[center]Grim Tales of Billy and Mandy[/center]
Friendship; the Ties that Bind and Gag
The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and all characters connected are © of Cartoon Network™ . All rights reserved.
Notes: This is actually related to my fanfic; Grim Family Tree, though the link has yet to be visably made. Fanfic hosted here.
It's easy to imagine bad things happening to those who have done us wrong. The idea of them getting exactly what they deserve can delight the heart on a particularly bad day. We all tend to think like that at one time or another, and for the Grim Reaper, his most peaceful dreams were those involving the demise of Billy and Mandy. He'd been bound to them through a stupid bargain for too long, and every day seemed to drag on longer than the last. But what would happen if he got what he wanted?
'Some day, it will be their time'
, he thought to himself. Grim was standing in the midst of Billy's back yard. There seemed to be some commotion going on, and laughter ringing in his hollow ears. 'A party?' Amidst the sea of smiles, fire rained down from the sky. Panicked party guests ran for cover, and Grim searched the chaos of the moment for something familiar.
Billy and Mandy were there, something snapped, Mandy was in trouble. Grim's nonexistent heart and mind raced. What should he do?
Mandy's eyes had a glimpse of horror in them before she sought out Grim, "Help me! Grim! Help me!" Grim was frozen in place. His mind was in mid-battle, to help or stand by. An hourglass, glowing a terrible green grew in the background as the fireball hit Mandy square on. "GRIM!" She yelled in sheer terror. "Grim help me! Please! Grim! We're friends! Grim...!"
Grim didn't budge, he was fixated on the moment. Mandy's face changed to a pitch black skull with glowing red eyes. Her hair turned to blood red horns, and her voice became deep as a devils'. "Friends don't let friends die, Grim." The newly spawned Hell-Mandy arose, devilish wings sprouting from her back, a blackened bony form making its way toward Grim. It was enough to make one's skin crawl, that is, if you had any skin. "Friends don't do this! Grim!..."
"Grim...! Griiiim!" a voice called.
"AHH!" Grim woke up from his nightmare, "breathing" heavy, and quickly reviewing the events of the dream.
"Hi Grim!" Billy called. It was his voice that had awoken the bringer of Death.
He was relieved, and disturbed at the same time. A dream about Mandy's death should have brought him comfort. Surely, that was the case. But it wasn't. 'Friends don't let friends die, Grim. Friends don't let friends die, Grim.'
"Come on Grim! You don't want to be late for the party!"
"What party?" Grim said in a dubious tone.
"The Fourth of July Party Duh! Mom and Dad have been planning it for weeks" Billy said smartly, then began picking his nose.
"Right..." Grim looked around at the room he was in and wondered for a moment, "Say Billy... Where is Mandy?"
"Oh, she's downstairs waiting for us! So let's get going!"
Grim looked out the window, and sure enough, Mandy was waiting for them, looking up at them sourly. "Hello! I haven't got all day you guys! Move your dead bones down here, both of you!" She demanded. With a greeting like that, Grim was satisfactorily assured that his vision was simply a dream, he'd never be rid of Mandy, he sighed. No, he was quite sure they'd all be tethered to each other for quite some time. Still, something bugged him about the dream that just wouldn't let him be.
And so, some day
came and went...
It was a typical day in Megaville, the new hometown for Billy and Mandy for the last three years. The sun was shining, the birds were singing... And Billy was stuffing marshmallows up his nose.
"Ueehhhww! YUG! BILLY!
" Mandy cried in disgust.
Grim echoed her sentiments, "Good Lord, man! Those don't belong there!"
Billy just smiled in his usual vacant way, and there was a gulping sound, as the marshmallows bypassed his mouth to get to the stomach. He giggled insanely. "That was good... Let's do it again!"
Joyfully, he reached for another bag of marshmallows before Grim stuck his scythe between them. "That's quite enough young man! Now you gonna' eat like a regular person or not at all." Grim then took a few of the puffy sugar coated deserts and stuck them to the end of his Scythe, along with a chocolate bar and graham cracker. Mandy did likewise with a skewer.
Before long, the group were making s’mores over an open fire in the back yard. Billys' parents were hosting a block party and it seemed the whole block really had come over. Mandy was annoyed by being around so many people, Billy was just oblivious to the whole thing. Grim hoped someone would choke on something so he could have a little action, but the s'mores weren't bad.
"Billy?" Grim looked over at the boy with an unusual calm, yet concerned look.
"You're supposed to roast the marshmallows, not your nose!!"
"Oh, thanks Grim!" Billy beamed, "Hey, do you smell something cooking?" After a moment of wondering what the appetizing aroma was, he realized it was his nose. Panic set in, "AHH! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GRIM! Putitpoutputitoutputit... OUT!" he flailed his arms and ran around like the idiot he was. Mandy sighed, watching him run back and forth past the buffet table. She idly picked up a pitcher of ice water and Dumped it on the boy in one of his frantic passes. "Thank you Mandy!" Billy thought nothing more of it and began stuffing himself with hot dogs, potato salad, and whatever else was in his reach.
"Don't mention it. Please." She collected a glass of pink lemon-aid and went back over to Grim. "You're no help."
"Well, I would have, but my s’more was at a critical stage. You see Mandy? The marshmallow is lightly toasted, and the chocolate just starting to drip."
Grim and Mandy both flashed each other a brief smile. It was one of those moments, they both agreed on the humor of the situation and had no witty comebacks for the other. Grim offered her half the s’more and she accepted graciously. There had been other moments like that, though few and far between.
"'Dis is going to be a wonderful Independence Day Celebration eh Mandy?"
Mandy smiled wryly and sipped her lemonade. "Sure will Grim. It's the pyromaniac's dream come true. A holiday where you blow stuff up for fun." There was still daylight out, so it would be a while before they were able to start lighting fireworks.
Since it was still hot out, a number of people chose to cool off in the pool. Billy was no exception. "Look at me guys!" he shouted as he belly flopped into the water from a branch overhanging the pool. There was a hard smack against the water and Billy floated there a moment, bubbles escaping his nasal passages before he sank in.
"Should I help him?" Grim asked after a moment.
Mandy seemed to consider it for a moment before responding. "Yeah, might as well."
Grim plucked the boy out of the water using his scythe, as if for a fishing trip. Billy took a big gasp of air and started swimming, suspended in the air, until Grim set him back in the water. Mandy also joined him in the pool, while Grim watched from the sidelines.
Tiki torches were lit as it started to get dark out, and that's when the festivities really began.
"Time to Limbo!!" Billy's dad called, as they set up for the event. "How low can you go!?" He began dancing like a dork, and Billy joined him, yelling "Limbo! Limbo! This'll be great!"
"Limbo contest!?" Grim exclaimed in horror. His face suddenly changed to a sour look, his eyebrow ridges pursing together unhappily. "No one said anything about a limbo contest...!"
"Not afraid are you?" Mandy looked over at her 'friend', and smiled, remembering the bet they'd made.
"Me? Perish the thought!" Grim laughed heartily. "Say... you wouldn't want to make a little wager on--"
"No." Mandy cut him off.
Grim was disheartened, but thought about it a moment and came up with an idea. "Okay! How about this... if I win, I get a week off from chores and you and Billy wait on me hand and foot."
"And if Billy or I win?"
"'Den I'll..." He paused, they already had him at their command, what more could they want?
"You let me be death for a week."
"What?" Grim looked puzzled now. Her? Death? Hah! A pip-squeak preadolescent child, wielding his scythe? No one would be afraid of death ever again if that happened! Then again, the girl may have been small, but she was rather sadistic. Maybe she would make a good reaper?
"You heard me. I get the whole nine yards, cloak and scythe."
"Mandy... Being Death is a big responsibility. You have to make sure you know that it's your victim's time, you can't just go beheading people or reaping their souls before their time, it just doesn't work that way. And just what would your parents t'ink about it?"
"The same thing they think about you hanging around me, that it'll be my death." She looked over at the limbo bar, everything was set up, and a line was starting to form. "Does it really matter? I've always wanted to try that scythe out, and this is my chance."
Grim could tell she was sincere; this was Mandy we're talking about after all. Then again, if she was the grim reaper for a week, she wouldn't be demanding things of him. And if he did win, she couldn't. Either way, it looked like he would get some rest from the two of them. "Deal!"
For a bag of bones, Grim certainly was lose and limber. One after the other, people tried their hand at limbo, the bar going lower and lower with each pass. Billy was one of the first kids out of the game - his nose snagged the bar.
Meanwhile, a few of the adults were setting up fireworks for the big event. It was almost dark now, though the party was louder than ever, with chantings of "How low can you go!?" Another guest at the party took interest in the fireworks too, and a devious smile spawned on his face. 'What's a few extra sparklers matter?'
He took fireworks of all sorts, especially rockets, and added them in with the piles the grownups were working on. Then he grabbed a few firecrackers and a lighter and crept away unnoticed.
"Hey Billy! Catch!" called the familiar voice of the ever-troublesome bully, Spurg, as he threw a lit string of fire crackers at Billy's face. The imbecile turned his head all too slowly, as the sparkly noise makers went pop, one after the other in rapid succession "HA HA!" he laughed.
"Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!!!" Billy backpedaled away from the sparks. "Meany! Who invited you here?" he said with button eyes glinting at him with anger.
"It's a block party dweeb... everyone's invited!"
"Oh boo hoo! Go on and cry to your mommy, ya' sissy." Spurg chided him on.
Something happens to a guys' brain when spurred on like that. They lose what little sense they might have had, and enter a blind rage. Fortunately for Billy, having fewer brain cells meant there was less for him to lose. Also fortunately, he was easily distracted.
"Okay now! Who wants the last of the hotdogs!?" Billy's mom said, holding up a plate of grilled goodness.
"Hotdogs!" Billy rejoiced, and went for his first love rather than revenge, an exploding pack of fire crackers following after him. Also following on his heels, Spurg snuck up behind him and stuffed some unlit crackers down his pants and lit the end of a long fuse. He also helped himself to some hot dogs and gave Billy a scathing glare.
So things seemed normal for a while, Mandy and Grim continuing their little contest. It was looking like they'd be the final competitors in the limbo contest, as each pass, the bar lowered. There were scant few adults left in the competition, and another pass took out uncle Nergal. Yes, even he was invited to the party.
"You gave it a good shot, Dad." Nergal jr. consoled. That seemed to make the blackened creature smile a bit. He was a loser, but one with a family that cared!
"Good luck Junior! Go win one for papa!" His chipper attitude seemed contrary to his darker demonic form, but somehow he'd befriended Billy's Aunt Sis, and they were married... and had a son... so it must be genuine.
While the limbo contest went on, that fuse kept getting shorter and shorter. Billy also decided he wanted to see what the adults were doing with the fireworks. "Oooh! That's gonna' make a lot of sparkles isn't it dad?"
"Sure is, son!" His father beamed, not realizing his son was perilously close to going boom.
Billy got in a few steps closer, when his pants went off. "GAH!" His pants managed to catch fire to almost every explosive gathered at the event! Writhing and yelling, screaming his fool head off, Billy finally did something smart; he dove into the pool.
At this moment, Grim was about to seize victory from Mandy in the contest... In the blink of an eye, alarms went up throughout his bones, warning him of danger. A quick glance was all it took to know Mandy was in trouble. 'Crap... Couldn't it wait a minute? I know Mandy couldn't possibly flex this low! I'm going to win dammit!'
Rockets blasting from all directions, Grim knew there'd be no way she could get out of this one. A few of the guests had already gotten singed, and she'd be getting a whole lot more.
Grim had a dilemma on his bony hands... Win the contest, lose Mandy. Win contest, lose Mandy. A thousand thoughts flew through his empty skull, but he wouldn't have time to sort them all out right then and there. If he did win, and Mandy died, he would lose his slave for a week... but to save her he would have to lose, and that would mean giving her his
powers. Disastrous was the only thing he could think about either scenario, but the problem was time... So time... he stopped.
"Stupid children... stupid bets.." Grim muttered under his breath (so to speak) as he wrenched himself out from under the limbo bar. Everything was frozen in time... Every spark and sparkle, every horrified face. But.. as time was frozen, Grim was free to walk about normally, and glided over to Mandy. "Hmm..." Now he had time to think and study the situation. Mandy's completely frightened expression pleased him greatly. 'Maybe now, I can get some peace and quiet.'
Everything around him may as well have been statues, nothing moved. Nothing, at least, until Billy surfaced in the pool, coughing and sputtering water everywhere. "HELP! I can't swim!" he shouted, but of course, he was already out of the water, and very well could swim. He trailed water all over the place, and sopping wet, dragged himself over to Grim, wringing his shirt out. "Hiya Grim." He smiled. A totally different personality from moments before.
"Billy?" Grim asked, raising a brow ridge curiously.. He'd frozen time, that meant... everything. "Where exactly did you come from?"
"Over there." He pointed to the pool. "What happened? Mandy looks like she's scared." Then he looked around at all the fireworks and let out a scream. "AHH! AHH AHH! GET IT AWAY GRIM! MAKE IT STOP!"
"Get a hold of yourself, man! I DID stop it!"
"Oh." Billy then looked at the sparks coming off of the rockets and slowly made as though he would touch one with his tongue."
"I wouldn't do dat if I were you." Grim warned. He then looked over at the pool and contemplated what just occurred. He had been in a hurry. Testingly, Grim tried to move one of the rockets, and found it quite impossible. "Hmm..." He tried to move one of the guests... no luck.
"OUCH! Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouuuuuuch!" Billy yelped and was back at the water putting his tongue out.
"Serves you right!" Then a thought occurred to him... The time was cast hastily... He looked inside the house at a fish bowl and sure enough, the fish in it was swimming around as though nothing had ever happened. "Aha!" That settled it in his mind. In his haste, he'd managed to freeze everything but H20, which meant that a submerged Billy was exempt from the time freeze. Now it only remained... What to do about Mandy?
"Yes... Billy?" Grim scowled. Time would only stop for so long, then it would be bye bye Mandy. It would be easier for Grim to just let time move on, without Billy there. He'd certainly be upset if anything ever happened to Mandy. Then again, if Mandy died, he'd be slave to that half wit-the rest of his life. Maybe this wasn't such an easy choice after all.
"What's wrong with Mandy?"
"She's frozen in time until I figure out what to do wit' her."
"Oh..." Billy tilted his head. "So why's she frozen? It's not even cold out."
Grim didn't answer. It was obvious to him that nothing would be resolved standing around there. "Come on Billy." Grim held up a hand and his Scythe hearkened to him.
"Oooh! Where are we going?" Billy said, excited as a dog going for a drive.
"To save Mandy."
"From what? She's right here." he said matter-of-factly.
"From YOU!" Grim grumbled. "Just look at all the fireworks flying around! You don't think that
might have something to do with it?" Disgusted with the moron, he ripped a hole in time/space with his scythe. "Do you want
Mandy to die?" he said in a lightly accusatory tone, but the kind mixed with sarcasm as though he were talking to a three year old. Then again, a three year old might catch the sarcasm. Billy shook his head no. "Well den... Follow me." Whirling around, Grim went into the portal followed by the train of his robes, and Billy, still trying to figure out what Mandy was in danger from.
"Where are we?" Bily questioned.
They were in a long hallway that seemed to go on forever. On either side were many doors of equal size. It was a white hall with pillars reaching the vaulted ceiling, but open as it looked, it also gave a sort of empty, grim feeling to it. "We are in de passage of time." Grim answered after a while.
"Oooooh!" Billy said, as though he understood completely.
The bringer of death simply ignored him and kept walking. It seemed like the walk lasted forever. It may have, actually. They were in the passage of time, so anything's possible. Each door looked exactly like the last, so there seemed to be no way to tell them apart. Grim, however, saw what Billy did not... numbers on each door. What exactly they meant however, wasn't clear. What made the trek harder, was that for every 5 doors they passed, ahead of them, the hall seemed to lengthen with a dozen more.
After a while, Grim stopped and sat down on a marble bench that was sitting in the middle of the hall. There were other marble tables too, every few hundred feet. He gave a yawn and decided to lay back and relax. However, his stopping only made Billy suddenly grow aware that they didn't seem to be getting anywhere. Perhaps it's one thing to be walking and not getting anywhere but a whole different story sitting and not getting anywhere.
"Where are we?"
"We are in de 'Passage of Time', like I told you ...." Grim looked at an hourglass on his wrist. It had stopped. "...Some time ago."
"Oh. Why are we here and not with Mandy?"
"Well... we are here to help Mandy. I need to get back in time before dis event happened, so I can save Mandy and unfreeze time." And maybe I can even win dat contest too.
"Ohhh... So how do we do that?"
"By going through one of these doors." Grim waved his boney hand around at their surroundings. "But..."
Before he could say anything else, Billy opened one of the doors. "Oooh! Mandy! I'm coming!"
"Billy! NO!" A horrified Grim pulled Billy back just in time to avoid being snapped up by a hungry velociraptor. Billy clung to him, shivering, going "SAVE ME GRIM! SAVE ME!" never realizing he was safe. Idiot. Grim dropped him like a hot potato, closed the door, and moved back to the bench. "Serves you right."
"I didn't mean to be dino chow."
"As I was saying" Grim cleared his throat, "Each door represents a moment in time... or the passage of time if you will. That one there leads back to when dinosaurs walked the earth."
"Cool! Can I keep one for a pet?" the big nosed boy smiled.
"No." What was the use? The boy would never understand anything... He still couldn't tie his own shoes! "We are looking for the one and only door that connects to the right time and place."
"So how do we know where that is?"
There was a moment of silence. It was a big place... They could search for hundreds of years and never find the right door. "We must trust fate to guide us." he answered simply. He glanced at his stopped hour glass again, there was a dim glow about it, probably since the sands of time were out of the normal continuum.
"Oohh... But there's no one here besides us."
"Yes well, so I didn't t'ink of everyt'ing." He scratched the back of his skull and stood up. He yawned, and looked back at the way they came. Then he looked at the direction they were headed. "If it gets too hard, we could always quit." He smiled.
'Friends don't let friends die, Grim.'
If he weren't already white as a sheet, he would have gone pale. Mandy's voice from his dream. 'Why shouldn't I?'
he thought. 'Stupid conscience....'
"Let's go Billy." He stood up once more and began again down the hall.