Life and Death
Inside a delivery room of a hospital, a woman was giving birth. Her husband, the doctors, and the nurses were in the room as well, doing what they could.
Unbeknownst to those in the room, another being was in there with them. Existing in a different plane that mortals could not see, the embodiment of one of the forces of the multiverse, Life, had just finished his job.
The baby was born.
Happy, Life smiled at the baby, even though the baby would not be able to see him.
Suddenly, Life felt a presence.
The baby smiled back at Life, as though the baby could see him.
Stunned, Life looked at the baby. Then, he turned to where he felt the presence - the woman that was giving birth.
In the midst of frozen time, Life watched as the woman floated out of the birthing chair and began to morph. Moments later, she took on the familiar form of Death.
"Hello, brother," Death said to Life.
"Death..." Life said, "What have you done?"
"I've fallen in love, as you can see," Death gestured to the man that was holding his hand as he was giving birth, "So I took the form of a woman, and gave birth to our child - our daughter."
Death floated towards the child. Reaching out with his hands, he pulled the baby girl into their frozen time.
Death floated towards Life and showed his brother his child. Smiling at his child, Death said, "Say hi to your uncle, little one."
Life smiled at the baby, and the baby giggled in response.
"I'm..." Life started to say, "I'm happy for you, brother."
As he cuddled the baby, Death said, "Thank you."
Life gestured to Death's husband, "Does he know?"
"I've explained it to him, yes," Death said, "Though, it's hard to tell if a mortal can fully comprehend us."
"Still, you love him?" Life asked.
Death nodded, "Of course."
Life looked at his brother and asked, "And when the time comes?"
"I..." Death's voice broke a little, "I will do my job."
Life looked at Death, Death's baby, and Death's husband. Then, all he could say was, "I'm sorry, brother."
"It is what it is," Death said.
Death cuddled the baby a bit more as Life watched.
"Thank you," Death said to Life, "for giving my child life."
Life smiled, "Of course."
***Years later, Death's husband was breathing his final breaths.
When he had finally breathed his last breath, Death froze time.
Tears streaming down her face, as she pulled her husband into her frozen time.
"Death..." her husband looked at his grief-stricken wife, "Am I dead?"
"Not yet," Death said through her tears. Death's scythe appeared in her hands, "But, as soon as I swing this scythe, you will be."
"I see..." Death's husband reached for Death, and kissed her on the forehead. Softly, Death's husband said, "I love you."
"I love you too," Death said.
The two backed away from each other.
Death's husband closed his eyes.
Through her tears, Death swung her scythe.
***Years later, a woman was dying.
The man next to the woman held her hand.
Suddenly, the man felt a presence.
Angrily, the man said, "I won't let you die!"
Time froze, and the man morphed into Life, just as Death appeared.
"Brother," Death said, "I'm sorry, but..."
"Don't touch her, Death!" Life yelled.
"Life," Death said, "you know how this works. I have to-"
Life charged at Death with his sword.
The two of them fought, exchanging numerous clashes. They flew through the building and eventually into the night sky.
In that frozen moment of rain and lightning, Life and Death clashed sword and scythe.
"Brother!" Death yelled, "Enough! You know what has to be done!"
"No!" Life yelled, "I won't let you!"
Life swung his sword at Death.
Parrying the sword away with his scythe, Death yelled, "You don't think I was upset and angry as well, when my husband died?!"
Angered, Death swung his scythe at Life, "But I still did it! I still severed him from his mortal coil, because that is how the multiverse works!"
Life dodged the scythe.
Finally hearing his brother's words, Life stopped attacking.
"I..." Life said, "I'm sorry, brother. You're right."
Death started to calm down as well.
"I'm glad that you two finally stopped fighting," a figure said, suddenly appearing to the two.
It was Love.
"Yes," Life said, "your arrows seems to have done the trick, sister."
Death looked around, "And, of course, you're here as well, Hate?"
Hate appeared, floating towards her siblings, "My apologies, brothers. I had to shoot, even if it's the two of you."
"Of course," Life said.
Death nodded understandingly.
To Death, Life said, "May I have a moment with her before you do your job?"
Death nodded, "Of course, brother."
Returning to his wife, Life pulled her into the frozen time.
After Life and his wife had exchanged their goodbyes, Death swung his scythe.
***"Mom!" a woman said in surprised as Death appeared before her.
"Hello, daughter," Death said.
Death began to morph into the form of the woman's mother - the form that she was the most comfortable as when she was spending time with her daughter.
The two embraced.
"I haven't seen you for a while," the daughter said, "what brings you by?"
"Sad news, unfortunately," Death said, "your aunt is dead."
"Oh," the daughter said, "how is uncle Life doing?"
"We fought for a bit," Death said, "but he's doing better now."
Death's daughter nodded, "That's good."
The two of them chatted for a bit.
However, the lingering question had to be asked.
"Why haven't you taken my life yet?" the daughter asked her mother.
Stunned by the question, Death didn't reply.
"Mom, please, answer me," the daughter said, "I'm not a fool. I haven't aged since my thirties, I can't even get injured nowadays, and I've lived for close to two centuries now. Surely, my time has come and gone."
"I'm not sure," Death finally replied.
"What do you mean?" Death's daughter asked, puzzled.
"I won't deny that your circumstances are strange," Death said, "but I don't know why they're so."
"Yes," Death continued, "You haven't died yet, because I haven't cut you with my scythe. However, I haven't felt the calling of the multiverse telling me to do so in a long time."
"So," the daughter asked, "I am supposed to be dead?"
"Like I said," Death replied, "I'm not sure."
Death began to explain, "The first time that I felt the multiverse calling me to take your life, was some time after your accident, while you were in the hospital. However, when I came, I hesitated. And after a while, the calling went away. I thought that maybe I was mistaken."
"A few years later, I felt the calling again," Death continued, "I came to you, but, from what I could tell, there wasn't anything around at the time that could cause your death. I thought that it was the multiverse telling me to take your life, to make up for when I hesitated after your accident. So, I resolved myself to it, and I froze time."
"But," Death said, "when I froze time, you did not freeze as well. Instead, you continued moving and noticed that I was there. When you greeted me, and started chatting with me, I hesitated again. The calling went away again soon after."
Death's daughter looked at her mother, stunned by the revelation.
"I've felt the calling a few times since," Death continued, "but each time, it goes away soon afterwards. The last time that I've felt the call for your death was more than a century ago."
"W-What does this mean?" the daughter asked.
"I'm not sure," Death said, "Perhaps it truly isn't your time yet, and those callings were mistakes. Or, perhaps because you are my child, that makes you partially a multiversal force; and because of that, perhaps I can bend the rules for you."
"If so," Death continued, "then I refuse to take your life - I refuse to kill you. At least, not until all other mortal life in the multiverse has been extinguished, and I have to take your life as my last duty, before I go for my siblings, and then finally myself."
"But, even then..." Death said, "I'm not sure if I can do it."
Tears streamed down Death's face.
"Oh, mom," Death's daughter hugged her mother, "I hope that day never comes. I hope you never have to break your own heart like that."
Death embraced her daughter, "Me too."