Chapter Three

Watching William sleep was by far the greatest sight Grell could hope for on a night like this. He contacted the agency, claiming a personal day to look after someone. The questions would come tomorrow, but part of him really wasn't concerned about it. Will's chest rose and fell slowly, rhythmically. Finally, they could be at ease, not worrying over this illness any longer.

In his mind and Undertaker's, Grell had saved William's life, removed him from the to die list and now he was allowed to live, full immortality restored. Madame Red's coat was draped over Will, and Grell couldn't help but look at him for hours on end.

Sighing, he looked away for a few moments, almost ready to turn out the lights and sleep during everyone else's shift. Man wouldn't that feel nice, but just as he was ready to flick the switch, Will started stirring. As his eyes opened, a full smile came across Grell's face. The reaper rubbed his eyes and reached for his spectacles.

"Hey, dud." William gasped, looking at himself and his hands. He looked to see Grell's arms behind his head, nearly completely taking over the right half of his bed, legs crossed.

"What happened?" he asked. "How did I escape the plague?"

"Reaper's tears," Grell replied, holding up the book. Will nodded.

"I see." He looked down at the covers. "Whose, if I may ask?"

"You don't remember anything?" Grell asked. Will looked perplexed, recalling the last thing he saw was a figure standing in his doorway, thinking for sure death was coming.

"You didn't want to die then? Good," Sutcliff commented after Will's recollection.

"Were you here the whole time?" Will asked.

"Long enough to save you," he said.

"What?" Will gasped, pausing for a few moments. "They were...your tears?"

Grell stared at the bedspread now, sighing before looking Will in the eyes.

"Yes, they were mine," he confessed. "Undertaker put me through quite the struggle though." Grell began the story of his quest to deliver the bottle Undertaker had given him and what had happened when he got to the flat.

"I thought you were as good as dead. A reaper even came by to collect your soul, but I couldn't, I couldn't let him take you. It was me or no one."

"Grell..." Will was growing speechless, believing everything he was hearing. Their green eyes met, but looked away just as quickly.

"All I want to know is how the hell you came in contact with a disease nearly 500 years old," he finished the story with that question. Will did not want to explain right away, but Grell didn't really care it seemed, at least not enough to keep persisting as he usually did.

Another few silent moments passed between them as William propped himself to lean more comfortably on the bed against the headboard. He grabbed and pushed his glasses up to his face.

"That's two spots on the record then," he said, taking the red coat and looking at Grell. "Both stained in red."

Grell smiled, seeing he had the old William back; the breathing William that is.

"Come here Grell," he said, sighing as though he felt obligated, patting the side of bed about two inches from himself. The red reaper said nothing, only allowing himself to control what was going on inside, which was a wave of different emotions. William took his red reaper and threw him against his chest. A full embrace.

It didn't take Grell long to accept that gesture. He leaned fully onto Will's chest, wrapping one arm around Will's back and resting the other upon his shoulder. In his mind, this felt more like a dream than an actual reality. This was completely unexpected behavior from one so well modified to the structure of reapers.

"Sometimes, you annoy me, and sometimes you fascinate me. You just never give up, do you? And your death scythe, it is quite impressive. The way you've personally modified it must've taken a great deal of time. You're ridiculously difficult when it comes to orders yet somehow, every night, your soul collection is flawless and you've successfully managed to find the time to track down that demon of yours."

Grell's head shifted, ready with a comment but Will insisted he not talk for a few more minutes. The red reaper rested his head on the black reaper's shoulder, waiting for him to finish.

"For as often as you're demoted, you seem to pull through with an impressive standing. Your judgment may not always be rational, but even though you'd like to deny it, you know when it is time to act. Grell, the first time, I understood. Our grades were depending on it. Why this time?"

"Oh William," Grell was already blushing. "You've always said there was no room for emotion in a job. Your consistency is aggravating, but I suppose necessary. Emotions guide people's hearts and as reapers, we must understand at least that. If you become so out of touch with your emotions, how could you ever collect a soul or expect to face another one like Thomas? Emotion is what makes us intermediaries. It's the only human connection we can share with them after we receive our reaper's spectacles."

"That still doesn't answer my question, Sutcliff."

"Oh but it does. I saved you, William T. Spears, because I have an emotional attachment to you. Your partnership, as I often tell you, is forever etched upon my body. You can be kind of a bitch, though."

Will could feel Grell's pulsing hand upon his shoulder, noticing the beat was speeding up. Yet, Grell seemed perfectly content where he was lying as he lay his head back upon Will's shoulder. As much as the thought seemed wrong to him, William brought his hand down to Grell's waistline, tracing a line back up, knowing the red reaper would like that.

"Forever etched hm?" he asked, making Grell shudder with excitement.

"Ooo, yes," Grell replied, bringing his head up slightly. "You're so cruel."

"I suppose I do owe you at least one time," Will confessed. "Just don't push it."

"One time?" Grell asked, slightly confounded, but the circumstance was clarified once Will ran his hand down Grell's back slowly and with such precision, making the red reaper nearly melt into him.

"Yes, do tell me how we ended up on a bed together," Will said, but Grell leaned in close, tracing his own hand up Will's chest, unbuttoning the top collar. Now this was play, Will, he thought to himself.

"Not telling," he smirked, showing a portion of his sharpened teeth. "Not until you tell me how you got the plague."

William sighed, allowing Grell to unbutton the rest of his shirt and take off that formal jacket he'd worn every day of his reaper life. It was annoying that reapers needed sleep, almost as much as humans did. Sure, all nighters weren't a big deal; in fact, most reapers had become accustomed to it, but there are many times where sleep is inevitable. This time, Will could have rested, but he chose not to. He gave the chance up to Grell Sutcliff. A most horrible and irrational decision, really.

"You're always so tense, you should really take care of that," Grell said, letting the jacket fall to the floor as he reached up to feel Will's beating heart for the time being.

William took hold of the red reapers collar, untying the ribbon around his neck and forcing Grell to look him in the eyes as he casted it aside.

"I think you know why I'm always so uptight," Will said calmly, undoing the buttons holding Grell's vest together, which he then slipped off.

"It's either the fact you still haven't gotten over your eye color changing, the unpaid overtime, me, or maybe it's because you're experiencing frustration."

"Frustration?" Will keenly questioned. "As I told you, the eye color was just alarming. I didn't expect that to change."

"None of us did honey, but we know why," Grell was working on the already loosened tie, letting that hit the floor. "There. Now you can at least look like you're relaxing."

Grell's attire had been mostly undone by himself, just waiting to be so close to Will. The first time their flesh made contact, William was alarmed, while Grell seemed to savor the moment.

"I'm surprise at you," Grell sighed. "All that time during the final, when we had to share the bed because yours was broken, and yet you still flinch when we touch."

"That was a long time ago."

"Yes, some of the positions we woke up in, my my, I'm surprised the ladies didn't think we were a couple."

"They did. Why else do you think we never got laid?"

"You never got laid," Grell corrected. Will gasped.

"You're saying that you actually got laid? Who the hell?"

"Hey now. Shelly," Grell replied, noting Will's reaction. "Don't worry, she wasn't anything to brag about, and before you ask, no I didn't lay her on the bed we shared."

"Thank heavens," Will sighed. "But really? Shelly?"

"Yes, why? Crushing on her or something?" Grell asked. When William didn't answer, Grell instantly chuckled at the thought, in which they proceeded to argue over for another few minutes. To think, Grell Sutcliff would get the chance to lay Shelly Margret before Will had even asked her out on a date, back when they had time in school to spare.

"What else was I supposed to do? After that final exam, you certainly had me swooning. I could never tell you I had sex with a girl."

Oh, the moment after the final exam, walking to get their reaper's spectacles! That was quite the day for both of them. After reminiscing about that bit, William turned to Grell, who was now leaning back into him closely.

"I cannot believe I'm saying this," William began. "But I'm actually grateful to have you under my service."

"Aw, Will, you shouldn't have," Grell was blushing again.

"Just out of curiosity, since tonight has already been strange enough, what was it like?"

"What was what like?" Grell asked, and William turned to let him adjust beside him.

"Having sex with a girl," he clarified.

"Oh, that. Yes, not something worth repeating with her, but if you're desperate, go right on ahead. don't even remembered what kissing is like either then, do you?"

Will turned away, thinking this discussion was getting a little out of hand. Grell was again blushing at the sight of Will, shyly attempting to avoid this, but a situation like this would not pass the red reaper so slyly.

"Look at me Will, it's nothing to be ashamed of," Grell said. Sighing, William turned his head back around, only to be allotted the surprise of Sutcliff's face inches from his own, which made him already feel uncomfortable.

"Just this once," he reminded Will before pressing his lips against the black reaper's mouth. Every fiber of his being told him to shove Grell away and that this was very, very wrong.

He never did, more curious than anything, and instead he tried to retaliate by replicating what Grell was doing with his mouth. Since he had no references, kissing Grell so far was proving not to be the worst thing in the world. The red reaper had already shaped both hands in accordance with Will's jawline, completely immersing himself into this, nearly forcing his body on top of Will.

Spears didn't know what to do, so he kept his hands behind him to hold his own weight and tried to focus on how to do this properly. Grell let go before he'd had the chance to completely asses Grell's tactics.

"Hmm, well you didn't resist, that's a good first step," the reaper said, tapping his index finger against the rim of his glasses. "But, you're trying much too hard."

"What?" Will asked.

"This isn't a job, Will this is kissing. It's not supposed to be that difficult, I promise."

He leaned in closer once again. "Now, try again, but don't try too hard."

William's eyebrows rose as Grell pressed himself wholly against him along with the kiss this time. Letting his muscles relax leaned them both back, but that was all right. Instead, Will allowed himself to calm down, perhaps even enjoy the moment for a few seconds. He then noted that Grell's eyes were completely closed. Was that part of it?

Attempting, his eyes too closed, finding his other senses heightened, specifically touch. His arms felt odd just dangling there, but he didn't feel comfortable putting them on Grell's face. Instead, he chose to wrap them around Grell's waistline, noticing this time, they were locked for a longer period. Once more, the red reaper released him, still within their embrace but with both sets of eyes open.

"Much much better," he sighed, blushing deeply. "You're already better than that brat Shelly." Will smirked.

"Oh really?" William asked. "And how much more of this business do you know about?"

"Sexuality honey, that's my specialty. Next to practical skills that is," Grell replied.

"Oh? So, practical skills in sex should be your greatest span of knowledge then?" Will was starting to piece things together.

"Dangerous assumption there, William. It's actually lower than what you might think," Grell said. "True, I know a lot about the subject, but copious amounts of experience haven't found me just yet. But I can assure you that I probably know more about this than you do."

William had to admit, he'd never kissed anyone before. The time seemed never to be allotted to him. He'd finally kissed someone though. Grell. He kissed him...her? Whatever! He kissed Grell, if that meant anything at all. Finally it was starting to hit him that he'd been thrown into some kind of trap.

"Why am I doing this?" Will asked out loud.

"Because you need to relax," the red reaper had answered him, unexpectedly to his knowledge of the nature the question had possessed.

"Shouldn't you be out reaping?"

"I took my night off, to look after you."

"Promise me two things, Sutcliff," Will began.

"Hm?" Grell asked, leaning back down onto Will's left side, holding him to the embrace. It was too obvious, he was in a bliss at the moment.

"No one else is to know about this. And, you are not to do this to me at work. Understood?" Will asked.

"Yes Will." Grell feared that not following any of those specifications would not only land him in trouble at work, but it would ruin any potential chances for the future. It was within that moment William could feel the pounding of Grell's heartbeat from his fingertips again, but this time, the rate was alarming.

"Is that healthy for your heart to do that?"

"Do what?" Grell asked.

"It's literally displacing the skin on my arm. Your heart is more than pounding, yet you seem perfectly normal," Will observed.

"Will, look at the situation!" Grell exclaimed with a smile. "You're not dead, you're holding me, and I even got to kiss you, twice. Of course my heart is racing!"

Although he was still confused, William took the matter lightly, deciding not to dwell upon it anymore. The night was already strange enough, but with Grell here, things didn't seem all that bad. With a yawn coming from the person next to him, William too was beginning to find himself near exhaustion.

"I swear it, you'll be the end of me one day, William T Spears," the red reaper sighed, placing himself as close as possible to William. One last kiss on the cheek was all that happened before Grell fell asleep and Will watched him for a few moments.

Kissing Grell was probably about as close as he'd ever get to a girl, but it was close enough. Stranger things have happened, such as contracting the pneumonic plague while on assignment to collect a sewer rat's body that had been dumped into London's sewer system after a murder scene. None of the reapers would prove such competence. However, there was certainly room in Grell for acceptance, a willingness, and a patience.

For the first time, Spears noticed Grell's flaming hair in its longest form, staring at the shimmer it made against the moonlight that had slowly begun to creep into the bedroom. Hesitant, he kissed Grell on the forehead, tightened his hold, and fell asleep.