Joel Beck Location
: Grim's hideout Tags
: Grim, Reaper, Rory, no necrophilia was involed in the making of this post
The inky black void around him was oddly familiar, but foreign at the same time. It was quiet, but in a good way. Years of stress and constant, nagging thoughts could slip away and Joel could let himself decompress. After three years of insistent and total insomnia, he had forgotten what it was like to dream. Was it always so bland?
Just as he resigned himself to float adrift inside this empty void until his body was done resting, a tiny pinprick of light appeared. Curious, Joel began to make his way towards it. It grew as he drew closer, as did his eagerness to get there. He was like a moth to a flame. He had to go to the light, he belonged
A sweet, angelic voice began to creep into his ears. It was warm and familiar, wrapping around him like a blanket on a cold night. It was singing, he realized, and the song was one he'd heard many times before. "Sweet pea
Apple of my eye
Don't know when, and I don't know why
But you're the only reason I keep on coming home"
It was a lazy weekend morning spent in the kitchen, making pancakes. Or rather, cleaning up the spilt batter and flour while she mixed and poured. They didn't exchange words, but she hummed happily. "Sweet pea
What's all of this about?
Don't get your way all you do is fuss and pout
You're the only reason I keep on coming home"
It was the end of a rough night, licking their wounds and regrouping. Tensions were high and the urge to get snappy for all the wrong reasons was pressing in on him. The shower in the bathroom turned on and it wasn't long before she was belting out that song. He could feel his nerves uncoil immediately. A soft smile tugged at his lips. "I'm like the Rock of Gibraltar
I always seem to falter
And the words just get in the way"
It was a tipsy evening of celebrating a case solved and put away. A half empty bottle of brandy and a spent bottle of wine. She swung into the room, her words slightly slurred as she sang that song and giggled.
"Oh I know I'm gonna crumble
And I'm trying to stay humble
But I never think before I say
It was a long stakeout in a car filled with empty coffee cups and fast food wrappers. It was Joel dozing off to her humming until she grabbed his face and sang the next line directly to him, startling him awake. "Sweet pea
Keeper of my soul
I know sometimes I'm out of control
You're the only reason I keep on coming
You're the only reason I keep on coming
Yeah you're the only reason I keep on coming home"
It was home
The light engulfed him as he stepped out of the void and into somewhere else entirely. The source of the voice was immediately clear: a silvery figure with a familiar shape. She didn't seem to notice him, at least not until he spoke.
She stopped and looked around, confused. "Joel?"
Then, a black shroud rushed towards him, and Joel was dragged back into the void, away from the light. He shouted and fought in protest; he didn't want to leave. He was plopped down, and then he recognized who and what he was looking at.
"Oh. Hey Reaper. I was hoping I'd see you again." His tone was cold.
"No, no Joel
. No dancing around the truth. I spent the last three years of my life thinking I was losing my goddamn mind!
Only to find out that you knew, you knew
what was happening all along. And what? You couldn't tell me because of some bullshit ancient laws written by some old asshole forces of nature? You couldn't drop me a hint? Tell me that my life as I knew it was a lie?! How much of it was real, Reaper?!"
The Reaper stood silent, his skeletal face bowed. He at least had the good sense to look ashamed; as much as a bare skull could. "It was all real, at least up until you died. No soul is supposed to cross back over once it has been laid to rest. It's a crime against nature and a cruel abomination. You know this because you haven't known happiness since. You were supposed to be at peace, resting on the Otherside, with Rory."
"That was her, wasn't it. This…isn't a dream."
Joel threw his hand up in exasperation. "What the hell is going on?!"
"You weren't the first soul Dr. Ellison tried to resurrect. There were several others, some even successful. But he found that whenever those individuals lost consciousness, their soul would naturally wander back to where it belonged. They died."
"Is that what I'm doing now? Dying?"
"If I hadn't intervened, yes."
Joel let out a cold, incredulous laugh. "Of course. Of fucking course. It's always gotta' be some complicated bullshit; I can't just take a win for once, huh? Not even a little bit? I gotta' die when I fall asleep?"
"You have a choice right now, Joel. You can go back into the light, or you can stay here until your body is rested enough to wake."
He frowned. Did he want to wake up? After all, the second life he'd had so far had been pretty shitty. He could ditch it and spend eternity in peace, with Rory, comfortable and away from all his troubles at last.
But then…he had kinda' been in the middle of something…
And Grim probably wouldn't be happy if Joel died on his couch.
"Can I talk to her before I decide?"
"Of course," The Reaper waved his skeletal hand and suddenly she was there. Rory blinked, confused, until her eyes settled on him.
He smiled and nodded silently.
"Hi baby!" She ran forward and threw herself at him. Joel let out a laugh and wrapped his arms around her, swinging her feet off the ground. "I missed you so much," She said softly into his ear.
Joel let her down so he could study her face. She was just as beautiful as he remembered. Tears were already forming in his eyes. "I missed you too."
"Such a softy," She teased as she reached up and thumbed the moisture from his eye. Her hand cupped his cheek and her face turned sad. Her dark brown eyes searched his, as if she could see every moment he had suffered since they parted. "What happened to you while I was gone?"
Joel did his best to force a smile. It didn't work.
"Reaper said I had a choice. I can stay here or go back. I don't know what I want; I mean, I want to stay here but there was stuff I was doing and-"
She cut him off with a finger on his lips. "Go back," She said without hesitation.
She shook her head. "I don't mind it here, but if I had a second chance, I would take it in a heartbeat. I don't want you to give that opportunity up just for me, okay? There's other people back there that are counting on you, and it's not like I'm going anywhere." She tilted her head and smiled up at him.
It wasn't what he wanted to hear, but he needed it. Joel swallowed and nodded his head. "Yeah. You're right."
"Duh." Rory pushed him playfully. He couldn't help but laugh again. Every part of him wanted to stay here with her, but he knew he couldn't. Shouldn't.
"Oh, by the way, I met that weird guy you told me about that one time. The one with the dog puns. Yeah, he still does that."
"Oh my god, no way! I love that guy! Are you gonna' start making zombie puns to match?"
It was amazing how easily they fell right back into their old cadence. They had so much catching up to do, it was easy to spend the next few hours just talking. But, finally, Rory brought up the one thing that had been tugging at him. He didn't want to hear it, but she wasn't going to let him off that easily.
"Joel, I'm not coming back. You know that."
"You can come here and talk, but our time together, alive, is over. You know…the whole "till death" thing? You deserve to be alive, Joel. You deserve to move on."
"What if I don't want to?"
"Then I'll put my ghost foot up your ass."
He was caught off guard and belted out a laugh. He knew she was right. Again. He just wasn't ready to accept it yet. This get together…he'd really needed it. Joel didn't realize just how badly he needed closure. It was a massive weight lifted off his chest. Maybe it was greedy; not many people got the chance to sort things out with their loved ones post-mortem. It was cathartic and weird all at once.
"I love you," He said, "You know that won't ever change."
"I know, babe. I love you too. Send me a post card, kay?"
Joel turned to the Reaper. "Okay, I'm ready to go back."
The Reaper nodded silently. The void quickly faded away. When Joel opened his eyes, he was in an unfamiliar room. Well, mostly unfamiliar. He remembered Grim dragging him here. Joel sat up slowly and rubbed his neck. He'd forgotten the perils of sleeping past thirty.