Title: Jeux du Coeur
Author: Naria Lacour de Fanel
Pairings: Shinigami sammich
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN KUROSHITSUJI, NOR IT'S CHARACTERS, NOR DO I MAKE ANY MONEY WRITING THIS!
Chapter 8: Game Over. In which the game ends.
Upon my pillow rests a ruby of the finest quality. She has fire like no other, a sparkling clarity unmatched, and her innumerable facets only accentuate the depth of her passionate color. Beside her rests a dark shard of obsidian. In contrast, he is rough in many ways, but he is undoubtedly sharper than the finest blade. From casual observation, he appears mysterious and unfathomable, but he is utterly transparent once you know how to hold him. Though they are so different and should not conceivably compliment one another, I know there are no two gems in the world better matched, for their contrast is their greatest strength. I adore looking upon them in all their splendor together…and yet I also know I cannot do anything useful, save admire them. I do nothing to accentuate their inherent beauty; a grey and weathered stone such as myself does not belong. I found them, yes, but I am not matched to my jewels. I care for them, I have polished them to show others their perfection, and I show them well deserved admiration…but I do not belong. They are precious and I-
I am not.
Mes beaux bijoux...
Considering my plans came to fruition so beautifully, the time was suitable for me to take my leave. And so, I told them that I had to abscond for business… it just so happens that I have not returned nor made contact in over four months. I know they suspect something by now, the clever minds that they are, but I could never regret nor rescind my decision. I am proud to know that my subtle tutelage has rendered them capable of being entirely blissful by themselves. I do watch over them in secret from time to time, and seeing their still new relationship blossom so gloriously is highly satisfying. After all, this was my intention all along. I had never really planned on leaving London, per se, but such a slight inconvenience is worth the smooth progression of their relationship.
I see Grell's ever passionate eyes light up with true happiness whenever I catch the rare sight of he and William sharing an intimate moment. And William, in turn, has become prone to smiling when he is under the impression that no one is watching. I knew they would inevitably grow to be this way, and that is precisely why I had to make their potential relationship a definitive reality. It nearly pained me to see two obviously destined souls avoid one another because of foolish pride or disabling fear. I say nearly because I hardly feel anything beyond curiosity, humor, or pleasure. It is probably safe to say that I do not feel what is defined as the true scope of human emotion any longer. I doubt this would bother me even if I had the notion to be bothered. It is just a product of having existed for so long, and perhaps a sad thought to some, but not for me. Though I am aware that my emotional shortcomings should not affect those two. I know I cannot give the passionate love Grell so deserves, nor can I give the strong patient love William needs. I've long since forgotten how (nor do I really desire to recall), but they obviously have not. Nor should they.
Despite my inability to feel for them as I probably should, I cannot deny that I do feel a sort of longing for them. They were my companions for a few incredibly passionate trysts. And they were exceptionally entertaining. But pleasure and amusement are not reason enough to remain with them; not when they have the ability to create and share something far more meaningful than the comparatively shallow affection I provide. I only intervened in order to bring them together, nothing more, and my task has been completed. I know this to be true…In my observations of them, not once have they mentioned me in a more than politely curious manner, and that is how it should be.
I am drawn out of my thoughts by the sounds of scuffling and raised voices outside. Curious, I go to the window to see if I can find the source of the disturbance and am greeted with the surprising sight of the chief subjects of my thoughts, Grell and William.
I chuckle under my breath knowing that kismet is being her usual mischievous self.
Unfortunately, I cannot make out what they are saying, but it is quite obvious to me that Grell is upset and William is trying his best to calm him…which he effectively does by putting to use one of the many lessons I imparted to him. He firmly grips Grell by the shoulders, shoves him into a wall, and silences his protests by smashing their lips together and smothering him with an intense kiss, to which Grell inevitably succumbs. I smirk at the sight and move from the window in the likely event that they will eventually see me once they decide there is a need for breath. Undoubtedly, they have tracked me down (and not in the best of moods, understandably) and shall soon traipse into my new shop up in arms, but I shall be prepared for their wrath. I cannot let them believe that I may feel guilty for my doings as I do not in the least, but playing ignorant to any distress will be the best course to save us all from a seemingly awkward situation. Still, the sight of them does somehow speed the pace of my heart, but I assume that is in reaction to the conflict I know I am to face…
"We found you~," came an achingly familiar and melodious voice after the jingle of the shop bell.
Undertaker looked up to see the very sources of his thoughts walk into the room. "Hello," he chuckled with a deceptively casual tone and characteristic grin, acting as if they had only been apart for perhaps a day. "How nice it is to see you."
"And you as well," Grell said wistfully, an honest smile on his lips as he sashayed up to Undertaker in his normal flirtatious fashion. "I've missed you so."
"Our lives have not been the same with your absence," William added with an approving nod as he followed behind the redhead. The scarlet reaper pouted sweetly up at his silver haired lover and then gently lay his head on his chest with a satisfied sigh. Contrary to the elder's expectations, the two reapers seemed pleased to see him. It was odd, but not unwelcome, though it did seem strange for them to be so calm…not that he wanted them to be upset...did he? No, of course not...
"It was rather mean of you to leave without saying a word," Grell pouted cutely, rubbing his cheek on the mortician's chest.
William circled around the pair and placed his hand firmly on Undertaker's shoulder. Caution whispered in the mortician's head, telling him these two should not be so nonchalant, but he ignored the warning for the sake of enjoying the warm beautiful body pressed up against his. Despite his resolution to detach himself, Undertaker had to make a conscious effort not to wrap his arms around the scarlet reaper before him, or reach up to touch the work calloused hand upon his shoulder. He was surprised at the odd sentimental reaction the touch and the very scent of these two caused within him! Had he really missed them that much? He hadn't even thought he was capable…
"Yes, I'd even go so far as to call it rude," William nearly growled from behind him. Too distracted by Grell's flirtatious behavior, and his own slightly baffling thoughts, he was too late to stop himself from being shoved backwards into William's awaiting arms. He was sandwiched between his two paramours and a soft cloth was pressed over his nose and mouth.
"Does this smell like chloroform to you?" William murmured into his captive's ear.
"No," came Undertaker's muffled chuckle through the fabric. He nearly laughed outright at the quaintness and obvious spite in William's move. It wouldn't work on him.
"Good," William said coldly, though the mortician was almost sure he had heard a slight tone of satisfaction at the end of that single word… "Because it's not."
He didn't even have time to raise an eyebrow before there was a crack to the back of his head and intense pain and then…nothing.
William let go of the unconscious body in his arms, causing Undertaker to crumple to the floor in an ungracious heap.
"Was that really necessary?" Grell winced as he looked down at his prone silver haired lover.
"Yes," William replied coldly as he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Yes it was."
Then suddenly, he reached down and smacked the unconscious mortician across the back of the head once more quite viciously.
"That, however, was entirely unnecessary, yet deeply satisfying."
Undertaker groggily blinked open his eyes, grateful that he was greeted with soothing dim light.
"I hadn't planned on that," he groaned, pain lancing the back of his head.
"It seems we have a knack of making your plans go awry, don't we?" came a biting hiss from Grell.
"Yes. Yes you do," Undertaker replied coolly taking in his surroundings. From the familiarity of things, he could only assume he was back in his bedchamber in London. Hmm. He was also naked and shackled to his own bed, his two captors standing at the foot of said bed staring down at him rather coldly.
"Judging from the use of manacles," he hummed in a carefully neutral tone. "I am not going to be allowed to leave until you are satisfied."
"Of course," William interrupted Grell by slapping a hand over his mouth. "If you would be so kind, we would like an explanation as to why you suddenly disappeared without notice."
Undertaker gave the chains a pull to see if they would perhaps give, but to no avail. Double damn! They had gone and used the reinforced set... Oh well.
"Why should it matter?" Undertaker shrugged slightly. "You two were doing splendidly on your own with only the rarest platonic thought towards my well being."
"How do you know that?" Grell asked quietly.
"I have been monitoring your progress, my dear." Undertaker smirked.
"Progress? What progress?" Grell frothed, only to have William squeeze his shoulder in a silent request for quiet.
"Please clarify," William said crisply.
"Your relationship," the mortician said matter-of-factly.
The two younger shinigami said nothing as they stared at him expectantly, prompting a clearer response with their piercing stares. He sighed resignedly, ignoring the pangs of what seemed to be annoyance that kept prodding at his mind.
"To put it simply, I had grown tired of seeing the two of you run circles around each other as I have been observing this strange little game of yours for decades. I thought it was high time the two of you finally came to terms with your obvious feelings for one another, but of course, neither of you would act on your own, so I interceded to bring you together. You know the rest from there," the elder rambled, uninterested, resisting the urge to roll his eyes.
"Yes," the redhead shouted, throwing off Will's hand! "We know at least that much, you snide, conniving bas-" Grell was once again interrupted by the ebon haired reaper's hand over his mouth.
"What he means to ask is why did you leave us?" William asked calmly despite the incredibly sharp teeth now sinking into his hand.
"You do not need me any longer. Why should I interfere further?" Undertaker asked simply, lightly tugging on the chains in the vain hope they might magically disintegrate...but...no. As much as some part of him truly enjoyed seeing them, he really did not want to be interrogated. He'd let them go once he had completed what he had planned to do, so what more did they need from him?
"Inter- Interfere? Why do you make it seem like you're not part of this relationship?" Grell shrieked and William gave up in trying to subdue him.
"Because you and William finally have each other," Undertaker sighed, irritation coloring his tone. Now he could see why William could get so aggravated by the redhead so easily. Grell could get under one's skin without even trying, the mortician had just been able to overlook it before in amusement. Now his shrill words seemed to grate on his ears in a very unpleasant and definitively non-amusing manner. As if his role in all this and contributions were unappreciated entirely… As if his sacrifice- No...not sacrifice. He couldn't think of it that way. It was never meant to be his to begin with… "My role as mediator is complete. I needn't be involved any longer."
"You have no right to say that! It isn't your choice! It's mine! It's William's! If I want to love you and be with you it's my decision to feel that way, not yours!"
Undertaker raised an eyebrow at the redhead's outburst. His patience, while normally infinite for his dear Grell, was quickly wearing thin. He needn't explain himself further when he had made his perfectly logical reasoning clear as day, nor did he wish to remain in their presence. It was making him highly uncomfortable, which was something he couldn't entirely explain. In thinking, he realized that the irritation had begun to surface when he had witnessed them happily gnawing each other's faces just outside the shop. That display proved that they clearly cared for one another, as he had intended all along, and they obviously did not need him if they could be so intimate so openly. Why couldn't the dense ginger appreciate that? He was still so young and naïve, he couldn't possibly understand…
"It is not love that you feel for me, child," the mortician uncharacteristically growled, his eyes narrowing in warning.
"Like hell it isn't!" Grell spat, the harshness of his gaze making the elder's seem insignificant.
"If anything, it is misplaced admiration," Undertaker said lowly, his body incredibly tense. He hadn't felt anger in centuries, but he felt it keenly now. He could not just stand by and watch Grell throw away all the effort he had put into building his and William's relationship. Not if the boy was just tenaciously hanging onto something he thought was real. "I gave you comfort while you were in pain. I gave you an outlet for a love you thought would remain unrequited. Nothing more, nothing less. Affection it could be, yes, but love it is not."
Grell scoffed and sneered at his captive.
"You think you know me so well, but you're just as blind as William was! If something doesn't fall into your intricate plans then it can't possibly be true in your eyes. Well, here's the reality for you, you pompous bastard, what I feel for you wasn't born of your devious machinations! I am not that easily manipulated. You coming into my life when you did only nurtured something that was already growing. You think I didn't notice while you stalked me? Or that I was outside your shop the day after Angelina's death because I wanted her damn boots? Do you really think that I didn't know your identity when you're a bloody legend? NO! I put on a show for you as much as I did for William, and even as remarkably stupid as the two of you can be, I miraculously got both of you without having to choose. So don't leave me. Don't leave William. And don't you dare presume to tell me if I love you or not," the redhead hissed viciously.
"I can honestly say that I am not here for Grell's benefit alone," William added smoothly, adjusting his glasses.
"If you are convinced that what you feel is love, then do not waste it on me," the mortician said coldly, glaring at both of his captors.
"It is not a waste," William replied before thinking and immediately blushed. Undertaker saw Grell look at the ebon haired reaper in surprise. William refused to meet either of their gazes, but when he finally did look up to the redhead, Grell rewarded him with a small, sweet smile. Undertaker had to stop himself from scoffing at the blatant display of their bond. This was the exact thing he was trying to bring to their attention. It was so apparent how happy they were! They didn't need him!
"I brought you two together for each other, so be together," Undertaker said sternly. "I should not and will not be a part of it anymore."
"Your intention may have been to bring us together, but your direct involvement in doing so brought our hearts closer to yours," William said, turning cold eyes to the elder. "To demand us to ignore what feelings we may have developed towards you while nurturing what is between Grell and myself is unfair and illogical. Telling us that expressing affection to someone only you approve of is not acceptable."
Grell stepped forward, lightly patting William's shoulder as he looked down on the captive mortician.
"If I didn't know you so well, I would think that you thought us undesirable, or that you hated us. But I know that isn't true. I know you care about us far more than you like to believe and it scares you," the redhead calmly said, a tone of sympathy in his voice. For some reason Grell's composed, assured attitude set the elder off.
"It does not scare me, it just makes things more painfully clear than they should be! I do not enjoy knowing what you and William have for one another is something I cannot understand anymore! I can only, at best, be a hindrance," he snapped! "I do not enjoy feeling your affection for me when I know I cannot return it in kind!"
Grell frowned a little and sighed.
"There is a reason why it bothers you to think that you are unable to love us. Ironically, the root of it is love for us, whether you believe it or not," Grell said softly with a gentle smile. "Love given and received is never the same between two hearts. I don't need my love returned in kind. I just want what you can give."
Undertaker glared at the redhead, making it clear he did not like the situation. Grell smirked and crawled onto the bed, his body hovering over Undertaker's. He ran fingers casually over his captive's thighs, raising goose bumps on sensitive flesh.
"And if you won't give it, then I will simply have to take it."
"Don't." Undertaker sharply said. Grell merely smiled and placed a delicate finger over Undertaker's lips.
"Stop fighting and let us love you as we are meant to."
Undertaker expected another underhanded tactic, but was surprised when Grell merely leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips. And though they had shared hundreds of kisses, this one was infinitely different. It felt as though life, that radiant spark he hadn't felt in centuries, was being breathed into him again. He hadn't noticed just how cold and dark his world had gotten without his fiery siren...but his mere presence seemed to brighten and bring warmth to everything. He seemed to make him actually feel the air drawn into his lungs. The taste of Grell made him want to breathe deep and savor the moment...
A softness to his cheek made him draw away from the redhead, but his mouth was merely captured by another pair of lips. William...The man was a stable grounding presence that hardly ever relented. William was a simple and strong force that could and would retain order in the face of chaos. Some part of him never knew it wanted that order and more shocking was how he now realized how dearly he'd missed that stability...
But it didn't matter if he had missed this or not, this wasn't where he was supposed to be! Reminded once more of his resolution, he tore his lips away from the ebon haired reaper. But before he could voice protest, William aggressively grabbed him by the jaw, digging fingers in to keep him in place.
"This is something we all want," he calmly said, holding the elder's gaze without the slightest hint of hesitation. "Do NOT devalue it by denying it. You forced me come to terms with myself, and I will do the same to you. There is one lesson I can never forget which I must now remind you of, and that is to see what is before oneself. You see us before you now, and that is the ultimate truth of the matter. You ran from us, and we followed because you are just as important to us as we are to one another," William finished in a curiously soft tone as he released the elder's jaw to gently brush the ever-present silver bangs from his eyes. "See us for what we are, not what you expect us to be."
Undertaker was taken aback, simultaneously shocked and perhaps a bit touched by William's rare show of tenderness. Grell pressed forward and softly cupped the man's scarred cheek.
"We are stronger than you believe," the redhead said softly, running a thumb over the old wound, as if to soothe the old pain. "We can and want to share our lives with you. Besides, the moment you entered our game, you had already lost to us. We have been at it for decades. So be a good sport and admit defeat."
Grell smiled gently and lowered his lips to Undertaker's and successfully silenced his dissent once and for all.
William moved forward and gently pet and caressed his lovers alternately as he pulled off Grell's clothing and his own. Grell peppered the mortician's face with soft, gentle kisses, and Undertaker was lost in the tenderness. He didn't know who was touching him where, and frankly he no longer cared. He was allowed to give and take as he wanted with no more self imposed fetters upon his heart. He bathed in their caresses and gave them all the emotion that had pooled in his heart ever since being a part of their lives. It was freeing and it was the greatest feeling he had ever experienced.
Overwhelmed by the stunning feeling of completion, he couldn't deny that he somehow felt that this was what he had been made for; To share this experience with these two whom he cared for so dearly. It couldn't be love, this feeling. It was necessity. It was truth. And he finally understood the precarious balance they shared. He knew he was needed as much as he needed them, and it made him feel something akin to what he remembered as contentment. Sated in a way he never imagined he could be, he drifted off to sleep holding one body and being held by another.
The Next Morning
Undertaker lazily stretched and wrapped arms around the wonderfully familiar curves of Grell, burying his nose in the mane of red and truly savoring the feel of utter bliss that washed over him...But there was a glaring thing missing-
"Out of bed," came William's crisp commanding voice. "Now."
There was a sudden hard and vicious yank to his hair as he was pulled from his euphoric happiness and onto the cold hard floor.
"Please do get dressed, sir."
"William..." Undertaker growled, still not quite awake and fighting the ire he usually felt first thing in the morning.
"Because your absence caused such emotional distress on Grell, and therefore upon myself, important duties were neglected in our pursuit of you," William nonchalantly stated, seemingly unaffected by Undertaker's growing foul mood and went about laying out clean clothing for him. "Logically, it stands to reason that an experienced veteran such as yourself would be an ideal candidate for assisting us in catching up on said duties."
"William..." the mortician growled again.
"That being said, I took the liberty of submitting your Reinstatement forms," William said, an obvious note of happiness in his normally monotone voice.
Undertaker blinked as he tried to process William's words.
"Welcome back, sir," the ebon haired reaper grinned smugly with a small salute.
Undertaker's jaw dropped as he stared aghast at the sly reaper.
"Did you really think last night was enough to earn my forgiveness? I think not, sir. I should quite like to see you suffer a bit more." William smirked a little evilly. "I will work you to the bone, in many many ways."
"How could you even-?"
"It was all perfectly legal, I assure you," William grinned viciously in a very un-William-like way. "It is not unusual for one's spouse to authorize such paperwork." William's uncharacteristic grin grew wider as he held his left hand up and pointed to two thin bands of silver and gold about his left ring finger. "It was all Grell's idea, but there are benefits to such commitment, don't you think?"
"Don't be angry, darling!" Grell cooed from the bed. "We just wanted to keep you from leaving again. Now you're bound to us forever."
Undertaker simply had no words, and so, he laughed. He laughed harder and longer than he had in a very long time and pulled his new husbands to the floor with him to revel in their happiness, very glad that he had lost this particular game of the heart.
Mes beaux bijoux= "my beautiful jewels". UT speaks a little French. Why? Because I have a convoluted theory (other than the fact that he's a worldly guy) that his distaste for monarchs stemmed from a certain noble who was likely his own queen *cough*MarieAntoinette*cough*. Who wouldn't want to reap their own queen? Hullo! the title of the story Jeux du Coeur means "Games of the Heart"
Also, if you're wondering when they got married, Will and Grell already got married, but UT couldn't see the bands since Grell and Will normally wear gloves...and he wasn't exactly paying attention to their hands during boom boom sexy time. But, they dragged UT off when he was still unconscious to some seedy priest who didn't care how many were getting married or if one party wasn't entirely cognizant! 3 Can't you just see William holding UT up and "speaking" for him? XD Ah, love~!
Yeah. I've been meaning to get this done and posted for a long time, but I kept getting stuck trying to write mannsecks. Apparently, it just wasn't meant to happen. =_=