Unknown Time and Place
“How are you feeling?” The man said to you while sipping his drink casually as if what had just happened to you both wasn’t insane. You straightened yourself in your chair a bit and looked around the room that you'd been suddenly transported to. Everything here was a pale white color, seeming to glow ever so slightly, and hazy as if barely out of focus. The entire room and everything you could see outside the window were devoid of color except the two of you. You felt horribly out of place.
The man on the other side of the desk and the entire aesthetic reminded you of being sent to the Principals office for some reason. You mused for a moment that you should be preparing to defend yourself, except you’d done nothing wrong. Not really. You had acted heroically, of that you were sure, but you couldn’t quite shake the feeling of intimidation you felt as the man you’d tried to save looked you over while completely expressionless. Had you done wrong somehow?
“...I’m dead?” You questioned softly while looking yourself over. What a way to go...at the Con with all of your friends one minute, dead the next. It wasn't ideal.
“Yeah.” He responded plainly and without any emotion whatsoever, you sighed in resignation before he continued, “And what a dumb way to go.”
“What?!” This made you angry, “It’s not dumb to try to save a life.”
“Even if you die?” The man raised an eyebrow.
“...Yeah.” You replied meekly. Although you weren’t happy about the outcome of your actions, you were fairly secure in your choice to try to push this man out of the way. You'd been dressed as a hero after all, it was the only logical option. “Maybe I took the cosplay too seriously?” You chuckled dryly, trying to lighten the mood.
“And if I told you that if you’d just stood there and done nothing, I would have been fine?” The man questioned again while putting down his cup with a flash of some unreadable expression crossing his face a bit too quickly for you to register fully. He looked different in this place than he had on Earth. At the Con he was just another nerd in a costume who'd been unlucky enough stand next to the pillar that crumbled. As he sat before you now, you questioned whether he was ever a human at all and this line of questioning seemed to prove your suspicions weren't unfounded.
“Is that what you’re saying?” You raised an eyebrow in his direction and the man smirked slightly.
“It is.” He laughed dryly, “But thanks all the same, I suppose.”
You hung your head for a moment and looked over your hands and arms, the costume you’d spent weeks on was torn to shit, but the skin underneath was completely unmarred.
“So now what?” You asked curiously while not, “Do I go get judged or something? Meet the flying spaghetti monster? Reincarnate as a slime?”
He laughed in your face, and quite frankly, it pissed you all the way off. Not because he'd laughed, per se, but because it didn't feel like he was laughing with you.
“What the hell, man? You can’t just laugh at dead people.” You grumbled further but it could hardly be considered language. He just sat in silence as you looked back up at him all the while wondering why weren’t you more upset. You were dead and apparently your death was completely pointless. You should absolutely be upset in some way, but found that you weren’t really bothered at all. It was like something about this room was so calming that you couldn't stop yourself from feeling really at ease and starting to doze off.
“Hey! Stay awake, girl. If you fall asleep you’ll pass on and I won’t be able to help you.” His voice was suddenly sharp as he sat forward and poked you in the arm. You sat up quickly. Weird. I wasn’t even tired a minute ago.
“Look, you’re a cool girl, and to be honest it’s my bad that you’re dead.”
"Oh, it’s your bad?” You mocked playfully before your tone dropped into a calm sadness, “Dude, it’s fine. I wasn’t a huge fan of my life anyway. All I did was try to escape.” You thought about all the binge watching and reading you did. Anything to immerse yourself in a different place. You weren’t built for Earth as it was. That line of thought got you feeling down for the first time since being here. You’d really wasted your life on stupid Otaku bullshit. Not many would miss you for long.
“That’s a cool costume,” The guy said almost as if trying to pull you out of that train of thought, “I don’t recognize the character.”
“Oh!” You perked up at the question, almost forgetting that you were dead for a second, “It’s an original character. I was on my way to a contest at the Con. I worked on her for weeks! Even wrote a really long fanfic about her. Overclock: The Powerup hero!” You rambled about her for a minute before stopping yourself for a second and chuckling. I sound like Midoriya right now.
“Yeah, you do.” He chuckled.
“Did you read my thoughts?”
“Kind of, But to be honest you’re a pretty predictable nerd.” He smirked and finished under his breath, “Outside that one time.”
“What was that?” You weren’t sure if you were offended or not, because honestly all of this was pretty confusing and mentally taxing.
“It’s just...I didn’t expect any of you to take the cosplay so seriously.” He almost looked sad. You raised an eyebrow curiously in his direction before deciding to let it go and cut the guy a break.
“I always take cosplay seriously.” You smiled at him, “Especially with her. As I made her I just knew she was everything I ever wanted to be. So, because of her I was suddenly everything I wanted to be...I guess, a Hero, you know?” Terrible grammar aside you could tell he understood where you were coming from.
“Okay. You wanted to be her. Wish granted.”
“What does that even mean?” Your sassy side started to come out, you were dead so what was with all the niceties anyway?
“It means I rarely lose bets.” The man sipped his drink again and you could swear that you saw a flash of annoyance cross his expression, “And I’m rarely wrong about people. Since I was wrong about you and it caused your death, I suppose the only nice thing to do would be to give you the same thing you tried so hard to give me. Life.”
You didn’t have time to respond before everything in the room started to shake and fall away into dust. You looked toward the man in a panic to find him gone and everything starting to fade to black.