A Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji Fanfiction
Decorating the Christmas Tree
Lord Trancy was on one of his usual absences from the Trancy manor. Usually, at his side, he would have his well-trusted butler, Claude Faustus, with him every moment, but today Alois opted for another choice.
“Hannah!” He called out, his eyes darting down the line of servants who stood before him: the three, purple-haired triplets, the golden-eyed butler, and the woman with the bandaged eye… and their newest addition to the family of servants: you.
The woman called Hannah Annafeloz gave a start as her lord called her forth—stepping forward and averting her eyes to the polished, marble floor, she said softly but intelligibly, “Yes, master?”
“You’ll be accompanying me today,” smirked the blonde, shrugging his purple overcoat around his shoulders so that he could move comfortably. “Come along—we’re heading downtown.”
To the other servants, he commanded: “You three!” The triplets remained silent and unmoving, their eyes on the wall behind their lord, as he ordered, clapping his hands childishly as he exclaimed, “Christmas is coming. I want the house decorated when I come back. I’m putting you in charge of the manor’s exterior. Claude—” For the first time, the man named Claude was addressed. “—I want you to bring in the tree.”
With a sweet smile, he then turned to you; you had been dreading this moment, there was no denying it. With his fake grin and his falsely sparkling eyes, he was no more than a hypocrite. He had taken you into the care of the Trancys, assuring you that he knew how children like you had survived a terrible past of abuse and pain, and yet he himself inflicted that same pain upon his servants.
You dreaded this moment all along, you hated whenever you had to listen to his drawling voice, to look into his cold eyes. Hannah Annafeloz had warned you against objecting his commands or to stare straight at Alois, and you could not have helped wondering at how her eye had been damaged. With a look that meant, “You’ll find out if you disobey him,” she gazed at you with something like pity, then strode briskly out of the room. And now… now… would you find out?
“(Name).” You fidgeted a bit, but didn’t look up, as Hannah had done. You really didn’t want to look into those dark, cold, grey eyes… that childish yet often cruel face haunted your dreams. This was the only job you could afford, or you’ve left already.
“(Name)? I’m asking for you.” Alois’s smile broadened as he stepped slowly towards you. “Won’t you look up at your master?”
There was a moment in which you stood, frozen to the spot, and then, quickly, you shook your head ever so slightly.
“Answer me, (Name)!” You hadn’t been looking up, and so you weren’t aware that he had suddenly reached forward, and before you could back away, Alois had snatched a handful of your (hair colour) locks in his hand, pulling hard and making you fall to the ground.
Pain rushed through your head, dizzying you immediately. The spots where your hair protruded from your scalp were burning with the agony… Alois Trancy had a hard grip, and you were sure that he knew it.
“Y-Yes, master!” You barely managed to squeak before he yanked hard on your hair again. This time, you let out a small cry of pain. “Pl-Please… stop… master.”
“That’s more like it.” Alois gave that same, hateful smile again as he squatted down, his booty shorts pulling under him every so tightly so that he was eye-to-eye with you. But you didn’t look at him… you didn’t want to… “(Name). As this is your first month here in the employment of the Trancy family, I’ll be a bit easy on you.”
A bit easy? Really? This is what he considers a bit easy? You growled silently at the back of your throat in anger, hoping that he hadn’t heard.
“See here. Claude Faustus—” He gestured up at said butler, never taking his eyes off of you as you lay, collapsed on the floor. “He’ll be setting up the tree, remember that? I want you to assist him. He’ll tell you what to do.”
And without another word, Alois Trancy had stood up, turned on his heel, and pranced out the door with Hannah at his side. As you raised your head, your breath quivering as it came out, you thought you saw an expression of empathy and pity on the silver-haired maid’s face as she turned her head to glance back at you—but in the next moment, they had gone.
“Damn him. Damn that Alois Trancy!” You muttered under your breath as you stood up to string the next ornament onto the tree.
Alois—that delinquent child—really had the guts to torture women; you knew that Hannah’s bandaged eye was evidence of that. Although no one else would admit that he had been abusing them, you knew that he had hurt her, somehow. You only wished you knew why, and once Alois and Hannah had left the manor, you were in the company of only the other four servants.
“Hey—er, one of you!” You called to the three triplets, who had been walking past with some holly and bundles garlands in their arms. “Um… Thompson and Canterbury and… and…” You couldn’t recall the last one’s name, and so you said, “Just… all of you.”
They gazed at you with unbroken silence, their dark eyes burning into you.
“Er… I wanted to ask you something…?” You said awkwardly, and it came out more of a question than a statement.
You cleared your throat nervously, as you watched one of them turn to the other and murmur something into his ear. For all the week you’d been spending in the manor, you’d never seen any of these three speak, even if you could tell which one was which. The only way to tell them apart were the differences in their hairstyles, and although Alois claimed that the changes in their hair were awfully distinct, you could see little differences altogether.
“And what is it, my lady?” ask the first of the brothers—you assumed that they, being triplets, were brothers, but they hardly spoke to each other, which worried you considerably.
“Um.. Hannah Annafeloz,” you said, swallowing out of sheer anxiety, hoping to rid yourself of the lump in your throat. “Eh… she… her eye,” were the next words that came from you. “I want to know… I want to know what happened to her eye.”
When you had explained, you stood there, feeling quite stupid as the three brother moved closer together and raised a hand to their mouths, whispering to one another in a clearly pronounced privacy that they wished to keep. At last, one of them emerged from the silent discussion.
“Mistress Hannah would not be pleased if we were to tell you,” said he, above his brothers’ whispers. “She would wish to keep that information private.”
“S-So you know what happened?” you demanded. “You know what happened with Hannah’s eye?”
All the while, you could not help feeling that Lord Alois was somehow involved in the matter of Hannah’s injured eye. As she was the one who had treated you most kindly in the manor so far in your time there (the triplets were always silent amongst themselves, and the butler Claude had managed only to shoot you a few curious, glaring glances), and Lord Trancy had been more than cruel in his treatment to you, you instantly decided that if the time came to choose, you were vouching for Hannah more than your master.
“Yes, we do,” said the second of the triplets, his eyes gleaming coldly in the lamplight. “But we cannot reveal that information to you, as Mistress Hannah does not wish anyone to know.”
“B-But… I-I,” you stuttered, feeling absolutely useless, “I need to know! Screw that! I-I want to… n-need to…”
And suddenly, a hand fell onto your shoulder quite gently, and yet with a touch that burnt you to the core with shivers of fear and unknowing.
“That’s quite enough of that, now,” said a cool, smooth voice that was void of all emotion; you dared not to look behind you, but you knew that it was the butler who spoke.
“Of course, master butler,” said the third triplet hastily, and for the first time you could see some contempt in their faces and hear the spite in the third’s voice as you continued to stare forward, your eyes wide, at them. “Of course, of course. We are below you.”
“Yes,” said the first, whom you remembered to be Thompson, “I do believe that our business with the lady here is done. Quite enough of that, Claude Faustus.”
“We’ll be off now,” said Canterbury briskly, squeezing the Christmas garlands in his hands and looking extremely murderous before the three brothers stalked off, looking most displeased.
“Now, (Name),” murmured the smooth voice that came from somewhere above you, and you concluded now that the man was taller than you had ever imagined in your dreams. “That’s quite enough, as I said. Shall we returned to decorating the tree?”
You were too frightened to speak, and too worked up to stay still; with a sudden rustle of movements, you began to pull out the ornaments from the box and hang them onto the thick, leafy branches of the pine tree without a word. After a few moments of watching bemusedly, Claude consented to help you.
… So this is Mr. Claude Faustus… the butler. How interesting… He’s quite a funny man. The way he handles everything so quickly, how he makes all the meals by himself. It’s a wonder that Lord Trancy needs any other servants, the way Mr. Faustus gets everything cleaned… he’s funny and amazing… a-and beautiful…?
You were suddenly overwhelmed with thoughts about the butler as you moved around the tree slightly, just trying to catch a glimpse of him as he set up on the other side—and then you let out a small yelp as you met his deep, golden eyes staring directly into yours. Immediately, you rushed to hide behind the branches of your side of the tree, and with clumsy fingers, you reached down to grope inside the box for the angel that you’d seen earlier, which you reckoned would go directly to the top of the tree.
Moments of silence passed. And then, Claude said, “Ms. (last name)?”
You ignored him, the blood rushing to your cheeks, and continued to rifle through the boxes at your feet. Just ignore him, ignore him… It’s not so hard! It means nothing that you’ve been dreaming of him at night, nothing! Ignore him… ignore him…
“Ms. (last name)?” He peered around the edge of the tree with those stunning golden eyes, only to have you duck further away in the hopes that he would not see you.
Oh, so he’s being persistent. But there is no way… you thought, now able to feel the cold sweat on your brow. There is no, no way… that he can see into my thoughts. He has no idea that I… that I…
“Ms. (last name), since you are being… peculiarly ignorant of my presence,” you heard Claude say, and you sank lower to the ground, now almost leaning against the tree, the still angel now gripped tightly in your white fingers. “I will inquire you directly: do you fancy me?”
He knew! Your mind raced, your head growing much too full for you to be able to handle. He knew that you liked him, that you lay in bed and dreamt—no, no, perhaps he didn’t know about that yet. But what he did know was that you fancied him, in his own words.
Your face now positively on fire, you stood tentatively, the angel clasped in your grasp. Your hold on her pale, stiff form was wrinkling her elegant, long, flowing white Victorian dress, and your breath came out in short gasps.
“I-I have… I have no idea,” you lied carefully, considering your words, “What you’re talking about.”
Really. Why were you hiding from him?
“It’s no use to try to hide your feelings, Ms. (last name),” smirked Claude in a way that was horribly similar to Alois’s—only more enchanting and seductive. He had made his way around the tree and had now somehow cornered you, towering above you. He was so irrationally, handsomely tall…
“W-What…” Your hands began to shake violently, and you fumbled with the figure of the angel to try to hide this. “I haven’t the slightest idea what you’re talking about,” you repeated again at last, still concealing your thoughts from him, now almost convinced that he could read your mind.
“Hm.” You heard him murmur to himself in the background, and you turned to the tree, staring up at its top, suddenly seeing that it was five feet taller than you and much too high to reach up to in order to place the angel on her perch.
I suppose I’ll have to go and find a chair now, you thought to yourself—when suddenly a pair of hands closed around your waist.
“Wh-What?!” You let out a high-pitched cry that sounded much too female, even for yourself.
“Keep calm, my lady,” said the obviously delicate and firm voice of Claude Faustus as he lifted you up into the air slightly. “You don’t want to go to the trouble of finding a chair, do you? I fear that you’ll lose yourself all too easily in this manor…”
He lifted you higher so that you could stretch your arms out and cautiously place the angel upon the tree’s perch. Gulping as you glanced down, a bit frightened of how high up you were now (as you recall, Claude was irrationally tall), and quickly adjusted the figure so that she stood straight and beautiful, although quite stiff, above the floors of the Trancy manor.
“P-Please.” Your hands lowered and tightened them around Claude’s gloved hands. “L-Let me down now…”
He lowered you down just as carefully as he had raised you up, and you let out a shaky breath as your feet touched the ground. “Th-Thank you,” you breathed, now quite eager to retire to washing the dishes or helping Thompson, Canterbury, and the other fellow out in the garden—anything to be away from the thoughts that plagued you when you stood so near to Claude.
His finger tapped your shoulder. You were jerked out of the idea of how it would be to rush outside and demand that you be allowed to help the triplets, and when he grasped your shoulder and spun you around slowly, you were hardly prepared for what came…
… there was a flash of black and golden, a blur, as he descended upon you. That black suit that matched his beautiful, ivory skin so wonderfully, those golden eyes that almost seemed to flicker to red as you stared, helpless, into their powerful gaze… the onyx bangs that hung over his eyes as he moved forward to kiss you.
Who would’ve known that decorating the Christmas tree would’ve been so wonderfully beautiful?