A/N: This is a collaboration work, written by two different authors. It is taken from a series of roleplays I did with a friend. She writes for Grell, I write for William. You will notice the changes in points of view, and the changes will always be marked with a horizontal line. Reviews are always appreciated, please take note of our different writing styles and if possible, leave feedback for the both of us.
Grell sighed as she looked into the mirror, tugging absentmindedly at a red lock of hair. She had decided to grow it out, now when she was out of the academy and it no longer was any stupid teacher's business to tell her what was allowed and what wasn't. It fell to just a bit below her shoulders now, such a boring middle-length. It was taking way too long for it to get as long as she wanted it. Just like it was taking way too long for William to get away from that office.
Seriously, the man was glued to his desk! They were out of the academy, had earned their places as proper reapers, been given their glasses and own death scythes and everything. This was their time to finally relax and enjoy their new after-lives! Have some fun! Go out and have a drink! Spend some quality timetogether!
Grell giggled, momentarily forgetting the issue of Will being stuck to his desk. She was so happy that he was the one she had gotten as a partner for that final exam. If she hadn't, they might never have met! The horror! Unless it was destiny. Maybe it was destiny. It probably was. She liked that thought. So romantic~ She and William, destined to be together forever, with nothing able to ever get between them...
Well, that was it. She was done sitting around daydreaming. She would have to do something to make it all actually happen, even if she'd have to drag Will from the office by his tie... Come to think of it, yanking Will away somewhere by the tie did sound very appealing... She grinned. Throwing another look in the mirror, making sure her makeup and hair were in place as well as adjusting her own tie, she then stood up and grabbed her long, black coat from the back of the chair. She didn't put it on, just flung it carelessly over the shoulder, not even bothering with the gloves. She'd finished her days work, she didn't need to be properly dressed anymore... not that she ever really was. Not since leaving the academy, anyway. And it was always such a waste, taking such great care in painting her nails her favourite colour just to hide them all day long. Sometimes, she did wonder if perhaps she shouldn't spice up her work wardrobe with just a little more red. Something a bit more eyecatching and flamboyant... But now wasn't the time to think about that!
Stomping off to the door of her room, she threw it open as if it had offended her by being closed and set off towards the office and Will.
Papers, papers, and more papers had been William's life ever since he had graduated and actually joined the ranks of the esteemed death gods in London. Whereas the others seemed to have more time on their hands now that they were no longer getting grades for anything, William had only become all the busier. The reason: he was being considered for promotion. As soon as he graduated, he was told by his advisor that London was in dire need of new leadership, and that given his attitude and performance in the final exam, he was essentially the perfect candidate. Promotion meant a great deal, of course. It included more responsibility, higher pay, respect from coworkers... Well, he didn't really need a promotion to gain that last part. Unfortunately, training to be next division supervisor meant an enormous amount of paperwork in the interim. William had worked overtime almost every night for the past month, and it was starting to take its toll.
Removing his glasses for a moment, he pinched the bridge of his nose and squinted his eyes shut. There were his usual duties, dispatch work, the paperwork to file along with those dispatch assignments, but added to that were hours of training and hours of extra paperwork. The training he didn't mind, but the paperwork! Sometimes William wondered if the promotion was worth it if it meant so much extra pencil-pushing. As he placed his glasses back onto his face, his office door burst open, and there stood a particular redhead.
The headache that he had been trying to soothe returned with a vengeance and he let out an exasperated sigh. Ah yes, his final exam partner, Grell Sutcliff, who had been clinging to him like glue after since they had taken that exam together. Honestly... William could hardly have believed it when he was told that he was going to be placed in London... with that man. What was worse, Sutcliff seemed to have taken an eery liking to him and had insisted on bothering him as often as he could. Every so often, he would simply burst into his office, always forgetting to knock, and then chitter chatter away about some boring gossip or demand that William spend more time with him. As if he had the time for such frivolous nonsense.
Raising his eyebrows in slight annoyance, he gave another paper a stamp of approval and placed into a growing stack of finished paperwork.
"What do you want, Sutcliff?"
Grell had, briefly, entertained herself with the little fantasy of Will meeting her halfway, on his way to look for her, asking her to go somewhere with him. Asking her out on a date like a proper gentleman would~ Then, she had dismissed this thought, making up her mind about things like being an independent woman able to take care of herself and take charge and stand up to Will and tell him he simply couldn't stay in this stuffy office, but that he simply had to get out for a while and go somewhere nice in some good company. It was probably a bad idea to mention the word "date". But maybe she wouldn't care about that and mention it anyway.
Mind set and with a determined glow in her eyes, she whirled into William's office. Ignoring anything he might have to say about knocking or whatever, she plonked herself down in the chair in front of his desk, dropping the coat on the floor. She leaned forward as much as she could and accidentally managed to scatter some papers as she rested her hands on the desk, fingers itching to grab a hold of either Will's hands, or his tie, as she had previously thought about. She couldn't help but eye it with slight suggestiveness, and wasn't quite sure herself what held her back. But she did have something to say before doing anything... else.
"William." Her tone might have come across as almost business-like and serious, had she not been wriggling slightly in the chair. "I have a suggestion." Okay, so it wasn't really a suggestion, since she wasn't about to take no for an answer... but still. "We are gonna go somewhere and celebrate... finally being out of the academy. Yes. We haven't done that yet." Actually, there had been a graduation party, but there had been no opportunity to spend time with Will at it. Grell wasn't even sure he had attended more than the first few minutes. "I don't mind where we go. You decide." That was nice of her, wasn't it? That way, Will could chose if he wanted to go somewhere public for a nice, simple (relatively speaking, of course) dinner, or somewhere more... private. Grell's nails made tapping sounds against the desk, once again itching to grab that tie. "As long as it's just the two of us, of course~." She beamed, batting her eyelashes, and then finally reached out a hand to pull that tie from it's place. She didn't tug at it, though, just kept it in a firm grip, trailing a red nail along it as she peered over the top of her glasses at Will. "So, where to?"
On any other day, William might have just said no and left it at at that. But for this particular day, he was going to go ahead and say no, just more emphatically than usual. In the past couple of months of working in London, he had grown accustomed to Grell's almost-daily routine of bursting into his office unannounced and demanding something ridiculous or another. It was usually something about dismissing work to go off and do other things, but William simply did not have such luxury. While Grell seemed to be able to prance around the office doing practically whatever he damn well pleased, William's workload was an entirely different story.
He had at least twenty more cases to look through before he could call it a night, and after he was done with all the backbreaking paperwork, he would want nothing more than to just return home, wash up, perhaps read a book, and then go to bed. He wasn't quite sure why Grell was also so keen on going out all the time. Was his home so terribly messy that he hated being in it? Actually, that was a conjecture William felt wasn't too far from the truth.
In any case, he did not appreciate being dictated to, nor having Grell simply grab his person without any regard for his personal space. Gripping Grell's wrist somewhat tightly, in order to encourage him to let go of his grip on his tie, he met Grell's determination with his own.
"Unlike you, Sutcliff, I actually have quite a bit of work to finish before I can go anywhere. So there will be none of this celebration business, there was a party for that after graduation."
William left out the small detail where he had only stayed there for the first ten minutes and then left, not really wishing to partake in drunken karaoke and even more inebriated dancing. William wasn't a fan of parties, just a quiet night at home would do.
"On top of which, I have no interest in going out to places in order to relax. I relax just well enough at home, nothing more is necessary."
Perhaps if William had known Grell for a little longer, or actually bothered to get to know her more since their first meeting, he might have known better than to... "encourage" her. Not that it didn't work, because it definitely did. Just not in the way Will might have liked. Oh, that strong grip and those cold eyes, and then that deep voice~ 3 By that point, it didn't much matter what Will said as long as he kept talking. Grell made the effort to listen though, just in case he should actually consider her words and agree to them.
Yeah, like that was actually going to happen... Grell didn't allow herself to give up, though. Obviously, she didn't let go of the tie, since she hoped that would result in Will not letting go, either. "Do it later." she said, using what she hoped was a seductive tone. "And that party was a bit too... crowded. Wouldn't you agree~?" In fact, she was pretty sure Will would, even if for other reasons, and that made her smile. But not as much as his next words made her outright grin. Oh, it was perfect~! Maybe he even meant it to sound like how she made it sound in her head. Either way, he had just answered her question and provided them with a place to go of his own choosing!
"Your place it is, then~" And she raised her free hand, wrapping that around the tie as well, deliberating on whether or not she should actually reach up and dare to touch William's face. Too tempting~ One finger reached up and grazed his chin very lightly, wondering if teasing could be a good way to win his attention.
He was quite certain that he had never encountered any other person that was anything like Grell Sutcliff. Loud, reckless, manner-less, but these were all things that he had seen before. What he hadn't really encountered before this redhead was the complete disregard for personal space. William was more composed than most of the others, who tended to recoil away from the approaching shark teeth and maddeningly red hair, but he still had no idea what to make of it. What cosmic abyss spit out this creature to be so different from everyone else he knew? He had to admit it was intriguing, but right now, it was just annoying. As if doing his paperwork later was even an option! On top of which, he was touching him.
He had to grit his teeth in partial anger at the slight shiver that ran down his spine at the meager skin contact. It was ridiculous. If Grell was doing these things to intimidate him, it wasn't going to work. William T. Spears was not a man you could push around. He was not leaving at that moment, nor would Grell be following him home at any point that evening.
Taking his other hand to grip both of Grell's wrists, he pried them away from his person, perhaps a little more roughly than necessary, and cold green eyes glared down the squirming redhead in his grip.
"You are not, I repeat, you are NOT following me home."
Grell might be intriguing, but it was the sort of curiosity William was content to leave at the office. He was not about to bring this nonsense home, where he was meant to relax and be at peace. On some level, it seemed as though William was the only one that Grell bothered to such a degree, and that was perplexing.
"Why don't you go and bother someone else who actually has time?"
Releasing his hold on Grell's wrists now that they were properly off of his tie, he straightened the barely-loosened knot and took up his pen again. Paperwork might be boring and tedious, but they weren't confusing, which was everything Grell Sutcliff was.
Grell's features seemed to almost soften a little as she made contact with William's skin. It was odd, really. She had a good eye for handsome people, yes, but no one had just seemed to be good enough for her. Until William came along. Or rather, a while after he had come along, once she had learned a bit about what kind of man he was. And she was determined to learn more. As much as she possibly could, in fact, no matter what resistance William put up.
Actually, the resistance was part of the fun. As Will forced her hands away, oh so deliciously roughly, she squirmed, and small noises of reluctance passed her lips. Until Will fixed her with that cold stare and took up that demanding tone, causing her to fall quiet for a moment, possibly quite content with staying in that strong grip and drown in those eyes and the sound of that voice for the rest of eternity. And as cheesy as her thoughts sounded, they were honest.
And so it was no surprise that she would whine once William let go and returned to his boring work. Pouting, she glared a bit at William after his, frankly, quite stupid question. As if there even would be a point in bothering someone else in the office. They just couldn't handle her like Will did, most of them just found her a freak or plain weird, or both. Some of them might be scared, which Grell might enjoy occasionally, but there were not much lasting entertainment in scaring people. Will, while usually pushing her away and not being very talkative, at least seemed to accept her somewhat. Now, she wasn't going to tell William all that. That would be way too sad and sentimental. But she wasn't going to lie, either.
"But I don't want to bother anyone else." she said. "I only want to bother you."
Deciding on trying another tactic, she smiled and leaned forward again, but kept her hands to herself this time, folded neatly together on the desk. "What are you working on that's so important you can't even take a break to entertain a lady, then?" Not that she cared about the paperwork. She just wanted to keep talking.
Well that was convenient, Wiliam thought. The bothersome redhead wasn't just annoying, he was actually set on annoying just him. And only the powers that be could explain why. Looking up again from his paperwork as Grell leaned in yet again, William took a moment-only a moment-to consider the man standing in front of him, this man who considered himself a lady, who thought himself alluring, who smelled of cinnamon and roses. Grell was looking at him with lying eyes, eyes that gave the impression of revealing his true motives, but they were all just a front for something hidden deep inside. But what need was there to hide? He was strong.
Still, William thought it only polite to answer Grell's question, perhaps it would get rid of him.
"I'm up for promotion, Sutcliff. The generals are thinking to make me the next London Division Supervisor, and unfortunately, that's been requiring quite a bit of paperwork as of late. On top of which, I have training sessions on top of my dispatch work that causes me to get behind on my normal paperwork, thus resulting in repeated amounts of overtime."
William furrowed his eyebrows and placed a hand to his neck, attempting to massage some of the ache out of it from being bent over his desk for too long. Really, the demands that they were placing on him were simply too much. They wanted him to do all of this, and keep Sutcliff in line? That last bit he would never tell the redhead, it was strictly confidential. But one of the deciding factors that had resulted in his recent promotion track was his performance in the final exam, and how he had fared being partnered with Sutcliff.
Even back in the Academy the higher-ups had feared the redhead. He was unpredictable, uncontrollable, he was dangerous. In most of his partner work, he had failed to put forth any semblance of teamwork, and his unfortunate partners had always been scarred afterwards. When they saw that that hadn't been the case with William, they had been impressed. Here was a man who could keep Sutcliff in line, they thought. And so they placed them within the same division, never mind that the members of a graduating class were not all meant to go to the same city, and decided to take action so that William could actually be in a position of authority over the redhead. Not that it mattered. Grell had shown no respect for authority back in school, William was sure that becoming Division Supervisor would not result in good behavior from Sutcliff on its own.
Still, one couldn't really complain about a raise. Not that he had anything to spend it on.
Grell smiled as William looked up at her again, batting her eyelashes a little. In that moment, she dearly wished she could take a peek into his head and see what he was thinking, rather than assuming it was something along the lines of compliments to her he was too proud to say out loud like she always did. And for once, she really did try. But barely had she shifted to rest her chin in a hand, taken on a somewhat thoughtful expression and tilted her head slightly before the moment was over and Will started speaking again. Grell kept the smile, but huffed mentally. Really now, how was she supposed to get anywhere if he didn't let her?
… She still wasn't giving up, though.
And yet, once she listened to what Will said, she had to fight to keep the smile. At first, she really did feel all those things that one should feel when someone they cared about told them something like that, happy and supportive and encouraging. But then, she suddenly couldn't help but fear that a promotion would cause William to become even more unreachable than he was now. And Grell didn't like that. Not at all. Just the thought of William somehow becoming one of those boring-looking superiors who was always scowling in her direction, dropping warnings and paperwork and more warnings on her desk without even trying to pretend like they didn't despise her and only kept her around because she was such an excellent reaper or because they simply didn't dare fire her or whatever...
There was no trace of a smile left now, only a dark, half-mad gleam in her eyes behind the red glasses. But what was she supposed to do? Throwing a tantrum, however violent, which she very much felt like doing right then, wouldn't help. It would probably just destroy whatever little thing it was that made William allow her to burst into his office and bother him as much as she did. She gritted her teeth. That would be so much worse than promotion. This was an occasion where she would just have to pick the lesser evil. That didn't mean something wouldn't break or someone wouldn't get hurt once she left the room, though.
In the end, Will's small movement was probably what saved her from doing something stupid right then, though. The one thought that occurred to her as she saw him rubbing his neck was something she latched on to, and it was somehow enough to allow her to keep her head and push away all previous thoughts. Maybe just because it involved William so much.
She stood up and moved around the desk so quickly she stumbled, and was pretty much nothing than a red and black blur before she stopped behind Will and promptly reached out to put her hands on his shoulders, tugging him back against the back of the chair. She was hardly a practised masseuse or anything, because she obviously had no one to practice on, but she figured it couldn't be that hard.
"Really, they work you to DEATH, Will. I've always said so. But I mean, because you're so good at it, and because they love you, and because you are so good at it, they can hardly blame you for taking a break now and then. Others do that all the time, and I don't see them getting kicked out. Remember at the Academy, we could have whole evenings to do nothing on, and sometimes there were rather long breakes between classes too. I kinda miss that sometimes. I mean, I'm glad we managed to graduate and all, and I didn't actually get to know you until the final exam so it was rather boring not having you around, but still..."
She rambled on while softly digging her fingers into Will's shoulders and neck, hoping to make some of the pain that might be there go away. And yes, it was just as much a distraction for herself as she hoped it was for William.
Grell was behind him with his hands on his shoulders before William had even registered that he had moved. Well, that's what he got for letting his guard down, he supposed. But in the instant that he was going to move to bat Grell's hands away, his body relaxed into the redhead's touch, welcoming the reprieve from the aching soreness, no matter who it came from. He couldn't help it. He leaned back willingly in his chair, let his posture slacken ever so slightly, and allowed the redhead's fingers to massage him. It wasn't the best massage, mind you. His fingers were clumsy, untrained, lacking all direction, but the contact still felt great, and William let out an unwitting sigh.
Although the redhead droned on and on endlessly with meaningless words, he managed to drown most of it out as he focused on the soothing administrations instead. So the redhead has his uses, after all.
William let the pen slip from his fingers and rested his hands on the armrests of his chair, content to take a short break before he resumed his work. It was true, overworking one's self was hardly better than slacking off all the time. A short break would mean that he would be refreshed and relaxed, and would be able to do his work more efficiently afterwards. Perhaps he had had so much overtime the past few days because he simply didn't know how to take a break. When he was tired, he worked much more slowly. Yes, this was a good lesson to have learned. Unfortunately, it had come from Grell Sutcliff. But even William's pride could not be bothered at the moment.
Leaning his head back, he actually managed to close his eyes briefly.
All previous efforts to keep his guard up whenever Grell Sutcliff came by was lost. If Grell wanted to, he could easily slit William's throat at the moment. He knew this. But a snarky voice in the corner of his mind chided that if Grell slit his throat, he certainly wouldn't have to worry about the paperwork any longer.
And besides, Grell was currently harmless. Of this, he was about 60% sure.
"Nowadays, there's just no order, you know? You work day or night, at your desk or off reaping. No organization whatsoever." Okay, so Grell wasn't really one to talk about being organized. Whatever. "Just that part about having to go out reaping and then having to come back and start filling out boring paperwork about it! That's just taking the fun out of the job. And if you try sometimes to properly enjoy work by not filling out said paperwork, there's always some dull guy who comes along and threatens you with this and that, and I'm really quite tired of it..."
Grell trailed off, eyes dark again. She continued moving her fingers into William's shoulders, satisfied to find that it had served as a good distraction for him. Unfortunately, she couldn't say the same for herself. While it might have worked for a while as she rambled on while silently marvelling over that Will actually allowed her to touch him, and oh, the feeling of those strong shoulders under her hands and that bare piece of neck that she just wanted to lean down and kiss, kiss, kiss...
If William would become one of those... She looked down at him, tilting her head a little as she observed that handsome face, startled to find it so relaxed and at peace. He had never quite... looked like that before. Ever. It was hard to imagine that sweet face turning into one of those superiors. On the other hand, William's usual face... not as hard. Grell glowered. Really, what was a lady supposed to do in a situation like this? It would be rude to try and stop Will from achieving what he wanted, but she couldn't ignore her own feelings and fears either.
Infuriating. Annoying, bothersome. Irritating, frustrating, maddening. And Will was just sitting there, not even making an effort to read the atmosphere, downright ignoring her and the nice things she was doing to him! He was probably just relaxing and dreaming about his stupid promotion, all the money it would bring, the 'glamorous' work, how the ladies would treat him once he could tell them he were the new 'London Division Supervisor', and all the power it would bring...
Grell's hands froze in place as the last piece of paranoia set in, trapping William's shoulders in a tight, angry grip. Of course. Once he was supervisor, her supervisor, he could get rid off her. The bothersome, red whirlwind bursting into his office all the time and distracting him from his precious work... the one that had so unfortunately ended up in the same place as him after the Academy. Grell knew it annoyed him sometimes, she wasn't quite delusional enough not to occasionally notice, she usually just didn't care. And apart from throwing her out of his office by force, there hadn't been much he could do to stop her. But one of the reasons Grell liked Will so much was that he wasn't scared of her like so many others. But if he became her superior, he might become the only superior who wasn't scared of her. The only superior with the confidence of knowing he had fought Grell Sutcliff and won.
Truth be told, he agreed with Grell on a few of his points. Paperwork really was quite dull, and William certainly didn't enjoy it. But whether or not he enjoyed it wasn't the issue. The fact is, they had to be done. Thousands of years of human evolution and the death gods, who transcended all space and time, still hadn't found a better way to keep track of deaths. They were glorified deskmen, on some level. Behind their skills and athletic prowess, they would return back to the office at the end of reaping only to fill out papers and get neck cramps from being bent over a desk too long. But there was some pride in their work, William thought. When it came down to it, he was proud to be a death god. He was proud of the order that he kept in the human world through his work, he was proud of his position, promotion or no, and he was proud of his... glasses. As every death god should be. He had to admit, that particular pride he had inherited from Grell. And so he had been content to let Grell drone on and on about the downsides of actually starting work, but it didn't last long.
Sooner rather than later, Grell's soothing fingers became firmer, angrier, until finally he was holding William's shoulders in a vice-like grip. Perhaps he was angry at the things he had been complaining about, but no, there was silence. And silence with Grell meant that something was wrong. William knew that much at least about the redhead. Opening his eyes finally, William leaned his head back to look up at Grell, who was practically glowering back.
Oh heavens, what dramatic mood swing had kicked in now? He had been pleasantly chatting only a moment ago.
Shrugging his shoulders to try and loosen Grell's grip, he sat up straighter in his chair and sighed.
"What's the matter now, Sutcliff?"
Grell didn't let go. Of course she didn't. She was too mad to let this pass, and too afraid that her fingers would fly to William's throat if she released his shoulders. She met his eyes, searching for something, anything, that could contradict what her paranoid mind had come up with. At least he cared enough to ask what was wrong, she told herself. But then again, wouldn't anyone in his current position?
The answer to that was no, and it both served to make her slightly hopeful, and annoy her further. Anyone else stuck in a room with a pissed off Grell would've run screaming for the door. But not William. He was just sitting there, calmly looking up at her. Not scared in the slightest. And that was good... or used to be...
She released one of William's shoulders, spinning the chair around to face her but keeping him pinned to the back of it with one hand. The other one was thrown out beside her into thin air, instinctively ready to summon her scythe. She was going to be straightforward. What happened to William depended on his answer, really. Or so she told herself.
"The matter?" she hissed. "Are you planning on getting rid of me? Is that why you're working so hard to get a promotion? 'Cause if that's the case, if I'm that horrible, I could just end your misery right now."
She didn't quite know herself what she meant anymore. Either she were going to stomp out of the office and not come back... as if she would be able to stay away. Or she were actually handing out death threats now... as if she could ever hurt William that much... which, at least then, she didn't think she could. Her eyes were angry, dangerous, and that look only intensified as she realised that her voice had just gone from dark and threatening to rather scared and desperate. She wasn't. She had done fine without William before... and she really didn't want to go back to that.
William's eyes opened wide and his posture immediately went rigid as he felt his chair being spun around swiftly and soon he was face to face with razor sharp teeth in the form of a very upset death god... who was threatening him. William rolled his eyes out of habit. Honestly... as if that were anything to get riled up about. On top of which, threatening one's superiors was never an acceptable action. Had it been anyone else, Grell would have been immediately expelled from whichever department he had been in. But since it was William, Grell would suffer no such results. At least, not today. But the accusations were far from the truth, and William sighed as he adjusted his glasses.
"What in the world are you talking about?"
This was a feature of the redhead William could never quite understand. On the one hand, he sometimes thought that the redhead's mind was completely empty-headed and that he went about his day without a care in the world. But it was times like these that it became obvious just how often Grell thought about the most useless things. His head wasn't empty, it was overflowing to the brim with nonsense ideas and groundless worries. William wasn't sure how anyone managed with such a chaotic thought process, but there it was. Was he really so terrified of not being able to work in London? It wasn't as if this city was that particularly great. Looking up at Grell with stern, unmoving eyes, he briefly explained the situation he was in.
"Even if I wanted to get rid of you, the superiors won't allow it. They're the ones pushing this promotion onto me because I'm the only one who can handle you, so I might as well have an actual position of authority over you."
Then frowning and closing his eyes, William adjusted his glasses once again and let out a small tsk of annoyance.
"I think you already know how much I despise doing more than necessary. What in the world made you think I wanted this promotion?"
At this point, it had just become part of his routine so William didn't really think about it. But had he had a choice in the matter, he wasn't sure that he would have taken it. At least, not now, not so soon. He was a new death god! He had only been on duty for a few months! Did the higher-ups really think that Grell was that dangerous? As far as William could tell, he was just a redheaded lunatic with slightly violent tendencies. Nothing he couldn't handle, it wasn't a problem for anyone with a backbone, really.
Well, finally, there was a bit of a sane reaction from William. Of course, it ended just as fast as it happened, and then he was rolling his eyes. At her! When she was so clearly upset too! He simply did not care, did he? Her fingers curled around thin air, around the handle of a scythe she very nearly willed into existence. And then William raised his hand and adjusted his glasses.
There was something very special about those frames. The first time Grell has seen them on William's face, she had been completely sidetracked, and though she since then had gotten used to them enough to not constantly just stare, it wasn't always as easy to keep her head straight as she pretended. They just did something to those cold eyes that made them even more gorgeous than they already were. And whenever Will would raise his hand to adjust them in that special way only he could... Now that, Grell still hadn't quite gotten used to. And so she was momentarily stunned, her expression frozen somewhere between anger and awe, long enough to hear what William said next.
Well, who would have thought. Those superiors she had spent the last minutes silently criticising wouldn't allow her and Will to be separated! But that must mean they would always be together! As long as they were Shinigami, as long as they worked in the office, as long as she stayed the way she was and kept everyone on their toes... She would just have to make sure that would be forever, like that romantic destiny she had imagined earlier. Yes~
And he had said even if he wanted... which meant he didn't actually want to get rid off her! Oh, it was all kinds of perfect! The thought of William as her superior, ordering her around, suddenly brought a whole other bunch of mental images, and this time she liked them. A lot. So much, in a fact, that she suddenly smiled again, which might have been a slightly disturbing change to watch. Not that Will did right then. But Grell was just fine with that, because for a moment, he wouldn't be able to see what she was doing and stop her.
She sighed, breathing out what was left of the paranoia and anxiety, and put the hand that had just reached for her scythe to William's cheek. For a very brief second she kept it there, before she removed it and without warning threw herself into Will's lap. Quickly, she resumed her massaging of his shoulders, still trying her best despite the slightly more awkward angle.
"I'd be sad if you didn't want me around anymore, you know." she said, voice normal again. "And I'd be sad if you weren't around, because frankly, everyone else is just no fun. I thought maybe you saw this promotion as an opportunity to leave. But now when I know you don't~"
She smiled again, trying to meet William's eyes this time. Surely, he was going to shove her off his lap at any moment, but now when she knew that even the dull superiors for some reason wanted them together, it would just really be William trying to fight a battle he couldn't win. But if she won, she was sure Will would realise sooner or later that he would get quite a lot out of that too.
William sighed. Grell really did think of the most useless things. And most of the time he did useless things. Right now, one of those useless things was plopping himself down into William's lap to continue massaging his shoulders. As if such closeness was absolutely necessary to do that sort of thing. Not to mention, Grell was now completely obstructing him from doing the paperwork he needed to be doing at the moment. But William mentally rolled his eyes at himself. Who was he kidding, he wasn't going to touch that at this point. The workday was already over and he had gotten most of it done. What little work he had left wasn't worth the extra hour of overtime just so that he wouldn't have to do it tomorrow morning. He was tired and ready to go home.
And Grell's closeness, though unnecessary, wasn't unwelcome. The warmth of another body pressed close was actually quite soothing in some ways, and he was beginning to appreciate the thoughtful gesture Sutcliff was putting in at the moment. As Grell went back to his normal sing-songy voice and spoke about useless things again, William fought another eye roll and raised a questioning eyebrow. Grell thought he had been working for this promotion on purpose for the sole purpose of leaving? Whatever gave him that idea? Adjusting his glasses, William dutifully explained the circumstances, as he was inclined to do.
"For your information, I preferred London most when they asked us our preferences of places to work at. They tend to be a bit more lenient about policy-breaking at this place, and have little to no expectations of its workers. In case you haven't noticed, it's not just you, but the entire department that's a little prone to rule-breaking. Even Eric Slingby, who's our senior, has a tendency to always get citations for property damage and such. But less expectations means less pressure, and that's an environment I much prefer. Honestly though... immediately sticking me into a management position... do they really think you're THAT dangerous?"
William didn't shove her away. That made Grell pause for a small moment just because of how unusual it was, but then she quickly resumed the massage, figuring that was why Will allowed her to stay close for once. Or, just maybe, he was actually starting to give back a little. After all the attention she bestowed upon him, that would only make sense, right? As self-centred as Grell was, it was already astonishing that she bothered to pay so much attention to someone else, and even more astonishing that she kept doing it even though he pushed her away so often. Everything else she took an interest to usually only kept her entertained for some weeks at most, and then she'd get tired of it. But she could never get tired of William.
She beamed as he adjusted his glasses again, and didn't manage to keep back the tiny giggling. She kept the big smile, and her eyes were bright and curious, as if she actually cared about what he said for once. But right then, she did, because she was hoping to catch something else she could possibly twist into a compliment or confession or something else along those lines.
Grell had picked London because she had managed to find out that that was were Will wanted to go, so that wasn't news. But the big, quickly growing city had also appealed to her, since there would probably happen a lot more interesting things there than in some smaller place. She hadn't know about the lenient rules, but now when it was mentioned, she figured there might be some truth to it. Though she still thought they were too strict, of course. But what William said made sense, as was usually the case, and she kept that mildly interested look as he went on, though she found herself a bit more concentrated on his shoulders than his words for a short while. That was, until he fell silent and his last words properly got to her. Her eyes narrowed, and she averted her gaze for a moment.
She knew she scared people. She had done so from day one as a Shinigami, and she liked to think she had done so even before that as well, just by being herself. Sure, sometimes it was annoying that people cowered and avoided her whenever she walked into a room, but it was also an excellent way to judge who was worthy of her attention and who wasn't. Most of the office wasn't. William, and a ridiculously small number of others, were. And it gave her a feeling of being in control, which she preferred to be... except when around Will, who had been a glaring exception to everything she knew since they had first been paired up for the final exam. And now, he was doing it again, because no one had ever dared to assume, and in an almost mocking way too, that she wasn't dangerous. Strangely enough, when it came from Will, she didn't get any sudden urges to threaten and scare her point across. Instead, it seemed like a new exciting challenge had been presented to her. Just maybe, Will didn't need to find her scary in the way others found her. Maybe he couldn't after that one fight. But there were other ways she could be dangerous in.
Her eyes glittered, playful and seductive and mischievous all at once, and she relaxed her fingers on Will's shoulders and drew her hands over his suit to grip his tie again, holding on tightly enough to stop him from pushing her away immediately. Then she leaned a bit closer and flashed her teeth in a smile that could easily fit on the face of a mad serial killer.
"You wouldn't know, would you, Will~?" she purred. "You didn't know me back at the Academy. But if even our superiors fear me, don't you think they must have a good reason? Maybe they're getting anxious because I've been so nice for a while now~ I guess I should say sorry for being the cause of this promotion and all this overtime, huh...?"
But instead of properly apologising, she just leaned her head on Will's shoulder and winked, sneakingly extending a finger and finding her way underneath William's collar with it, gently tracing his collarbone. Then again, in Grell's mind, that was a pretty good way of apologising.
William's earlier point still stood. He did not see how Grell was considered dangerous by any death god with a backbone. And although he hadn't known Grell at the Academy, he could guess that the redhead was about as dangerous as he was now, and that really was only as dangerous as one allowed him to be. All it took was a firm hand. Grell was one of those people that pushed people further than they had previously been pushed. And when they didn't know how to respond, they simply let him be. This resulted in Grell's personality turning into one that assumed that he could walk all over anyone and remain unopposed. But if he hit a brick wall, he didn't really know what to do. Certainly William had no problems handling him, he shouldn't see how the higher-ups would have more trouble than him.
When he thought back on it, he had heard the rumors just like everyone else. Grell Sutcliff, the name rang through the air like a disease the way some people said it. The way others said his name made him sound like an urban legend. They had called him manic, dangerous, unpredictable. There were rumors that he had nearly killed another student during a practice round of sparring, and had cackled maniacally as he had spilled that student's blood everywhere that he could. People whispered that he would threaten the instructors into giving him the grades that he wanted. And when he had received his partnership assignment, his fellow classmates had shrunk in horror, wishing him luck and promising to weep at his funeral. Honestly... he really hadn't even been that bad.
After the first little argument that they had, William quickly learned what Grell's fighting style was like. It was embellished, fanciful, Grell enjoyed making the fight look like a show almost as much as he enjoyed fighting efficiently. His motions were big and sweeping, it wasn't much effort to be faster than he was. And that's all it had taken, really. Surely the higher-ups could fight at least that well to keep their employees in line.
The only thing that might have been irksome to William was the complete disregard for personal space. Perhaps it was because of how he carried himself, but people didn't generally cling all over him or make physical contact with his person. Other students, who would gladly give each other pats and brotherly hugs would recoil from William, deciding that he was a man who would not appreciate being touched, that stern men were meant to be kept at a distance. And William hadn't minded, so it had always been that way. But now here was a person who was certainly not intimidated by him in the slightest and thought that it was fun to break all of his boundaries, boundaries that he hadn't even known were there.
Right at this moment, William was learning that his boundaries weren't terribly bothered by another person sitting on his lap and massaging his shoulders, as odd as that seemed. The closeness wasn't really an issue. Grell was just another body after all. Sometimes bodies got that close in a crowded elevator, for example. However, he was also learning right at this moment that he didn't really appreciate Grell tracing his collarbone like that. It was oddly sensitive to touch, and he immediately snatched Grell's wrist tightly, pulling it away from his skin on reflex. Perhaps he was holding him a little too tightly, but all of a sudden, William was far more aware of his body than he had been two minutes before. He felt like his heart was pounding his ears for some strange reason, and he felt his breathing wasn't quite as regular as it should have been.
But in response to Grell's teasing about being the cause of his overtime, he had a simple, controlled response.
Pushing Grell swiftly off of his lap and unceremoniously onto the floor, he then adjusted his glasses coldly, despite the redhead's whining complaints that he knew were soon to come.
"Now that you mention it, you are the reason for all of this promotion nonsense. As such, it is reasonably within your duty to now leave my office, and allow me to finish said overtime. Otherwise, neither of us are going to get out of here at a decent hour."
Swiveling around in his chair then, he resumed the steady signing, stamping, and sorting of papers. It was only a little bit left. Perhaps if he worked quickly enough, he could be done within the next half-hour. Well, he could only hope. That was assuming he wouldn't have Grell hanging over his shoulder for that time.
Grell prided herself on being quite the seductress. Any man, and in some rare cases a woman, that she might find attractive would at least once fall victim to her approaches. Usually, they cowered and tried to avoid her, as if that were some kind of default reaction to her very presence. But sometimes, rarely, they would react differently. She would get close, grab a tie or other piece of clothing, fluttering eyelashes and smiling coyly, being either very straightforward or almost timid, depending on what mood she was in. She could get a blush in response, or a sudden, long silence, or, if the person didn't know her very well, quite a lot more than that. Though young for a Shinigami, she didn't really consider herself inexperienced. She knew the signs, knew what to look for.
William always seemed in control, calm and collected, every move he made carefully considered. Even when she took him by surprise, he wouldn't be very startled, but just either sigh and accept her being there for a while, or promptly pry her off. This sudden, seemingly almost instinctual move to grab her hand was very different. Not to mention she actually winced at the tight grip, which she knew William was aware of was unnecessary. Despite her reputation, she was far from the physically strongest Shinigami around. It was speed, ruthlessness, her skills with most scythes that happened to end up in her hands, a lack of morals and the fact that she ignored the rules that made her such a vicious fighter.
But Grell was too busy watching William's face to bother about her wrist possibly bruising a little. Was she imagining it, wishingfor it, or was he a little less composed than usual for a moment? What was that emotion that she saw flash in his eyes for a short second? And the breathing... the raising and falling of his chest underneath her free hand, it was different... irregular, slightly quicker than normal.
It dawned on Grell at the same time as she was pushed to the floor, and she fell into a clumsy heap at William's feet, too stunned to try and soften the fall with her hands. She let out a small, startled sound without thinking much about it, but that was as far as any whining went. What William said went straight over her head and she didn't hear a word of it.
She had just managed to seduce William.
It was something that had never happened before. At least not in this way, where she had been able to notice it. And now, she suddenly had no idea of how to proceed. She wasn't going to stop, though. Wing it, she told herself. It had worked so far. This was one small victory. One or two more, and William would be hers. Especially now when it was confirmed that he did feel something, after all...
She got to her feet, pulling a hand through her hair to make sure it was still in order, the other one adjusting her glasses, which had become slightly lopsided after the fall. Looking up to find William with his back to her again, she smiled, genuinely just happy to have finally gotten something back for all her trouble. And then, making sure that her heels made no sound against the floor, she stepped closer and then quickly leaned forward to press her lips towards the area just below William's ear. She pulled back at once though, not wanting to risk getting stabbed by William's scythe, though she still very much looked forward to his reaction. After all, while invading his personal space was something she did daily, and little touches wasn't uncommon, she had never actually attempted a kiss before.
Just when his breathing had resumed normalcy, right when he had assumed that pushing Grell to the floor would have been enough to get him out of his office for the day, he felt the quick presence of soft lips on his jaw, right beneath his ear. And just as fast as he had felt it, the lips had been removed, but something still lingered. Uncontrollably, which was a state William extremely disliked, he clapped his hand to the spot, covering it as though that would somehow undo the action. His heart was pounding in his ears again and a his eyebrows were deeply furrowed. Although he was a man incapable of blushing, his ears were becoming a dangerous shade of pink. What had just happened?
His thoughts swarmed at a mile a minute, asking questions such as, why Grell would do such a thing, why was he reacting this way, was this sort of behavior even normal? All the same, he tried to calm his breathing and his mind. Grell was usually a clingy person. He had broken all manner of personal space boundaries in the past, this was only a slight addition to what he normally did. Who did that sort of thing though?
William didn't know it, but he had seen it. These were all the signs and actions of someone who was flustered. And William was never flustered. It was unacceptable, he would not allow it, especially not for Grell's amusement, and he was sure Grell was laughing inside at the moment, mocking him for his response and probably knowing that he had never been kissed before. Not that he had ever had any interest in kissing. All it really was two people touching lips, occasionally exchanging saliva- William stopped his train of thought immediately as the thought of lips had immediately reminded him of the tingling on his face, and suddenly he wondered what it would have felt like on his-
The words were out before his thoughts had even registered that that was what he wanted to say.
"I don't have time for games. Get. Out."
He punctuated it by turning and glaring at Grell as best he could with his hand still clapped over his ear. Honestly... he should know better. All of this was nothing but a game to Grell Sutcliff, he behaved this way with everyone. William would not be ridiculed, he would not be mocked, he would not be a participant in this cat and mouse game of who would give in first only to be eaten alive. There was no sincerity in Grell Sutcliff, the only thing he could sincerely be was to be sincerely insane. That was the end of it.
There was a warm, slightly tingly feeling spreading through Grell's chest as she saw William's reaction. It was foreign and new, unwelcome and cheesy, and not something she would really ever have thought she would feel for anyone. Yet somehow, because this was Will, it was fine. It made her smile widen, more and more as William took his time to... Well, what he was doing exactly, she wasn't sure. She liked to think he was recovering. He certainly seemed flustered.
William was flustered. Her William was flustered. And it was her fault. That warm feeling only intensified, and her grin widened, until she probably looked no better than any other lovestruck fool. In her mind, what would happen next was easy to figure out. Will would turn back around and look at her with perhaps slightly startled and mostly annoyed eyes. She would smile a seductive, inviting smile and take a step closer, wrap her arms around him and kiss him, properly on the lips this time, and he would melt into her embrace and answer with the same, now when there really was no point in pretending anymore...
She got as far as the seductive, inviting smile. Then she stopped mid-step as she realised what William was saying, and her smile slowly disappeared. That wasn't right. In fact, it was all so very, very wrong. No way was William still denying it! The man still had his hand at his neck, for goodness sake, as if Grell had bitten him rather than giving him such a small, light kiss. Not that nibbling at his neck wouldn't have been tempting now when that thought occurred to her... But she might have to go easy on William to win him over. Except going slowly was not, and had never ever been, her way of doing things in these matters. And she wasn't about to start now, either. William wanted her. That much was clear now. Finally. So the more she persisted, the harder it would be for him to resist... right?
In fact, if anyone else had ever done what William did and pushed her away again and again, she would've gotten bored by now. But this had stopped being just another one of her games she played for amusement so long ago, and while she sort of disliked the thought, this was out of her hands now. As much as William told her off, she wouldn't be able to stop. She needed him. That was unsettling to know, because Grell had always told herself she didn't need anyone. And yet again, because it was William, it was somehow okay. Nice, even. Besides, giving up now, when she had made such progress, would just be silly.
She got the seductive smile back, and finished that one step closer towards William while she twirled a strand of hair around her fingers. Her eyes locked on William's, refusing to look away, and when she spoke, it was in an unusually grave tone.
"I wonder which one of us is playing a game. I'm not the one denying my feelings, Will."
At Grell's words, William furrowed his eyebrows closer together and frowned. Surely he wasn't accusing him of having feelings for the deranged redhead? That was preposterous. Grell was William's co-worker and former classmate, that was all there was to it. And while Grell may enjoy playing these silly little games just to get a reaction out of him, actions and feelings that occurred while he was being toyed with were anything but genuine, except perhaps the annoyance. William was simply not interested in such issues at the moment.
And even as he thought such things, he was noticing how Grell was standing far too close for comfort-never mind that only minutes before he had allowed him to sit in his lap-and how Grell was shooting him a look that William couldn't quite read. It looked like a mixture of hunger and desire, perhaps madness. But then again, there was a touch of madness to everything Grell did or said, that much shouldn't have been surprising.
But taking into account the kiss from just now combined with that expression, the minimal closeness was too much. The air felt heavy and awkward, and William was sure that if he let Grell stay any longer, his body would want to betray every rational thought his logical mind would think. But there was nothing to deny. Did William sometimes take comfort in the presence of others? Yes. Did he sometimes find Grell's presence welcoming? Very rarely, yes. Did he sometimes ever take note of the overwhelming silence in his apartment at night and find it irksome? Yes. In short, William did notice sometimes how alone he was, but at the same time, he was never lonely. And most importantly, even if he were lonely, it didn't mean that would make him desperate enough to return feelings for a psychotic, murderous, shark-toothed redhead by the name of Grell Sutcliff... who STILL needed to get out of his office!
Ever the man of action, he voiced none of these thoughts of course, nor let his behavior get out of control. Instead he firmly grabbed Grell by the collar and dragged him backwards to the door of his office. Opening the door, he practically flung the man out-he was rather light-of his office, slammed the door shut, locked it, and breathed a sigh of relief.