The weather this time of year was always wretched, and Grell wasn't particularly fond of reaping in the dead of night- not during the winter season, anyhow.

"I'm damn near shivering my bloody knickers off," he mumbled, wrapping his arms around himself and hunching his shoulders up so as to bury his chin deeper into his scarf. "Must they go dying at the coldest moment of the night?"

Will didn't answer, though he did lean forward over the bridge's railing, looking down at the boat of revelers passing beneath them on the Thames.

"Such a silly holiday," Grell scoffed. "So sentimental and rife with clichéd idolatry."

Will kept his eyes on the boat, not looking at Grell as he spoke, his tone flat. "You enjoy receiving gifts, though, do you not?"

Grell started. "Well of course I do. But I deserve to receive them every day!" he sidled closer to Will so that their arms touched, and he paused for a fraction of a second, taken aback by how warm Will felt. "My," Grell said, softer now, threading both arms around one of Will's, "it certainly is freakishly extreme weather, when the air is colder than you." He nuzzled his face briefly against Will's shoulder, the soft, heavy wool there, and smiled.

"Honestly," Will grumbled. "Get yourself a practical jacket, and you wouldn't be so chilled."

"Well I wouldn't want to look bulky," Grell huffed. He didn't let go of Will's arm, however, and Will made no move to shrug him off. "How are we on time, then?"

Will checked his pocket watch. "Less than ten minutes. I presume the boat shall sink," he leaned further over the railing, Grell curling closer against him- "or smash against that buoy there."

"I'm betting on the buoy," Grell said, laughing. "I reckon those drunkards aren't paying much mind to steering at the moment."

They were comfortably silent, then, for several minutes—waiting patiently, as reapers often did—until Will began to feel Grell shivering against him. Grell, in that terribly preposterous frockcoat— a garment, Will observed, more suited to fashion than function.

Impulsively, Will lifted a hand to gently brush away the snowflakes gathering in Grell's hair, then swiftly drew his hand away. "I've..." he began, and paused.


"I've... I've... something for you," Will mumbled, with what sounded like great difficulty. He cleared his throat nervously.

"Huh?" Grell exclaimed, pulling back to look at Will in wide-eyed shock.

"It's... it's a gift. For Christmas."

The corners of Grell's mouth twitched, as if he were trying not to smile. "William," he said quietly, then dramatically pressed the back of a gloved hand to Will's forehead. "Are you running a temperature?"

Will didn't answer, and instead rummaged in the pocket of his overcoat to produce a small, soft package.

"Delirious!" Grell cried in mock horror. "You've finally succumbed to the imbalanced humors of the mind!"

Will shook his head as he handed Grell the package.

The truth was, Will had never given Grell anything for Christmas before—unless, of course, one counted the Division's holiday bonus, which he typically handed to Grell at the annual Christmas party in a festive envelope.

Grell had given Will a present every year since graduation.

There was silence as Grell stared at the package, looking as if he wasn't quite sure what to do.

"Do you wish to open it or not?" Will asked.

Grell took the package, and looked at Will with a questioning expression. "But I haven't given you yours yet," he said.

Will glanced over the railing again when he heard concerned shouts rising from the boat below. "You can give it to me at the office party." He glanced at Grell. "You... are going to the holiday party this evening, are you not?"

Grell nodded, looking down at the package as he began to carefully tear it open.

"It's..." Grell began, staring wide-eyed at what he'd unwrapped.

"Socks," Will stated.

"Red socks," Grell said, a note of amusement in his voice.

"I should hope it's not too practical a gift for your... tastes."

Grell hugged the socks. "Oh Will," he said dreamily. "How adorable! Were you too shy to pick me out something from the ladies' intimates boutique?"

Will was thankful for the heavy scarf he was wearing; it hid the flush which had no doubt begun to creep up his neck. "I'm afraid I don't know your size, in… that regard," he said, and fiddled with his glasses.

Now it was Will Grell hugged, throwing his arms wide and wrapping them tightly around Will, who unsurprisingly didn't move a fraction.

"I love them!" Grell said, his voice muffled in the wool of Will's shoulder, yet still loud enough to be heard clearly, "because they're from you!"

"I'm pleased," Will said, and gently shrugged out of Grell's signature death-grip of affection. Grell turned to look out over the Thames, the expression on his face one of restrained and bashful exuberance. It was—Grell thought—after all, a start. A bit of progress, perhaps, after all these years.

"They hit the buoy," Grell said softly, as a commotion rose from below.

"Indeed," Will replied, and now it was Will who stepped closer to Grell, placing a hand on his shoulder. Grell looked at him.

"Merry Christmas," Will said, and then he was gone.

Grell closed his eyes and listened to the frantic crescendo of screams for a moment, unable to suppress a smile so wide that it actually hurt his face. He leapt down to follow Will as the first cinematic record snaked up into the sky.