It all started off with a feeling of comfort.
Well, if William was describing it, comfort wouldn't be exactly the word he'd use. More, a familiarity, being used to something. An ease of the situation he found himself in. In fact, the feeling was almost one of fondness.
Grell had once again curled up on the couch in William's office. The couch was there for when he had multiple people to address, so they wouldn't be left standing and feeling uncomfortable and/or awkward. Well, that was the excuse he told people. In truth, he slept there during breaks, or after a very long night of overtime so he didn't have to be bothered with going home. Yet still, his flamboyant subordinate was lying there, fast asleep, his long red hair curled gently around his body, and his black and red heeled ankle boots on the floor beside him.
William just rolled his eyes and got back to work, ignoring the sound of Grell breathing calmly.
As the weeks progressed, Grell's naps in William's office became more frequent, and the dark-haired reaper found himself adjusting to fit his subordinate's sleeping routine. If it was around 11am, William would, instead of eating his lunch in his office, go and eat in the refectory with Eric Slingby and Alan Humphries. While he preferred eating alone, interrupting Grell sleeping was something he didn't want to do.
Grell never mentioned anything of these naps, he seemed to always go in while William was out, and wake up when William was busy. The redhead may not have known William knew he slept in there. William never mentioned it to Grell either, because although he'd never admit it aloud, and he'd barely admit it internally… he actually thought Grell was rather cute when he slept.
It certainly made a nice change to Grell storming about being loud and obnoxious.
Once again, as William entered his office, he found Grell there asleep. By this stage, he was completely unfazed by his subordinate's impropriety, and was actually rather fond of having him there while he worked. He found his pen scratching the paper in time with Grell's gentle breaths, and perhaps, on the rarest of occasion, even the ghost of a smile would show on William's face.
Not that he'd ever admit it, of course. Emotion was messy, and smiling at work was strictly prohibited to him. It might have well been at home too.
But still, William, dare he even think it, enjoyed having Grell sleep in his office. Sure, the first few times it had been annoying, but now he was so used to it, he couldn't quite remember why he had found it annoying. But now, timing his pen with Grell's breaths had become a habit. Good or bad, he wasn't sure.
More weeks passed, and Grell and William still hadn't verbally acknowledged Grell's napping habit. There was one occasion, however, where one lock of Grell's blood-red hair had fallen across his face. William, being the perfectionist he is, couldn't stand the way it flew up every time his subordinate exhaled, so he had gently moved it aside. Grell's eyes had fluttered slightly as he did this, and the ebony-haired reaper felt panic grip him. What if Grell caught him performing such an intimate, tender act? He silently darted back to his chair, sitting down and pretending to write as if nothing had happened. Lucky for him, Grell hadn't woken up.
Now Grell's naps were starting to make William feel slightly awkward.
It had been a week or so after the hair incident, and Grell was once again asleep on William's couch. As per usual, William was doing his paperwork in time with the redhead's gentle breath, when Alan had entered, a stack of papers in his gloved hand. William, completely forgetting Grell's presence, took the papers from his subordinate, and handed him some more. The brown-haired reaper glanced to where Grell slumbered, and William felt nervousness and embarrassment clutch his heart.
"Do not mention this to anyone, Humphries."
"Yes, Mr Spears."
William was now finding Grell's naps to be irritating. When the redhead slept in his office, he stopped focusing as well as he normally could, and he found himself listening to that quiet, even breathing he'd become fond of. Or used to, he wasn't exactly sure. All he knew was that Grell's sleeping habit was causing him to lose productivity. After becoming distracted for the third time in ten minutes, he snapped his pen in two and stormed out of the room.
One night, close to 11pm, William couldn't bear the thought of going home. It was raining heavily, and as much as he enjoyed stormy weather, his suits did not. He figured he'd just sleep on the couch in his office as he normally would on such a night, but, of course, Grell was there.
William began to wonder if the redhead ever left his couch, but remembered over the months he'd been napping here, his paperwork was neater, and handed in on time. Perhaps letting Grell nap was a good thing. But on this evening, all William wanted was to sleep. He was about to shake Grell awake, get him to leave so that the dark-haired reaper could take his place on the couch, but as he was about to he paused.
Grell's face was completely peaceful. His long, extended eyelashes were casting faint shadows over his pink cheeks, and his hair fell limp around his face and body. His mouth was open slightly as he breathed, and William could see the razor-sharp points within. The soft glow from William's desk lamp gave Grell's porcelain skin a warm, comforting glow. His breathing was steady and gentle, as it always was when he slept. William, in examining his sleeping subordinate, felt his heart start beating faster in his chest.
Whether it was because of his extreme fatigue, or simply a desire to be closer to someone, William lay down on the couch, pressed up against Grell, and fell asleep, his arms wrapped around the smaller redhead.
The next morning, Grell was gone. And William would never admit that that night was the most restful sleep he'd ever had.