One Life for Another

Chapter 17 Some things were better Left


William sat quietly confined to his room in headquarters, his yellow-green eyes narrowing dangerously at his gray and white wallpaper, for the first time ever the reaper yearned to do piles of paperwork. He groaned and tossed some pills (he was required by his doctor to take) in his mouth along with a glass of ice water. The mission, William had taken with Eric, Alan, Ronald and all of the recruits couldn't have ended in a bigger disaster. Every reaper had been sent on a wild goose chase resulting in them being shot and placed into untimely comas. William gritted his teeth, everyone who was shot with the darts was reported to the infirmary. After a few days, most of the reapers were better but the ones who recovered suffered temporary effects due to the darts, among these were Eric, Ronald and Alan.

Despite their release from the ward, the doctors instructed all recoveries to rest and not to do any work whatsoever. As for who was to blame for said incident, naturally it would have been Knox who was to blame since he was in charge of the tranquilizers. But instead accountability was placed on Spears who was the leader on the mission. He was brought before the higher-ups who for this slip-up were on the verge of taking away his position permanently, but only lowered the reaper to probation on proof from his comrades that he was unwell during the assignment. Probation for a reaper meant they couldn't collect souls to improve their rank, other various jobs depending on their current employment status and most importantly the reaper couldn't attend special events, not that there was any at this time.

"Stupid Grell, this is all your fault you hear me!" William shouted gazing at his door as if the red reaper was actually standing in front of it." I blame you, because of your melding schemes, constant disappearing and messing with my head! It's your fault I'm insane why everyone thinks I'm crazy!" He grabbed the pillows from his bed and threw the soft objects relentlessly at the door." Take this! For your flirting, messing up missions, causing me overtime, driving me insane and forcing me to care about you!" William screamed releasing a great deal stress. After a few minutes, the dark-haired reaper collapsed on his bed, sweat covering his tired body.

"Mark my words, Grell wherever you are. I will find that baby, take it and then bring you back here so I can end you myself!" he muttered closing his eyes to get some much needed rest.

Gem &Others…

It had been weeks since Ira was sick, to the family's relief she was recovering from her sickness thanks to Grell who was forced to care for her. The reaper had kept the angel fed, warm, and clean. True, at times it was unpleasant but it would all be worth it once the angel was feeling better. In that time, to Gem and Undertaker's surprise the two didn't fight not once during Ira's sick period. The two didn't dare not when there was an awkward tension between the leading members of the household who purposely kept themselves busy in order to avoid one another's presence. Undertaker had been swamped in bodies due to many guests being brought in, Gem on the other hand had a full schedule with taking care of Ryder, writing her newspaper articles and cooking for the household which brought the woman more joy since Ira was returning to her full health. Gem didn't want to think about it, but they could have lost Ira because of the incident the family had been even more cautious when it came to going outside.

Most of the time, Undertaker would insist on going to the market alone which no one protested as if Gem could with her uncertainty about their future together. The answer on whether she loved Undertaker would be answered if he admitted it first, for it was the man's duty to confess not the woman. She had told Ira this common knowledge, only to receive a laugh after that Gem walked out to prepare dinner when Grell came into the kitchen. He told Gem that Undertaker was in the backroom working on a special body. The wealthy Viscount Druitt's mother had passed peacefully in her sleep and since Undertaker is a business associate of Druitt he was invited to attend the funeral.

Gem seemed unaffected by this news, but narrowed her ruby colored eyes at Grell, naturally she knew he was up to something." And you want me to attend with him?" The reaper nodded and she sighed stirring their dinner in a large metal pot." I don't know." She muttered her eyes lingering to the black curtained windows. It had been so long since she had been outside in the warm sun and felt the wind in her hair, the woman was so worried over Ryder she completely ignored her need to be outside." Alright I'll go only because my baby hasn't been outside for a while." Her response caused Grell to smile as he skipped out of the room.

The next day, Gem put on a light dark black dress along with her veiled hat. She carried Ryder into the shop where Undertaker waited. He was amazed and touched that Gem agreed to go to the funeral with him even though Grell had said it was for Ryder's sake. Being an expert on emotion, the reaper knew that was just a cover-up and truthfully the woman needed to get out of the house. From experience, Undertaker knew if a person stayed in a place for too long they would eventually lose their sanity, heck he already did and felt no guilt.

But the reaper didn't want what happen to him to happen to Gem, so he offered her this chance to get away for a while and ease whatever tension the two had. The first step would be staying on Gem's good side at all times, understanding this the mortician took the baby stroller and placed it in the back of the wagon with the large coffin. While Gem climbed into the front with Ryder positioned carefully on her knees, she held him tightly as the wagon trotted down the road causing the toddler to giggle. His eyes focused on the horse in front of him, Ryder stretched out his arms attempting to reach the creature. Gem and Undertaker smiled." Not now baby, you can pet the horse later." She said as the wagon pulled in front of a large mansion.

"Here we are Druitt's manor." Undertaker announced helping Gem from the wagon. She held Ryder close to her chest as the woman gazed at how big the mansion was. Her eyes traveling to the door as five men came out seizing the coffin and carrying it inside." Come dearie." Undertaker called holding out his sleeve, she took it gently as they proceeded inside to the gardens where the funeral would be held. There were only twelve seats positioned in front of the crystal white coffin, she guessed it was invite only for others to attend. If it was public then there would be more chairs, but then again this was a noble's funeral." Oh, dearest mother!" Gem heard as she turned to see a man with blond hair wearing a white suit with a red handkerchief near his chest.

He, a young boy, his butler and the preacher stood in front of the coffin. The man wailed, repeating his mother's name with small tears escaping his eyes. He turned to the small boy who had blond hair similar to his but unlike the man wore purple and black." Oh my dear nephew! How I wish you could have known her!" The boy frowned and placed his hands on his hips, unimpressed with his uncle's display. He turned to his butler who leaned down to his level to allow the boy to whisper in his ear. The butler stood upright and approached a large punch bowl, pouring a drink for the boy." Here you are your highness." he muttered as the boy rolled his eyes and took a drink.

Gem stared at the group before Undertaker spoke." That dearie is Count Druitt, the boy is his nephew Alois Trancy and the man next to him is his butler, Claude." Gem stared in shock at all three, she had heard about the Trancys but had no idea the deceased lord had an heir. For the former owner of the manor had always kept to himself barely made any public appearances. But for some odd reason, Gem had a bad feeling about Alois and his butler the same feeling she had felt when the woman encountered Ceil and Sebastian only their presence was very familiar.

With Druitt, all Gem could do was cringe in disgust and pity. Sure the man lost his mother, but he was behaving like an unconvincing Shakespearean actor failing in any sign of being poetic or romantic. His behavior she greatly frowned upon, Gem shivered as she witnessed him attempting to woo a woman who like many guests had started to arrive. The time came and Gem took her seat in the third row of chairs, watching as the preacher began talking about how much the Countess would be missed and how the family appreciated everyone's support in their hour of sadness. When the funeral ended, the entire party went to the gravesite to bury their precious noblewoman.

Afterwards, everyone was free to leave as they pleased. Gem who knew Undertaker would be busy piling dirt on top of the grave, wandered the cemetery with Ryder in her arms. He looked curiously at the stones not knowing what to make of the strange objects, but noticed his mother was walking in a certain direction. When Gem stopped, she kneeled next to two grave stones and set Ryder in front of her." Sweetie, say hi to your grandparents." She said as Ryder touched her mother's tombstone." Mama, Papa it's me your Gem. I'm here to visit you, I know it's been a while but I had to go through a lot. More than you would believe." Gem said rubbing Ryder's back." This here is your grandson, Ryder. He is Andrew's son, I know you would have loved him Papa. And I could just see you covering him in kisses Mama." Gem muttered allowing a few tears to fall.

"Am I interrupting?" Gem wiped her eyes and stared at the reaper, he held a shovel covered in dirt." No, you're not." She whispered as he kneeled beside her. Seeing Undertaker on the ground near his mother, Ryder crawled towards him with a large smile on his face. The toddler began playing his hair and burying his face in the strands." Well now who are these fine folks?" Undertaker asked pointing to the two gravestones in front of them. Gem's eyes remained on the stones, she didn't want to look at the reaper at this time. It was already bad enough that he decided to sit next to her in the grass, but now she was struggling with butterflies in her stomach.

"T-they are my parents, Daniel and Wendy Collins. My mother died of sickness when I was twelve leaving my father to raise me. We weren't a rich family, but we weren't poor either. My father worked two jobs to support us and I had to get a job disguised as boy for the London Gazette. I was eventually discovered to be a girl, but thanks to Ira I wasn't fired. She was the reason I made it this far in life, Ira was also working there in the same position. We were girls who were paperboys and worked our way to the top, it was hard work, but worth the struggle." She explained.

Undertaker sighed, he took off his hat and placed it on Ryder's head." You had a hard life before you came to my shop." The reaper whispered. Gem shook her head." It wasn't all hard when I meant Andrew, I still remember all the good times we had. I will always miss him but I have moved on and want to know what my future with you holds." The reaper looked shocked at her words and fingered his chin, not knowing the answer himself. He loved her, but Undertaker knew he was too dangerous and unpredictable." Dearie I don't know what our future is together, but know this I care about you very much and I want to be with you, unless you plan on leaving when our troubles are over?" Gem grabbed his hands and kissed his cheek." No I care about you Undertaker, I wouldn't dare do that to you and also Ryder would miss you too much." She said as they both looked down at the giggling baby boy who was too preoccupied with Undertaker's hat.

"I'm sorry dearie." He said pulling the woman into his chest and stroking her hair." It's alright, now let's go home. Ira's feeling better so I think her and Grell will go back to trying to kill each other. As for our relationship I think it's best to let things happen naturally without tension." The pair laughed as Undertaker carried Ryder in his left arm while Gem occupied his right. The wagon ride back to the shop, was filled with pleasant conversation and new ideas from on how to help Undertaker's business. The reaper listened fondly to the suggestions but paid attention on the road and the way the woman's hands moved as she talked.

He noticed the more passionate Gem was about an idea the more her hands would move. If anything Undertaker loved when she was happy, in his opinion it made her even more beautiful and alluring. His gaze traveled to her mouth and the reaper grew nervous wondering of it was the right moment for their lips to meet. Then again it wasn't appropriate when the baby was sitting right in her lap, so the reaper pushed the thought aside and proceeded on the path to the shop.

Once inside a faint sound could be heard coming from the living room." What is that?" Gem questioned as the pair walked quietly into the living room, the sound erupting from the coat closet. Undertaker placed Ryder in Gem's arms and slowly opened the door inside were Grell and Ira. The red reaper was holding the angel tightly against him as they roughly kissed each other. Undertaker and Gem couldn't believe what they were seeing, Ira's fingers were buried in Grell's long red hair and she was whimpering loudly against his mouth. Taking the hint, the reaper lifted the angel above his head to deepen their kiss, he pulled away baring his sharp teeth.

He growled, and started kissing her neck. Gem panicked, she had seen Andrew act like this on their honeymoon before marking her. Lust covered Grell's eyes and he edged forward until Undertaker opened the door completely causing the angel and reaper to freeze, knowing they had been caught. Gem had her hands on her hips while Undertaker frowned, Ryder in his arms giggling at the sight." You two in the kitchen in five minutes." Gem said as they separated and nodded fixing themselves while the pair went in the kitchen to wait for them." We've been caught." Ira whispered to Grell." Indeed darling it was bound to come out sooner or later, now come we have some explaining to do." He said taking her hand.

They took a seat at the kitchen table, on the other side was Undertaker and Gem seated in their chairs, Ryder was in his high chair sucking his thumb looking curiously in between the four adults." So." Gem began." Why didn't you two tell me you were in love! This is the best surprise ever and I'm so happy for you!" The woman yelled happily embracing her best friend and kissing her brother's head." I know darling I was so excited too once I discovered how much I cared about my angel." Grell said staring adoringly at Ira and ravishing her lips.

Ira pulled away smiling playfully." Not in front of the baby Grell!" she said kissing his cheek." Oh, yeah!" Grell sprinted out of his chair and placed Ryder in his arms tickling him. Gem smiled, she had never seen Grell so happy and Ira laughing so much. The cheerful moment was interrupted when Undertaker who was silent during the exchange spoke." Is this wise?" he uttered gaining everyone's attention." Is it wise for you little angel to end up with this reaper? He's not the smartest or the brightest out of dispatch. He has an uncontrollable blood obsession and dresses in women's gowns and make-up."

Ira fumed at his words," So do you Mr. Lolio-con! You were Queen Gertrude in this year's Hamlet play and had no regrets in wearing a pink dress! So how dare you judge Grell, Adrian I know you are jealous aren't you! What the all-powerful reaper can't stand the fact that he no longer has a princess on his arm, why do you care you hate all royalty especially the queen of England!" the angel yelled not realizing she was two inches off the ground. Undertaker stood wind wiped around him as his death scythe appeared in his hand, Ira rolled her eyes.

"Typical." She said her sword appearing in her hands," Your scythe always appears when you feel threatened!" Undertaker chuckled darkly, his hair no longer in front of his eyes." And you're too over confident in your abilities Heliostat." Ira lunged at him her sword meeting the scythe." Don't call me that, don't you ever call me that again!" Gem shivered and put Ryder in the living room before returning to the kitchen where Grell stood clueless about what to do. Before he could decide the two began fighting, sword and scythe against each other." You two shouldn't be together you're an angel and a reaper it's prohibited!" Undertaker growled as Ira lunged at him again." It was only during the war but not anymore you should know that Adrian since we took part in it and fought against one another!"

Undertaker frowned, Ira was speaking through her anger. If the angel continued, then she would reveal their secret. He looked at Gem's fearful expression, his eyes expressing so much longing for her. She couldn't know, she just couldn't not now. If he was more like Grell, Undertaker could have left his job in London behind run away with Gem and Ryder. Get married and if possible give Ryder some siblings, but he wasn't Grell. No, he was the emotionless, greedy and self-centered Undertaker." Ira sweetie calm down please!" Grell yelled as Ira began glowing.

"Admit it Undertaker you are jealous!" Ira shouted the blade growing longer as they spared." Silence Heliostat you are speaking out of emotion, think before you say something you will regret." Undertaker said before he was slammed against the wall an angry glowing angel hovering above him." How dare you speak to me in that tone, what happen to the loving passionate, seductive Undertaker who would fight for me and even promised to protect me! Where is the reaper who swept me off my feet and who no matter what respected my wishes! Who was a master of emotion and would never, ever be jealous!"

Ira took a breath and her glow faded." The reaper I loved and dated through the war without regret! Who proposed to me after the war was over!" Undertaker's eyes moved to the floor as he didn't meet her gaze. Gem and Grell stood shocked at what they had heard, tears flowed down Gem's cheeks. Undertaker had promised to marry Ira, she felt her heart break as Ira flew from the room with Grell running after her.

The kitchen was in disarray, but Gem didn't care her decision was made." Undertaker, I can't be with you not now not ever." She whispered turning her back to him." When this thing we are in is over, Ryder and I are leaving for good." Gem said hurrying out of the room, crying fresh tears." He loves Ira, not me! He probably never loved me!" her echoed as she slammed her door and went to bed, her heart shattered.

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