That Butler, New Face

That Butler, Omnipotent

{In One Of The Many Hallways of The Phantomhive Manor...}

"Aaaw, brother." Bard sighed as he stared at an electrical wire that had been chewed up. "They got us. I guess they have it bad for cable pasta. Those damned mice." Bard griped as he rummaged around, trying to fix the damage.

The chef had removed a panel from the ceiling and was perched atop a ladder, wearing a hard hat with a light on it, just like a construction worker, He also had extra cables looped over his arm in case he needed it. Finni and Mei-Rin stood next to the ladder and stared up at the chef as they watched him work. They had somehow managed to get through their other chores without causing too much mayhem today, but now they had nothing else to do. The lights had flickered in the study, so Sebastian sent them to check on the electrical wiring while he took care of a few last minute things. Chêne had wanted to go with them since as she was certain something interesting or fun would happen, but Sebastian had made her watch the dessert he had loaded into oven to make sure it did not burn. Since Chêne had an attention span the size of a gnat, it was like sentencing the poor girl to Chinese water torture. Not only would she be incredibly bored, but she had to stay in the room where she would be tempted by the mouthwatering aroma of whatever Sebastian had decided to serve the young master—and she would not even be able to taste it! Well, back to the shenanigans of the three stooges.

"It's them again, is it?" Mei-Rin asked worriedly.

"We've got lots of them this year, don't we?" Finni asked, equally concerned.

Rats were not only annoying little pests, but they could also be carriers for certain diseases. They had been the ones that spread the black plague by bringing their infected fleas into the homes of humans, and although there was no danger of that now, they could not help but be concerned for the health of their young master. Chêne got sick easily too, but she always seemed to get better faster than was normal for the average human.

"I fixed it." Bard said as he climbed down the ladder. "I heard there's an epidemic of these things in London. They're just popping up all over the place… but I didn't think they'd bother coming here, to the city's outskirts. Business will go bust if we keep having power outages so often." Bard said, annoyed, as he scratched the back of his neck.

"Business?" Mei-Rin asked, confused.

What business? Didn't they work in a Manor house? A mouse scooted across the floor behind Bard's back.

"AH!" Finni yelled in surprise. "Mouse spotted!!"

Finni grabbed a nearby bust mounted on a pedestal, and heaved it at the tiny rodent.

* WHAAM! *

"BUH! HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!"" Bard yelled as he and Mei-Rin managed to dodge at the last second. They were both blue with shock from their little brush with danger. The impact from the sculpture had resulted in a dust cloud from the disintegrated marble bust that had once been attached to the pedestal.

"Squeeeek!" The mouse cried frantically as it escaped.

"Ah!" Finni said as he watched it scurry out of sight. "Oops, it got away! Tee-hee!" Finni had a silly expression on his face, sticking his tongue out at himself, and rubbing the back of his neck.

"Hoh! Hoh! Hoh!" Tanaka laughed softly in the background as he came upon the scene of destruction.

"'Tee-hee'…ain't gonna cut it!" Bard shouted, a vein popping on his forehead. Poor Mei-Rin was still a little blue with shock. "You tryin' to kill me too!? You idiot!" Bard stood up and brushed himself off. "Anyway, it's no use going at 'em directly! We have to use what we got up here!" Bard said tapping his noggin. Although he was the Phantomhive family chef, bard liked to think of himself as a brilliant strategist.

"Up here…?" Finni and Mei-Rin asked as they and Tanaka pointed to their own heads.

"We gotta really use our heads and read the enemy's movements!" Bard explained to the other three servants. They gulped, adding to the dramatic tension. "A direct assault isn't the only way to fight battles. That's right! What we need's a diversion! So here's my plan!" Bard said as he dramatically slammed a huge soup pot down in front of him. "Because there's so many of 'em now, I figure they're short on food." Bard said darkly, his eyes gleaming. "There ain't nothing as tough as starving on the battle field." (The Phantomhive manor was not a battlefield though…) "So we'll use this!" Bard said as he removed the lid from the pot to reveal a mysterious stew that had a few bones sticking out of it. It was going *glub-glub* as the thick and questionable liquid's surface bubbled, despite the fact that the pot of slop had already cooled. It looked and smelled like Chicken-pot-die. "Better known as 'Chef Bard's Home-cooking, Mice Full Speed Ahead' plan!"

"Oohhhh!" The others said in awe.

"Well! Can't expect anything less from a pro!" Bard said, enjoying the attention.

"Kaay! Then I'll… Have at it with the 'Showdown of the Archenemies, Tom and Jerry' grand plan!" Finni said excitedly as he held up a cat he had just pulled out of nowhere.

"I-I won't lose to you! Here we have the 'Once I Catch You, I Won't Let You Go, Mice Hoihoi!' grand plan!" Mei-Rin said as she swept her arm dramatically, revealing an entire section of the hallway floor that had somehow been carpeted with mousetraps.

"Hoh! Hoh! Hoh!" Tanaka said as he held up a butterfly net.

"Yaaay! All right! Then… Let the battle begin!" They cheered as they pumped their fists in the air excitedly.


{The Billiards room}

A stern-faced, bespectacled old man eyed the doors of the dim room that led to the hallway. A loud commotion could be heard taking place on the other side of them.

"How terribly noisy." The old man said. Two billiard balls clinked as they collided with each other on the table. "It would appear there are mice here as well." The man's words were weighted with a double meaning as he looked at the other occupants of the room that had arranged themselves in various positions around the billiards table.

They were in the middle of a game of nine-ball. Closest to the table were two men. One of the men was leaning over the table, taking aim for his next shot. He was dressed in a pinstripe suit and had dark hair, piercings, and a scar across his face. The other man, standing on the opposite side of the table, was a china man. His eyes were closed, and he had an air of the mystery of the orient about him. He was wearing traditional Chinese clothing, a tangzhuang. Leaning against the wall near the table, was Chlaus and a mysterious woman dressed in red. A few feet away from them, on the same side of the table as the man with a scar on his face, was a rather portly man lounging in a chair and enjoying a sandwich.

"How long are you planning to let the vermin roam free? All they do is forage for food and spread plagues." The rotund man said.

"'Let them roam free?' Is he not purposefully 'leaving them at large?'" The oriental man said. The woman in red smirked.

"Quite right. He always aims for the nine ball." The woman said. "Will you be passing again… Earl Phantomhive?" Ciel smirked at the woman from where he was lounging casually in his chair.

"Pass. I do not believe in shooting useless balls." Ciel said calmly. The scarred man took another shot and the balls clinked together as they collided, but he did not manage to sink any of them.

"Enough of your pompous talk." The stern old man said. "When will you carry out your extermination of the mice?"

"Right away." Ciel said. His cue stick made a tapping sound as he set it on the ground, holding it up vertically as he leaned forward in his chair. "I have already had Chlaus secure the necessities. The billiard balls clinked again as the oriental man took his turn at the table. "It will be rather a spot of bother as to find their nest and eradicate them. I hope you are prepared to pay me a tidy sum?" Ciel said patronizingly.

Ciel's eyes had a slightly predatory look to them as he smirked. The old man was sweating slightly, a little unnerved and agitated by the boy.

"…You vulture…!" The old man growled.

Ciel narrowed his eyes slightly and glared intensely at the man, his face cast partially in shadow. Those present in the room could swear the temperature of the room dropped a few degrees.

"Have you the right to insult our coats of arms?" Ciel asked darkly. "You who have spent a fortune on bloodhounds that cannot kill even a single mouse." The old man furrowed his brow and grit his teeth. What the young Earl said was true, he had no comeback.

"Too bad, that. A foul." The china man said. He sighed. "My, billiards is difficult."

"It is the Earl's turn. Will you take your shot?" The scarred man asked smirking.

"I suppose it is about time I ended this silly game." Ciel said standing up and walking towards the table. "Well?" Ciel asked as he passed the old man. "When will you have my compensation ready?"

"…B-By this evening." The man said, not pleased with the situation, but resigned to do what he had to.

"Very well." Ciel said as he leaned over the pool table to take his shot. "I shall have a carriage pick you up later, and I shall be waiting with high tea at the ready for you, Sir." Ciel said condescendingly.

The old man grit his teeth, seething. High tea was, traditionally, an early evening meal for the lower classes, not something normally served to the guest of a noble. Ciel positioned his cue stick so that it was aimed at a path that would allow him to win the game.

"Three balls left, and you're aiming for the nine ball?" the rotund man in the chair asked.

"Of course." Ciel smirked.

"Let's see the skill of this game prodigy for ourselves!" the rotund man laughed. Chlaus smirked, knowing full well what Ciel was capable of.

"Greed shall prove to be your downfall... Ciel!" The stern old man said.

"Ha!" Ciel laughed as he struck the cue ball with his stick. The balls slammed together, knocking each other into the corner pockets. "Greed, hmm…?" Ciel mused as the all-important nine ball rolled into the pocket.

* Clink! Thud! *


≈Dream Mode≈
Chêne was wandering through the halls of the manor. Everything was dark and hazy. It felt surreal. She was searching for something… She wasn't sure what it was, but she knew she had to find it. What ever it was— it was important to her. She could smell the faint aroma of apples and cinnamon, like an apple pie, floating in the background. She saw a door and pushed it open. It was the Study, and it was empty. The windows had been thrown open, and the curtains fluttered as the wind blew. Papers and various documents that Ciel had just finished organizing last night were scattered about the room. Strange. Although it was true that finding the Study in such disarray was unusual, Chêne could not explain the feeling of fear dread that suddenly overtook her at the sight of the room.

"They took him!" Chêne heard herself cry. Wait, who did 'they' take? Why would she say something like that?
The scene shifted before her eyes, and Chêne now found herself in an unfamiliar room. In the middle of the room, was a dark-haired man. He had a scar across his face, and piercings in one of his eyebrow and both his ears. His hair was slicked back, and he was wearing a pinstriped suit. The man was holding a gun to Ciel's head. Ciel was bruised and bleeding slightly. He had clearly been beaten. Chêne gasped in surprise.

'Please don't let this be one of those dreams!' Chêne thought. 'Don't let this one come true!'

Sebastian entered the room. Chêne knew she should feel relived, but that feeling of dread just wouldn't leave her. Sebastian and the man were talking to each other now, but there words were muffled, like something was preventing Chêne from hearing their conversation. Sebastian pulled something out of his coat and held it out to the man. It was the 'game' Chlaus had brought with him to give to Ciel when he visited. A bang was heard as a bullet went straight through Sebastian's head, and he was riddled with a shower of bullets. The man laughed.

≈End Dream Mode≈

Sebastian had completed his tasks and was now in the process of making his way to the kitchen so he could check on the dessert he had Chêne watching for him while it was baking. He entered the kitchen to find a sleeping Chêne. The girl was resting her head on the kitchen counter she had seated herself in front of, a few inches away from the timer for the oven. She looked so peaceful; it was almost a shame to wake her. Almost. As Sebastian reached out to shake her shoulder, Chêne's eyes suddenly snapped open, wild with panic. It was quite startling. Chêne jumped back from Sebastian like she had seen a ghost. She was breathing quick, shallow breaths, as though she were having a panic attack. Sebastian was puzzled. He had wanted to startle her since he found her reactions amusing, but this was not what he had in mind…

"…Chêne?" Sebastian said softly, so as not to startle the girl more. Chêne froze, and she slowly brought her eye up to meet his. For a moment she just stared at Sebastian as though she could not believe it was him. There was a desperate hope in her eyes as she suddenly flung herself at the demon butler.

"Oh thank God! You're alright!" Chêne cried in relief as she hugged Sebastian. Sebastian blinked. He was slightly stunned. Chêne had never thrown herself at him before, and it was the first time he heard anyone thank God for saving a demon. "That dream felt so real! I thought you'd really been shot!"

'I see… so it was a nightmare.' Sebastian thought. 'I wonder if it could be one of those dreams, one of Chêne's visions…'

Chêne was still clinging to him, like he was her lifeline, and sobbing uncontrollably. Sebastian frowned slightly. While he did not really mind the close contact, it would not do to stand there all day. It would throw off the entire schedule, and the pie would be ready to come out of the oven in another not long from now. Besides, seeing Chêne like this — a girl who had not even cried like this after being branded and whipped — unnerved him slightly. He was not sure why he felt that way, but the carefree and childish smile or the petulant pout she normally sported when he was teasing her definitely suited her much better. So, he wrapped his arms around her, embracing her, and smirked.

"My, my if you wanted me to embrace you so badly, all you had to do was ask. I am deeply touched, Chêne. I never knew you cared." Sebastian seductively whispered in her ear. The implied innuendo was not lost on Chêne, and it had the desired effect on her. She was no longer crying. Instead, Chêne was gaping at him incredulously; like she could not believe those words just came out of his mouth, and she was flushed cherry red from head to toe.

"W-What!?" Chêne shrieked and instantly shot two feet away from Sebastian. Sebastian smirked at her and chuckled.

'Much better.' Sebastian thought smugly. "Well, with the way you were clinging to me just now… was I wrong?" Sebastian asked a little too innocently as he gave her a blinding shit-eating grin. Chêne looked like a deer caught in the headlights. She felt like one too.

"N—Yes!" Chêne stuttered indignantly. She was blushing so hard now that she was practically glowing. "Ugh! I don't even know why I was upset you got shot anymore! You pervert!" Chêne huffed angrily. Sebastian was clearly enjoying her embarrassment.

"Yes you were saying something to that effect when you were clinging to me earlier." Sebastian said, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. Chêne scowled at him. "What else happened in your dream to cause you so much distress?"

"Are you worried about me?" Chêne asked, a little surprised.

"Merely curious." Sebastian replied. Chêne sighed. She did not know what other answer she should have expected.

"I don't remember all of it… but here goes." Chêne said as she launched into a description of her dream.


{Back With The Others…}

"… What are you doing?" Sebastian asked wearily, clearly appalled at the scene of chaos before him.

He had left to check on the others' progress after hearing Chêne's dream, only to be greeted with this… Mei-Rin was running around and flailing her arms after accidentally falling victim to one of her own traps. Finni was dressed in a cat suit… being attacked and chased by real cats… Bard was spilling some kind of hazardous waste on the floors. They were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off and crying. Tanaka was merrily skipping about here and there, chasing the mice with a net. He should have known that morning's lack of mishaps was too good to be true.

"Whaddaya mean, what!? We're catching mice, of course!" Bard shouted indignantly.

"I… see… is… that right…" Sebastian said, already feeling a migraine coming on.

"Sebastian!" Ciel called out from behind the butler.

"Young Master." Sebastian said in acknowledgement.

"Send a carriage over to Lord Randall's mansion tonight." Ciel ordered.

"A carriage, Sir?" Sebastian asked for clarification.

"We will be hosting a party this evening." Ciel said.

"Very good, Sir." Sebastian said, smirking. "Once I have made arrangements for the carriage, I shall bring your afternoon tea to your room." Behind him, the three stooges were still making a commotion over the mice. "For today's afternoon tea, I have prepared a deep-dish pie of apples and raisins. Chêne is currently keeping an eye on it, and I will bring it fresh from the oven, so please wait a little while."

"All right. Bring Chêne with you when you come. The prototype for a new Funtom product arrived the other day, and I want her to test it out as well." Ciel said and left to work in his Study.

Although Chêne was nineteen, she was just as playful as a child, and she would often test the products as well. Since Chêne was so creative, she would come up with different ways the toy could be used that were not necessarily recommended in the instructions, and therefore helped to determine what warning labels or disclaimers they should add. If the quality was high enough to survive Chêne's abuse, then it got Ciel's seal of approval. Sebastian stared after his master as the chaos behind him continued. He really would rather not have to deal with all that nonsense.

"… Right." Sebastian said, deciding he should face the mess behind him and not delay himself any longer. He swiftly dived across the floor, snatching up all of the mice as he went. Mei-Rin, Finni, and bard just stood there, stunned as Sebastian gracefully stood with the mice in hand. "Now then. Please stop playing about and get back to work. We are expecting a guest tonight." Sebastian said as he tossed the mice out the window. He noticed Tanaka had caught a few mice in his net himself.

"Yesh, Shiiiir…" The three servants said dejectedly, sniffling.


{With Ciel…}

"…Haah…" Ciel sighed as he shut the Study door behind him and made his way to his desk. "Why are our servants so carefr—!?" Ciel was cut off when someone grabbed him from behind and covered his mouth with a rag. It smelled strange, like it had been soaked with chloroform. Ciel struggled with all his might, but the chloroform was taking effect. He was growing dizzy, and as his vision darkened, he fell unconscious. Ciel went limp in the arms of his abductor.


{With Sebastian And Chêne…}

Sebastian and Chêne were currently making their way to the Study so they could serve Ciel his afternoon tea and take a look at Funtom's latest prototype. Chêne was still slightly on edge about her dream, but decided there was no point in worrying over it.

"I hope Ciel is willing to share that pie with me." Chêne said, repressing the instinct to drool as she took in the mouthwatering aroma of apples and cinnamon. '… Wait… why do I feel like this has happened before…?' Chêne wondered.

"I suppose you will simply have to ask him yourself." Sebastian said as they stopped in front of the Study's door. Sebastian knocked on the door gracefully. Chêne wondered how the man could make everything seem like a high-art form. "Young Master, I have brought you your afternoon tea." Their only answer was silence.

"Something's wrong." Chêne said nervously. Ciel never turned down sweets. Sebastian opened the door.

"Young Master?" Sebastian called again, furrowing his brow slightly.

"!" Sebastian and Chêne started when they saw the room. The scene before them was exactly the same as in Chêne's dream.

"Oh no…!" Chêne gasped, horrified. 'If only I had said something sooner…'

"This is—" Sebastian said. "… Oh dear… How could this be…"

"This is terrible! Ciel's been kidnapped!" Chêne said at the same time Sebastian said,

"And after all that, this tea is going to go to waste…" Sebastian looked a little too calm for a butler whose master had just been forcibly removed from his own home. Chêne face-faulted and gaped at Sebastian.

"That's what you're worried about!?" Chêne yelled, exasperated.

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