William x Grell fanfiction.
Author: me (Dantelian)
Chapter 1. Ashes: fav.me/d48jcx6
Chapter 2. The first breath.
The world we used to know
Will never return.
The time we lost
The life we had
They won't take from us again.
3 years later.
Grell Sutcliff is a successful journalist and writer. His articles have appeared in many publications and known web sites.
Grell is social and eccentric, he attracts attention with his appearance alone; the shocking red color of his hair and the no less shocking, for a young man, length of it to his waist. It is contrasted with the almost consistently black color of his clothes.
Sutcliff can make people like him from the first sight. He can chit-chat without pausing, get away with the most provocative and indecent questions, embellish the most boring details in a way that will make the readers exclaim in surprise from just glancing through the text. Sutcliff organizes the meetings himself, simply finds someone who interests him - and practically everyone and everything interests him. Grell is vibrant and he lives in a similarly vibrant world, filled with constantly changing faces, gossip and intrigues, sometimes scary and dangerous facts. Sutcliff loves to immerse himself in that raging sea, which is ready to consume those who step into it at any moment. Adrenalin Grell's only narcotic.
Sutcliff likes independence, and he avoids any sort of official employment for any one publisher. Still, there is one he gives his preference to, but not at all because Sutcliff likes the product they publish. No, Grell is not like that, he doesn't even think of money he has plenty enough. Grell lives with his emotions. And for the past several months he's enjoyed thinking about the chief editor of that publication so much. No, Sutcliff is not in love he doesn't even know that feeling. A couple of years ago he dated a girl a nurse from the hospital where he awoke after the accident. He's dated a lot of people a week, two; no more. And even then only until the loud breakup, followed by a label "bitter enemy."
Grell is too emotional, loud, bold, capricious. He is a good and caring comrade, but he doesn't want to open up in front of anyone. Grell doesn't believe that he will be accepted for who he is. And as for changing masks and playing roles - he gets to do that every day at work. Grell will be his true self when he's with the one he is ready to give himself up to.
And so Sutcliff is quite content with his one-sided sympathy. He doesn't need any kind of development. He doesn't even need to see the object of his sighs the burly, short blond is not Grell's type at all.
Sutcliff just insanely likes the name of his employer. He likes to come to the publication just so he can address him.
Sutcliff doesn't care about the reason. He gets pleasure from it.
"William," looms in the silence of the apartment. "William," slowly, syllable by syllable, elongating the vowels repeat the lips.
That is Sutcliff's little weakness. Even he doesn't know how it started, but in the drawer of his desk invariably lie a red lipstick, a black eye pencil and a mascara. In his wardrobe, behind the many jackets and shirts, hangs a wine-colored dress with lace.
When all the sounds behind the windows Grell lives in the very center of the city quiet down only for an hour or two, Sutcliff transforms. With slow, careful motions he outlines his already big and slightly slanted light green eyes, paints his lashes, gifts his lips with color. The dress doesn't look awkward: Grell has a slim body, narrow shoulders and a long neck.
Grell presses his hands against his chest and spins in front of the mirror, rising on his toes, as if he's wearing heels.
Grell likes himself only like this. Grell wants to be liked by someone - like this. He wants to dress up for someone and undress for him still. And the fact that that someone is a "he" doesn't perturb Grell at all.
But since recently Sutcliff's head is filled with something more important than empty dreams.
Grell doesn't know how to stop. He is stubborn and persistent always digs through a case to the end and holds to the empty hope that nothing will happen to him.
A cautious journalist a bad journalist. A fearless one a dead one.
Grell wasn't afraid to write the truth, and found enemies wishing for his death.
Everything started six month ago, when Sutcliff started receiving anonymous letters with threats. They contained nothing but the command to quit writing. Grell only laughed and burned he loved fire the paper right on his balcony. If he simply displeased someone, this would end soon. But it became clear that with one of his stories Grell badly spoiled the life of someone influential. He started receiving real threats, someone sliced the tires of his car, followed him, rang his doorbell and called his phone. Several publications refused to work with Sutcliff - the word of the attempts to rein in the journalist quickly spread through the city. Grell was scared, but outwardly he appeared indifferent.
After all he didn't even have anything to lose he had no one, and no one had him.
Grell, as usual, returns from work closer to midnight. During the day the street is stuffy and dry September still doesn't want to remind of the fact that it's an autumn month, not a summer one. But during the night it's pleasantly cool. Grell wants to take a walk, so he parks several houses away from his own. He's walked about a hundred meters when an explosion erupts behind him. Sutcliff doesn't even need to turn around to be sure: it was his car that exploded. All around the alarms of the cars parked in the area go off, but Grell is already running down the street to his house. Faster into the apartment, danger can't be awaiting him there. It shouldn't this time this wasn't an attempt to frighten. If he drove all the way to his house, he would have been killed. He was saved by an extra minute of time and a wish to get some fresh air.
Grell panics. He paces around the apartment, smoking nervously and fumbling with his hair. If he didn't die today, that means he'll die tomorrow.
Soon the police will appear at his door, but Sutcliff doesn't intend to talk to anyone he doesn't need publicity of what happened, because it will only reveal that he survived sooner.
Grell feels himself a cornered victim, under the spot light of public cameras and in the scope of his invisible enemies' sniper rifle. That is probably how many felt after his stories, or even during the interview Grell knew how to apply pressure, to unnerve, to create uncomfortable situations. And he never worried about others.
Perhaps he's earned this. But, finding himself so close to death, Sutcliff is truly scared.
The first 20 minutes he is frightened, but as the fear gradually releases his mind, Grell realizes that in that fear there was something pleasantly stirring up his blood. Something forbidden, unacceptable; one ought to run from this, not toward it. But if you die, you're deprived of these games with death. And if this is what it was, Grell wants to live on for the sake of this sensation.
Sutcliff calls his old, but trusted mate Fred.
"This is the end of my career, Freddy."
"Grell? What happened?"
"You'll find out tomorrow in the news."
"Is that so? Did you get away okay?"
"Not a scratch, but as soon as this is revealed, there will be no escape for me."
"As far as I remember you've never let things get you down."
"When death is at your heels, your outlook changes a bit."
"You know that part of this your fault."
"To hell with your lectures, right now I need to disappear from my apartment for several days."
"And then I will think it through in a safe place."
The safe place turns out to be Fred's apartment. He shouldn't be discovered here Sutcliff's friend is an ordinary teacher at a local school, and no one knows of their connection.
Only after several cups of tea Grell finally returns to his senses and tells his entire story.
"I don't know what I should do now." He lets out a tired sigh.
"What do you mean what to do? You don't have a choice, run away."
"You no longer have a car or a job, and the value of your life is probably higher than that of your apartment."
Sutcliff wilts, his colors are fading in plain sight. Fred is right, and Grell hates him for that, and himself for lacking the decisiveness for such a change. But the only alternative is that the last change for him will be death.
"You're 25 years old, Grell. You'll start from a clean slate, in another country."
"24,"Sutcliff interrupts. "I'm still 24. It won't be fun if I die only a couple months before the jubilee, right?" Grell props his chin with a palm and shakes his head. "And where to?"
"Decide yourself. You traveled a lot for your work."
"Documents are no problem. You understand, Freddy, I need to get inspired; otherwise even the fear of death won't budge me from a spot. I traveled chasing after sensational and interesting things. To go look at architecture and absorb a foreign culture is not for me."
"You're strange. But fortunately for you there's something I have to offer." A minute later in front of Sutcliff is a laptop with an open internet page. "This information only hit the media a couple days ago, so maybe you haven't heard yet."
"Jack the Ripper returns?" Sutcliff reads the title and arches his brow. "Three mutilated bodies of prostitutes, the police have no leads," Grell mutters under his breath, and with each read line his eyes light up brighter. "Hell, yes. This is what I need, Fred!"
"Oh wow, you're really enthused, even said my name properly. In any case, you can't return to your apartment."
"To hell with it!" Grell nods in the direction of the hastily packed travel bag. "All the documents and a laptop I have with me. And if I find myself freezing in the city of rain and fog, I'll find the money to buy a coat," Sutcliff is smiling for the first time in the past hours. "To hell with all these obstacles, I'm flying to London."
USA, Michigan State, Detroit.
Today should have been a celebration of sorts for the former officer and now detective William T. Spears. After eight years of work at the Detroit Police Department he finally received that honorable title.
Working in the police is a job for the patient. Many of Spears's colleagues, and those who worked there before his time, don't even go for promotion. Another ten years and they retire with the same title they received when they first entered the service.
William's path as a policeman was boring and ordinary he selected his future profession back when he was a teen, when he realized that he couldn't ignore his own sense of justice and shut his eyes to that which was going on under his nose. Upon graduating school, William enlisted in the army, after that the police academy, then three years of street patrol, and after five years of work at the police station he was promoted. The next step no less than three years later, and for further advancement still, higher education was required.
But William doesn't feel the happiness he should. He hasn't been feeling anything for a long time. He doesn't even remember when he lost interest in life, and whether he ever had it at all.
He simply follows a clear, logical path, does everything properly, and day after day he feels out of place. It's not only about his job.
Spears is irritated with the city itself, the one in which he was born and grew up.
He can't find his place here, but is unable to leave; William is too accustomed to the even, orderly flow of life. Perhaps one would say that the life of a policeman in its principle can't be even, but the crimes and shootouts too become a routine part of life, take on a grey hue and don't scare.
William was never scared to begin with.
He feels that he had survived something more frightening than catching thieves and chasing after the violators of traffic laws.
Outwardly, Spears is always collected and cool-headed. He believes that a policeman should be exactly like that. After all, his duties include upholding the order and protecting the citizens; those same ones who irritate him. And so - no negative emotions while he's in uniform.
William feels calm and relaxed only in one place in a Detroit suburb, on the bridge that connects several small islands on a local lake. Until three years ago William didn't have the need for such solitude, didn't even know of this place. One time he was driving by and, almost against his own will, stopped and walked up the bridge.
Spears can look at the water for a long time, but he always frowns. The lake is small and shallow and calm. That feels wrong to William there should be a lot of water, and a current a strong one, and the bridge itself a score of times bigger and higher. He can't explain it simply remembers so. The strongest wind tears at his hair and coat, his hand periodically touches the temple, as if wishing to adjust nonexistent glasses. And the voice; someone's voice echoes in his ears each time he is here. The voice is inside William's head, so it must be somehow familiar to him, yet he is sure he has never met the owner of that voice.
He would remember a man with a voice like that.
Strange memories, at the first sensible look they have nothing in common with William's life. At least with that which he clearly knows. If life is a mosaic, then William is certain that some pieces have vanished from his. And the more time passes, the more he feels that his life is arranged incorrectly. The pattern, flowing through his fate in unchanging interwoven lines, is wrong, the color scheme is wrong, the picture in its whole is wrong.
Even he himself is incorrect.
These unfounded anxieties distress him more and more. William calls himself paranoid, sometimes even insane, but the sensation of wrongness doesn't go away.
Today William wakes up with the thought that time for change has come. He wants to begin with that which is closer break up with the one he's been living with for the past five years. And at the very moment when he stands in front of the mirror in the restroom, silently going over his farewell speech, he is called to the chief's office. The promotion, congratulations of his colleagues, who seem happier about it than him.
, oh pardon me, detective Spears, don't be stingy with your emotions at least now, ay! Many have to wait for this for 15 years or so!" With these words his former partner, always smiling and irrepressible, pats him on the shoulder.
William forces a smile. The changes began without his knowledge, and that doesn't please him in the least. But deviating from a plan is not William's style and, returning from work, he is still determined to dampen the day with a breakup.
"Glenn, we need to talk." Right from the doorstep.
None of his colleagues are surprised or question Spears why he doesn't have a wife and kids at his 30 years of age. William is reserved, closemouthed, he doesn't like to socialize with his colleagues, works alone as much as possible. People like that don't need families; they aren't interested in the continuation of their line. They live and die in solitude, think those around him.
No one can imagine that that very William T. Spears simply has a lover. Seven years his junior, working part time as a model, fond of nightclubs and loud crowds - all that never had anything to do with Spears.
And William never loved him. Only his looks, which attracted him five years ago and even made him offer the kid to move in with him. They rarely quarreled and even more seldom acted as a couple. They were both comfortable with each other, Spears never complained over Glenn's frivolous lifestyle, and he, in turn, knew not to touch Spears when he came home angry and remained that way for days.
At some point William stopped understanding it all together, why he kept the boy with him. He used to try to get energized with the emotions of others, loved to listen how Glenn talked about his life in all colorful details, but with time, the familiar irritation reached here too.
William, as far as he remembered himself, was always attracted to people who vastly differed from him emotional, eccentric, vibrant, open. But he himself would never become the initiator of contact, and the number of those who weren't intimidated to pick up a conversation with the glum Spears was extremely small.
And William perfectly understands that now, upon breaking up this relationship, he will be alone for a long time.
But Spears's plans for today are not destined to be realized, and the conversation, without an opportunity to begin, is interrupted by a cellphone call.
"Mr. Spears?" For the first time in William's memory, his boss calls him after the end of a work day. "Congratulations on your promotion. And I have to inform you that in connection with it we have a very important assignment for you."
"I have to get started on it immediately?" Spears tiredly looks at the clock.
"You see, this job is not in Detroit and not even in the U.S.. Have you heard of the latest criminal events in London?"
"In that case, you will receive all your documents before your flight."
"A flight?" William frowns. The boredom is methodically killing him, but unexpected surprises like this are a cause for panic all together.
"Exactly. You will depart for the epicenter of the events immediately. There's no time to waste. You will work under cover. You are not to make contact with anyone. Many have sent their people there already, but this case has to be in our hands, Spears, you understand? This is also your chance to prove we didn't promote you in vain. I believe in you, in you personally, detective. A car will come for you in 20 minutes. Take everything necessary."
William would get angry at such a short notice, at the lack of information and the complete disregard for his opinion, but the phone call frees him from the ensuing serious conversation.
London? Apart from the army service, William had never traveled. What a trip to a new city will bring him, he cannot imagine. But at least he will have time to think his decision over just for formality's sake, not because Spears has any doubt. And work. A lot of work. Such a thought may even allow for a slight smile.
"What did you want to talk about?" Glenn is standing at the door of the room, observing William pack his bag.
"I'm flying out. For work. Don't know when I'll be back."
"You only found out about that after that phone call, so spill it. What's up?"
"We'll talk when I return."
William carefully reads the case inside the airplane. Three days three dead prostitutes, the murderer is clearly copying the style of Jack the Ripper, who terrorized the London night of 1888: the young women were strangled, their throats slit, internal organs surgically removed.
Five prostitutes became the victims of Jack the Ripper in the 19th century. Does that mean that this killer will also stop at that number? The fourth victim should appear today, if the maniac decided to kill every day. That means William should attempt to stop the final murder tomorrow.
to be continued