figuring it'd probably be best to not belittle Death or...whatever. Honestly, he really wasn't sure how to play this one.
The figure snorted. Somehow. "Like hell," it growled in exasperation. Dexterous corpse fingers deftly folded down one page in The Undead Enquirer before placing it carefully to the side in thin air, where it stayed perfectly in place despite not having anything to sit on. "We meet at least once a month, usually more, and I give you the same goddamn warnings every time. Frikkin' near-death experience laws. If you'd just listen to me once we wouldn't be in this mess all the frikkin' time."
"Um," Zoro said intelligently. Dying was not, apparently, doing anything for his ability to process what the hell was going on. "You...are Death, right?" He asked after a moment, giving the figure a shrewd look. With his luck it would actually turn out to be a zombie, or a Devil Fruit user, or whatever.
The figure tched in disgust, and his rotting wings unfolded from around his shoulders long enough to flutter in agitation, like an anxious bird when it was grounded. Or, considering the thing's obvious irritation, maybe more like someone who gestured violently when they were mad. "Do I look high-end enough to be Death? Please. Hell, if I was Grim Reaper status I'd have life much easier than I do now. Relatively speaking anyway." The thing snorted (Zoro thought) and then added flatly, "No, just like I tell you every time, I'm just your personal angel of death. Or just Zoro's Death, if you prefer."
"You're...my personal death."
"Named after me."
"Hey, I didn't get to pick my name any more than you did, jackass, so don't get me started on that." The creature—his death—waved wings and rotting claws wildly, gesturing in irritation. "You react the same way every time, it's really starting to piss me off, you know? You're so goddamn predictable."
"You're real mouthy," Zoro shot back, fast growing irritated with his death.
"You better fucking believe it. I envy that stupid shit-cook on your crew, at least he can kick you." The death snorted again. "Me, all I get to do is give you the same tired lectures over and over that you never remember anyway when you wake up. It's like beating my head against a brick wall."
Zoro grit his teeth and finally stood up to face his death head on. Strangely enough, it was exactly his height (he thought, anyway). "Okay. Fine. You don't like your job. What exactly—"
Zoro's Death held up one rotting hand to forestall him, and said with obvious boredom, "No, let me guess. 'What exactly is a personal death.' I got it, right?"
"No," Zoro said stiffly. Actually the thing had, but he sure as hell wasn't going to admit it.
"Uh huh. Sure." The thing was eyeless as far as Zoro could tell, but still managed to roll its eyes anyway. Somehow. "I'll just cut to the chase. I'm a personal death. Every human being has one. Everyone's slated to die at some point. That's just the way the world works." Zoro nodded in acceptance. The thing seemed satisfied, enough to fold its rotting wings back around its shoulders like a mantle, and continued, "So, everybody's got a death. Death's the most intimate and final thing a human can, or will, ever have. After that, you're done, you know?"
"Brook wasn't," Zoro pointed out, mostly to piss off his death more than to be clever.
"And wasn't Brook's Death ever confused over that," Zoro's Death droned, with a tired sigh. "Poor bastard. Met him just before he joined your crew. He was totally at a loss how to handle that one. Not much precedent for it, that Devil Fruit hasn't been used in a damned long time. Nobody really knew how to handle it, least of all that guy. There's still a lot of kinks in the works there, too. I mean, hell, how are you supposed to decide when an animated skeleton is supposed to die? None of the usual factors are in place at all."
"So that's what you do? Decide when we die?" Zoro asked, hastily cutting off a rant before it could actually start.
Zoro's Death gave him a sharp look—Zoro thought, anyway, and damn this was weird—but said, "No, jackass. I already told you, I'm not a Grim Reaper. I don't get to decide when you die. I'm just your personal death, for when it finally happens."
"You lost me on that one."
The thing shrugged, fluttering its rotting wings as it spread its skeletal hands wide. "Basically my one and only job is to stick around you until the moment you finally, actually die, and then bring you to wherever you go next."
"Trade secret, pal. Can't tell you. Be breaking all sorts of rules if I did. Besides, what the fuck do you have to be scared of, you're a goddamn atheist."
"Damn straight. Probably the only good part about these visits—I can yell at you all I want." The thing appeared to be scowling at him now.
Zoro shrugged. "So, you bring me to wherever when I die. And then what?"
"Yeah. That's it. The end."
"What, you don't...get recycled, or something, as somebody else's death?"
The thing scoffed at him, like he'd suggested that Luffy had suddenly decided to go vegetarian. "What are you, stupid? I'm Zoro's Death. That makes me Zoro's Goddamn Death. I can't just magically switch to being somebody else's death. I'm yours."
Zoro shrugged again. "Okay. Fine then. So am I dead now?"
"No. Thank fuck. You're just mostly dead at the moment. Incidentally, nice job dodging, jackass."
Zoro glared at the thing, and decided his imminent death was more obnoxious than frightening. "So, what...I'm going to live?"
"Probably. That Chopper kid is damned good at his job. I mean, if they just left you laying there, then eventually yeah, sure, you'd die. But they won't. That's a tight-knit group if I ever saw one."
"So, this is..." Zoro waved his hand around once, gesturing to the emptiness around him.
The thing spread its wings and hands simultaneously. "This, my friend, is a near death experience. Honestly, I'm shocked as hell you don't remember this already. I mean, geez...once or twice, sure, I'd understand. But you figure if you do this enough and it eventually becomes routine, you'd start to remember a thing or two."
"I've been here before?"
"All the fucking time. Pretty much, every baddy you've ever fought that inevitably left you laying on the ground bleeding to death, gave you a one-way ticket straight here."
As he started mentally counting all the dangerous fights he'd been in since encountering Luffy, Zoro realized uncomfortably that was actually quite a lot of trips. Okay, so maybe he could see why the thing was pissed off. A little.
Wasn't going to make him treat the thing any nicer, but yeah. He could understand. A little.
"So if this is a near death experience," Zoro said slowly, "Then where's the light at the end of the tunnel that everyone talks about?"
"They turned it off due to budget constraints," the thing sneered back at him sarcastically.
"Doesn't exist, huh?"
"No, it does. They just stopped giving a shit enough to turn it on for you since you do this all the goddamn time."
"Can't exactly blame me, can you?"
"So," Zoro said, turning the conversation back on hand. If he was floating around in near-death-experience limbo, he'd probably be out for some time yet, and he might as well spend it figuring things out since his death obviously wasn't going to let him take a nap. "How will you know when I actually die?"
Zoro's Death shrugged, and said almost civilly, "Dunno. I'll just know."
"You'll just know."
"Hey, don't give me any crap, pal. You're the one who listens to rocks breathe in his spare time. Y'know. When you're not busy trying to get yourself killed."
"For a death, you're awful uptight about me dying," Zoro snapped back, finally losing his temper. "I figured you'd be happy about getting your job over with. It must suck to tag around behind me all the time, waiting for me to die."
For the first time, his death actually looked almost terrifying. The creature leaned in close, and despite the fact that they were nearly the same size Zoro's Death seemed to tower over his human counterpart. His rotting wings spread wide, feathers straining to make him appear much larger than he actually was, and for the first time Zoro was aware of a deep, rattling breath from inside the confines of the cloak. Zoro actually ducked back a little in surprise before he could manage to stop himself. Okay, so maybe all the myths and stories about Death weren't total bullshit.
"Uptight?" the thing hissed, low, angry, and this close Zoro could actually feel the pent up rage and frustration seething just below the surface of the creature, contained all within that cloak. "Uptight?" it repeated furiously. "You think I'm uptight? You know what happens to a personal death when their human dies, pal?"
"Uh," Zoro said, drawing a blank. He hadn't actually thought about what happened to death at...well, at death. He just sort of figured he'd stop working on earth, and that was that. "You go to death-afterlife?" He offered.
"Asshole," Zoro's Death snarled. "Real witty. We don't exist anymore. We just stop. After I drag you off to wherever the hell it is you're destined to go, that's it for me. No more Zoro's Death. You're dead, so obviously you don't need me anymore. No more purpose for poor old me!"
"Oh," Zoro said, because really, what the hell else could one say to that.
The figure jabbed one rotting finger into Zoro's chest, flapped the bony wings on its back angrily. "You think it sucks to have your friends die? Hey, at least you've got an afterlife to think about, pal. What was it you said? Oh yeah. World's greatest swordsman. So strong your name reaches up to the heavens."
Zoro paled. Oh no. His death really wasn't going to bring that up—
"Yeah, that's right," the death hissed sharply. "Our mutual friend Kuina. Well, you can appease her spirit all you want, but what about Kuina's Death, huh? Yeah, she was a friend of mine, too, and she's gone forever. Do you know how long forever is, pal? Let me tell you. It's really. Fucking. Long."
Zoro waited quietly. There was really nothing else he could say to this, nothing he could do, except let his damned death have its piece.
"I am not going out like that," Zoro's Death said sharply. "You can wait for whatever, and maybe you'll be happy if the end for you is just that: an end. But I only get one shot, because I can only be Zoro's Death, and not anybody else's death, and once you go and get yourself killed it is fucking over for me. And you know what? I kinda like living!"
"You're a death," Zoro pointed out tentatively. "Aren't you sort of dead already?" Shit, he'd definitely been around Brook too long when he could practically hear the yohohohoing after that ironic point.
"Fuck you, asshole," Zoro's Death growled at him, although its anger seemed to be dissipating now. "You know what I meant. I'd like to at least have my shot at reaching a ripe old age before I go off to oblivion, okay? But you're not exactly pitching in on your half of the deal."
"Deal?" Zoro snorted. "What exactly are you doing, 'cause I'm the one doing all the fighting and not-dying."
The figure promptly smacked him in the face with one feathery wing. Zoro spat out feathers. Disgusting. "Jackass. Why do you think you always manage to bull your way through ridiculous amounts of damage that should kill any other human being?"
"Sure, in part, but I'm doing my part too. And let me tell you, I have never, ever heard of a personal death working so damned hard to keep their human alive before." Zoro had the feeling the thing was rolling its eyes again, and it waved one rotting hand in exasperation. "I wish I'd been lucky enough to be some normal human's death. When the most dangerous thing they have to worry about is stepping outside to get run over by a carriage or something. Or hell, even anybody else on your crew. I'd even trade with Brook's Death. That guy's got over eighty freaking years and it's not like he's gonna go down any time soon. I'd take the stupid fruit issues over you any day. Hell, I'd even take Sanji over you. At least he has the common sense to fucking dodge most of the time."
"I've got to be better than Luffy," Zoro said, sounding a little insulted despite himself. "And boy do I feel sorry for that bastard if he's as whiny as you are."
Zoro's Death shook his head in exasperation. "Are you crazy? Luffy's Death is just as crazy as Luffy is. Goddamn daredevil. But it helps that his human at least has Devil Fruit powers for some extra insurance."
The thing folded its arms across its chest, and said with a sarcastic lilt, "I could have belonged to anybody else in the whole world. But no, nooooo, I've got to be Roronoa Freaking Zoro's Death, the guy who makes a goddamn game out of seeing how much blood he can lose in a single sitting while still hanging on long enough to get help."
"I...uh. Sorry?" Zoro offered. Really, this was just the day for not knowing what the hell to say.
"Sure," Zoro's Death said. "You say that every freakin' time you visit, and yet here you are again."
"It's not my fault I forget," Zoro insisted. Well, okay. He supposed it was, in part, but damn...he was dying right now, he was sort of preoccupied with other things!
"No," his death agreed sullenly. "I guess it isn't. Just...please, please try to dodge a little more often? For me? Personally I'd kinda like to see a little more of the world before you go off yourself, and I can't exactly go do that on my own. I'm sort of stuck with you, for good or for ill, you know? There's plenty of time for you to die later."
This was possibly the most civil the damn thing had been to him since he arrived. Zoro almost felt bad for it. He supposed it had to suck, being eternally chained to a person without asking for it. "I...uh. Well. I mean. I'll try, I guess. No promises, though. I have to protect the others if they're in danger."
Zoro's Death sighed. "Not exactly the response I was hoping for. Although a few other Deaths on the crew are more than happy to hear it, I guess." And at Zoro's raised eyebrow, the creature's rotting wings seemed to flutter, as if shooing something away. "Nami's Death. Goddamn harpy. For some reason it's always my fault when her human comes close to dying. Hell only knows how I'm supposed to fix anything. I'm just a death, not the meatshield."
"Thanks," Zoro said dryly.
"I didn't, actually, but who's counting." And since he couldn't think of anything else to talk about, he offered, "I'll try. Promise. If you can figure out a way to help me remember, that'd be even better. If you've been following me around my whole life, you know I don't break my promises."
"Yeah," the thing said with a shrug. "I know. I'll see if I can manage. Somehow. For both our sakes."
Silence for a bit, and then Zoro asked irritably, "Am I going to wake up any time soon?"
"Let me check." The death craned its neck sideways, fluttering its wings for balance as it peered through seemingly nothing to do...whatever. After a moment it withdrew its head and folded its wings around itself again like a mantle, and said, "Fight's over. You guys won. Big surprise. You're on the surgery table right now, looks mostly finished though. Getting sewn up. Probably still be a while though, even by time's standards here."
"Standards?" Zoro asked, surprised.
His death seemed to smirk. Somehow. Despite not having a face. So weird. "Time moves different here, yadda yadda. Y'know, like dreams. You know a dream might feel like it's lasted hours, but it's only a minute or two long?"
"Um. I guess."
"Yeah, well, things move faster there. Battle and surgery and all, it's been going on for a couple hours now, and we've only been talking for what...twenty minutes? Thirty?"
"Oh. Great." Well, what the hell was he supposed to do now, twiddle his thumbs?
"Bored?" his death asked, and offered him the hot pink Undead Enquirer with rotting fingers.
"Suit yourself." Apparently satisfied with its ranting, the death sat back once more and pried open the pages of the magazine.
Having nothing else to do, Zoro tried sitting back—to his surprise, he was able to effectively sit on nothing, just like his death currently was—and asked, "So. Luffy's Death is nuts, huh?"
"Certifiably. They go together like two peas in a pod. Not often you see that sort of shit around here." The death turned the page of his magazine, and gestured absently between them without looking up. "Case in point, you're borderline suicidal and I'm paranoid about living."
"You're still dead."
"Shut the fuck up, jackass."
"And I'm not suicidal."
"Keep telling yourself that."
"And Brook's Death had some confusion over the whole Yomi Yomi no Mi thing," Zoro recited, "And Nami's Death is a harpy."
"Without question. Those two go together pretty well too, although Nami's Death really wishes she could beat the whole 'willing to risk her life for gold' thing out of the girl's head. Can't say as I blame her."
"What are the others like?"
Zoro's Death shrugged. "Usopp's Death is sort of nuts. Thank fuck his human has more sense then to chuck himself at swords and what have you bare chested." A not-so-subtle glare from the creature, and it went on. "Sanji's Death is pretty chill. Honestly, I find that kind of surprising considering he gets himself into almost as much trouble as you and Luffy do. I expect the nicotine from all those cigarettes the bastard chain smokes is making his death totally high."
"You guys can get high off cigarette smoke?"
Zoro's Death snorted and turned another page. "Think about it, dumbass. It's a leading cause of death, isn't it?"
"Oh." He supposed that made sense, in a weird, twisted, completely morbid sort of way.
"Chopper's Death is still sort of new to the business. Animals don't have personal deaths, you know. We're only for sentient beings. That fruit of his sort of messed up the whole thing and made it way more confusing. Poor kid, he had no idea what he was doing, and he still mostly doesn't. The rest of us look out for the little brat."
"Deaths looking out for other deaths? There's something new."
"You're one to talk, jackass. Besides, you're often the cause of his anxiety, you know? Personal deaths, especially young ones, are usually pretty empathetic with their humans. You're a cause of panic often enough for the poor kid, so the kid's death gets all bent out of shape over it too."
"Oh. Uh. Sorry."
"Sure you are. Liar." Zoro's Death seemed to be rolling his eyes again. "Robin's Death is pretty relaxed. She's been around the block a few times, very experienced, not too worried about her human seeing as Robin usually knows when not to do something stupid."
"You're never going to let this go, are you."
"Hell no. And you deserve it, too." The creature seemed to consider, and then said, "Oh, but that reminds me, Robin's Death is awful grateful to the rest of you for that whole Enies Lobby mess. Suicides really are the worst."
"Um. Tell her no prob, I guess."
"Yeah, whatever." The death shrugged, flicking his mantle-wings a little as he did so. "And Franky's Death is...uh. Well. Overconfident would be an understatement, I think. He told me he freaked the hell out when his human started stuffing himself full of metal, and I can't say as I blame him. I mean, hell, one wrong cut or infection or whatever and it'd have been over. But now that Franky's, like, mostly metal, well...let's just say Franky's Death is absolutely positive he's never going to die."
Zoro snorted. "Yeah. That seems a bit overconfident."
"People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, jackass," Zoro's Death said casually. It turned another page.
"So...you don't mind being stuck with the rest of them?"
The death shrugged. "Do you mind being stuck with your crew?"
"Not really, but I mean, we had a choice in the matter. You're sort of stuck with us, aren't you?"
Zoro's Death smirked. "Clever, aintcha? You're right, but no, it's not really that bad. You just sort of learn to live with it. And make sure Luffy's Death doesn't goad his human into doing anything completely stupid. But you're probably familiar enough with that on your end."
"Like you wouldn't believe," Zoro said with a groan. Then he blinked in surprise. His vision was starting to blur at the edges, and his brain suddenly felt awful foggy, like his thoughts could barely get anywhere without being hampered. "Woah...what's...what's happening?"
The death looked up, and then craned his neck again curiously before settling back into place. "You're waking up," it said with a shrug. "Been a couple hours since the surgery now."
"I told you. Time flies. So nice to know you listen to me."
"Asshole." Zoro frowned down at his hands, which were appearing fainter now, more transparent. "So...this is it, then?"
"That's right. Try not to forget this time, please. A little dodging wouldn't kill you. In fact, it'll pretty much do just the opposite of that."
"Right," Zoro said. His voice was starting to get echoey now. "I'll, uh, try to keep that in mind. Uh...see you later?"
"Fuck, I hope not," Zoro's Death shot back. "I'd be more than happy to never see you again in this context for the rest of our lifetime, but that's probably too much to hope for."
"I'll say. You're still already dead."
"Well...thanks for keeping me company, at least. Sort of boring here otherwise..."
His personal death shrugged. "I'm always nearby. Happy to help. Now get the hell out."
Sort of a disturbing thought, that, when he really thought it through. But he wasn't able to contemplate it much after that, because by then he'd faded away completely, leaving the emptiness and the blackness behind.
"Zoro!" Chopper said wearily. "Oh, good, you're awake!"
Zoro managed to peel his eyes open slowly with a groan, and glanced at his surroundings, trying to make sense of his blurry vision. For the vaguest fraction of a second, he could have sworn he saw sixteen forms crammed into the tiny little infirmary on the Thousand Sunny, dark shapes mixed with bright-colored ones that seemed inherently different and yet inherently connected. Seconds later his eyes actually focused, and he noted with relief he wasn't seeing double anymore; just eight crew mates in varying stages of worry and concern, gathered around the infirmary cot and staring down at him anxiously.
"What the hell happened," he managed to slur.
"You got yourself stabbed, idiot marimo," Sanji supplied. "One of these days you need to learn to dodge, shit swordsman, or you're really going to do yourself in."
That sounded oddly familiar, on the very edge of his brain, like he was almost-but-not-quite remembering something. He scrabbled after the thought for a moment, but it was fleeting, slipping away like a dream when one just wakes up, when little scraps of details flow away no matter how hard the dreamer tries to hold onto them. Zoro frowned, shook his head, and growled back wearily, "Shut up, curly-brow. I really don't need you lecturing me."
"But he is right, Zoro," Chopper said anxiously. "You could have been killed! The impale wound was very severe...you mean you really don't remember anything?"
Very, very vaguely, at the fringes of his memory, Zoro could remember the faint traces of pain as the axe blade slammed into his stomach. But after that was nothing but blackness. He'd passed out, and hadn't come to until just now, from the sounds of it.
"No," he said finally. "Don't remember a damned thing after that guy took a swing at me."
The others started to fill him in, voices crowding over each other as they competed over who could tell the story the fastest and the best. Zoro found the cacophony oddly soothing, but there was one voice that didn't quite mesh with the others; a voice that came disjointedly from his left, a voice that tickled once again at his memory but didn't quite jog it. The voice sighed, and then said with long-suffering irritation, Asshole.
He twisted his head to the side, searching for the source, but there was absolutely nothing there.
"Zoro?" Usopp asked, looking curious. "What's wrong?"
Zoro frowned, and then said slowly, "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Inspired in part by The Golden Compass series. In one world, humans can see their own deaths as figures that follow them around, and take comfort in knowing exactly where their death is at any given moment. They even get on friendly terms with them. I rather liked the concept of a personal death and decided to play with it a bit.
As per usual these are all completed so posting will happen on a fairly regular basis.