That Butler, New Face

That Butler, Very Skilled2

{The Study}
Ciel was slumped onto his desk, his head buried in his arms. He was drained from the mental and physical exhaustion Lizzie had already put him through. Sebastian poured him a cup of tea.
"Miss Elizabeth is the daughter of the Middleford Marquesstate, the family into which Lady Frances, the younger sister of the previous head of this family, married. There is nothing to be done. You cannot brusquely turn your fiancée away." Sebastian reminded Ciel. "Their rank in the peerage is higher, not to mention their wealth."
"I did not want to become her fiancé." Ciel said, sitting up and propping his chin upon on arm. "I was forced to."
"Regardless… the best course of action for today would be to simply acquiesce to her fancy and then ask her to leave." Sebastian said. "After all, you have yet to finish playing that game." Sebastian set the tea down in front of Ciel, who picked it up and took a sip.
"Exactly. So just stuff some food in that mouth of hers and send her on her way." Ciel said dismissively. He picked up one of the documents on his desk to read. "I have no time to deal with a little girl's whims."

"But Miss Elizabeth wishes to dance with you…" Sebastian said. Ciel twitched. Sebastian stared at him. "… Young Master." Ciel avoided Sebastian's eyes as he put his cup back down on the table and pretended to read the document.

"What is it?" Ciel asked.

"I have never seen you do so myself… but you do know how to dance, do you not, Sir?" Sebastian said.

"…" Ciel replied as he abruptly spun his chair to face away from Sebastian.

"Haah…I see." Sebastian sighed, slicing Ciel a portion of today's dessert, Orchard Fruitcake with pears, plums, and blackberries. "That would explain why you are such a wallflower even when invited to parties." Ciel, still sitting in his chair with his back to Sebastian sweat dropped and clenched the document in his hands, partially covering his face with it, chagrinned.

"…I am busy with work." Ciel said trying to brush it off. "I haven't the time to waste on such sport…"

Sebastian swung the chair back around again.

"I beg to differ, Young Master. Social dancing is called 'social' for a reason." Sebastian told Ciel as he shoved the desert in front of his face. "It is a necessary skill at balls and banquets. A gentleman of the aristocracy must be able to dance." Sebastian said, looming over Ciel in a very imposing manner, smirking. "For if you were to refuse the daughter of a business acquaintance a dance, Young Master's reputation in social circles would plummet…"

"All right, fine! I'll just have to do it then." Ciel said grudgingly, not wanting to hear anymore on the matter. "Call for a tutor, like Madame Bright or Madame Rodkin."

"We do not have time to enlist one of the madams as your dance instructor." Sebastian said after briefly glancing at his pocket watch. "A pretense of skills is enough for today, so let us have you master the waltz, a basic ballroom dance."

"Who would you have teach me then?" Ciel asked sarcastically, "Any way you look at it, the people of this house are out of the question…Chêne at least knows what the waltz is, but she has told me before that dancing is different where she is from, so I doubt she would know."

"Not to worry, Sir." Sebastian said snapping his pocket watch shut. "Brazen though it may be of me, I shall teach you how to dance." Sebastian said. His shit-eating grin was radiant.

"Don't be ridiculous! I can't dance with a tall fellow like you!" Ciel said indignantly. He bristled, feeling as though he might actually break out in hives at the thought of dancing with another man. "You cannot dance the waltz anyway…" Ciel said. Sebastian held a finger out, silencing Ciel.

"Permit me to teach you the Viennese Waltz, as I have often visited the Schönbrunn Palace in the past." Sebastian said smirking. "Will you not grant me this dance, My Lord?" Sebastian stood and gracefully extended his arm, holding his hand out to Ciel in invitation.

=†=†=†=†=

{In One Of The Many Hallways Throughout The Manor...}

Chêne sighed in relief. Lizzie had finally released her, but not before she had managed to equip Chêne with a matching tail and force her into a super-frilly pastel-pink 'Little-Bo-Peep' style dress that made her look even younger. At least the dress didn't come with a matching shepherd's hook, bonnet, and sheep. Chêne looked like a porcelain doll… except she had cat ears and a tail…

'Guess I'll go see what Ciel and Sebastian are up to.' Chêne decided.

=†=†=†=†=

"Are you ready, Sir? The first step is from the heel." Sebastian said, beginning the dance lesson. "Please hold the lady's back firmly."

Sebastian placed Ciel's hand on the small of his back. Ciel quickly moved his hand higher and away from Sebastian's hip… he already felt awkward enough doing this. Once they were in position, Sebastian continued his instructions.

"When the music plays, begin with your left foot…" Ciel clumsily stepped on Sebastian's foot. "Next is the natural turn." Sebastian said, choosing to ignore Ciel's blunder in hopes that it was a fluke.

The pair wobbled as Ciel blundered through the steps as best he could with the huge height difference and his own inexperience. They almost managed to spin, but Ciel went one way, and Sebastian went the other.

"Slide your foot forward." Sebastian said, just wanting to get it over with as soon as possible.

Ciel's foot slid forward alright, right into Sebastian's shin. Sebastian stopped and stared down at Ciel.

*…...*

Ciel was staring back at the butler looking incredibly awkward, nervous, and embarrassed… basically his expression was what Chêne had once referred to as his 'awkward turtle' face. That ousted Sebastian's theory that Ciel might have been purposefully sabotaging the dance. Sebastian sighed.

"It seems you talent for dancing is non-existent. How very catastrophic. You must be crushed, Young Master." Sebastian said, leaning down slightly and giving Ciel a look of pure pity that only served to infuriate Ciel…although, that was probably Sebastian's intention. "You must not hang from 'the lady' so."

"You're too tall!" Ciel shouted, vein mark throbbing and leaning back in an attempt get away from Sebastian. "Ladies don't come in such monstrous heights!"

The Study's door creaked open, and both of them looked to see Chêne standing in the doorway. Her eyes were widened slightly at the sight of the two of them holding each other. With out meaning to, when Sebastian leaned down, and Ciel leaned back, they were now in a position that made it look like Sebastian and Ciel were about to kiss.

"Oh, excuse me! I didn't mean to interrupt you two lovebirds. I'll just come back later…" Chêne deadpanned, turning back around. The earl and butler gaped at her. Well, Ciel did. Sebastian managed to keep a straight face.

"W-Wait a minute! Just what kind of strange misunderstanding are you having here!?" Ciel yelled indignantly, immediately separating himself from Sebastian. "Sebastian was just teaching me how to dance!" The poor boy was flushed beet red and mortified. Chêne grinned like the Cheshire cat.

"Yeah, I know. I heard the tail end of your conversation. I was just messing with you." Chêne said brightly. Ciel face-palmed. Chêne noticed Sebastian was staring at her rather intensely. "… What?" Chêne asked him, feeling a little wary. Sebastian shook his head.

"Oh, nothing of consequence." Sebastian replied. Chêne raised an eyebrow at the butler as if to say, "You really think I'm going buy that?" Sebastian raised both eyebrows at her and gave Chêne a clearly exaggerated look of sympathy. "Chêne you know that ensemble makes you look even younger, right? Although I must admit, those ears are quite lovely. Perhaps you should consider making that part of your new look permanent?" Sebastian teased her, smirking. His eyes were glowing subtly.

Chêne suddenly felt like a mouse being stalked by a hungry cat… Which was kind of funny considering she looked more feline than he did at the moment… but it wasn't enough to curb her irritation. A vein popped on her forehead.

"Shut up! I don't need your fake sympathy!" Chêne snapped at him. "At least when I'm forty, people will think I'm still in my thirties!" An indecipherable emotion flickered across Sebastian's face for a brief moment, but he smiled his shit-eating grin.

"Yes, I had forgotten. You humans do expire rather quickly, don't you? Although you still look like a child…" Sebastian said cynically.

Form some reason this last remark was colder and had a bit more bite in it than usual. Chêne was slightly confused. It almost sounded like Sebastian was bitter about something. It wasn't like this was the first time she had told him to shut up. He usually just laughed it off and smirked mockingly at her.

"Do you two plan on bickering all day, or is someone going to teach me how to dance?" Ciel asked.

Ciel was tired of being ignored, and he could tell something that Chêne had said to Sebastian had put the demon in a fowl mood. Sebastian had not tried to harm Chêne since Ciel ordered him not to kill her the night the demon was summoned, but Sebastian sometimes found loopholes in his orders. So, Ciel thought it might be best not to let Sebastian focus on how upset he was with Chêne.

"What dance?" Chêne asked curiously. She didn't want to give Sebastian time to plot her death either.

"The Viennese Waltz." Sebastian said. He could tell his earlier demeanor had upset the two humans before him. They were better at picking up on subtleties than most, but he had actually not been plotting Chêne's death. To be perfectly honest, Sebastian was not sure why he had been so agitated at the thought of Chêne growing old. All humans died eventually.

"Oh, that's a nice one." Chêne said, smiling. "I've never actually danced it before, but I've seen it once before on TV when I was stuck home from school with the flu."

"I have neither seen nor practiced the dance before today." Ciel said.

"I see, that might explain why you were having so much trouble. It's always easier to learn something when you have an example to copy." Chêne said.

"Fine. Show me with Sebastian." Ciel said. Chêne sweat dropped. Why did Ciel want her to dance with someone who was upset with her naught but two minutes ago?

"Didn't I just say I've never done it before?" Chêne pointed out.

"That is quite alright. I will be leading, Chêne." Sebastian said taking her by the waist and assuming the proper posture for the dance. "Just follow my lead." He smirked confidently at her.

"You're awfully sure of yourself." Chêne said. "Don't get mad if I step on your toes." She joked.

Ciel frowned and looked away, like he was sulking. Sebastian's shit-eating grin widened slightly. 'Oh, I guess Ciel already did that then…oops.' Chêne thought.

"Listen and observe, Young Master." Sebastian said as he picked up the dance lesson where he had left off. "It is said that said that 'social dancing' begins and ends with the waltz." Sebastian was dancing with Chêne as he spoke. For someone who had only seen it once, she was doing rather well, and Chêne was following Sebastian's lead without any verbal instructions, much to Ciel's chagrin. "You must dance formally and with elegance, like so." Sebastian said as he brought the waltz to an end.

Chêne breathed a small sigh of relief. She had managed to get through the whole thing without messing up once. Sebastian really was a good dancer… not that she would tell him… Her heart had been pounding the whole time, and judging by his smirk, Sebastian knew it too.

'Darn, it I've definitely got a crush on him.' Chêne thought feeling a little concerned for her future. 'He's such a bully too… Wait I'm not a masochist, am I!? No, I don't like being picked on, so I'm safe… I think…as long as he doesn't know how much I care about him. If he ever does find out, he'll probably eat me alive.'

"Now, it is your turn." Sebastian said, snapping Chêne out of her little self-psychoanalysis. He was addressing Ciel. "Ask Chêne for a dance." Ciel furrowed his brow and strode over to Chêne.

"May I have this dance?" Ciel said stiffly. Chêne smiled. Ciel was so cute when he was trying not to be embarrassed.

"Why of course, dear Earl." Chêne said politely curtseying. Ciel took Chêne by the waist and held her hand as they began to dance. Ciel was doing much better now, but he frowned as he tried to concentrate on the steps. He stepped on Chêne's toes once. She winced, but didn't say anything.

"It seems you have significantly improved. In any case…" Sebastian said as he watched the two humans dancing. "You must first do something about your gloomy demeanor. You do not wish to be rude to the lady." Sebastian pinched Ciel's cheek. Ciel was too stunned to protest right away, but that changed when Sebastian pinched his other cheek and began kneading and pulling on them. Chêne had to suppress a laugh at Ciel's expression. It was priceless. He looked like a normal kid getting a scolding for once instead of a cold and dignified earl.

"He's right, Ciel. I know it might be annoying, but please, at least pretend to be having fun. No one wants to dance with a partner who makes them feel unwanted." Chêne said. "I danced with a guy like that before. It's not fun, just awkward." Ciel blinked.

"Wait, you—" Ciel began to speak, but Sebastian pinched his cheeks a tad harder. A vein popped on Ciel's forehead.

"Now, give us a joyful smile!" Sebastian said patronizingly as he grinned. He was clearly enjoying this. Ciel slapped his hand away.

"Let go! I—! I have long since forgotten… how to smile… joyfully." Ciel said as he clasped his hands and gazed upon his family ring in melancholy.

"Ciel…" Chêne said sadly. "Sorry, I shouldn't have pushed you." Her smile faded and she too stared into the alluring blue stone.

"Young Master… Lady Elizabeth is eagerly anticipating your arrival. It would not do to keep her waiting." Sebastian said. This seemed to perk Ciel up a bit. Chêne smiled gratefully at Sebastian for the save. He could be very tactful when he wanted to be.

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