That Butler, New Face

That Butler, Very Skilled

{London, A Short Distance From the Manor}
*Jingle~! Jingle~!*

A bell rang as Ciel, Sebastian, and Chêne entered a shop. Sebastian had ordered a new walking stick for Ciel yesterday, and Ciel had insisted on coming to pick up it up in person. The shopkeeper was an old man that Chêne thought resembled a balding Santa Claus. Only, the man did not have a beard, just a mustache… no red suit either, just normal menswear. He was wearing spectacles though…Okay, so maybe he didn't look like Santa…
"Welcome, boy." The shopkeeper greeted Ciel. "On an errand for your father?" Ciel twitched and furrowed his brow, clearly affronted by the old man's words. Chêne sighed internally.

'Bad move, old man.' Chêne thought. Sebastian stepped forward, smiling and holding out the receipt.

"Excuse me. I have come to retrieve my Master's walking stick." Sebastian said politely. The shopkeeper took the receipt.

"Aah, yes." The shopkeeper said in recognition as he turned and retrieved the stick. "The owner of this stick… I was wondering who in the world would use a stick as short as this."

Ciel glared at the man. Chêne frowned slightly at the man. She could tell the shopkeeper wasn't trying to be malicious, but to treat a customer like this… The air in the shop was starting to feel heavy. Ciel's foul mood had started to affect his surroundings. Although Chêne had no idea how Ciel managed to do that, she did know one thing. Things would not end well for the shopkeeper if he didn't learn how to read the atmosphere soon. The man continued to speak, totally oblivious.

"I never considered it might be a child–"

*Whoosh!*

The shopkeeper's last sentence was cut short when Sebastian suddenly whipped the walking stick around and thrust it straight between the man's eyes, stopping just half an inch from his face. Sebastian had a serious and disturbingly calm look on his face. The man was blue from shock and trembling, shaking in his boots. Sebastian smiled his infamous shit-eating grin.

"Why, I detect not a single bend. What a magnificent walking stick." Sebastian said tossing a coin purse that was practically overflowing on the counter. "Please keep the change." Chêne sighed and shook her head. Sebastian was such a bully.

=†=†=†=†=

"Really…" Ciel said, strolling down the street with his new walking stick in hand. "Finni's ridiculous strength is nothing but a pain. I had to get a new stick because of it." That's right, the whole reason Ciel had to have a new stick made was because Finni had somehow managed to snap the old one clean in half. Chêne had found Finni holding the broken stick and bawling his eyes out, sobbing about how sorry he was, and she just couldn't bring herself to yell at Finni whenever he had that 'kicked puppy' look… so Chêne had decided to take the blame. Of course, Sebastian immediately knew who the real culprit was since Chêne was far too weak to do such a thing.

"Indeed. You have my deepest apologies, Sir." Sebastian said, smirking and placing a hand over where his heart should have been. They did not know if he actually had one... "Though you failed to grow any taller, you had to go to all this trouble."

Chêne giggled. She just couldn't help it. Besides, what did a twelve-year-old need a pimp cane – I'm sorry – walking stick for in the first place? A vein popped on Ciel's head.

"Hmph! Why are you laughing? You have not grown an inch for the past two years now. You are only two inches taller than me." Ciel reminded Chêne.

"Yeah, but I'm nineteen and a girl, Ciel. Technically, I'm finished with puberty, so I'm not supposed to grow anymore. Didn't I cover the stages of puberty for males and females last week when your science tutor couldn't make it?" Chêne said.

Ciel scowled at her. That had been a particularly awkward lesson for him when Chêne had insisted on teaching about women's menstra – about 'that time of the month.' Ciel shuddered at the memory. He had learned more about the human body in that one afternoon than he had ever hoped to in his entire life, and worst of all, Sebastian had been far too amused by the entire situation.

"Is that not even worse?" Ciel asked, his tone a little more acidic than he had meant after his recollections. "You will be stuck at a measly height of 5'2" for the rest of your life. I, on the other hand, am still capable of growing." Ciel smirked challengingly at Chêne. Chêne just shrugged and smiled.

"At least I never have to worry about being taller than the guy I like. As for why I'm so short, I do have a lot of Irish in me. I could be part leprechaun!" Chêne joked and grinned cheekily.

"There is no such thing." Ciel grumbled. Chêne raised and eyebrow.

"How do you know? After what we've seen…" Chêne glanced at Sebastian out the corner of her eye. Sebastian smirked.

"Chêne also has those dreams from time to time." Sebastian said.

Personally, Sebastian had never met a leprechaun, but he could not resist teasing the young master, and he had occasionally overheard Chêne talking in her sleep when he dusted the library since she had a habit of sometimes falling asleep while reading. In fact, she had been mumbling something about Finni breaking Ciel's 'pimp cane' just an hour before it happened. Sebastian had asked her about the dream after the fact, but she had just tilted her head in confusion. Chêne hardly ever seemed to remember her dreams, a pity really.

"That is merely a coincidence." Ciel said dismissively. Chêne giggled softly at Ciel's stubbornness. To the unknowing eye, the young Earl appeared to be calm and dignified, but Chêne could tell he was really sulking.

"Look Mama! It's the 'Funtom' Bitter Rabbit! And it's a new one!" A child yelled while admiring a toyshop's window display.

"Come along now, I just bought you some sweets didn't I?" The child's mother said. Chêne smiled at the sight.

The Funtom Company, with strong financial support from the wealthy and the petite bourgeoisie alike, and thanks to its bold business expansion practices is Great Britain's leading confection and toy manufacturer. With never-before-seen novel product concepts, it has achieved rapid growth in just under three years. You see its name here and there in Greater London every day. No one would guess that the head of the company is among the children who love its toys. Sebastian glanced at Chêne out the corner of his eye. The girl had been one of Ciel's greatest resources when he was building his toy empire. It turned out Chêne's goal had been to become a 'graphic designer' when she grew up, so she had learned quite a bit on her own about how advertisements worked. Her advice about product and marketing research and how it could impact customer behavior had turned out to be indispensable. Chêne's stories of her world and its various forms of entertainment had been rather helpful whenever there was a creative slump within the company. Though she played no active role in the company since she had simply opted to give Ciel some friendly advice here and there – as a reward for her help, Ciel had given Chêne a small share in the company despite the girl's protests.

"Now then, Young Master." Sebastian said as he opened the carriage door for Ciel. "Let us return to the manor quickly."

"Oh, yeah!" Chêne said excitedly. "I almost forgot! That program we've been looking forward to is going to start soon, Ciel."

=†=†=†=†=

{Meanwhile, Back At The Manor…}

"Aaaaah! I did it agaaain!" Finni cried as he stared at the tree he had broken in half. "And after I got scolded just yesterday for breaking the young master's stick! Mister Sebastian will yell at me agaaain!" Finni trembled as he remembered his scolding.

«« Mini-Flashback ««

Sebastian loomed over Finni, emitting a dark and menacing aura. Sebastian's brows were furrowed in irritation and a vein was pulsing on his head. His eyes were veiled in shadow as he glared down at Finni. You could almost see horns on his head. For some reason, Chêne's attempt to cover for Finni had only served to irritate the butler even more.

"Finni…you have absurd strength… So I am always telling you to be careful, am I not?" Sebastian said coldly.

«« Mini-Flashback End ««

"Waaah! I promised the young master and Miss Chêne that we'd all watch 'The Wild Earl VIII' together today! Waaaaaah! Help me, Earl!" Finni sobbed. He looked like a kicked puppy. "If I'm being scolded, I won't be able to wa – Nn?" Finni paused when he heard what sounded like hoof beats approaching. "C-Could it be!" Finni gasped excitedly, doing an emotional 180°, his eyes sparkling with hope. An image was already forming in the unfortunate gardener's mind of the Wild Earl on his noble steed, gallantly coming to the rescue. "Maybe it's the Wild Ea–" Finni stopped short and paled in shock as he was very suddenly and roughly snatched away by a mysterious figure. "AH! Aaaaaaaaah!" Finni screamed.

=†=†=†=†=

Ciel, Sebastian, and Chêne finally arrived back at the manor.

"We have arrived home, Young Master. I will have tea prepared right away." Sebastian said as he opened the door. Ciel and Chêne froze.

"…" Ciel said, pointing to the inside of his manor. He was blue with shock to the point where he had been momentarily rendered speechless. The idiot hair had curled off the top of his head was sticking up perfectly straight like an antenna. Chêne, although she had not gone blue with shock, was sporting multiple idiot hairs herself.

"S-Sebastian…" Chêne stuttered as she stared straight ahead, stunned. Though their expressions were rather amusing, Sebastian, who had not yet actually looked inside, wondered what could have possibly brought about such a reaction.

"Is something wro–!" Sebastian froze mid-question when he looked to see what the two had been staring at. For a moment he too was shocked when he saw what was wrong. The noble Phantomhive manor had been completely decked out in the most cutesy, frilly, and girly decorations any of them had ever seen. The room was sparkling. It was lovely.

"What on earth… has happened here…?" Sebastian wondered out loud.

"It's like the rainbow threw up in here…" Chêne said, slightly fascinated and overwhelmed by how the sudden explosion of color had transformed the manor.

"My manor…" Ciel said numbly. The poor boy was clearly in shock. He had taken a huge blow, finding his home violated like that.

"Are you alright, Ciel?" Chêne asked.

"My manor…" Ciel repeated numbly. Chêne sweat dropped.

"Mister Sebastiaaaan!" Mei-Rin, Bard, and Finni wailed as they burst into the room and tackled Sebastian. Chêne had managed to maneuver the still stunned Ciel and herself out of their path before they were run over.

"What is going on!" Sebastian asked as they clung to him and sobbed hysterically. "Rather… why are you two dressed like that!?" Bard was wearing a baby bonnet and a bib, and Finni was wearing bunny ears and oversized bunny paws for gloves. Mei-Rin was actually perfectly fine and still in her maid uniform. She had just taken advantage of the confusion to hug Sebastian.

'Can't say I blame her…' Chêne thought, '…wait, what!?' Though that thought worried Chêne since it was clearly a Freudian slip-up, now was not the time for a self-psychoanalysis.

"Ask that crazy girl!" Bard said angrily jabbing his thumb towards the door of the salon.

"Crazy girl…?" Chêne asked, blinking. Sebastian, Ciel, and Chêne peeked into the salon.

"This ribbon looks good on you… but this rose looks so cute on you too! I can't make up my mind! But this one definitely looks best! It's really cuuuute~!" A young girl said to Tanaka. "You look just like Marie Antoinette! " The girl was wearing her blond, curly hair in pigtails, and she was dressed in a cute and frilly orange dress. Her emerald green eyes sparkled in happiness.

"Do I? Hoh! Hoh! Hoh!" Tanaka said good-naturedly. Tanaka… Tanaka was wearing a curly wig that was pulled into an up-do and had wispy tendrils of curly hair loose here and there to frame his face and soften the look. He was wearing a caplet that had a high, lacey collar and bows to tie it shut.

"!? Mister Tana—" Chêne exclaimed before face-faulting onto the floor. She couldn't help it the situation was just so ridiculous.

"Oi, Chêne!" Ciel whispered, trying not to catch the blond girl's attention. Too late, the bubbly girl had turned when she heard the thud.

"Ah! " She said happily lighting up when she saw Ciel.

"Geh!" Ciel paled a bit, and the girl glomped him.

"Ciiiiieeeel~! I missed yooou sooo! " The girl proclaimed as she happily embraced him.

"E-Elizabeth!" Ciel exclaimed nervously. Elizabeth squeezed Ciel tighter and rubbed her cheek against his in a rather aggressive display of affection. Ciel could not even speak. Chêne winced when she heard Ciel's back crack. "Come ooon! I'm always telling you to call me Lizzie! Aaaahn~! You're soooo cuuuute as always! " Lizzie gushed. Sebastian cleared his throat.

"Ahem. Miss Elizabeth…" Sebastian said, taking pity on Ciel for once and distracting Lizzie.

"Oh my! Good day, Sebastian!" Elizabeth greeted Sebastian, releasing Ciel and curtseying.

"It has been quite some time since we last saw you Miss." Sebastian said bowing, perfect manners as always. Chêne knelt down next to Ciel who was panting and wheezing, still trying to recover.

"Just breathe Ciel, breathe." Chêne said rubbing his back gently for emotional support.

"Oh! Chêne is here too!" Ciel quickly shuffled away from Chêne, not wanting to be in Lizzie's line of sight so soon after he had just gotten his breath back.

'Traitor.' Chêne thought wryly.

"Hey, Lizzie!" Chêne said, smiling at the girl. Chêne really did like Lizzie… just in small doses. Lizzie had a tendency to…

"Look, Chêne! I saw this and thought it would look absolutely adorable on you~! " Lizzie said excitedly as she swiftly put a frilly cat-ear-head band on Chêne's head before she could even blink.

They were white, fluffy, and had pink ribbons and bows hanging on the sides of the headband, just under the ears. Yes, that's right… Lizzie had a tendency to force people into cute costumes… Chêne didn't really mind, after all, she was from Louisiana. They dressed up in costumes every year for Mardi Gras… She just didn't like giving Sebastian any ammunition to use against her.

"Sooo cuuute~! I want to pet you!" Lizzie gushed happily.

"Um… Thanks?" Chêne said. 'Why do people like to pet me?' She wondered.

Her old friends used to pet her on the head because her hair was soft, and they claimed she reminded them of a cute and faithful little puppy. She had actually elbowed one of her guy friends in the stomach for it once… he had called her chienne instead of Chêne. It meant female dog. So she decided to turn him into her female dog for the day. Sebastian smirked at Chêne.

"It suits you." Sebastian teased her. He was clearly enjoying himself. Chêne narrowed her eyes at him. As much as she wanted to, it simply wouldn't do to let Lizzie overhear the few choice words she had picked out for Sebastian.

"I've brought a present for you too! " Lizzie told Sebastian as she once again used her secret ninja skills to place a bonnet on Sebastian's head.

"Eh…?" Sebastian said a little stunned. Chêne's eyes widened in surprise. She knew Lizzie could be fast when she wanted to, but to pull one over on Sebastian…

"There we go! " Lizzie said happily, satisfied with her handiwork.

It wasn't just any old bonnet. No, this bonnet put Bard's to shame. It was exceptionally frilly, with lace trim, and adorned with flowers. It was also pink. Ciel and Chêne stared—stunned. Ciel's idiot hair had curled back out again. Sebastian looked sufficiently chagrinned.

"Aaahn, sooo cuuute~!" Lizzie gushed, eyes sparkling. "You're always wearing black, so I thought some color might would be good for you!"

Tanaka was chill as always, but Ciel, Chêne, and the three stooges were shaking, trying to control their laughter. Chêne had doubled over onto the floor. The image of Sebastian, a demon in a pink bonnet, had conjured up the image of an 'LOL Cat' picture she had seen when she was younger. It was an extremely disgruntled looking fluffy black cat that was shooting a death glare at the camera. It had been forced into a pink bonnet and the caption said 'Evil does not wear a fluffy pink bonnet!' Chêne couldn't hold it in anymore. She laughed, but Chêne had already passed the point of LOL and was laughing so hard, no sound came out because she couldn't breathe. The three stooges were not so lucky, they cracked, and Sebastian heard it. He gave them a death glare, his face half cast in shadow, that probably would've killed the 'LOL Cat' photographer right through the camera lense. They were lucky looks couldn't actually kill. Chêne took a deep breath and wiped the tears from her eyes. She noticed Finni, bard, and Mei-Rin were still alive, but barely. They were all on the ground, stacked on top of each other as though they were bloody corpses…Sebastian hadn't moved an inch…okay…maybe looks couldn't kill you, but they could get pretty close…

"I am exceedingly… grateful… for you kindness toward someone such as myself." Sebastian said politely to Lizzie.

"Don't mention it! " Lizzie said happily, oblivious to Sebastian's suffering.

"Ahem." Ciel cleared his throat to got Lizzie's attention, repaying Sebastian for saving him earlier.

Poor Sebastian was in the 'corner of woe' as Chêne liked to call it. He was even attracting ghost lights…While Chêne's initial thoughts had been something along the lines of 'Hah! Serves you right!' Sebastian really did have it much worse than she did…Chêne was at least a girl. She patted Sebastian on the back in a comforting 'there, there' manner.

"By the way, Lizzie… Why are you here? Where is your mother?" Ciel asked. Lizzie hugged Ciel and nuzzled him again.

"I wanted to see you, so I came here without telling her! " Lizzie said.

"Oh, so you're finally going to elope?" Chêne asked, joking.

"What!?" Ciel snapped at Chêne. "What were you thinking…?" Ciel asked Lizzie and sweat dropped.

"…Hey, Sebastian, who's the girl?" Bard asked curiously.

Sebastian, though still wearing it, had fully recovered from the bonnet incident. He had revived after teasing Chêne, and he was currently undermining her dignity as a human being by holding her in place while he petted her. Chêne was doing her best to struggle for her freedom, but was getting nowhere fast. She sighed and hung her head in defeat.

'Damn that man.' Chêne thought. She should've known better by now not to let her defenses down.

"Ah. Lady Elizabeth is the young master's Fiancée." Sebastian said bluntly.

"Fi…!?" Bard, Mei-Rin and Finni gasped. "Fiancéeeeeee!?"

"Yeah, I was shocked too." Chêne said. "But it seems many British aristocrats are betrothed from birth."

"The young master, Earl Phantomhive, is no exception." Sebastian said. "An aristocrat's wife must be of noble birth as well, and Miss Elizabeth is the daughter of a Marquess."

"Your mother must be worried if you came here without informing her." Ciel told Lizzie. He turned to address his butler. "Sebastian, call—"

"Cieeeel~! Come over heeeere~!" Lizzie said, grabbing Ciel and pulling him away from Sebastian and Chêne. "Look, look! I've made the salon cute too!" They had been too distracted by Tanaka's recent fashion statement and Lizzie's appearance to notice before, but… like the previous room…the salon was lovely. There were even stuffed animals in the chandelier. The glare from all the sparkles made Chêne wonder how they could have possibly missed it before.

"My manor, it's…" Ciel said numbly. He looked slightly ill, like he might be going into shock again.

"Oh! I know! Saaay, Ciel? Since the salon is all lovely now, let's have a dance party today!" Lizzie suggested.

"!?" Ciel flinched.

"My fiancé will escort me, and together, we'll dance the night away! Kyaaah~! " Lizzie said dreamily.

"Wha…" Ciel said, twitching. A small vein mark had formed.

"A dance, is it?" Sebastian said.

"Sounds fun." Chêne said.

"Make sure you wear the clothes I chose for you, Ciel!" Lizzie said, clasping Ciel's hands in her own. Ciel sweat dropped.

"Hey…" Ciel tried to say.

"They'll look really cute on yooou!" Lizzie gushed.

"Hey, I never said I'd…" Ciel tried to interrupt her. Lizzie continued on, oblivious to his objections.

"Dancing with Ciel, who'll be wearing an outfit I picked out. It'll be like a dream come true! I have to dress up and look my most stylish toooo~! " Lizzie said dreamily. She was starry eyed, and her aura was positively sparkling. Lizzie had passed the point of no return. Nothing could reach her now that she was in her own little fantasy world.

"Listen when people are talking to you…Hey! Elizabeth!?" Ciel said, reaching out to try and grab the bubbly girl to get her attention.

Sebastian put a hand on his shoulder and shook his head at Ciel. The butler's expression clearly said 'my condolences,but arguing is simply pointless.' Ciel weren't so clearly suffering, Chêne might have found the situation, especially the look on Sebastian's face, funny… no, scratch that, it was still funny. Chêne felt some grab her wrist. She looked and saw Lizzie staring her right in the eyes. It startled Chêne for a moment, not because the direct eye contact, Chêne was used to that because she and Lizzie were the same height. No, what made Chêne nervous was the way Lizzie's eyes sparkled when they met hers.

'Uh-oh… this won't end well for me, will it?' Chêne thought warily.

"Come one Chen, I'll make you even cuter too! There's a tail and a really cuuute dress to go with your ears~!" Lizzie said, grabbing Chêne and whisking the older girl out the room.

"Eh!?" Chêne said startled. "There's more!?"

"Hey!" Ciel shouted after Lizzie multiple vain marks throbbing on his temple. "Listen to meeee!"

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