By the hands of the Gods, you have been plucked from your time and from your world, dropped into the box.
Only the box is a world of its own.
We are a mass crossover based on the concept of Pandora's Box. Characters from nearly any fandom can be played here. Because of the endless character possibilities, we are canon only here at Pandora. Take a peek at our rules and plot information before starting your new life in Pandora.
This was by far the strangest death she had ever experienced. Because it wasn't enough to die once, or even multiple times in rapid succession. Now, she had the privilege of entering a warrior's afterlife. It would've been almost flattering if this particular cause of death hadn't been from an unceremonious alleyway stabbing.
After taking the needed time to gather her senses and her hysterics and reorient herself to the cacophony and bustle of the Grand Hall, it became obvious that this was still Pandora, somehow. Not that Wanda understood what made this death different from other deaths that justified her spirit being ushered into Valhalla — but if this was still Pandora, then there was a way back. And Kal was coming to get her, so all she needed to do was stay put.
"Want to hear about the time I survived winter by suckling a moose's teat?"
"I told you I'm not feeling it, Björn." Nursing a tankard of decidedly non alcoholic apple cider, she hid her head in the palm of her opposing hand and scooted a little further away from the hulking fur-clad warrior with a braided beard in the color of rust and biceps that almost began to challenge the actual Hulk. Almost. Not quite. Not that she was paying attention, because she had been trying to have an introspective moment.
"Come on! Liven up! This is VALHALLA!" Björn's flexing shadow flexed over her head, causing her to bite back a groan and scoot even farther along down the seat.
As if from an afterthought, she grabbed the handle of her assigned oversized battleaxe— whose name was apparently Ingrid— and hauled it across the gap from her movement with a heave of her breath.
Day three back in Pandora, and he was already neck deep in blood, carving out a name for himself (re-carving, more like) and in
What was it again?
"Tacky." Crowley scoffed at the atmosphere of chainmail and wolf pelts around him. He already saw a few of the little blighters he'd impaled back in Pandora, and his eyes lingered on them menacingly. They looked away first, and Crowley kept walking, sensing a familiar magic up ahead in the magnificent, smoky hall.
Pulling one hand out of his pockets, Crowley approached Wanda head-on, coming up behind her not-so-secret admirer and slapping a hand over the big brute's unpleasantly sweaty shoulder. "Don't think the lady's terribly impressed, eh, Ivar? Might want to go find one of the Helgas. Reckon they're more easily swayed by all the rippling muscle. There's a good lad." He glanced across at Wanda and Crowley's eyes wrinkled in a rare show of genuine affection.
"How's the afterlife treating you? You know that's non-alcoholic, right? Might as well just call it apple juice, dear."
Björn made like he was about to retort something clever, for Björn, before muttering a whatever man to himself and skulked off elsewhere. His presence, though startlingly well-intentioned in his affability, would not be missed. Wanda barely registered his departure as she gaped at the new arrival following a slow head turn, in conjunction with a disbelieving head tilt.
Of all the non-alcoholic drinking corners in all the afterlives in all the (limited) universe. How long had it been?
Undoubtedly she'd been around the block a few too many times to be utterly awestruck: people came and went and came again, sometimes remembering all their escapades here, sometimes not. It was the unique combination of who she was looking at and where she was looking at him from that left her stunned, if not just for a few heartbeats.
"Hey you!" Wanda greeted cheerily at last, in a sudden twist of mood. And she raised her happily non-alcoholic cider and swiveled her chair around at a sufficient angle to greet Crowley properly. "I'd rather not have died again but you know how that goes. And it's fizzy, which works for me."
Her face all but bled with curiosity as she looked upon the familiar meatsuit. Was it a meatsuit if this was technically already some sort of spiritual plain? She had a stack of questions that she was about ready to launch at the demon one after another, but she managed to settle with only a few. "How have you been! Are you sightseeing? Where's Juliet?"
It was nice to see Wanda again. She was (and Crowley hated himself for even thinking this) a nice girl, and she'd helped him out here and there over the years he'd been in Pandora. Year. God, how long had it been? And what had Wanda helped him with?
Those memories were utterly absent in Crowley's mind, but he had enough context to know that whatever it was, it had been by and large unpleasant for everyone. He remembered enough blood to know that. And Juliet had ended up with one less leg than she had now. That wasn't something that happened to a hellhound over nothing.
He wrinkled his nose, both at Wanda's drink and the memory loss. "Oh, you're dead?" Crowley quipped, quirking his brows. "Condolences, I guess. Still doesn''t excuse the fizzy apple juice." Wanda was an odd girl, though. Maybe she was into that kind of thing.
With an expression that hovered between disdain and amusement, Crowley shrugged his shoulders. It was going to take some getting used to to readjust to the way people just poured questions on him in Pandora. "I stabbed a few people and noticed their souls didn't exactly take the normal path to the Great Beyond. Call me curious." He shrugged his shoulders, reaching over the table to grab a mug of... something. Definitely smelled alcoholic. Crowley drank it anyway, then coughed explosively at the unbelievable burn of whatever it was that penetrated the dissonance between Crowley and his meatsuit.
"What is this? Paint thinner? Mother of--" Crowley dragged his hand across his mouth, then squinted at Wanda, looking suspicious despite the fact that there was no way this was her fault. "Juliet's not the best at dimension-hopping. I left her behind." He finally explained, sounding hoarser than usual. "My God, do they just leave this shite out for some innocent fool to sip? They'll kill someone."
This was quite surreal even by death and Valhalla standards, but if she hadn't gotten accustomed to rolling with the motions by now there must've been something lamentably wrong with her.
"I'll be back," Wanda spoke with an offhanded, casual conviction, as though it were as certain as the garbage truck coming around the next week. Then she made a vaguely pinched face that scrunched about the bridge of her nose when the demon mentioned stabbing a few people. Ah- that was a thing he did, that in the end she supposed she took as much offense to as he did with people drinking fizzy apple juice.
Which she took an indulgent draught of, stubbornly pleased with the texture and taste fizzing atop her afterlife tongue.
"I've been done in worse by the eldritch-spider-clown-Bob thing, which I actually haven't heard from in a hot while. So that's nice." She smiled sunnily at that, albeit somewhat wistfully to boot, until Crowley began choking on whatever random drink he'd acquired and her expression faltered some.
She pushed forward her own drink, that he'd also insulted, in his direction. "Might help with the aftertaste," she suggested sympathetically. "Yeah, if you die here you just heal and respawn. Like one of those video games. Did you see the-" She cleared her throat and finished, in resignation, "the battle royale outside?"
For a moment, Crowley froze at the mention of the eldritch-spider-clown-bob thing. His face looked a bit more pallid than usual, and his eyes darted frantically from place to place, as if searching for something while his mind ran itself in silent, angry circles. After a pregnant pause, Crowley finally focused on Wanda again, and offered a stupid, oddly blank smile. "What?" She'd said something. He just couldn't put his finger on what it was.
Couldn't have been important then. Oh well.
Still a bit dazed, Crowley took the drink without his usual flurry of objections and drained it in one swig, grimacing at the bubbles. Like she promised, though, it did get rid of the wild aftertaste. His gaze drifted to the door, and Crowley wrinkled his nose. "I saw. Seems a bit stupid if you're just going to revive anyway, right? Why even bother?" He scoffed, then took a seat next to Wanda. "You seem well-adjusted." Crowley observed blandly, staring up at the ceiling.
Her chin coming to rest against propped knuckles, her thoughts drifted to Juliet being left behind somewhere, painted a baleful mental image of the horse-sized hellhound with her head drooping plaintively. Juliet would've liked Valhalla, she mused— plenty of oversized viking femurs littering the battlefield. Or wouldn't she? There was a lot she frankly still didn't know about Crowley and Juliet, but she had still missed them.
More absentminded than observant this time around, her brows lifted with a noise of "huh?" in response to the "what?" The moment of confusion passed naturally; frankly there was plenty- almost too much else to chatter about.
"Too much has happened not to be," she expressed sincerely, in a moment of funny clarity. The concept of death was no longer one to be feared; it hadn't been for some time now, except for the prospect of being taken from those she had grown attached to. So as long as she knew in her bones that she'd be reunited with them after the other end of all this, she would be fine. "It's good to see you," she added along, green eyes idling on his vacant face following that random swell of emotion.
Her head canted at a slight angle. "Marta? Of course I do." Blinking rapidly in succession, she adopted a more alert posture, scraping her chair a millimeter forward as she remembered something important. Relatively important. "Ah, the pomeranians! They're at the farm with her, running with the alpacas and wooloos. You can pick them up any time you like."
The moment of confusion passed so quickly that Crowley didn't really have time to dwell on it, or even to realize it had happened at all. He merely stared at Wanda, who stared at him, and after a few seconds he broke eye contact and the moment was over. He blinked hard and the world seemed right as rain again.
"True that. Once you've sat in on the end of the frigging world, I guess things are put into perspective, eh?" Crowley mused, grabbing another drink that seemed more promising than the last one. He took a sip and smiled at the warm flavor of mead. He'd always enjoyed a good cup of it, and he'd been somewhat put out when modern times had more or less wiped honey-wine out of existence.
Still, it could have been worse. He set it aside and cleared his throat, casting Wanda a look of mild surprise. A moment later, Crowley's expression may very well have been described as warm, because... well, Wanda was one of the only people he hadn't fucked everything up with before leaving Pandora. It was...
"I've somehow survived without you, darling." Crowley teased, obviously dodging any real sentimental talk. He wasn't near drunk enough for that. "So you haven't eaten-- the what? The-- oh, fuck off. You're serious? The poms?" Crowley's expression went through an Olympic gymnastic event over the span of Wanda's speech, finally settling on genuine alarm that bordered on delight. Somehow, there was something wonderful about those three horrific little beasts being alive. There was a reason they weren't supposed to be...?
He shook his head. "I'll get them at some point. I'm still finding my bearings. Lots of kneecaps yet to break and hearts to fill with terror and whatnot. But... I'll get them when I can. Bloody hell, really? They're still kicking around..." Crowley gave a hoarse laugh and drained his cup. "Well cheers to them, the little devils."
It should be neither right nor appropriate for Wanda to disassociate Crowley's cruel demonic tendencies with Crowley, her charming and funny and oddly lovable neighbor that she liked. But that swath of chaotic memories she had of him made her cognitive dissonance a powerful thing, and she was over that moral crisis long ago. She knew she shouldn't be, but she was.
Distracting herself for just a moment as she raised her hand to call over another mug of (non/barely alcoholic) cider, she spun back around with her refreshed beverage in her hand.
"I know, right?" Wanda bounced back with a retrospective bemusement. Going by past trends, she'd thought that those tiny, tiny puppies would've disappeared around the time Crowley did, or at least in the weeks after. But they kept stubbornly strong, like... well, like Tony Stark's Alpacas Named Susan, living their best lives on open pastures and a distinct lack of carnivorous predators. It was as pleasant of a destination as if the metaphorical farm upstate could be interpreted as literal, and it was nice that some of the creatures stranded her could go on without a care in the world.
If any handful of pomeranians deserved the break, it'd be then. After being devoured by...
"Well, whenever you're ready. Peanut thinks she's a shepherd dog."Haaa… A breath drew outward from her lips that sounded like half a bubble of fond laughter. "She tries her best. So are you just, up to your usual business? Nothing to shake things up this time?"