Title: Reaping the Whirlwind (Boom Boom Ba Remix), Part 5/14
Summary: What does the addition of supernatural-related reaps to the reaping workload, Roxy’s promotion, the addition of a new grim reaper with supernatural experience, a new sort-of boyfriend who may or may not be a pirate, and an approaching apocalypse all have in common? New grim reaper boss George doesn’t know, but she’s willing to bet that in the middle of it all the universe will kick her ass. Again.
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Dead Like Me crossover
Characters: Dead Like Me (order of appearance) — George, Mason, Daisy, Roxy, Kiffany, Delores, Penny, OCs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (order of appearance) — Dawn, Buffy, Willow (appearance only), Giles (appearance only), Xander, OCs.
Pairing: George/Xander (nothing explicit)
Rating: R for language, cartoon violence and death, sexual situations
Warning: Spoilers for all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV show only), Dead Like Me, and Dead Like Me: Life After Death.
“George, can I talk to you? Privately?” Dawn asked as Mason and Daisy shifted out of the booth.
“I really have to get to work,” George said.
“It won’t take long,” Dawn said.
Mason and Daisy paused and looked expectantly at George.
George sighed. “Sure.”
Mason moved to sit back down.
“Unh, hello? What part of ‘Dawn needs to talk to me alone’ are you not getting here?” George asked.
“Well, I thought—” Mason began.
“I know for a fact that you’re on a tight schedule for your first reap of the day,” George interrupted as she tapped the face of her watch.
“C’mon, Mason,” Daisy said as she grabbed Mason’s arm. “I’ll walk you to your reap.”
Mason held up his post-it. “I reaped a drug dealer at this address just last week. Whatever it is, it’s probably dangerous. My guess? Drug murder.”
“I could use a little dangerous,” Daisy grinned.
“What? The supernatural reaps aren’t filling your quota of dangerous?” George asked.
“I mean normal dangerous.” Daisy sighed. “I do so miss reaping old-fashioned murders.”
“If anything, it’ll be messy. So we best get a pair of slickers on the way, yeah?” Mason bowed. “After you, my darling.”
Daisy grinned as she turned to leave the restaurant. Mason paused just long enough to salute George before he followed suit.
“I’m never going to get used to the cavalier attitude about death,” Dawn grumbled.
“It takes time,” George said.
Dawn waved a dismissive hand. “I know, I know. Gallows humor. I had it, too. But it’s different when you’re alive and making sick jokes about death. It’s just creepy when you’re a grim reaper making the same jokes.”
“I…guess.” George frowned. “Is that what you want to talk about? You’re offended by our bad jokes?”
Dawn shook her head. “Actually, I want to talk to you about getting a job.”
“God, I’m so stupid.” George slumped backwards in relief. “I should’ve realized that Mason and Daisy were probably pushing their sketchy ‘here’s how we make money’ schemes on you. If you need a job, I’ve got you covered.”
“I really don’t think—” Dawn began.
“Seriously. Not a problem. I’ll bring you with me to Happy Time and we’ll check the listings.” George could feel herself smile. At last she could do something nice for Dawn, instead of playing the part of the big, bad boss.
“That’s not—” Dawn began.
“If you see something you like, and if it’s something we can work with, I’ll let Delores know and she’ll send you right over,” George interrupted. “I know that Delores will probably sign her commission for placing you over to me, because she’s just like that. When she does, I’ll hand you the cash. That should tide you over until your first paycheck. You won’t even have to pay me back.”
“When I said I wanted to talk to you about getting a job, I meant my old job,” Dawn finally got out.
George blinked. “What?”
“My old job,” Dawn slowly repeated.
George could feel her eyebrows rise. “I thought you were, like, in the field with your Slayer fighting supernatural monsters.”
“Okay, not exactly like my old job, because I know that’ll be a big no just waiting to be noed,” Dawn said. “I’m talking more like freelancing as a researcher for the Council.”
“The Council. As in the Watcher’s Council,” George slowly repeated.
See? I can learn new stuff. Plus, it showed I had actually listened to Dawn in the 4 weeks since she died.
“Exactly,” Dawn nodded.
“Why not?” Dawn asked. “I’ve already got the crazy bag lady look, the half-insane roommates, and the brand new name Caroline Browne to go with. All I’ve got to do is cultivate a rep as a recluse, manufacture some fake credentials, get my hands on a computer, set up a proxy server, and start sending the Council information that’s actually correct.”
“Oh, is that all,” George sarcastically said.
“Besides, if they send someone to check me out, they’re going to see exactly what they’re supposed to see,” Dawn insisted. “You said it yourself. Even people who know me well aren’t going to recognize me, no matter how hard they squint.”
“Finished?” George archly asked.
“You gotta admit that it’s a good plan,” Dawn desperately pointed out.
“Let me think about it.” George glowered at Dawn. “What do you know? It’s still no.”
“You don't get it,” Dawn argued. “That squid monster you and Daisy talked about? It’s a N’goth demon. It isn’t even supposed to exist in this dimension. Or rather, it can’t. Not unless there’s a really, really powerful mage controlling it and keeping it alive during its acclimation period. And that’s bad. That’s bad times a googolplex.”
George felt her hands turn into fists under the table. “That’s not our problem. Or more specifically, it’s not your problem. Not any more.”
“How can you say that?” Dawn demanded. “I saw the expression on your face. You want that thing gone as much as I do. Maybe even more.”
“Don’t turn this into what I want, especially when this is all about what you want,” George said through clenched teeth. “This is all about you trying to get your life back. A life, need I remind you, that’s dead and buried.”
“I’m one of the few people in the world, let alone in Seattle, that can do anything about the N’goth,” Dawn ground out. “If you don’t want to reap the whole fucking city, I have to do this. I can work by email, without any personal contact with anyone from the Council, or its seers or witches. Everything’ll work out just fine.”
“We can’t. Fuck around. With the living.” George insisted. “We can’t interfere with their choices while they’re alive, and we sure as shit can’t fuck around with their fates. If we start doing that, no matter how small that step is, we could end up reaping the whole fucking city anyway. Except this time we’ll be the cause, and not some giant squid.”
Dawn’s nostrils flared as she got to her feet. “Well, I’m going to do this, and fuck what you have to say about it. It’s not like my being dead is a huge drawback. In fact, my people are used to working with the dead.”
Dawn then turned on her heel and practically ran out of the restaurant.
“Shit!” George exclaimed as she got to her feet and chased after her.
“Hey!” Kiffany shouted from the register.
“I’ll be right back to pay the bill, Kiff,” George shouted over her shoulder. “I’ve got a bit of an emergency.”
George burst out of the Pancake Stack and spotted Dawn half-way down the block walking at a fast clip.
“Oh, fuck me,” George groaned as she chased after her recalcitrant reaper.
My mind worked feverishly as I went after Dawn. I needed a plan to stop her, and I needed one fast. When inspiration struck, I immediately threw it out. No. No way was I going to do that to her. But when I didn’t come up with a better idea when I finally reached her, I knew that I really had no choice.
George gasped as she caught up with Dawn.
“I’m done talking about this,” Dawn snapped over her shoulder as she kept walking.
“I’ll make you a deal,” George gasped as she forced herself to run a few more steps. “A deal that could lead to an unqualified yes with free computer equipment.”
Dawn stopped short, but didn’t turn around. “I’m listening.”
George slowed down to a walk and went to stand in front of Dawn. “If you can do this one thing for me, then I’ll take it as a sign that you were meant to follow through on what you just told me,” she gasped.
“Go on,” Dawn suspiciously said.
“If you do this one thing, I’ll call in some favors from the Happy Time tech support department to help you out,” George said as she fought to slow her breathing. “They’ll deliver all the computer equipment you need, and they’ll even set everything up for you, no questions asked and no cost to you. As for the credentials you need, you’re going to have to deal with that.”
Dawn took a step back. “This is a trick, isn’t it?”
George shook her head as she fought to breathe normally. “No trick. I’ll even shake on it, if it’ll make you feel better.”
“What do I need to do?” Dawn suspiciously asked.
“You looked after a Slayer, right? Margery?” George asked as she straightened up.
“Marguerite,” Dawn corrected. “And yes.”
“I want you to walk right up to her and introduce yourself,” George said.
Dawn’s eyes narrowed. “I thought we couldn’t do that. I thought it was against the rules.”
“Most of the time, no, we can’t make contact with people who knew us when we were alive,” George said. “But sometimes people from when you were alive need to hear a message, and they can only hear it from you. In that case, you can do it.”
Dawn looked like she was thinking very hard. “And you’ve done this.”
George nodded. “More than 6 months ago, I made contact with my little sister.”
Dawn’s expression melted into one of surprise mixed with sympathy. “You had a little sister,” she softly said.
George uncomfortably cleared her throat. “Yeah. Someone she cared about was dying, which was bringing up all kinds of crap from when I died. She needed to hear that it wasn’t her fault every time something she loved died. Most importantly, she needed to hear that it was time for my memory to stop haunting her, move on, and go live her life. They let me deliver that message to her.”
“So what happened?” Dawn asked.
“Within a month, she convinced my mother that it was time they moved someplace else. Someplace that didn’t have any memories for them,” George said. “I watched them move. I even got to wave good-bye to my sister.”
Dawn looked like she was studying her feet. “So you got closure with your sister.”
“Actually, she got closure with me,” George corrected. “What I wanted really didn’t come into play.”
Okay. Not entirely true. It was for me, too. But I suspect that I was allowed to talk to Reggie because Someone decided to make me The Boss. That same Someone probably figured I could do my job better if mom and Reggie were living somewhere else, namely a city where I wasn’t in charge of a merry band of reapers.
“And your dad?” Dawn asked in a low voice.
“Moved on years ago,” George said dismissively. “Reggie told me he moved cross-country and started a new family.”
Dawn snorted like she’d heard that story a few thousand times before.
“Seriously, Dawn,” George said. “If you can talk to your Slayer and tell her who you are, I’ll take it as a sign I’m overreacting.”
“She won’t believe me.”
“There’s a way around that,” George said.
Dawn stiffened with surprise. “How?”
“Well, first, you need to come up with a story that only you and her would know,” George began.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Duh.”
“I recommend picking one ahead of time and practicing it until you can spit it out without hesitation,” George continued. “Take a couple of days. Make sure it’s word perfect and that you can recite the whole thing in a single breath. Do this at random intervals over those couple of days until you’re telling that story in your sleep.”
“Okay,” Dawn slowly nodded.
“Oh! And make sure it’s a really special story that you can tell her. Make sure it’s so special that she’ll have to believe you,” George insisted.
“So that’s it. I just walk right up to Marguerite, tell her who I am, and in the 2.5 seconds between her staring at me in disbelief and telling me to get lost, I spit out a story that only she and I know, preferably without pausing to take a breath,” Dawn said.
Dawn seemed to think about it. “There’s a catch.”
“No catch,” George earnestly shook her head. “If you can do it, if nothing stops you from doing it, I’ll take it as a sign that you’re right, and I’m wrong. Then I’ll follow through on the deal.”
Dawn began to slightly nod her head. “You’re on.”
George brightly smiled. “Then it’s a deal.”
Yeah, my little deal with Dawn was a shitty thing to do her. I knew when I made it that there wasn’t a chance in hell she was ever going to be able to collect on it. Worse, she was going to pay in spades right before she figured out just how badly I screwed her.
I could completely understand why she wanted to do it. I knew exactly what it was like to have your life snatched away from you while you were young and healthy by a stupid accident. I knew what it was like to be on the outside, but wanting so badly to get back in and get your old life back.
I also knew that it could never happen, that it should never happen, and I knew why.
On the face of it, there shouldn’t have been problem with Dawn’s plan. She wasn’t asking to change anyone’s E.T.D. after the post-it had already been written out. She wasn’t even asking to get out of reaping. Hell, if she’d been actively reaping for longer than 3 weeks I might’ve given it a hesitant okay.
The problem was that Dawn, with her massive experience of 3 weeks, had no way of knowing that everything we do, and everything we don’t do, matters. Our reaps, the lives we build for ourselves in between reaps, have a habit of rippling out and rebounding back on us in a way no one expects.
I’ve lost count of the times that I did something that I thought was good, only to make things worse for everyone involved. And we’re talking about doing a small favor for individual people with normal lives. Dawn wanted to do something with the supernatural that could affect the whole world.
Whenever you mess around with the fate of living people, it’s 75-25 that the end results are a net positive, with the bad coming in way ahead at that 75% chance. If you had a proposal in front of you that had a 25% shot of making the world a better place versus a 75% shot at making the world a much, much deader place, what would you do?
Yeah. That’s what I thought.
Dawn’s plan could potentially lead her to make a mistake that could be fatal for a lot of people. I figured that it was better for everyone if she made a small mistake and paid a small price that would only affect her.
Even if I did feel like complete shit about it.
George spent a lot of time hanging out at the Pancake Stack over the next 3 days. After work, between reaps, and every spare moment that she had to spend.
As for Dawn, she continued to act like she hadn’t a care in the world. She continued to show up for the daily breakfast meeting, collect her post-its, and head off to do her reaps. She didn’t mention anything about the one-sided deal she had struck with George.
Still George waited, half-expecting an enraged Dawn to show up, start grabbing things off tables, and throw whatever she grabbed right at George’s head.
It was on day three that George decided that Dawn had figured out there was a catch and had backed off on the idea. She mentally waved the flag of victory and declared to a half-empty restaurant at 11 p.m., “Enough of this shit. I’m going home.”
As George pulled her stuff together she looked up, just in time to see Dawn storm into the restaurant.
“Oh, fuck,” George muttered as Dawn spotted her.
So much for declaring victory and getting the hell out of here.
Dawn paused, primly straightened her shirt, plastered on that kewpie-doll smile, and finished the trek to their usual booth with something resembling placid grace.
George sat down and invited Dawn to sit. “So, it went well?”
Dawn slid into the booth. “Perfect.”
“Perfect, hunh?” George asked with a wide smile. Had Daisy or Mason seen that smile, they would’ve told Dawn to quit while the quitting was good. Then they would’ve advised her to run.
“It took me a little bit to track her down. She quit her civilian job after my funeral,” Dawn waved at herself, “so I don’t have to tell you that I didn’t get very far there. I couldn’t get within two blocks of the Council's offices because I figured I’d trip the wards—”
“Wards?” George interrupted.
“A kind of security alarm, only a mystical one,” Dawn smoothly answered without breaking stride. “Let's just say that if I tripped it, it would lead to bigger problems, so I've been steering clear of Council property because of that. Still, I had a lot of places I could check. I went to some of her favorite haunts, but she stopped going to those places around the same time she quit her job, so I had to stake out her apartment. I finally saw her leaving alone earlier today, and that’s when I grabbed her.”
George put an elbow on the table and rested her chin on her fist. “Do tell.”
Dawn doubtfully paused and regarded George with a frown. She obviously picked up that The Boss wasn’t entirely buying her story.
“I have to tell you that this is absolutely riveting,” George said. “I want to hear every detail. Leave nothing out.”
“Ummm, yeah.” Dawn now sounded far less certain. “When I realized that she was alone, I walked right up to her, and told her who I was. Of course she thought I was some obsessed, crazy bag lady because, y’know, that’s kind of what I look like. But then I managed to tell the story I’d been practicing over and over again for the past few days. When she heard it, she believed me right away.”
“Just like that,” George said with the kind of smile that would’ve had Roxy slowly backing away from her.
“Yeah, pretty much,” Dawn brightly insisted. “I did what you told me. I told her a story that only the two of us would know.”
“What was the story?” George asked.
“The story,” George slowly repeated. “What story did you tell her?”
Dawn shrugged. “Just a story. That only the two of us knew.”
George made come-on-come-on motions with her hands. “Which waaaaasssss…”
“What does it matter?” Dawn asked. “I told her. She believed me.”
George tilted her head and smiled a smile that would given even gravelings a little pause. “Great! So when do I get to meet her?”
That caught Dawn short. “Meet her?”
“Weeellll, I’m sure that right after your tearful reunion, you made plans to meet up again, right?” George asked. “If I were in Marguerite’s shoes, I’d want a little proof that you weren’t, y’know, undead. The bad kind of undead. For all you know, she could be setting a trap even as we speak. Might be a good idea to bring along your boss so you have someone to watch your back and even back up your story.”
George sat back. “Know what I think really happened?”
“It happened the way I said,” Dawn insisted.
That’s the thing about the big lies. You just can’t ever let them go, especially when you think you’ve got an important principle on the line. I should know.
“I think you walked up to her and called her by name. Of course, she gave you the who-the-fuck-are-you look,” George said. “Naturally, that story you were going to tell her flawlessly ran through your head, complete with the tearful reunion ending. What came out of your mouth instead was a lot of stammering and stuttering and disconnected words that made you sound exactly how you look: like a crazy, obsessed bag lady. She got pissed off and did one of two things: she walked away from you like you were poison, or she screamed in your face to fuck off.”
Dawn’s hands clenched into fists and her eyes narrowed into a glare. “You—”
“You lose anything important?” George interrupted.
The change in subject threw Dawn off. “What?”
“Like, I don’t know, that story you were going to tell?” George asked. “No. Wait. Don’t bother to answer the question. I already know that you not only don’t remember the story you were going to tell her, you don’t even remember the memory it’s attached to. The worst part about it, though, is that you know it’s gone, but you’ll be damned if you can even remember what’s gone missing.”
“You set me up,” Dawn said in an enraged whisper. “You lied to me.”
Ouch. Kind of true since I lead her to believe she had a shot at succeeding, but still ouch.
George fought to keep her expression neutral. “Remember what I said? If you could tell your Slayer the truth, meaning if nothing stopped you from telling her, I’d take it as a sign I was wrong and I’d do everything I could to help you. Well, the big, bad rules just kicked you in the teeth, just like it would for any other grim reaper that tried what you just did.”
“But you said that you were allowed to do it,” Dawn angrily. “Were you lying to me about that?”
“I was telling the truth there, too,” George said. “I was allowed to come clean to my sister because the bosses above my head decided it was necessary. And by the way, if you think I didn’t show up on my family’s doorstep trying what you just tried before that? Guess again. You bet I tried. Same thing happened to me.”
“Which leads me right back to how you set me up,” Dawn snarled at her.
“Don’t you want to know why?” George asked.
“Because you worship the rules, that’s why,” Dawn angrily countered as she moved to get up.
George reached out and grabbed her by the wrist. Like big sisters the world over, she knew just how to do it in way that imparted maximum pain. “I did it to save you from yourself, not to mention anyone who happened to be in your immediate vicinity.”
“Let go. You’re hurting me,” Dawn said through clenched teeth as she tried to tug out of George’s grip.
“You’re going to listen to this story. You’ll love it. It’s about this stupid reaper named George who decided to help a guy out, and then got him killed,” George said.
Dawn stopped struggling. “Seriously?”
“What happened?” Dawn asked. “And, ow, are you sure you weren’t a Slayer? Because that grip hurts.”
“You going to stay until I’m done talking?” George asked in a threatening manner.
“To hear how you screwed up? You bet I will,” Dawn said.
George kept her eyes on Dawn as she retracted her grip. Dawn kept her eyes on George as she rubbed her newly freed wrist, but stayed put.
“You know how I work for a temp agency?” Geroge asked.
Dawn slowly nodded.
“Well, one day my boss, Delores, decides to increase my responsibilities at dear old Happy Time,” George began. “She has this high profile job that needs to be filled right away, but three equally qualified candidates. She asks me to interview them, and pick one of them to fill the job. Of course, I didn’t want to do it. Something told me it was a huge mistake. I even delayed as long as I could in making the decision, but eventually I did reach a decision and I picked one to fill the job.”
“Not seeing how you screwed up yet,” Dawn said.
“Getting to it,” George answered. “The next day, we get multiple post-its, all within minutes of each other, all at the same address. As it turned out, there was a stressed out guy working at this company who snapped and decided to take his gun to work that day.”
“Let me guess,” Dawn interrupted. “The guy you hired just happened to have a post-it with his name on it.”
George nodded. “If it wasn’t for me, he wouldn’t have even been there. But because I picked him for a job, he wound up dead.”
“And yet, you’re still doing that job,” Dawn sarcastically said.
“No, I’m not.”
Dawn shook her head. “But you still work at Happy Time.”
“Unh-hunh,” George nodded. “And do you know what I actually do there? I make sure the paperwork flows around the office so that it gets to the right person at the right time. I work as Delores’s assistant. I make calls on her behalf to temps and to companies that want to hire temps. What I don’t do is make any hiring or firing decisions. I don’t vet clients. I don’t vet temps. I don’t vet permanent hires. In short, I stay the hell away from any and all decisions that can affect someone’s life if I can help it.”
“But what I want to do is completely different,” Dawn stubbornly insisted. “I’m trying to avert an apocalypse and save lives, not find someone a job.”
“But it could have the same effect,” George argued back. “You send information to this Council, they make decisions based on that information, which effectively means that your information could lead to someone’s death, maybe someone who wasn’t supposed to die. But because your information saved Joe Blow in Seattle, Jane Smith gets it in the neck in Boston.”
“The Council makes decisions like that all the time based on the best information they have,” Dawn said. “There are always trade-offs. I don’t like it, but sometimes you’ve got employ your resources where they’ll do the most good, especially when there’s an apocalypse on the line.”
George felt her jaw tighten as she leaned forward. “Fine. Let me put it another way. Your information saves Joe Blow in Seattle, but your sister gets it in the neck in Rome.”
“That wouldn’t happen,” Dawn stated in a flat voice.
“Really?” George asked. “You know that for sure already, do you? Decided that if it means saving your sister, you might withhold information so that Joe Blow gets it while your sister stays safe in Rome?” She leaned forward and hissed, “Look me in the eye and tell me that you wouldn’t do it.”
Dawn suddenly found her hands a very interesting object of study.
George leaned back. “And that’s why I can’t let you do it.”
Dawn refused to even look at her.
“Dawn, this job is about balance. We can’t go around picking and choosing who we’re going to reap,” George explained. “The sad fact is everyone dies, and everyone only gets a certain amount of time before it happens to them. If someone doesn’t die who’s supposed to die, that means someone else has to take their place. And that’s if you’re lucky.”
“Lucky. You call that lucky,” Dawn quietly said.
“A one-to-one trade? You bet I do,” George emphatically said. “Usually the trade is much higher. Save one life, see a dozen, two dozen, three dozen, or more die in their place.”
Dawn’s head snapped up and she regarded George with horror.
“I’ve seen it happen,” George said.
Hell with that. I made it happen once. I’m just lucky the gravelings tortured my sorry ass for a week instead of the rest of my existence.
“What you want to do is too dangerous, and not just for the people you’re trying to help. It’s dangerous for you,” George added. “There’ll be too much temptation for you to meddle, or save someone who probably shouldn’t be saved. You’ll start with the best of intentions, but then something small will come up and you’ll think, ‘Just this once.’ Then the next thing comes along, and the next, and the next. And then…well…measures will be taken.”
“The way you’re talking, I won’t even get that far,” Dawn bitterly said.
“Yeah, the rules have teeth, but sometimes you don’t bitten in the ass when you fuck with the rules. Or sometimes you think getting bitten in the ass is worth it,” George countered. “But I can promise you this: break the rules enough times and something bigger, badder, and a whole lot less forgiving than I am is going to stomp on you. By the time it’s over, the only thing left will be your rotting corpse and a headstone in a graveyard. As for you,” George shook her head, “you’ll be just gone and there won’t be a damn thing I can do save you.”
“They can do that?” Dawn asked with horror.
George nodded. “On the upside, you’ll never have to worry about the entire population of Seattle getting reaped. On the downside, you’ll never have the opportunity to worry about anything ever again.”
Dawn’s hands clenched into fists. “You know, you could’ve just explained this to me before you started playing head games.”
“You weren’t in the mood to listen, and you wouldn’t have believed me anyway,” George flatly said.
Dawn was shaking with rage as she got to her feet, and turned to walk away.
“Dawn,” George began.
Dawn paused but didn’t turn around. “What?” she asked with a growl.
George deflated. “I’m sorry. I just didn’t want to see you make a mistake that would land you in a world of hurt or leave a trail of bodies.”
“You made your point. You don’t have to keep pounding it into my head,” Dawn said in a low angry voice as she stalked away.
“I expect you here on time tomorrow morning,” George yelled after her.
Dawn didn’t bother to answer as she pushed open the door of the Pancake House and disappeared into the night.
And so it began.
I had become the enemy.
Dawn subjected me to the silent treatment, the kind of silent treatment I used to subject Rube to when I got pissed off at him. Her sulking presence was waiting for me when I arrived, and she’d only talk to me if I said something directly to her, usually using words of one syllable. She only stuck around long enough to collect her post-its.
Although Daisy and Mason were careful not to take sides, they started treating me differently. Not in any big way, but in small, subtle ways.
It wasn’t that Daisy and Mason agreed with Dawn, because I knew them well enough to know that they didn’t. And it wasn’t that they didn’t have doubts about Dawn, because they told me they did. However, all of that was meaningless because Dawn was their roommate and coworker. Even if they agreed with my point, they had to take her side against The Boss out of working-class reaper solidarity.
I had crossed the line. I was no longer “just George”. I was now truly The Boss in a way that went beyond just handing out post-its at the start of the day.
I remember back when it Just Us. Sometimes it was Us — meaning myself, Roxy, Mason, and Daisy — against Rube, who was The Boss. Sometimes Rube was even one of Us, especially when it was Us versus the world. But there was always and Us, and I was always part of it.
Now it was Just Me on one side, and Them on the other.
For the first time since my death, I felt completely alone.