Thanks to the chainsaw's roar, the snake snapped to attention the moment William and Grell materialized into the room. William didn't waste time in making the first move. The blade of his hedge-trimmer scythe extended at lightning speed, pinning the snake to the wall by its neck. It spit and writhed, and gradually transfigured into a male human form.
"Reapers, should've known," the Demon hissed, his voice reminiscent of his previous appearance. "This here's a private party; invitation only."
"Is it now? I feel so under-dressed!" Grell whined mockingly.
William tugged on his scythe's grip, tightening the blade. "If anyone is unwelcome, it is you. You have no business here."
The Demon squirmed in discomfort. "We've all got to eat, right? You'd deny a starvin' man his meal?"
The scythe pressed further, forcing him to his knees as he grunted in pain.
"I'm not in the mood for nonsense," William warned, twisting the scythe to throw the wretch to the ground. Retracting the pole, he took out a handkerchief and wiped the blade clean. "Repulsive filth
The Demon's eyes glowed fiercely. "Better than some over-glorified peepin' tom!" he shouted, jumping to his feet and taking a flying leap at William. But he stopped in mid-air as the chainsaw's motor revved to life again and held him back.
"Sorry, handsome, but three's a crowd," Grell countered, his grin exuding malice. "While I don't mind experimenting, my Will here is a bit of a prude." He walked the Demon back towards the wall, calling over his shoulder, "Do be a dear and fetch the soul, Will. I've got Lord Reptilian here under control."
The Demon growled, staring him down. But then his gaze fell on William, walking towards the old man's body. It wasn't over yet. He just had to wait for it
wait for the blade to
Before the Record could emerge, the Demon kicked Grell away, pounced at the body, and shoved William aside harshly. With the soul in hand once more, he didn't look back as he quickly dashed from the room.
Following his heart's instinct over his mind, Grell raced to William's side instantly. "Will! Are you hurt? Do you need me to
"I'm fine!" he snapped. "Don't just stand there; he's getting away!"
Both Reapers raced to the window urgently. The Demon may have had a sizeable head start, but they were just as fast. Easily clearing two or three rooftops at once, they caught up to him by the time he landed in a grim alley.
"I have a shot!" Grell cried, starting up his chainsaw and stroking it like a treasured pet. He murmured to it softly, "Don't let me down, precious."
With all his might, he threw it hard in the Demon's direction. The spinning blade whirred louder with impending doom. It mixed rather harmoniously with the intended target's screams, plowing messily through his arm. Like an obedient pet, it concluded its journey by lodging upright in the ground, waiting in a bloody heap for its mistress.
Grell skidded to a halt next to the landing sight, pulling it effortlessly from the stone road. "Yes, well done!" he cheered with a victorious laugh, moving to corner the injured Demon yet again and calling over his shoulder to his beloved. "It's your turn, darling~!"
William spared him an eye-roll, focusing instead on the task at hand. Staying a safe distance away, he quickly extended his scythe towards the severed arm and retrieved the soul to extract the Record. When it was securely stored, he relaxed at last.
"We are finished here. Let's go."
"Aw, but I want to play with him a bit more!" Grell whined. He grinned at his prey with frightening glee and pressed the chain-link blade closer to the Demon's throat. "Come on, gorgeous, turn back into a serpent. Your sleek, hooded head would look beautiful over my mantle! And that long, cold body, ooh, I've always wanted to try a whipow! Damn it, Will!"
William pulled his scythe back, brushing a strand of Grell's hair from the blade. "No games; we've done what we came to do."
The Demon's eyes narrowed, clearly at the end of his short-fused patience. "You're goin' to regret this, Reaper. You picked the wrong lot to mess with."
Grell quirked an eyebrow. "Hmph, Bassie was right," he scoffed. "Some of you really don't have any intelligence, let alone class. 'Lot' generally implies 'more than one.' Woe is the youth these days, can't even use proper
He couldn't finish as he was shoved from behind in a flash. Once again on the alert, William grabbed his partner and pulled him away safely. Right before their eyes, two more Demons materialized beside their injured comrade; females, most likely succubi.
"I've heard of a meal costing you an arm and a leg, but this is silly!" the younger blond giggled.
The male glowered at her. "Stuff it, Kat! Make yourself useful and fix my arm!"
Kat obeyed without question, holding out her hand and beckoning the limb to come to her. As she stitched it back into place, the other female approached the Reapers. She carried herself like a noble beast (Rather haughty for a rogue, William thought.) A devious smirk curled upward about her lips, and her pitch black hair flowed behind her like a cloak.
"What was that you were saying just now?" her sultry voice inquired. "The odds were indeed unevenly stacked, and that wasn't very nice. It seems to me that you fine gentlemen need a lesson in manners."
Grell gave her the once-over, hands on his hips and clearly not impressed. "Gentle-men~? Open your eyes, sweetie. This right here is more woman than you'll ever hope to be."
"Ooh, Luci, he told you!" Kat snickered.
William placed a commanding hand on Grell's shoulder as the Succubus' eyes flashed with anger. Such Demons were quite vain, and incurring her wrath was far from wise.
"That's enough, Sutcliff," he snarled quietly. "We don't need any more trouble."
"And yet you have it," the one called Luci interceded, closing in on them. "Didn't anyone teach you that it's rude to steal a lady's supper?"
William brought his scythe up defensively. "You are one to talk of thieves, madam," he replied, turning a repulsed nose up at her. It was best to keep matters civil, but using a polite title on a Demoness made bile rise into his throat. "But then again, it takes one to know one."
Luci's lips turned upward into a grin once again as she leaned in to sniff him. "Hmm, ripened a bit over a century perhaps? How cute, such big manly words for a little boy!" She ran a long, pointed black nail along his cheek. "But if a man is what you want to be
I could always help you with that."
Grell smacked her hand away, his voice lowered dangerously. "Find yourself another toy, sister; this one's mine."
Luci glanced between the pair, cackling with amusement. "Well, well, isn't this rich? Gingersnap here plays for the ladies' team!" Narrowing her eyes at the red-head, she smirked maliciously. "Don't be jealous, sweetie. I'll make an exception this once and offer my
favors, even to a hopeless freak like you."
Grell twitched a bit, every ounce of him screaming to take her down! But he contained himself long enough to face William, so that only his fellow Reaper could see him.
"Get out of here," he whispered.
William's brow furrowed in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"You heard me. Your scythe has the soul; get it back to the Dispatch, fast."
"And what precisely are you planning to do?"
Grell smirked. "Of all people, Will, you should know me best by now. You're always scolding me for being a walking distraction, and I might as well put that to good use. All you have to worry about is getting the soul back to the office. Leave this bitch and her lackeys to me; I'll hold them off."
William swallowed nervously. There wasn't any doubt in his mind that his partner was very strong. During their days at the Academy, William had too often fallen victim to Grell's strength. He swore to this day that, after an entire century, he still had back pains from the time Grell had thrown him into a brick wall. But could Sutcliff hold his own against three Demons? He had barely survived facing one! Sebastian Michaelis had been a worthy opponent, and he would've destroyed Grell if William hadn't intervened.
And yet, Grell had a point. William would be the prime target as his scythe contained what these curs were after. He couldn't risk being followed. Rogue Demons without a contract were much more lethal than a collared mutt like the Phantomhive butler. They were unbound to deals, and held no regard for rules or fractured loyalties. They would have to be kept at bay, and if anyone was skilled and/or insane enough to do that, it was Grell Sutcliff.
"I swear, if you aren't back at Dispatch in one hour, I'll--!" William paused, not even wanting to think about that could mean. Setting his expression firm, he softly warned, "I will send out a search party, have them drag you in, and bring every sheet of paperwork that your injuries lead to the infirmary for you to fill out! Everything in your body could be broken, but Heaven help me, you will work overtime for the next millennia! Do you understand?"
Grell smiled, standing on his tip-toes to steal a kiss. "I love you too. Now, go."
As expected, when William vanished, the Demon trio ran forward to stop him, but they were stopped immediately as Grell turned on them, swinging his scythe in a wide arc. The red Reaper smirked, his chuckle low and maniacal.
"I've been on good behavior for far too long," he purred, advancing. "It's been so long~ since I've been allowed to come out and play. What do you say, kiddies?"
Luci's eyes narrowed. "Pierce?"
"Yeah?" the male responded, his glare firmly fixed on his prey.
"Give the lady what she wants."
Pierce cracked his knuckles, grinning. "With pleasure."
Grell's gut threatened to burst as he let out a laugh. "Oh, I was hoping it would be you! Catfights are far too messy
heh, not like this won't be." The chainsaw motor roared with maddening intensity, as if it had a psychotic mind of its own. "Bring it, big boy!"
Pierce snarled, charging at him head on. But while Grell was prepared to strike at a humanoid being, his chainsaw cut through a mass of black mist, which instantly reformed behind him. He whipped around to strike again, but was caught off guard when he found a gigantic snake head rise up before him. While he was a mere garden snake earlier, Pierce might as well have been a python now! Grell only had a moment to react before Pierce snapped, his fangs narrowly missing.
Taking advantage of the diversion, Kat leapt to pounce. Grell easily threw her aside, but the counterattack didn't faze her. She was on her feet again instantly and charged again. Grell raised his scythe overhead, plunging it downward as she approached. Unfortunately, Kat gripped the blade in both hands, holding it back in defense.
Grell pouted. "Why the bloody hell do you all do that?" he said, gritting his teeth as he forced it towards her. "Resistance is useless! It'll be so much easier if you just be a good girl and die~ already!"
Kat tilted her head with a mock thoughtful expression. "Mmm, I don't think so," she said, shoving him away hard and pinning him to the ground on his back. "That pleasure will be yours."
Grell shook his head. "Sorry, sweetheart, this doesn't do anything for me. You're just not my type."
Ever the resourceful fighter, he slammed his head against her, rolling away to quickly assess the situation. The little scoundrels kept bouncing back, and things were getting difficult. Three versus one in a small alley wasn't boasting anything in Grell's favor. Declaring 'escape' his only option, he leapt for the rooftops, but he hadn't counted on Luci being there to greet him. Long, black claws extended, she took a cruel slash at Grell, plummeting him back to the street below.
Ugh, now that hurt, Grell thought as he went for his scythe. The impact must've left him a bit fuzzy; he couldn't grab it in time before Pierce kicked it out of his reach. With a malevolent chuckle, the Demon changed to his larger snake form again, hissing menacingly. Coiling tightly around Grell, Pierce held him in place as Luci appeared before him.
"Tsk, tsk," she mocked. "After such rough and tough talk, I expected more from you. Guess I was wrong."
"One of many things you were wrong about, my dear," Grell growled, struggling. "That hairstyle does nothing for your plump little face."
Smack! The sensation of palm-against-cheek did little to hurt him, but Luci took great delight in seeing him wince. Gripping his throat, her scowl intensified; her eyes were glowing so brightly, they rivaled the sun.
"No one steals from me without paying for it," she snarled, entangling her nails into the exuberant layers of his red hair and penetrating his skull. "Let's see what you have that is available for the taking."
Grell writhed in pain, trembling as her power surged within him. He knew what was happening; she was
he desperately tried to clear his mind
so many memories
"Take good care of the glasses, hmm? I may not be here to put them on next time
"Oh I've been watching for quite some time! Thanks to you, the To-Die list for this district is jam-packed! You've made me ever so busy!"
it's atrocious! So white and frilly and girly! If I have to dress up
why can't it be in a sexy shade of red with a waistline that will flatter my figure?"
I heard her scream
"Wherefore art thou my sweet love Bassie!? Deny thy master, refuse thy spiteful name, and cast your eyes upon me alone!"
Luci growled in rage; this irritating, idiotic freak! None of this was worth a second glance!
there was one emitting a powerful force...
"I understand very well how you feel. I want a baby of my very own too, but there's this teensy little inconvenience of being male
and, more recently
"Don't you worry, sweetheart! I'll be your new Mummy, and the best one at that! Would you like that, hmm? Would you?"
"Good night, my Stella
Yes! That's perfect! Releasing the red-head roughly, Luci commanded Pierce to let him go, taking delight in the harsh "Thud!" that Grell made as he collapsed.
"Let the Reapers keep the old man," she ordered her companions. "What good is some decrepit buzzard's soul anyway? It's far too stale and bitter, no taste to it. We don't want that, do we?"
"It's better than nothin'!" Pierce protested.
Kat nodded urgently. "Yeah, Luce, I'm starving!"
The elder Demoness raised a hand to silence them. "Oh come now, would I make you go to bed hungry?"
"Yes," came a unified disgruntled reply.
Luci groaned under her breath, rubbing her temples and forcing herself to stay calm. Idiots, she was surrounded by idiots!
"Not this time," she continued smoothly. She walked slowly, dangerously towards the weakened Grell, picking him up by the collar.
"You believe in deals, don't you, Reaper?" she asked. "Yes, obviously you do, considering what you did to those six broads alongside your former mistress. Fair is fair, a soul for a soul." Her forked, pink tongue caressed her lips as she licked them indulgently. "Mmm, I can taste it now
pure, sweet innocence
and it will be ours."
Grell's eyes widened. "No
"Oh, don't worry, sweetheart," she whispered, tossing him down again. "We'll be sure to let her know that 'Mummy dear' is the one to thank for the trade."
Grell forced himself up, grunting in pain. "No! I'll do anything, just don't hurt her!"
Luci smirked. "Hmph
And with a snap of her fingers, the trio was gone. Grell shuddered as he willed every ounce of his healing powers to fix any damage. He clutched his head tightly to soothe the ache, but it was of little use. Someone might as well have taken a hammer to it. Grabbing hold of his discarded scythe, he slowly materialized, knowing this would be a long trip. But it didn't matter! There would be no stopping Demons set on vengeance; anyone who stood in their way would be destroyed. The lives of everyone he cared for
Grell had to return to the Dispatch, and fast. There was simply no other choice.