That Butler, New Face

That Butler, Skilled2

Chêne sighed in defeat once they had entered the hall.

"So, what's on our to-do list?" Chêne asked.

"First," Sebastian said, "is to pick and polish the tableware for today's menu – from the glasses to the large plates. The silverware must shine like a mirror, and I will bring out a spotless new tablecloth. I shall prune the young master's favorite sterling silver roses, removing the dying flowers, weed the approach, and then trim and even out the lawn so that it resembles smooth velvet. Dinner is a vital point of hospitality, so we shall only use the best ingredients. The beef is, of course, something to be fussed over, but the rice, vegetables, salt, and pepper are equally important. I need to go to the market and pick it out directly."

'This is Phantomhive hospitality.' Chêne thought in amazement. Although three years had passed since Ciel took her in as a maid, being from your average 21st century middle-class American family, Chêne just never could get used to all the pomp and circumstance of Victorian Era England.

"Um, I'll go get the food, if you want. That way you can focus on the harder chores, and it'll save us time." Chêne suggested. Sebastian checked his silver pocket watch.

"Yes, I will leave it to you then, but remember, only the choicest of ingredients shall be used. Do not let your ingrained practicality as part the working class sacrifice quality for price. The amount of money I am giving you is the calculated price of how much what I want will cost after tax." Sebastian said. "So, use every penny and hurry back."

=†=†=†=†=

{Several Scenes of Sebastian Making Chores Look Like Art And One Trip To The Market Later…}

"Sebastian!" Chêne called as she entered the kitchen and began unloading the groceries. She knew he would hear her thanks to his extremely sharp hearing. "I'm back!"

"You have good timing." Sebastian said from right behind her. Chêne jumped in surprise and nearly fell over. She clutched her chest, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart.

"How many times do I have to tell you?" Chêne asked darkly. "Do not do that!" She gave the butler a death-glare. "You're seriously gonna give me a heart attack one of these days!" She put her hands on her hips and stomped her foot. Not very mature for a nineteen-year-old girl, but it made Chêne feel better. Sebastian just smirked at her. "Whatever, this is what you wanted right? Now, don't be mad, but they didn't have any high-quality pieces of that particular cut of beef you asked for, so I got the other cut of beef that the recipe recommended at an extra high quality to make up for it. The price was different, so I have a little change left over." Chêne said as she held out the coins.

Sebastian took the change, but paused for a moment when he saw the amount.

"…What?" Chêne asked.

"I really should send you to the market more often. This beef is not only a much higher quality, but it is usually far too expensive for you to still have this much change left over. They gave you an extra discount." Sebastian said as he pocketed the change until he had time to return it to the safe later.

He washed his hands in the sink. Finding out the manor house – as well most public buildings – had indoor plumbing and flushable toilets had surprised Chêne at first, since they were not supposed to have been so common in Victorian Era yet. Not that she was complaining – Who in their right mind would rather have to empty 'chamber pots' by hand. When she had mentioned this to Ciel, worried she had somehow screwed up the timeline, he told her they had been there since he was small, well smaller. She soon discovered many things that should not have been invented until much later were scattered through out Victorian England. Sebastian had come up with a theory that instead of simply traveling back through time, Chêne had come from a parallel universe. It explained a lot about the subtle differences really, but it was so much like a bad Sci-Fi made-for-TV movie that Chêne just couldn't bring herself to take it seriously.

"Chêne." Sebastian said, snapping his fingers in front of her face. Chêne jumped slightly. Oops, she hadn't meant to zone out like that, but…hold on a minute….

"Did you just snap at me?" Chêne asked incredulously.

"I wanted to get your attention. If you do not like it then pay attention when you are being spoken to." Sebastian said coolly. Chêne sighed. Okay, he had her there. She shouldn't have zoned out in the first place.

"Sorry, what were you saying?" Chêne said.

"I asked what you did to receive such a discount." Sebastian told her. Chêne crossed her arms and tilted her head in thought.

"Well…I didn't do anything in particular…I went to the same merchant you always go to whenever I tag along, since I already know him. I just talked to him for a bit and smiled." Chêne said, shrugging.

"Hmm, I do the same." Sebastian said thoughtfully. "The merchant must fancy you." Chêne snorted.

"Yeah right! I seriously doubt that since most people think I'm fourteen thanks to my baby face and short height of 5'2"." Chêne said, irritated. Sebastian had probably said it just to get a rise out of her since he knew she was sensitive about her baby face. "It's probably because my smile is genuine, not calculated." Chêne huffed.

"Yes, I suppose you are right…" Sebastian said. Chêne stared at him.

'What? He never lets me off this easy?' Chêne thought confused.

"I see, you resemble a small animal so much, people cannot help but want to feed and pet you." Sebastian said smiling. Chêne scowled at him.

"Whatever, I'm going to check on Ciel, let me know if you need anything." Chêne called over her shoulder as she left the kitchen before she did something Sebastian would make her regret.

Sebastian smirked at her retreating form. For some reason, Chêne's reactions never ceased to amuse him. He had indeed commented on Chêne's appearance just to get a rise out of her. Chêne had a healthy dose of self-confidence, so she was actually very happy with her own appearance, but she still did not enjoy being teased about it. Chêne was actually rather attractive. Her petite figure was proportioned very nicely overall, but the first things most people noticed when they saw her, were her height and face, so they assumed she had to be younger.

=†=†=†=†=

*Riiing~! Ring~Ring~! * the bell labeled Study was ringing.

"My, my…the Young Master knows how busy I am…I wonder what he could want. Perhaps Chêne put him up to this for revenge." Sebastian mused as he cleaned his hands and left the kitchen, pulling on his coat as he went.

Three heads peeked around the corner and watched as Sebastian left. Finni, Mei-Rin, and Bard all had a scheming gleam in their eyes. Tanaka was just behind them in his chibi form. Bard grinned.

"Seeing how Sebastian's all fired up…There's no doubt about it!" Bard said confidently. "We got a guest comin' today!"

"N-Not a doubt in the world at all!" Mei-Rin said excitedly.

"Yay~! We'll get to have a feast! Leftovers!" Finni cheered.

"You fool! That's not the point." Bard said poking Finni in the forehead.

"Eh?" Finni said confused. "It isn't?"

"No, This is our chance!" Bard explained. "We're gonna get a step ahead of that Sebastian and surprise him! It's an opportunity for us to professionals to show off our skills. Am I right?"

"Ah! I see!" Finni said. "Okay! I'll make the garden beautiful, like nothing our guest has ever seen before!"

"A-And I'll polish the tea set for our guest to such an shine that it will look like new, yes!" Mei-Rin said.

"Then, I, the great Bard will cook a main course so awesome, our guest's jaw'll hit the floor!" Bard declared.

"Alright, Mission start! We're gonna do our best!" They all cheered and pumped their fists in the air.

=†=†=†=†=

{Meanwhile, In Ciel's Study, Sebastian…}

"What is it, Young Master?" Sebastian asked. Chêne was indeed in the Study with Ciel, and they were playing one of the Funtom Company's new board games to test it.

"I'm hungry. I want something sweet, like a parfait." Ciel said.

"Ciel, I already told you, you'll spoil your appetite." Chêne said. "If you have to eat at least make it something healthy, like an apple." She rolled the dice so she could make the next move. "Darn, 'enchanted by the eyes of the dead.' Now I've lost a turn." Chêne pouted.

"Just make something." Ciel said, rolling the dice.

"No. I agree with Chêne. If you eat any sweets now, you will be unable to finish your dinner this evening." Sebastian said. Ciel moved his game piece six places, and rolled again since Chêne had to sit her turn out.

"Just make something." Ciel insisted again. He moved his piece to the final space that said 'Happy Ending.' Ciel had just won the game. He smirked triumphantly at Chêne.

"No." Sebastian said firmly.

=†=†=†=†=

"…So?" Sebastian asked in an eerily calm tone. "What did you do…to cause all of this?" As always the butler was wearing a shit-eating grin on his face, but the murderous intent that was rolling off of him in waves betrayed his true feelings.

'I think there might actually be a murder tonight…' Chêne thought sweat-dropping. The three stooges had done it again.

The Phantomhive manor now resembled a minor warzone. The garden was completely dead and reduced to an empty lot. The good china…actually the whole china cabinet and all of its contents were in pieces. And last, but not least, the expensive, high-quality beef Chêne had gone through so much trouble to get was charred black beyond recognition. Mei-Rin's glasses were cracked, and Bard…Chêne snickered…Bard had an afro. The unfortunate trio was huddled together and cowering in fear. Tanaka was peacefully sipping his tea.

"I was going to spray herbicide after I finished weeding, but the lid was open!" Finni wailed, tears streaming down his face. "The yard got weeded too!"

"I-I was just going to take the guest tea set out, but I stumbled and fell on the cart… It slammed into the china cabinet!" Mei-Rin explained. Chêne thought that actually sounded like fun…except for the whole demolishing the china part.

"Well, seeee? There was raw meat just lyin' there, so I thought I'd cook it… with my flame thrower…" Bard mumbled.

Chêne sweat dropped. Yep, something interesting always happened when a guest came.

"I see." Sebastian said, holding up a hand to silence them. "The fault is mine for leaving everything to finish all at once. Just calm down."

The three of them, mostly Finni and Mei-Rin, continued to apologize profusely in hopes that they would be spared from Sebastian's wrath. Sebastian was obviously ignoring them. Sebastian held his chin and cradled his elboe with his other hand. He had already made what Chêne recognized as his 'I'm thinking and/or plotting something' pose. He was clearly trying to find some way to still salvage the situation. Chêne sighed. A garden without a hint of greenery, a shattered tea set, a charred main course…Mister Chlaus would be arriving here a little past six. There was not enough time left to obtain more high-quality meat or a new tea set.

'We're totally screwed.' Chêne thought. It was hard to think with the others still begging for forgiveness in the background.

"You should all follow Mister Tanaka's example and act a little more like adul–!" Sebastian began to scold them, but when he glanced at Tanaka, his eyes widened slightly in a 'Eureka!' expression. Chêne followed his gaze wondering what he saw that was so amazing.

'That's it!' Chêne thought excitedly when her eyes landed on Tanaka's Japanese tea cup. The old man looked confused by all the sudden attention. 'Why didn't I think of it before?' Chêne wondered mentally face-palming. She was such a manga nerd back home, and she had been so fascinated by Japanese culture that she had learned as much as could about it. Sebastian clapped to get everyone's attention.

"Silence, everyone." Sebastian ordered. "Listen closely to my instructions and carry them out immediately and exactly to the letter, understood?" Sebastian took Tanaka's cup and held it up for the others to see. "We shall make do with this."

=†=†=†=†=

"Hey Sebastian, is this really gonna be okay?" Bard asked as he watched Sebastian trim away the layers of charcoal until beautiful red beef could be seen again. Chêne was sitting on a stool and drawing the design plan for the garden like Sebastian told her to.

"Yes." Sebastian replied.

"Mister Sebastian!" Mei-Rin called out as she ran down the hall carrying several boxes stacked on top of each other.

"Careful, Mei-Rin, you'll trip." Chêne warned her.

Too late. Mei-Rin tripped and the boxes containing their salvation flew out of her hands and into the air. Chêne gasped. It seemed like everything was happening in slow motion as she watched, horrified, as the boxes containing Tanaka's tea set fell. Sebastian practically flew out of the kitchen and caught not only every single box of china, but Mei-Rin as well. Chêne sighed in relief.

'Really, why do I even bother worrying at all?' Chêne wondered.

"Mei-Rin…I have told you countless times not to run in the manor." Sebastian scolded her while balancing the majority of the boxes in one hand and another on his foot. Mei-Rin blushed tomato red.

"I-I-I-I-I'm sorry. My glasses are broken, and I can't see very well." Mei-Rin stuttered nervously.

'So why were you running?' Chêne thought feeling slightly exasperated with her fellow maid.

Sebastian smoothly kicked the box on his foot up into air and caught it on top of the stack of the other boxes like he was David Beckham.

"But the star of the show is safe." Sebastian said, satisfied.

"Mister Sebastian!" Finni called out as he ran to rejoin them after his trip to the garden shop.

'What is it with all the running today?' Chêne wondered.

"I got the pebbles and other things Chêne asked for, just like you said." Finni said happily as he held up a bag of Iris bulbs. Sebastian smirked slightly.

"Oh, is that so? Good work. Now Then, I shall see to it that everything is taken care of." Sebastian said. "Please leave the rest to me, and you all take a break. Make sure you do not – I repeat DO NOT – touch a thing." Sebastian smiled his shit-eating grin once again."

'He said it twice.' They all thought. Since they had been dismissed, the other servants decided to leave Sebastian alone for now.

"Well, I'll just stay out of your way then." Chêne said as she handed Sebastian the design for the garden and turn to leave. Sebastian grabbed her by the back of her collar… this seemed to be turning into a habit for him.

"Where do you think you're going?" Sebastian said and raised an eyebrow at her. "You are the only one who is even remotely useful around here."

'Darn.' Chêne thought. She had been hoping to have a rematch with Ciel before their guest came.

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