My wonderful beta has become a co-author in this series, as many of you should know by now. She is the one who made Death the character that he is in the stories – or at least is the inspiration since she asked all the right questions – and she does such a wonderful job writing Death centric stories. So, here is another one from her. I agreed to post it so that you can find it, though I think she should still be posting them to her account as well.
Without further ado, I present you 'Being Nosy'. Enjoy!
One Room too Many
He wasn't mistaken after all.
Death shuddered. He was going to have nightmares for weeks! Months! It was a good thing he didn't have a heart; it would have stopped beating right at that moment.
Spying his humble abode up ahead, he sped up and rushed inside, staggering to his leather armchair and collapsing onto it. He pressed skeletal palms to his eyes, trying to erase the memory of what he had seen earlier, but it was too late. The moving images were permanently fused to the insides of his skull and there they would remain to haunt him until the end of time.
All right, he was being a tad melodramatic, but it was true all the same.
Today was Christmas.
Death had left his home in the early hours of the morning and was looking forward to his yearly visit to Snowball. After making his scheduled stops along the way, he had gone up to the secluded house in the woods, a slight spring in his step - indiscernible to all but the most observant of eyes - and his Christmas gifts in his robes, two handsome lap rugs in a zigzag pattern of black and light gray wool.
The Grim Reaper had grown used to the fact the two wizards who lived there would be out of their house by midmorning. He would be able to wander through their home and peek into each room as he pleased. He wasn't curious or anything, he would tell himself each year to quell the tiny prick of guilt that poked him; he just wanted to make sure his gifts were being used, that was all.
And they were. Every single one of them.
Death had entered through the kitchen door and looked for his first gift – two small doilies he had given them in their third year of staying together, still placed under the mug tree and teapot. He had then nodded at the matching place mats on the kitchen table, his gift a couple of years after that.
Proceeding to the living room, he saw the larger doilies decorating the backs of their comfortable armchairs and the large rug on the floor between them. Seeing each gift being used and well maintained gave him a nice warm feeling he would never admit to himself.
Death had placed his gifts on the coffee table next to two neatly wrapped boxes - one with bright wrapping paper and a profusion of ribbons, the other neatly wrapped in plain green paper with a single ribbon around it. He was sure both gifts were for him and savoured the anticipation of unwrapping them once he got home, but left them there while he covered the rest of their house.
Peeking into their workrooms, he noted the condition of the knitted covers he had made for their chairs. Both were starting to get worn so he made a note to himself that their replacements would his next year's gifts.
Finally, having saved the best for last, Death stepped into their bedroom. There, on the large King sized bed was his last year's Christmas gift to them – a crocheted wool bedspread in white, light gray, dark gray and black, with a scalloped border.
Seeing it spread so neatly over the bed, aligned with a precision he was sure was the taller wizard's doing, made him glad he had done a proper job. It had taken him two whole days just to learn to crochet the scalloped trim and it was rewarding to see his efforts appreciated.
Death stood at the doorway for a long moment, enjoying the warmth spreading through his chest. He in turn, appreciated their gifts just as much. He wasn't unaware of the effort that had gone into each piece of well carved wood, whether for shelf or for handle, or the silky smooth polish that took so little effort on his part to keep his blades shiny and in tip top condition.
With a sigh of satisfaction, Death turned to leave the bedroom. He had another client to pick up in an hour's time and he wanted to unwrap his gifts in the privacy of his home first.
A small noise made him pause. He turned around to stare at a closed door in the adjacent wall.
Was that the cupboard?
Was there someone inside?
All at once, he felt something swelling inside him, overcoming the warmth he had felt earlier. It was anger. Anger that these two wizards had an intruder in their home.
A thief. On Christmas Day, no less!
Eye sockets glowing with righteous fury, Death strode over to the door, intending to give the criminal a piece of his mind. Perhaps he wouldn't even need to – the mere sight of him could very well prompt a fatal heart attack and he wasn't one to refuse an extra soul.
Especially on Christmas Day.
Standing tall with his signature scythe in one skeletal hand, Death wrapped the other around the doorknob and yanked the door open. Then he froze.
The two naked and very wet wizards standing inside the shower stall froze as well when they heard the door open. Eyes previously closed in bliss flew open and panting mouths went slack in utter shock.
Death swallowed. The taller wizard was facing the wall, both palms flat on the tiles and long legs spread while the shorter one stood behind him, arms wrapped around the other's waist and hips… well, joined to the other's.
"I thought… I didn't realise…. Oh, hell!"
With that articulate explanation of his gross intrusion, Death spun around in a flurry of black robes and fled, utterly mortified…
Death groaned as he leaned back in his leather armchair. No, he wasn't mistaken. Severus Pope and Harry Pope had indeed started shagging as the single bedroom in the house testified, despite how adamant they were at first that they weren't going to be sharing a bed.
Sighing, Death looked at his table and realised he hadn't stopped to pick up his gifts, so anxious was he to escape from Snowball.
Well, they weren't his anymore. Their bargain still stood… but the exchange of gifts had ended, thanks firstly to his curiosity and secondly to his misguided attempt at chivalry.
End of Part 1