Death is forced to take a vacation is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic, by Evilhumour and his beta-reader/co-author Anon eMouse Jr. and the first in the Harvest-verse. It was originally posted on December 27, 2017, and can be found on both FIMFiction and Spacebattles Forums.
Centered around Fall Harvest, the Reaper of alicorns in the local dimension, it tells the story of what happens when he is forced to take a break from his duties for a time and sent to the mortal realm until further notice. While there, he meets Princess Twilight Sparkle, and winds up sharing the story of his past with her... including his history with Princess Celestia, and just why he's avoiding her.
It is also part of Evilhumour's multiverse of related stories.
Tropes featured in this story include:
- Abstract Apotheosis: The Reapers are this for the Role of Death, former mortals who gave up their original selves to take up the position (though as aides to the Lady of Death and not as full Lords or Ladies of Death themselves).
- Aerith and Bob: Alongside the usual pony-style names like Fall Harvest and Hollow Grave, there's a Reaper named George. Though given he's a griffon, that sort of name is normal for his species.
- Cessation of Existence: Fall Harvest would rather face this than Celestia, what with their past.
- Death Takes a Holiday: Fall Harvest, the Reaper of Alicorns (and one of many adjuncts to the Role of Death) is forced to take a vacation from his duties, literally getting back into his old skin to do so. Considering how few alicorns there are, and how long it'll be until he's due to collect any more, he can easily stay away for a time without complications.
- The Dreaded:
- Fall Harvest doesn't like the Lords or Ladies of Laughter, since their unpredictableness can foul up his own powers related to Death. It takes everything he's got to keep from running out of his skin and back to his office when Pinkie shows up.
- He's also terrified of what will happen if Celestia finds out he's back.
- Four Is Death: Fall Harvest is sent off to work in zone four of the farm where he works. Naturally, that area is where he dies.
- The Grim Reaper: Helheim, the Lady of Death in this dimension, and her Reapers - Fall Harvest inherited the job of Reaper for Ponies from Light Peanut and has since become the Reaper for Alicorns only, Hollow Grave is the current Reaper for Ponies in general, Causality holds the role for draconequui, Nidhogg is Reaper for dragons, George was Reaper for griffons during Fall's early years (he's since retired), and Kelvik is Reaper for centaurs in Fall's flashbacks.
- I Heard That: Helheim's reaction to Fall Harvest's remark about how she'd feel better if he "was on your best behaviour". She also reacts (but without the line) to other things he's saying once he's in the mortal realm, and lets him know it.
- Inadvertent Entrance Cue: Mentioning anything about laughter triggers the sudden arrival of Pinkie Pie. Fall Harvest realizes this just after he'd said it, too late to avoid her.
- Insistent Terminology: Fall Harvest insists he is a winged unicorn, not an alicorn (he has wings but only a unicorn's magic, nothing from a pegasus or Earth pony). Hes lying, of course.
- Metaphorically True: Fall Harvest tells Apple Bloom that he works in an office and his job involves analysis of the lifespans of certain species. This is accurate; he just doesn't tell her he's talking about the lifespans of sapient beings and not plants like it would seem from his previous comments.
- The Multiverse: The Harvest-verse is one of at least thirteen (or more) universes in a set of linked but separate versions of Equestria.
- Original Character: Fall Harvest and the other Reapers.
- Powers That Be: As with the Pieces-verse, the Powers are a set of entities with a Purpose, Role and Duties in this world. Helheim is the Lady of Death in the Harvest-verse and has several Reapers who serve as adjuncts working for her, each monitoring and collecting the souls of a different species; Fall Harvest is the Reaper of Alicorns.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Pinkie is very good at these, even getting Fall Harvest to agree to visit Ponyville, which he was hoping to avoid, with them.
- Sensing You Are Outmatched: Discord knows he's this the instant he recognizes Fall Harvest as an Adjunct of Death; even with his status as the Lord of Disharmony, Fall Harvest outranks him, and he knows better than to mess with anyone under the employ of a Lord or Lady of Death.
- Shout-Out: As with any work that Anon e Mouse Jr. participates in, these happen.
- Chapter 1:
- Helheim, the Lady of Death in this dimension, is named for the region where the dishonorable dead (meaning those who didn't die in battle) go in Norse mythology. Related to this, one of her other Reapers is named Nidhogg, after the creature that gnaws on the world tree Yggdrasil.
- Chapter 2:
- Fall Harvest reveals his knowledge of Earth pony magic applied to farming; his information, including the consequences of letting things grow too fast, are based in part on Applejack's own knowledge in Project Sunflower.
- Fall Harvests bit about grinding up someone and putting them through the finest sieve references a similar line in Hogfather; this was Evilhumour's idea.
- Fall Harvest remembers, to himself, a story from another adjunct of Death from another dimension who was waiting for a soul to realize they were dead; their story is the events of the The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "The Hitch-Hiker".
- Chapter 4:
- Fall Harvest is an Adjunct of Death, currently hiding his identity, who says that "I'm just a guy on vacation." A mortal who's mistakenly believed to be Death, or at least the inspiration for him, says the exact same thing on a regular basis in Make a Wish.
- Fall Harvest paraphrases the last lines of the last strip from Calvin and Hobbes. Helheim promptly lampshades it.
- Chapter 5:
- It is mentioned how a speedster ran to the end of the universe, pursued by their Death (or at least one of the Deaths of that universe); having literally reached the end of their universe, that Death ceased to be. These events take place in The Flash Vol 2 #141, when Wally West ran to the end of the universe and back to escape the Black Flash. (This reference was also Evilhumour's idea.)
- Chapter 6:
- Two of the ponies named in this chapter are Redbird and Blackwing. Redbirds name comes from the car used by Robin; Blackwing is the name of a starfighter squadron that plays a minor role in Star Wars - X-Wing #5: Wraith Squadron. In the same chapter, the character of Green Lake is named for Camp Green Lake in Holes, and the character of Light Peanut is inspired by the character of Rube from Dead Like Me (these last two were Evilhumour's idea).
- At least some of the scenes set in the afterlife are inspired by scenes from the Rod Albright Alien Adventures series and the Camp Haunted Hills series.
- Chapter 1:
- Wham Line: In chapter 8...Kelvik works openly with the royal family of the centaur kingdom, mostly with Prince Tirek and his brother Scorpan.