Part 1
by Arymede the Drunken Butterfly

A short while later, clad in a red cardigan and brown corduroys, a man of indeterminate age emerged from room 4A. As he passed the front desk, he surveyed the mess with a shrug. < Too bad the TVs unsalvagable. >

Outside, he stood before a little Saab, contemplating it for a short while. < To drive, or not to drive, that is the question. > He thought about the effort it had taken him the last time he'd driven it, to fold himself down into the compact frame. < Ah, forget it. It's faster to walk. >

And so he set off down the street, ducking to just barely miss being clobbered by the end of a ladder, swung by a workman just setting up. He rounded the corner, whistling the Danse Macabre, just in time to miss hearing a strangled curse as the workman bounced his hammer off of his thumb, and embedded the claw in his own forehead.


Willow was talking animatedly about something Xander couldn't quite follow. He was walking with her through the cemetery on their way to meet Buffy. They were supposed to go to the Bronze together at the end of Buffy's early patrol.

He watched the amazing gestures made by Will as she continued her detailed account of something-or-other. < Smile and nod, Xander, my man, smile and nod. > he thought, smiling and nodding. < Ah, what the hell. Throw in a chuckle. > He did so, and earned a strange look from Willow for his trouble.

"Ok, serious conversation. I get it. I'll shut up now." Willow sighed, and decided that it wasn't worth continuing. She turned around, and went to turn the corner to the gravestone that was the appointed meeting place. Or, at least, she would have, if the unlikely occurrence of her running into someone coming around the other side hadn't happened at that very moment.

"Oh, uh, sorry!" she exclaimed, scrambling back to her feet. The badly dressed man held out his hand and helped her up.

At this point, Xander stepped in. < No badly dressed guy who walks around in graveyards at night is helping *my* Will. > "So, what's a fellow like you doing in a place like this? Especially at night."

The man brushed dirt off his bright red cardigan. "I COULD ASK YOU THE SAME THING," he pointed out. These kids didn't look like cultists or anything to him, but...

"We're, uh... walking. Home. It's a... shortcut... Yeah, that's it, a shortcut." Willow answered. < Trust Xander to accuse him of something. > "So, you new around here? I haven't seen you around before."


"Well, I'm Willow, this is Xander, and if you need anyone to show you around..." she offered.

"THANKS, BUT I THINK I'VE GOT IT COVERED. I AM DEATH," the man said, extending his hand.

"Yeah, sure. Are we talking Death as in 'It is your time'? 'Cause we've been there before." Xander.

"AS I SAID, I AM DEATH." The red cardigan and brown cords flashed momentarily into a black robe and scythe.

"Alrighty, then. No need to get testy," Xander said, backing away slightly. "Just for the record, though, no, I wont play chess, but if you feel yourself up to a game of Twister..."

At the same time, Willow was also backing away. "You're Death. As in *the* Death. As in takes the lives of everything that ever dies."


Willow's eyes widened. "You mean, you've taken the lives of countless innocent people, of poor little bunnies, and my fish?" Xander just rolled his eyes. < Great. Death guy hasn't even *heard* of Twister. Now what game can I beat him at? >


Just then, a petite blonde walked around the corner. "Xander, Will, what's up? I've been waiting for, like, ten minutes! Who's this?"

Part 2