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mask the places I belong to

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The post-it says "G. Sommers," time of death 2:15AM. Daisy hates early AM assignments; they mean waiting nearly twenty-fours to carry out a task she'd much prefer to get over with as soon as possible. What difference does it make? They will eventually be dead anyway. What catches her eye is the location: Daisy knows there is a theater there; she auditioned a time or two, when she first transferred to Seattle. They were very rude to her, decided on the spot that she was too old for the role, and didn't allow her to try out for any others. Not nice at all.

Mason's having one of his drinking bouts again, which Daisy always shies away from dealing with. He's old enough to handle his own problems, surely. She worries, sometimes, but then she stops, because worrying only makes her feel helpless, and now that's not what she's still on Earth for. Roxy's working a fan convention of some sort, all day long, and George is... well, George is George. She wouldn't understand. She's too young to know what it's like to have real options taken from you. She always gives Daisy strange looks when Daisy talks about acting again—Daisy knows she hasn't had the best of luck, and of course a public profile is unfortunately not something she can hope for, but a local production wouldn't hurt any.

Still. There's a play there, and they don't turn her away when she buys a ticket to the evening show. At least three quarters of the seats are filled, not a bad turnout, and Daisy lingers by the stage for a few minutes, pretending everyone's here to see her.

The program lists a Genevieve Sommers, mid-twenties, light brown hair, a cute little nose and full lips. She's in the supporting cast, and later in the program credited as a stage hand. Daisy feels a pang of something, something she doesn't usually feel when she takes a soul. It's nothing—it's not that intense, it's just a bit of sadness. Genevieve seems nice. Daisy doesn't recognize her, but that doesn't mean this supporting role is the best Genevieve has ever had.

It's silly to feel bad for someone when Daisy's characters were always billed as tertiary at most. Genevieve has a captive audience at her feet, and she gets to get through the full play one last time. Daisy would have appreciated that. Then it wouldn't be sad to prove to anyone that the story of her death is true.

The play is good; a little pretentious, Daisy thinks, scrunching up her nose, but not so hard to follow, and not without its beauty. Genevieve does a nice job as the older, rebellious sister of the main character. Her leather jacket looks good, a nice outfit to die in. Maybe Daisy will keep it.

She sticks around as the place clears out; it's still several hours until time of death.

"Hey," someone calls out, and Daisy blinks and looks around. It's—it's Genevieve, of course. Daisy's never proved her theory that reapers attract their assignments in some unconscious way, but that doesn't mean it never happens. "I saw you in the stands."

"Yes," Daisy says, lacing the fingers of her hands together, "it was a lovely play. You did a beautiful job."

Genevieve laughs and thanks her. "Are you looking for someone?"

Daisy shrugs and shakes her head, saying, "I used to be an actress. I guess I miss it sometimes."

"Oh. Well, my ride is late, so do you want me to show you around?" Genevieve says. Her tone is casual and genuine in a way Daisy's not used to. People are usually either intimidated by her presence or much too obviously trying to sleep with her.

Daisy says yes, and after that, time seems to fly—not in the bizarre, disoriented way it does for reapers, years piling on years without anything to show for it but a metaphorical heap of dead bodies, but in that simple human way. Genevieve is well-versed in classic cinema, and starts a number of sentences with, "You probably already know this." She sounds like she means it, too. It gives Daisy a chance to expand on the subject or say, "I didn't," without feeling like she's being confrontational or giving in, respectively. She appreciates it.

And then, on stage, improvising a monologue from Twelfth Night, Daisy feels, for a moment, like her hopes were never taken from her. Like many will love her for this, and someone will love her for her.

And then there's a loud smack in the far end of the theater, and Daisy looks up too late to get to it before the body hits the ground, having fallen from the dress circle as the clock turned to 2:15.

Genevieve is still there, on stage with her, looking in the same direction as Daisy.

She rushes towards the crash, teetering on her kitten heels, and leans over to place a subtle hand on the man's shoulder. "I'm sorry," she whispers, because his spirit has a crooked neck, but he just waves a hand dismissively and looks at his body with a face somewhere between shell-shocked and resigned. Daisy pats his elbow, and a bright show of lights swallows the emergency exit down the hall.

"That for me?" he says, and Daisy nods, processing this—that she had the wrong G.

"What... happened?" Genevieve says breathlessly when she reaches Daisy. She's holding her stomach, and shaking, and this has never happened to Daisy before. Genevieve shouldn't be here. Daisy doesn't know how to comfort someone. This is—Genevieve gives a squealing cry, then slaps a hand over her mouth.

"Is this your brother?" Daisy asks, careful. It seems impolite, but Genevieve only nods, looking at Daisy with bright, pleading eyes.

Daisy never reaches out. She's a reaper; they don't have normal lives. But this time, she rubs Genevieve's arm and says, "I'll call the police. Let me give you a ride."