The impact of the bullet was greater than Tim ever thought it would be. It shook his whole body; pushing him to the floor with a painful thud.
Everything after that happened so fast; he didn’t even realise that he had been hit. It felt like there was something lodged in his shoulder but he couldn’t shake himself to dislodge whatever the nuisance was.
His eyes were heavy and he could feel himself slipping into a deep sleep. His limbs were heavy, as though they were made of lead.
Tim took one gulping breath and allowed his eyes to fall closed, blocking out the image of Horatio over him and the pained look on the redhead’s face.
He blinked in confusion and looked around the room. There were suddenly dozens more people than he remembered and he could swear he just saw Stetler pass.
Horatio was standing several feet away, his hands on his hips as he glared at the retreating Internal Affairs officer.
"H?" Tim asked quietly, stepping up to the redhead. "What was that about?"
The Lieutenant remained silent and turned to face Calleigh. He raised his hand and held out his weapon.
"Is there anything I should know?" the blonde woman asked, her voice thick with emotion.
Horatio looked at the ground. "Speed might have had to…" He shook his head. "He might have had to look at his weapon."
Tim frowned in confusion and stepped forward. "What are you talking about?" he demanded. "Why would I have to look…?"
His gaze travelled to the floor in front of Horatio. "What?" He stumbled back in horror. "No…" He shook his head. "It’s not possible… I’m right here!"
Tim stepped right up to Horatio, getting right in his face; but the older man didn’t even blink at Tim’s closeness.
"Oh good," a strange voice muttered. "You figured out that they can’t hear you, right?"
The brunette turned and looked at the newcomer. "Who the hell are you?" he demanded, stepping away from Horatio.
The man looked down at his black suit and frowned. "What? The black isn’t obvious enough for you?" Tim just continued to stare. "Would you prefer if I had a scythe?"
He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with a thumb and forefinger. "You’d think I’d be used to it after all this time, wouldn’t you?" he muttered to himself. "I mean, I know it’s not like I wear a sign announcing myself but not being recognised is just insulting…" He turned to Tim. "You know what I mean?"
Tim blinked and shook his head. "No."
The man rolled his eyes. "I’m Death, you moron. The inevitable and the inescapable, Death. And I’ve come for you."
Tim took several steps back, his mouth opening and closing rapidly.
Death laughed. "It’s amazing how many people turn into goldfish when they find out they’re dead," he murmured.
"I am not dead!" Tim shouted at the top of his voice.
When no one around him made any indication that they heard this outburst, Death shook his head. "Then how would you explain Alexx over there with your body."
Tim’s brown eyes widened when he saw that the African-American woman was leaning over someone who looked a lot like him.
Death sighed and reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out a watch. "Look, I’ll give you twelve hours."
"To do what?" Tim asked quietly, his eyes never leaving his body, which was now being put in a body bag.
"Visit your friends… your family… Hell, even your lawyer if you want," Death shrugged. "Just think about who you want to see and your spirit will be taken to them."
"Oh," Death raised his hand, chuckling to himself. "They won’t be able to see you. You’re dead to them, remember?"
Horatio grabbed the bottle of scotch with a little too much energy and almost ended up with the contents down his shirt.
He swore loudly as he tried to pour himself another glass without wasting too much alcohol.
Thankfully, all he managed to do was spill a few drops of the liquid over his knuckles as he poured himself another glass.
Tim frowned from where he was sitting on the chair arm. He had never seen his boss in this state before.
He was drunk, that much Tim could work out for definite. It was very obvious that the ex-bomb technician was angry and upset; and more than willing to drown his sorrows in a glass of booze.
The young man pushed his sleeve up and looked at his watch. He had been with Horatio for almost two hours; he had other people he needed to see before Death came back for him.
Just like Horatio, Eric was sitting on his couch drinking. But while Horatio had been drinking scotch neat, Eric had a bottle of beer clutched in his hand.
Tim shook his head and counted the bottles lying on the coffee table. "Sixteen beers? I’ve only been dead a few hours. At least H only had six glasses."
Eric took another drink of the beer before throwing the empty bottle across the room, watching as it smashed into the wall opposite.
"That’s clever," Tim eyed his friend. "I’m pissed too, you know?"
"You bastard," Eric muttered, reaching under the couch and grabbing another bottle.
"Hey!" Tim shouted, pointing at Eric even though he knew the Cuban-Russian man was talking to himself and that he couldn’t be seen. "I’m the dead guy here! So can we cut back on the insults? I didn’t want to die, you know? It wasn’t intentional."
Eric pulled the cap off the bottle and tossed it to the floor. He fell back against the couch, staring through Tim and he continued to drink.
He had never seen his parents act like that before. His mother was crying; she had never cried over her oldest son. His father was trying his hardest to console his wife, but his tears didn’t seem to be helping much.
Jack, his younger brother, was at college and hadn’t been called yet.
Tim turned away from his parents. Part of him was feeling ill and the rest of him wanted to scream and shout at them.
They never displayed any kind of emotion in front of him; they never cared and he knew it. He couldn’t help detest them for the hypocrisy in their actions.
He didn’t have long, just an hour and half before Death returned and this time Tim knew he wasn’t going to be able to get out of going along with him.
Seeing Danny cry was worse than Horatio and Eric. Tim had been a friend and colleague to both of them. But Danny was his lover, not just a friend.
Unlike, the other two men, Danny wasn’t drinking. He wasn’t even in his apartment; he was on the roof staring up at the stars.
The blonde shivered and pulled his jacket tighter around him as tears continued to fall.
Tim glanced down at the street below, before turning back and running his eyes over his lover.
"I’m sorry, Danny," he whispered. "I’m so sorry."
He had never seen the other man cry and he hated that he was the one Danny was crying over; he was not worth his lover’s tears.
Danny sat down on the sun chair behind him and pulled his legs close. He looked so small and fragile as he sat staring at nothing in particular.
Tim knelt next to him. "I wish you could see me," he murmured. "I’m sorry," he repeated.
He reached out to cover Danny’s hand with his own, surprised when he found that he could actually touch the other man.
Danny glanced down at his hand in surprise, clearly feeling something touching him. "Tim?" he whispered hopefully.
"I never meant for this to happen." Tim shook his head, tears falling down his cheeks. "I swear, I didn’t mean to hurt you. I… I love you."
"Your time is up," a familiar voice spoke from behind him.
Tim turned his head and glared at Death. "I’m not leaving," he said firmly.
Death sighed. "You have to; to keep the natural balance."
"What natural balance?"
"Everyone has to die and move on so others can be born." Death rolled his eyes.
"Fuck that!" Tim snapped, getting to his feet. "I’m staying right here!"
"If you do that you’ll be a ghost forever. Always stuck on this plane, never having the chance to move on. Can you cope with seeing your loved ones being with someone else?"
Tim remained silent and Death pulled out his pocket watch. "Look, I’m on commission here and there are still a lot of souls to collect. Are you coming or not?"
The brunette turned to look at Danny, who was still staring at his hand with a mixture of fear and surprise. "Goodbye, Danny," he whispered before turning back to Death. "Fine," he snapped.
"About time," Death sighed and clapped his hands once.
Suddenly Danny’s apartment building disappeared and Tim found himself on a beach, wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts. "Where am I?"
"Last I checked, this was the beyond. Enjoy."
Death gave him a small wave before disappearing, leaving Tim to get on with his after-life.