AN: This is roughly based off of the fanfic 'One month in the Spider's Web' by Germanhowl who gave me her consent to write my own take on her basic plot idea.
William flipped through the file he had been handed, none too pleased with its contents. The assignment he had been handed would demand a two person team, away from dispatch for an unknown period of time. Promising a great deal of over time as he was already short on staff. He snapped the file closed and made his way to the office of the only available reaper in his employment who had a light enough schedule to redistribute among the others while the needed investigation was underway. He adjusted his glasses before knocking on the door, only to be met with silence. Will turned the knob and peered into the empty room, "Honestly..." He sighed, turning on his heel, striding towards the exit.
Three firm raps on the wooden door of Ronald's small apartment echoed through the hall of the complex. William stood adjusting his glasses once again, annoyed that his Jr. officer had not only not shown up to work that day, but now he was standing at his door, in an attempt to fetch him. he knocked again, gaining no answer, "I know you are in there. I strongly suggest you open the door at once." His voice reverberating throughout the flat.
Several moments passed with William banging on the door before it finally swung open, a tired, disheveled, and very hung-over Ronald standing in the dark apartment, shielding his eyes from the harsh light outside. His hair was a mess, and he was holding a blanket around his obviously naked frame, his glasses crookedly shoved onto his face. "Senpai…" he groaned, "It's my day off."
"It is Monday Knox... You are never scheduled off on Mondays." Without another word William invited himself in, walking past the younger reaper. "Please sit down. It is of grave importance that you read this." He ordered, handing the blond the file in his hand.
"I traded days off with Eric-senpai so he could go with Alan-senpai to his doctor's 'r somethin'…" Ronald groaned, "Lemme sleep off last night's party…" flopping onto the messy, clothing-covered couch, Ronald curled up in a ball under his blanket. He looked up to and admired William, but he was not a morning person, he was hung-over, and work was trying to take over his first day off in over three months.
"Knox I must insist you get up at once and read that file." William's voice was becoming irate. "I never approved a shift change either and will look into that in due time." He walked over picking up a glass, of what he hoped was water, from the coffee table and poured it over the blonds head.
The blond recoiled, gasping out and sitting up; the blanket falling down and barely covering him; "What th' hell, Boss! This can't be that important!" he scowled, snatching up the folder.
William walked over to the only cleared chair in the room, taking a seat. "It is of the most extreme importance Knox. I also have no one else available to take on such an assignment." He adjusted his glasses as he spoke, "You will be partnered with me, for the duration. I am not anymore pleased than you, but as you can see, there is something foul at foot and must be taken care of post haste. The higher ups are most anxious to have this mystery solved." He crossed his legs, fingers intertwining in his lap, as he waited for the younger reaper to finish reading the file.
Ron groaned again, reaching back behind his couch, which was located up against the windows as his flat was very small and tugged open the curtain so he'd have enough light to read. The young reaper then lay on his stomach, propping himself up over the file as he read, in attempt to shield his eyes from the light, and making sure his blanket was covering his rear. He had to admit, it was awkward how his boss was in his home while he was naked. But he had shown up rather unexpectedly, and Ron was in the habit of sleeping in the nude. But still, the man didn't seem to allow him the decency of getting dressed. Ronald's flat was a one-room apartment with a small washroom attached, but lacking a door. The kitchen was only a small area in the corner, and there was no bedroom, so Ron slept on the couch all night. His clothes were scattered everywhere for lack of space for a wardrobe.
His eyes scanned over the information handed to him and he moaned, "An undercover investigation for an unknown length of time? Really, senpai?" he complained. While fieldwork was more preferable to office work, going undercover meant that he couldn't go out to pubs, or on dates…or do anything he felt like doing after work. He had to stay working and professional until the whole investigation was wrapped up.
According to the file, there were half a dozen children souls due to be collected, that were all missing, and the list of children seemed only to be growing. These children hadn't been marked to be let to live on; yet their souls were still attached to their bodies; making them classified as 'walking dead' It was a messy business. Because they are in fact dead; and are ghosts haunting their own bodies. Their lives held no meaning, even to themselves, and they would start to cause problems that the dispatch never liked dealing with.
Collecting their souls was an easy enough job once they were found, but the real investigation would be finding out why this was happening. Every once-in-a-while this would happen naturally, as these souls always pop up on the list after they die, and the walking dead has moved locations by the time a reaper arrives to collect, and must hunt them down. But, for so many to show up all in one same area? It had to have some supernatural influence, and was likely dangerous. This investigation would likely take a long time to unravel.
"Yes really. We leave tomorrow morning. Six o'clock sharp I will be here to pick you up on our way over to the location." He cleared his throat before going on. "We need to discuss our roles for this operation. We shall be disguised as newly hired servants. I don't see this as being a problem. It has been reported, that the Trancy Estate has a high turn over rate. For whatever reason, I can not say, it appears they are unable to keeps servants for any length of time." Will looked over at Ronald, "Might we have some tea while we discuss this?" He asked, uncrossing his legs just to recross them the opposite way. "And while you are up Knox, might I also suggest you dress yourself. I find it highly inappropriate to discuss business with a half naked man."
"Who ever said I was half naked?" Ronald smirked, forcing himself up and holding the blanket around him as he walked into the kitchen area and pulled down a tin of tealeaves, "Can you make the tea? I only have this because it was a gift from Alan-senpai. I can't brew tea to save my life…" he said setting the tin down on the counter and walking around to find some clean clothes, "And keep your back turned."
"Honestly Knox... Do you not know how to do anything?" Will complained, as he rose from the chair and walked over to the counter. "And do not worry. I do not wish to see you naked." Will looked around for a tea kettle, "Knox where under heaven is your kettle?" He inquired, seeing as none was to be found.
"In the kitchen? No, just be glad I stay away from it. I set a pot of water on fire once somehow." Ron muttered, dropping his blanket so he could slip into his underpants and slacks, "And if I have one it'll be in the cupboard by your knee with the pots and pans…might have to rinse it out….probably dusty."
At the sound of Ronald's voice, Will automatically turned his head, in response and he watched as the blanket fell from Ronald's body. He didn't mean to look, but he was captivated by the junior officer's naked form. His eyes making their way down from the blond's shoulders, along his muscular back. Stopping to take in the curvature of his rear-end as he bent over to pull on his underpants. Will's eyes continued down to his thighs. The way the muscles gave them shape. As the blond stepped into his slacks, William realized he was staring; a pink hue crept into his cheeks. He closed his eyes and crouched down to open the cabinet.
"Oh yes here it is," He declared, a tiny squeak slipping past his lips as he spoke. Trying to shake the image from his mind, he walked over to the sink. "You are quite right. It is full of dust." William rinsed the kettle before adding water to it. He stepped over to the tiny stove, lighting a fire under the burner before he placed the kettle atop it to boil.
"I'm surprised I even have one…" Ron muttered, lacing his white belt through his pant loops and fastening it before he shook a shirt sharply to get any dirt it could have picked up from the floor and slipping it on, tucking it in properly. He quickly buttoned it up and donned his vest and tie before slipping into the small washroom to run a comb through his hair and brush his teeth quickly. Finished getting ready for the day; he moved back into the main room of his flat and sat back down; picking back up the files to go over them again, "I didn't think you were the kind of guy to peek, Senpai. Like what you saw?" he teased, slouching back and crossing his ankle over his knee, his cheeks pink as he hid them with the file. He would have been flustered about it normally, but Eric had walked in on him naked far too many times, and he'd grown used to it.
William's eyebrow twitched, "I was not peeking...I do not peek." He was growing flustered, having been caught. In attempt to change subjects, he sighed before asking. "Where is your tea strainer?"
"I didn't even know if I had a kettle. What makes you think I'd know if I had a strainer?" he commented, turning the page to the file, "How long do you think this mission would take?"
"Honestly…" William whispered beneath his breath. "Think Knox if you had a bloody strainer, where would you keep it? And as for the duration of the assignment, I can not say how long it will take. I would hope not long." Answering the blond's question, he stumbled upon a couple of tea cups and saucers.
"Drawer maybe? I don't know. The only time my kitchen gets used is when Alan or Grell-senpai comes over, which is rare." Ronald shrugged, "Don't sound so annoyed. You're the one stealing away my first day off in months."
"I have already checked all the drawers. Try again." William requested, his tone softening a tad. "I just can not grasp how you can choose to live in such a style...Knox...that is all. I apologize for sounding so crass."
"I hardly 'live' here, Senpai. I just sleep, bathe, and dress here. It's…lonely. I live between work and the pubs." Ronald admitted.
'Lonely' William had never thought about being lonely. He rather enjoyed the peace and quiet of having his own place. The thought of ever sharing his peace, made him shutter. "Well one would suppose that if you ever cleaned this place up and stopped wasting your life getting drunk all the time. You could possibly find a lovely...female... to grace you with her presence." He swallowed hard, the word female getting caught in his throat.
"Now you sound like my father. The man pushed me to get a 'nice high-class girl' to court until I'm old enough to marry her since I was thirteen. I have no interest in having a girlfriend."
"Then why do you spend... Found it!" he boasted, finally finding the strainer. The kettle whistled, William turned off the burner and removed the kettle to a trivet. He continued on with his question, "As I was inquiring. Then why do you spend so much time flirting and taking the ladies out, if you have no intentions of ever committing to one?" He scooped three scoops of tea into the kettle. There was no need to try and locate a tea pot, the kettle would suffice.
"Ever hear of being 'just friends'? They know it's just an outing between friends, nothing more intended." Ronald said, setting the file aside and watching William work.
William looked the blond straight in the eye, "I would highly recommend you be careful making assumptions like that...Knox. Females can be highly unpredictable, especially when it comes to men that catch their eye. Have you clarified with them that there is not to be anything more between you and them?" Inwardly, William was pleased to hear that Ronald was not interested in any of his female counter parts, but that also begged him to question why he felt pleased by that. "Sugar?" He asked pausing.
"Honey…with a little milk." He said, motioning to the small icebox, a jar of honey sitting on top of it. "And of course they are aware. I don't take out the girls who get clingy and dreamy-eyed with the idea to have me take them home. I'm not cruel. I flirt with them because it makes them feel special, but they know I'm just their friend. Heck; Eric-senpai is closer to me than anyone. So if anyone had a chance at something more, it'd be him. But he's not my type and he's head-over-heel in love with Alan-senpai. So no worries there either."
One eyebrow lifted with curiosity from the blond's statement. "I was actually inquiring as to where you kept your sugar... As for you, honey and milk, I shall add that to your cup." Curiosity getting the best of him he decided to prod a bit further, "I take it then you only enjoy the company of men... beyond friendship... that is?"
"…The sugar bowl is right in front of you. I thought you saw it, sir." He said, his face growing a deep red, "As for men…I dated one…once." He wondered why William was asking such personal questions. It was quite out of character for the all work and no play supervisor. "…When I was a human."
"I was unaware that this orange was a sugar bowl." He indicated, by picking up the orange shaped bowl. He poured tea into both cups adding some milk and honey to one and sugar to the other. After placing the milk back into the ice box he picked up the two saucers with cups, handing one to Ronald, before resuming his seat in the empty chair. He began stirring his tea. "Enough idle chit chat we need to discuss who we are to become for this assignment." He insisted, then taking a sip of his tea.
"More than simply the new servants?" Ronald asked, taking the cup of tea and sipping it, surprised how good it tasted. Not that he doubted William's skills, but rather, he was used to the weak tea in the break room at the office, "Well, I'll tell you right now I can't use my last name. My father is acquainted with the Earl Trancy. He'd be sure to recognize the name 'Knox'. You're lucky I look more like my mother on this. She and I both never met him, so I won't look familiar to him. We should be safe as long as my father doesn't show up and see a ghost working as a servant." He laughed.
William pinched the bridge of his nose, "How clumsy of me to forget, I hadn't given much thought of you being such a young reaper, your family would still be...very much alive. We will need to use extreme caution in this case... indeed." He looked up at the younger reaper. "I believe in this circumstance an alias would be most advisable. Do you have one in mind?" He inquired.
"No, not really. It only just occurred to me that my father knows this guy." The blond set his tea down on the cluttered coffee table, "I can't use my mother's maiden name as I don't know if he's heard of her family line."
"Might I make a suggestion? I rather think Ronald De Luca is a fine name and would suit you quite nicely. After all your mother was Italian, was she not? That is if you think you are up to the challenge of having an accent. This way, would nearly guarantee, no one recognizing you." He gave a challenging smirk to the younger reaper.
"Sì, mia madre era italiana." Ronald nodded, "Yes, I can speak in an accent." He grinned as he spoke in the accent before dropping it again, "Though it gets tiring. I was born and raised over here in England, after all."
"You would only need to speak with it in front of the other staff and household. Privately you would not need to keep it up. Unless you wished to..." He cleared his throat, "I mean unless you wanted to for the sake of habit." The tiniest pink hue painted his cheeks. He rather liked the sound of Ronald's voice speaking in Italian. "Well then your identity is settled on...Ronald?" He titled his head in confirmation.
"Sì. And who will you be, Senpai? Calling you 'senpai' wouldn't fit our parts, and 'sir' is definitely out." he commented, "Though You probably could keep 'William Spears' for your name. But how would we know each other?"
"There is really no need for me to change my name, this is quite correct... However, if it makes you uncomfortable, calling me by my first name, I suppose I could also provide myself with an alias. That would be strictly up to you Mr. De Luca. As for how we know each other, former employees of the same household, one would assume." He pressed, sitting his emptied tea cup on the table before him.
"Using anything casual would be new to me. I think Grell-senpai is the only one who doesn't call you something professional." He smirked, raising his voice to mimic the redhead's, "Isn't that right, Will-darling~" He cringed a little as the tone hurt his head, his hangover still strongly effecting him.
Unamused, William picked up a pillow that was lying at his foot and chucked it at the blond, hitting him square on the side of his head. Will hid the small chuckle that escaped him behind his gloved hand. Cheeks pinking once more at the sight of Ronald's suprised expression.
"Senpaiii!" he whined, rubbing his head, "That was punishment enough just for me to use that tone while suffering this hangover!" he looked at William, "I'm not Grell-senpai. I don't go looking for ways to make you punish me!"
William ceased his chuckling the second the blond looked at him. "Then I assume, I will never have to hear you refer to me as 'Will-daring', in that tone ever again?" He chided, before going over the rest of the plan. "I will stick with my given name then. I will not take it as a sign of disrespect during the duration of the assignment. You are welcome to start referring to me as such. Getting into habit now, will prevent you from making any mistakes, upon our arrival to the estate."
Ronald nodded, "Yes, si—William." He corrected himself. This may be a little more difficult than he had thought, calling William by his name. "Anything else we need to discuss?"
"I suppose...no. I shall be here, like I mentioned before, at six o'clock sharp. I will leave the file for you to finish reading. There is more information on the Trancy Estate, included. I expect you to have that information memorized by morning. Make sure to pack your essentials. I will head back to the offices and get the paperwork started for the assignment, notify the proper departments, making them aware you were assigned to partner me. So no need for you to come in today. Research Mr De Luca is your assignment for the day." He commanded, getting up from the chair.
"Yes,William." Ronald sighed, "Should I dress casually tomorrow?" he asked, wishing he could just go back to sleep until his hangover was gone.
"Yes. Servants would not be wearing finery, that which we do day to day. Pack normal wear and anything you deem only a servant would wear or have. Thank you, Ronald, for bringing that up." He appreciated the fact that Ronald brought a valued suggestion. "Then I shall see you in the morning." William walked to the door, opening it. "Good day, Mr. De Luca."
"See you then." Ron nodded, digging deeper into the files. He wasn't too excited about this assignment.
Will closed the door behind him, leaving the younger reaper to his reading. He made his way back to the offices to get everything in order there. He really hated the idea of being gone for any length of time; there was a lot of paper work involved. In addition he had to clear everything with personnel.