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Eric Slingby came back from assignment covered in dirt and grime. He hated long assignments, assignments that kept him from the society for days on end. London was dirty, smelt like death, and held more dark secrets than the underworld. How the people living there didn't realize it always boggled him. Placing his scythe down to be cleaned and sharpened by the staff he jumped into the showers to clean the smell off him. It would never come completely off but it would be better than he was now. Allowing the hot water to burn his skin he tried to tune out the reapers that walked in to the group showers. This room held so much gossip, it reminded him of the living world, humans lived off the stuff.
"Can you believe it, he got high marks again."
"He is such a freak. Doesn't speak a word to anyone but William when it's needed; no wonder he is on top. Such a teacher's pet."
Having no idea who they were speaking of, certainly didn't sound like Grell, Eric washed his hair and body and got out. He didn't want to spend all day here, he wanted to get home, and had to go food shopping since what he had was probably no good by now.

Stepping into the offices he saw a small, brown haired, male sitting not too far from his desk, probably a new recruit. He had been gone long enough that such was possible. Whatever, he really didn't care to know more about them. He had his own things to worry about. Gathering his things from his desk that he needed for the night he headed out and didn't look at the new guy twice. Getting to the doors a few of his drinking buddies stopped him happy to see him back.
"Look who finally decided to come back. Thought you left us for awhile there."
"Well some of us are trusted with assignments outside of general reaping."
"Oh mister big shot talking now."
Laughing one bumped Eric's arm.
"I have about a century more of experience than you." Gloating Eric followed them to the bar, he had things to do but he always had time for a drink.

As they sat around and ordered a round Eric heard them talking about someone, who were all these new people?
"Have I missed that much? I was only gone, what, a month and a half?"
"You haven't met him yet? Guy is a total weirdo. He just sits at his desk all day and does paperwork. Doesn't speak unless Will needs him, doesn't move unless he has an assignment. Dude stays totally to himself. Plus he looks super frail and weak, he can probably barely hold a scythe."
"Who was he partnered with for training?"
"That's the thing, no one knows. None of us have trained him."
"No one trained him? That's strange. Protocol states all new recruits have to have a mentor. Maybe it was Will or Grell."
"Maybe. That would explain why he doesn't speak then. Grell probably raped him on the field or something."
The guys started laughing at the ones joke while Eric just sat there. Something seemed weird, who was this new guy that everyone seemed to joke about but knew nothing about? Maybe tomorrow if he felt like he would ask Will. No one was that good to get out of having a mentor. Especially if he was as weak as the others were saying.

Coming back to his apartment Eric changed into his undershirt and sweats to lounge while he worked on his paperwork from the assignment. It was great to be home. As much as the daily routine bored him to death, as much as he hated knowing everyday was the same, long assignments were a bother. Having filled out so many of these forms for so many years he basically did it with his eyes closed before he turned in for the night. What he wouldn't give for something different in his life. He was so tired of the same old, same old. Living forever sucked, this had to be worse than death.

Arriving at the office he saw the new guy already at his desk working on paperwork. It almost seemed like he never left. Grabbing the file from his assignment Eric walked down to Will's office to hand it in. Surprised he wasn't in yet he figured he was with Grell and just placed it on his desk. Why Grell still pursued him he would never know, Will had made it clear on a few occasions that he wasn't interested. Coming back to the desks he saw a group of guys near his. As he stepped closer he saw they were around the new guys. Hearing them teasing him Eric stepped in, it was one thing to say things when he wasn't around but to tease him, to bother him when he had done nothing was something Eric couldn't stand for. Bullies were something of human invention, they weren't humans, hadn't been for a long time.
"Hey, why don't we back off. Leave the kid alone." Stepping in front of the guys he pushed them back.
"Oh come on Eric, don't ruin our fun."
"I said back off. Are we really that bored that we have to go along making fun of others like this. Damn, I held more respect for you guys than that."
Mumbling they all turned around and went back to their desks to the start the day. Turning to the new guy he saw he was looking up at him, eyes wide. He was pale faced, his green yellow reaper eyes stuck out through his glasses. They seemed so bright compared to the rest of him.
"Hey there, they didn't get to you did they?"
Shaking his head he went back to his work. So much for a verbal thank you, the guys were right; this guy really didn't speak to anyone but Will.
"Alright then. I'm Eric Slingby by the way. You should really just stand up for yourself; you are a reaper after all. But, if they start bothering you again just come get me. I'm not afraid to put them back in their places."
Nodding again Eric rolled his eyes and left. No wonder this new guy was picked on, he was weird.

For some reason Eric found himself looking at the new guy every so often throughout the day. Something about him made him curious. He couldn't talk to him though; he already learned the guy wouldn't say a word. It was strange though, why didn't he speak? Seeing a shadow over him he saw Will staring down at him.
"I handed in my report this morning."
"I know. I saw that. I have a task for you."
"It isn't another long reap is it? I don't feel like staying in London for another month again."
"No, it's not. I want you to mentor our new trainee." Looking over his shoulder William said, "Alan Humphries, come here." Seeing the guy he stood up for earlier stand and walk over to his desk Will continued. "This is Alan Humphries, he is a new recruit. I do not have the time to train him. He doesn't need much training but we must get him a mentor."
"Whatever. A trainee is a trainee."
"Fine then, you can take him out now then and go over the to-die list with him." With that William turned around and left Eric and Alan there.

"So you're name is Alan." Eric led the way through London with Alan as they got started. Mentoring wasn't hard and it wasn't something that Eric hated, he just found it another pointless task of this never ending life. Seeing Alan nod as he gripped his scythe to an attack stance Eric just sighed. Just great, he had to mentor someone that wouldn't talk to him. He thought maybe if they were partners the guy would open his freaking trap.
"What is with that? Why do you only speak to Will? If I have to be your partner for right now you have talk to me. It is how team mates work. They communicate with each other.
"Sorry." Hearing a barely whisper Eric stopped in his tracks. So he did know how to speak. Seeing Eric wasn't moving Alan stopped to look over at him.
"It's a start I guess. So tell me about yourself or something."
"It's better if I don't."
"You were better off just leaving me alone; I'm not someone people should know."
Now interested Eric caught up with him. "Oh? And why is this? Too good for us newbie?"
Shaking his head Alan gripped his scythe tighter. "It's just better if you forget about me." Both stopped as they felt the presence of their target. Coming into position Alan went in for the attack before Eric had a chance to even blink. This new guy was fast, and accurate. Will wasn't kidding when he said he didn't really need a mentor. He looked ready to be snapped in half with the wrong look but he had strength, he had muscle, you could see it as he moved. As Alan collected the soul Eric saw his eyes, they were listless. He had never seen someone become so detached before. This was only a job but even he felt things at times, but Alan, he kept himself far from it all. Who was this guy? And why did he have to know more about him and the secrets he kept locked away?


I know I shouldn't be starting this I only have a dozen more to finish. But I am hoping to work on at least on this Thursday if not sooner. I will be at Otakon Thursday to Sunday but I have a two hour train ride down and I figure I will be at the hotel after sundown Thursday so I should have plenty of time to get another update for my older stories in there. Let me know what you think of this one though. Please and thank you.