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And The World Shall Tremble

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The day is a cold one, made all the worse for the fact that you and twenty other people are at the lake for a birthday party. Swimming is supposed to be a thing, you think as you regard the cliff you’re going to jump off into the frigid water below. God, the sun isn’t even out. Why couldn’t Marie have rescheduled?

“You scared or somethin’?” asks Jimmy from your psych class.

You don’t like him very much, so you don’t hesitate to correct him. “No,” you say curtly, “I’m just not looking forward to freezing my ass off.”

Jimmy doesn’t catch the cold undercurrent in your voice and belly laughs. “Well, hurry it up, there’s a line’n all.”

You glance back to the group. There is a line, but most of the people in it are preoccupied with drinking beer. The temptation for the cool, fizzy carbonation on your tongue is strong, but you’ve learned the hard way that you and any kind of alcohol don’t mix well. But that doesn’t make any difference right now, since you’re already here and there’s no easy bailing for Marie’s 21st birthday. You turn back to the cliff and the sheer drop into icy green waters.

“You can do it, babe!” Marie calls up from where she’s floating comfortably on a tube. Several other friends cheer similar encouragements, and you decide that at least your one-piece won’t leave you flashing the world on the way up from the water.

“Coming!” you call with a smile that’s not entirely fake, take a few steps back, and then hurtle through the air.

You’re the first one to jump, and so you’re the one who sees mid-air that the water is not as deep as originally thought. You only have a fleeting moment of oh shit, I’m going to die before the world is suddenly black.

But you never touch the water.


A sharp pain in your ribs is what wakes you up.

You jerk away instinctively, eyes popping open in shock from the pain. You see the sun overhead, bright and shining; you feel the overwhelming heat and the crispness of your skin, indicating some kind of sunburn; somehow, the last thing you notice is the skull looming above you, wreathed in black.

That’s who kicked you.

“Rude,” you say instinctively, scowling.

(What’s going on? Why’s the sun out? Why is it so damn hot? And… why do I… )

The skull simply stares at you, and with an unpleasant rush you remember Marie’s birthday party, the cliff, and dying—or whatever the memory of dying really is. You just remember darkness, and now you’re here in the scorching sunlight, barren earth beneath you and stretching outwards until it turns into tall, rocky cliffs with the Grim Reaper standing over you.

Given by the way you’re burned to hell, your guess is that you are in hell.

“Oh,” you breathe, catching up to the situation. “Oh, sorry, Mr. Reaper, sir.” You scramble to apologize, but the air seems to grow chillier the moment you do. The tension in the air has you sitting up, hoping to gain some favor with him. Wait, it could easily be a female! “Er, Ms. Reaper… ma’am.”

If you thought the air was frosty before, the sun must have spontaneously gone out because a full-body shiver wracks your body.

“Who the hell are you?” the Grim Reaper asks, and the voice is admittedly everything you would have expected from—him, that’s confirmed.

Your brow furrows. “The… person you’ve guided into the afterlife? Hell, apparently, which honestly I have to object—”

The deep laugh that rumbles out of him, grim and sardonic, startles you. It’s not a friendly or a nice laugh, and you are made notably unsettled by it. You make the conscious effort to edge away from your ferrier into the afterlife.

The laughter stops abruptly. “You’re insane,” the Reaper says, and suddenly a gun is cocked and pointed at your face. “Should’ve left you to die, but I can fix that.” The safety clicks off.

“Holy shit, no!” you shriek, jumping to your feet and holding your hands out. In your fit of terror, all thought of the afterlife is gone and you’re just scared to die. Again. You eye his gun warily. (Why does that look familiar…?) “Hey, hey, no need to get trigger happy! Whatever you want, man, it’s yours, just don’t kill me.”

You briefly think you shouldn’t be so informal with Death himself, but you’re scared shitless and begging for your life, so there’s not much time to plan out properly reverent negotiations.

The gun lowers. “Is that so?” the Reaper asks contemplatively.

You don’t particularly like the way he says it, but you nod anyways. “Sure, whatever you want. But, uh… maybe can I go to heaven after this?”

His skull is really not expressive, so it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking. In a video game you had played once, the skeleton monsters had been able to manipulate their faces despite having no skin, making them quite human-like. Instead, with the Grim Reaper, his skull is static and metallic, not even a sign of movement when he speaks. It’s honestly unnerving.

(Video games. I’ve played a lot of them… Shouldn’t the Grim Reaper’s mask… not be a mask? And the skull isn’t really…)

“Puta loca,” he mutters in exasperation, and it’s really no surprise that the Grim Reaper is multilingual. Still, the sound of Spanish coming out of his mouth sends a chill cascading down your spine and you can’t repress the shiver. Something is slowly starting to convalesce in your mind, something you’re not sure you want to acknowledge.

 “I resent that,” you tell him, annoyed by the insult and trying to stand strong. (I have to be dead. I saw those rocks. Or maybe I’m in a coma. There has to be some kind of explanation.) “Anyways, business time: what do you want from me?”

His skull really doesn’t show anything. He’s facing your direction, but there’s no indication where his eyes are focused, no sign of what’s going on in his head. As the silence stretches on, you can’t help but fidget nervously, tongue darting out before you start nibbling on your bottom lip, a bad habit that you haven’t been able to break since your childhood.

Only a few moments into your chewing does the Reaper come to his conclusion. “Get on your knees,” he orders. The voice, now that you’re focusing, is actually vaguely familiar.

(Oh shit, oh no, don’t let this—no. It can’t be. I’m in a coma. I have to be, Overwatch is a video game and the characters aren’t real and maybe I got too good at playing Soldier 76 but no, no, no—)

The thoughts are clamoring for attention in your head, drowning out pretty much everything else. The only things that exist are you, your insane revelations, and a man who looks terrifyingly like a very different Reaper pointing a gun at you.

Swallowing hard, you chance a look away from the gun up into where you think his eyes might be. (This absolutely is not possible. But I don’t want to die.) “This isn’t some… execution thing, is it?” you ask with an anxious laugh, trying to stall.

He gestures with the gun again, and you know what? You do recognize that gun, and no, you don’t know what the fuck is going on, but even if you’re in a coma, you’re not giving undead Gabriel Reyes a fucking blowjob in exchange for whatever life you can claim to have at the moment.

You kneel. Try not to let your thoughts show on your face. You wet your lips just enough to imply you understand.

The Reaper doesn’t reply, putting his gun back into its holster—exactly what you had wanted—and stepping forward authoritatively, his taloned hands going to his belt buckle.

You’re not going to seem too eager, but if you take the time to think back quickly on what Gabriel—he’s not the Grim Reaper, you’re not going to even start to confuse them—has seen of you, you’re sure he thinks you’re certifiably insane. You just might be, but not like that. To sell your act, you try not to look too focused on anything, don’t let that sharp intellect shine in your eyes, and ask in the clueless tone you’d used previously, “Isn’t that supposed to be my job?”

You’re afraid for a moment that you’ve blown it, but honestly, your idea is so mindfuckingly stupid, especially with your target being Gabriel fucking Reyes, that you don’t think he’ll expect it. However, you’re in luck: he just chuckles and calls you a whore, which, yeah, you can see why he thinks that but it’s really unnecessary to say it to your face.

Anyways. It was never about what he thinks, just you getting out of this alive.

So you undo his belt buckle quickly, then move to unbuttoning and unzipping. You have a split-second interval before you assume he’ll want to reassume control.

Just as his hands twitch toward you, your hands grip the hem of his pants and pull them down as fast and hard as you can.

Then, of course, you twist, jump to your feet, make a run for it because holy shit you just pantsed Gabriel Reyes. You hope like hell that that somehow interferes with his wraith abilities, because otherwise you’re dead.

It might not be so bad, though. You pantsed the Reaper rather than give him a blowjob. You’re pretty sure that gets you sent straight for heaven’s gates right after this guy blows your brain out.


Gabriel Reyes has seen a lot of shit, been through a lot of shit, and done a lot of shit to other people. He’s no stranger to post-battle adrenaline, nor fucking an unfortunate woman left for dead by her teammates in that post-battle adrenaline. They call it rape. He calls it instinct, nature, whatever; it’s not like he leaves those women alive to sit in their trauma afterwards. Small mercies, he thinks. Yeah, he can be merciful.

Just not, maybe, Overwatch’s definition of merciful. Or anybody else’s, actually.

The thing about this situation is that he’d found a half-dead girl—you’re barely a woman in his eyes, soft and untried and you had just looked so innocent laying there that he’d been certain he was going to fuck you in some way the moment it turned out you were alive—and then you’d proceeded not only trick him and catch him off guard, but you’d also fucking humiliated him in the process.

If Gabriel were the kind of man who could laugh at himself, this would be absolutely hilarious and he’d want to buy you a drink simply for the sheer audacity. Maybe you’d be amenable to coming home with him. Maybe if these were Blackwatch days.

Gabriel Reyes is not a man who can laugh at himself, not like this. However, while he won’t be buying this little bitch any drinks, you’re definitely coming home with him, amenable or not. It’s been a long time since he’s had anything with so much fire, so much life—and goddamn, your eyes, untouched by the horrors of war, make him harder than a fucking rock.

So there’s a moment of shock as he watches you scurry away. You’re slow, at least compared to him, simply because you lack his long legs and physical conditioning. Even if you were quicker than you are, wraithing enables him to catch you regardless.

Gabriel is so damn secure in his ability to catch you that he takes a moment to pull up his pants. He doesn’t redo the belt buckle; he’s not going to wait until he gets back to have you.

And oh, is he going to have you.