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Xmas Giftfics 2011 Part 2

The next two fills that didn't fit in the first post.

For thesundaywriter

A. Kuroshitsuji
B. Sebastien + Ciel (gen, not pairing)
C. would like it set in modern day London, but using their characters from the original source having survived till now, it'll be interesting to see their take on recent events =D

AN: It wound up being a little bit headspace-heavy, but I hope this was what you were after!



Forming a contract with a demon has had unexpected consequences.


Ciel has reinvented his identity thirteen times now, and been knighted for seven of them, posing as his own great-great-greater grandson.  The exact lineage of his latest assumed identity is utterly irrelevant in a time when nobles have been reduced to little more than celebrities and a long dead arm of culture, kept around mostly because the pain and inconvenience of removing it is more trouble than letting it rot away on its own.

“Young Master,” Sebastian intones, with that ever-present smile that is outwardly servile but a poor veil for well-earned smugness.  “The car has arrived.”

Ciel stares a moment longer in the mirror, and adjusts his eye patch.  Today of all days it is imperative that his dress is impeccable.  It’s hardly difficult – his formal livery in current times is not so different to the clothes he wore on normal business in his childhood.  Today, at least, he need not be concerned about being considered old fashioned.  His greatest worry will be Dukes and Duchesses proclaiming him wonderfully well-behaved and adorable and asking too many questions, and if he’s truly unlucky, being cajoled into dances with their children.

“Let’s go,” he sighs, and Sebastian holds open the doors for him on the way to the car.

The Phantomhive Estate has been rebuilt thrice now, and the driveway is no longer cobblestone but black asphalt, and a satellite dish rests just out of sight behind the mansion.  Instead of a horse-drawn carriage, a black limousine awaits them, engine quietly rumbling as the chauffer – also wearing his best – holds open the door for them.

Ciel climbs in first, followed swiftly by his butler, who has not been issued a formal invitation as such but is attending in the function of a bodyguard.  He cradles said invitation in his hand as the car pulls away – inked in gold, the same card issued to dozens of heads of state and politicians and various members of the greatly extended house of Windsor.

“Woof woof,” Sebastian mocks across from him.  Ciel glares, but tears his gaze away to watch the countryside through tinted windows instead.

One does not turn down a royal invitation, regardless of the risk it poses.

He’s currently supposed to be seventeen, though his body has never wandered far from twelve, and the illusion is only barely kept up through careful choice of clothes and shoes and subtle makeup.  He only has another couple of years before he’ll have to retreat into seclusion again before introducing his successor, Earl Ciel Phantomhive the fourteenth.  Perhaps when that happens, no title shall even be left to be granted.

They hit a gnarl of traffic, but it doesn’t last long – soon the limousine is directed to an exclusive route which in itself is packed but not nearly so badly.  The weather is unusually clear and sunny, and it seems as though all of London is out to enjoy the holiday.

“Do you believe there’s any concern, Young Master?” Sebastian asks.

“Terrorists, you mean?” he asks flatly.  “I doubt it.  But better to be over-prepared.”

Ciel may take the threat of a royal assassination seriously, but he cannot picture a greater terror than the Great London Fires, or the bombing raids in World War II.  Perhaps because his body is still young, his mind is sharp, and the memories have failed to dull as they have for those old enough to have lived through it naturally.

It’s not as though they’re truly there for security anyhow.  He is under no delusions – there are entire governmental departments dedicated to the safety of the crown now, and the supernatural in which the Phantomhives once specialised is a rapidly disappearing commodity in the world.  Demons, occultists, supernatural serial killers… as people stopped believing in them, these shadier aspects of the world have withered into obscurity.  The obsession with the occult that typified much of Victoria’s era has vanished, and the door to the netherworld has been gradually sliding shut ever since.

Ciel Phantomhive is in very real danger of becoming irrelevant.

They pass through another checkpoint, and the traffic thins again.  There are crowds out on all of the sidewalks, spilling out of the bars, and many a head cranes in hopes of seeing into the limousine.  Ciel scoffs to himself.

“Sebastian, pour me a glass,” he orders.  Regardless of anything that happens, they’re in for a long wait.

“Champagne, Young Master?” Sebastian asks.  “I do believe you’re under age.”

Ciel glares, and Sebastian’s lips quirk.  He is, of course, many many times old enough to drink alcohol, even if his current passport disagrees.

In the end, Sebastian pours him half a glass before he has to order his servant to do so.

He sips it slowly as their car joins a line of similarly up-class vehicles.  There’s a white limousine behind them – the flags on the bonnet identify what is probably the Governor-General of Canada.  The Earl and Countess of Ulster, if he’s correct, are in the car in front.  The driver pauses to let another limousine through – they must have requisitioned every limousine in the isles – and Sebastian remarks, “The Queen of Denmark.”

It’s been many, many years since Ciel has had to contend with visiting dignitaries.  He sips the champagne a little faster.

The head of the defence forces will be there as well, and undoubtedly some representation from Scotland Yard and the intelligence services.  He briefly entertains the notion of introducing himself for amusement, but neither service is the poorly-equipped embarrassment it once was.  As an individual, his hundred years of experience makes even the most talented of their spies and detectives mere rookies, but as a collective their powers and the tools at their disposal are immense.  Ciel Phantomhive may have kept abreast of new technologies, but his personal wealth is not enough for spy satellites or advanced surveillance systems or a workforce of hundreds.

Indeed, the Phantomhive Toy Company itself is a niche now - hardly successful enough to pay for itself, much less the lavish lifestyle Ciel once accustomed himself to.  His wealth comes from portfolios and real estate and art and dividends.  Stocks in Crayola, and Nintendo, and Hasbro. 

Well above average, certainly.  Equitable to his status in Victoria’s Era?  Hardly.

Change is something Ciel Phantomhive is used to, though.  Kensington Palace has become Buckingham – the family of Saxe-Coburg-Saafeld replaced by Windsor.  Once more he’s serving under a Queen, and while he’s done little real official work since the conclusion of the Second World War, his loyalty to the crown has not wavered, and he’s found plenty of other ways to keep his mind and skills sharp.  Scotland Yard and MI5 did occasionally outsource to specialists, after all.

At last, the car reaches its turn to deposit them at the entrance.

The roar of conversation when the car door is opened is deafening.

‘The Wedding of the Decade’.  Ciel is one of hundreds of immaculately-dressed guests arriving that morning.  Camera bulbs flash Sebastian’s way – the Paparazzi drawn by his unusual good looks and formal livery, not knowing he’s merely a servant of the child by his side – though more than a few lenses turn his way as well.  Ciel can already read the future headlines, speculating as to whose relative exactly he is to earn a spot in such an exclusive inner circle.

Wearing an eyepatch, unfortunately, makes you memorable.

Sebastian smiles, and moves with swift, economical grace to intercept their glassy gazes, artfully blocking the vast majority of lenses as Ciel makes his way inside.  It’s impossible to complete avoid it, of course, but blurry, half-obscured shots are something he’s learned to live with.  And in any case, there are plenty of celebrities or higher profile nobles to steal their attention away – the flashes quickly turn from them when Sir Elton John rocks up in the next limousine.

In the wedding itself, they’re seated at the very back, behind those considered family.  Ciel is short enough to again escape the gaze of most cameras, sitting between Sebastian and Lady Marina-Charlotte, who smiles somewhat vacantly at him as though struggling to recall where they’ve met before, and smiling more broadly at Sebastian.

Ciel scowls, but quickly schools his expression back into attentiveness, even though he’s far more interested in analysing the people in the room and looking for holes in the security arrangements.

The wedding is painfully long, yet shorter than he expected – especially compared to some of those he’s attended in the past.  Next is the reception, which is the part he’s been dreading the most – at least in the wedding he isn’t expected to talk to people.

Or worse, have people talk to Sebastian instead of him.

Sebastian disappears and reappears with appetisers and a glass of sparkling cider.  “Young Master,” he offers.

No sooner than Ciel has accepted does Lady Marina-Charlotte materialise at Sebastian’s elbow.  “Hello, we were sitting near each other in the church but I don’t think we’ve been introduced.”

Ciel smirks at the briefly pained expression that flashes across Sebastian’s face.  His butler can certainly charm to near-insanity any woman he wishes, but in many ways, he’s struggled more with modern women than Ciel has.  It’s clearly uncomfortable for the demon to be the one being pursued.  Echoes of Grell, perhaps.

Then Lady Amelia steps up to Ciel.  “Hello,” she greets.  “I don’t remember you.  I’m Amelia Windsor.”  She all but bats her eyelashes at him.

Ciel grimaces privately, and now Sebastian is the one smirking at his plight. “Ciel Phantomhive.”

“Oh, the Earl of Phantomhive!” she exclaims, delighted.  “I heard there was a boy in the family about my age, but this is the first time we’ve met!”

The most troublesome thing about his longevity is, perhaps, the awkwardness of being flirted with by girls decades younger than him. 

Not that such a thing ever seems to bother Sebastian, of course.  The pervert.

He eventually extricates himself from Lady Amelia’s grasp, only to be all but bowled over by the Princes, who grin widely, and Ciel is horrified to see recognition in their eyes.  “Ciel!  Still as short as ever, I see,” his highness Prince Harry remarks with a good-natured laugh.  “Hey, Will, come see!  Ciel’s here!  He hasn’t grown a bit!”

“Cursed with a late growth spurt, Ciel?” Prince William greets with a warm smile and a handshake.  “It’s been a long time, good to see you again.  Allow me to introduce you, Kate, this is the young Earl Ciel Phantomhive.”

“Congratulations, your highnesses,” he says, bowing with all the practice of a century of royal protocol – the perfectness of which is lost on all but a select few.  “It was a beautiful ceremony.  I wish you both happiness.”

“No need to be so formal, Ciel,” Prince Harry chides.

“Ciel’s always been terribly traditional,” Prince William confides in his new wife.  “We used to tease him for being the soul of an old man trapped in a boy’s body.”

Ciel blanches in remembrance.

Fortunately, they’re gone quickly, the duty of greeting all 1500 guests allowing them not more than a minute with most.  Lady Marina-Charlotte has all but attached herself to Sebastian’s arm, and Ciel ducks over to a different section of the room before Lady Amelia can spot him again.

To his embarrassment, it takes him a long moment to realise just who he’s currently standing next to.

“Your Majesty,” Ciel breathes, reflexively moving to kneel, but a gentle hand on his shoulder stops him before he can.

“That is not necessary for Us, young Earl,” Queen Elizabeth the Second informs him.  Ciel almost blushes from the embarrassment – he knows, of course, that times have changed, but some habits are easier to modify than others.  “It is Our pleasure to see you again.  We were quite sorry to hear of the passing of your father.”  Her gaze is heavy on him, a stare honed by decades of wisdom and responsibility and change.

In many ways, it feels absurdly like looking into a mirror, though of course Ciel would never be so crass as to compare himself with the monarch.

“Thank you again for your condolences,” he offers, and for all of his experience, does not quite know what to say next.

He’s taken pains with his apparent immortality, yet whenever he holds audience with the Queen, her gaze is uncomfortably thoughtful.  He’s met her many times, of course – his ‘great-grandfather’ had spent some time guarding her as a child during the Second World War; his ‘grandfather’ attended her coronation; his ‘father’ involved in the follow ups and investigations of the assassination attempts during the 1980s.  And even should she accept his uncanny resemblance to his predecessors – predecessors she’s never seen grow old – an eye patch worn through four generations would rouse anyone’s curiosity.

It had been easier, with Edward VII, and George V and VI.  Back then, he’d had little to do with the heirs apparent, until King George had the fine idea that the young Earl Phantomhive would be good company for his children.  Their reigns had been short and largely chaotic, with few opportunities for an audience and certainly not enough time to ponder the similarity to his forbearer or the curious fact that none of them had ever attended a Phantomhive wedding, nor met one older than twenty-five.

Ciel does not belong in this world, and every year it becomes harder to maintain his role.  Records are growing ever harder to falsify, criminals are finding new ways to hide, new ways to operate, and his wealth and resources are growing continually meagre in face of new corporate empires almost as great as the British at the height of its glory.  And today, in the face of this spectacle, he’s reminded acutely of just how thin a line he threads.

“You must visit the Palace again soon,” the Queen implores.  “We have… always… enjoyed your company.  Despite the Royal Watchdog perhaps no longer being so necessary a station.  We have much to talk about, We think.”  There’s the light of mischief in her eyes, and Ciel is simultaneously thrilled and terrified by it.  “Perhaps We can find a new role for you.”

Ciel bows, stiffly, though cannot deny that the prospect of proper duties, of a sympathetic soul who might have at least seen past his apparent age, fills him with rare anticipation.  “I am happy to serve the Crown however it pleases your majesty.”

They are beginning to draw attention – more from Ciel’s regal manners than the Queen’s interest.  She pats him briefly on the arm, in the same manner she had once as a child.  “We will speak properly later, in a more private setting, I think.  Please enjoy the reception, and thank you for coming.”

Ciel bows once more, and the gesture is the most sincere it has been in decades.

The monarchy’s power may be waning.  Every year, keeping his secrets is a growing struggle, and it’s only due to Sebastian’s skill that he’s yet to become an accidental celebrity like so many other nobles.  But for as long as he can, as long as the Crown stands… this is the thread of continuity tethering Ciel Phantomhive to sanity in this ever-changing, alien world.


………………..



For agentlerain

A. Cats the Musical
B. Rum Tum Tugger/Mister Mistoffoles
C. I don't think I actually got anything for this part.

AN: P-chan, I apologise for what horrible thing I might have done here, but… the idea struck me.


He’s Rum Tum Tugger.  He can have any female he wants.  One swing of his feline hips, and they swoon before him.  One twitch of his whisker, and their tails puff.  One negligently licked paw brushing back his ears sends them wild.

Tugger doesn’t want fish thrown at his feet though.  He hungers for the best.  For the unattainable.  The challenge.

What kind of Jellicle cat would he be otherwise? 

And there were none so mysterious, none so unattainable, as the magical Mister Mistoffeles.

Mistoffoles never speaks, never sings – but his purr is smooth and reminds him of fresh cream.  He simply smirks coquettishly, with a beguiling twitch of the whisker, a flick of the ear, and bright, secretive eyes.  His coat is a soft, sparkling black… and utterly untouchable.

The shy black cat has noticed him, certainly, but a coy glance in his direction is his only acknowledgement.  Tugger prowls near, hips swaying.  “Well, if it isn’t the Magical Mister Mistoffoles.”  The black cat watches him approach through half-lidded eyes.  Tugger ambles nearer, curiosity making him bold, but when he’s the mere brush of a hair away, Mistoffoles is whirling across the rooftop once more.  Without a touch, and always, always out of reach.

And so, Tugger gives chase, drunk on the thrill of what he can’t have.

It’s a mystery he can’t leave alone.  A puzzle he can’t let rest.  The solution to all those terribly mixed signals, the untouchability, the aloofness, and yet still, always, the irresistible allure.

If he’s right, it would be the greatest illusion of all.  The masterstroke of a master magician.

Because how exactly does a tomcat produce seven kittens right out of a hat?


Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
fateofshadow
Jan. 7th, 2012 01:12 pm (UTC)
I admit, I only read the first one, because it's the only fandom I know but eeeeeeeeeeee (lacking real words with which to express my squeeage). I didn't pay much attention to the royal wedding, I ignore monarchs for the most part on the general principle that if I actually paid attention to them, I'd never get any peace. That being said, this made me wish I'd watched the royal wedding, instead of just the highlights and I was rather ashamed that I hd to look up a couple of names online.

I loved the whole premise, especially how you illustrated the changing times, that Ciel's company is not doing well and he finds it difficult to keep up with the changing times, nevermind hide in an age when everyone has a camera on their phone- someone's going to be banging on his door looking for the key to immortality soon (and Sebastian will probably kill them). Anyway, loved it~ *Still flailing happily*
sinnatious
Jan. 7th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I had to do a bit of research myself, don't worry. (*didn't watch much of the royal wedding either*)

And you can thank thesundaywriter for the premise, all I did was fill the prompt!
agentlerain
Jan. 7th, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
IN WHICH P-CHAN IS GREATLY INDULGED
♥ sldkfjslfksj, you are brilliant and I love you so so very much. SO MUCH LOVE FOR THIS. I can't believe you ended up writing it and still plausible and sldkfjsk DID YOU END UP WATCHING THE MUSICAL AGAIN? Because the moment where Rum Tum kicks his ball at Mistofolees. ♥ There is so much subtext love and I don't care if I'm the only person who loves this, I LOVE THIS. /incoherent
sinnatious
Jan. 7th, 2012 03:21 pm (UTC)
Re: IN WHICH P-CHAN IS GREATLY INDULGED
♥ I did watch parts of the musical again (Rum Tum Tugger and Magical Mister Mistoffoles, specifically ;)) Ahaha, that was Mistoffoles he kicked the ball at? LOL.

Anyway, if you liked it, I am satisfied. ♥
thesundaywriter
Jan. 7th, 2012 04:56 pm (UTC)
*_* Thank you for writing this and so well! I was wondering what you'd choose to write on since I left that open. I like that you touched on the shift of the influence of nobility and the bit on the 'modernization' of the Phantomhive estate. I can imagine Ciel posing as his own descendants, still keeping with traditions and changing just enough to keep up with the times. If Phantomhive Toy Company didn't work out I can imagine Ciel branching it out into security services lol~ And randomly, I can imagine some small-name reporter puzzling over a story about the boy with the eyepatch who shows up at all the gala events, and why the Phantomhives die young, some sort of hereditary illness?. The bit on Sebastien and the modern woman also made me laugh. I also love the way you wrote Ciel's interactions with the two Princes and the Queen ~

Please excuse my rambling, this is probably the best prompt response I've received *bows at your writing prowess*
sinnatious
Jan. 8th, 2012 10:54 am (UTC)
You're welcome, I'm relieved you liked it! It was such a fascinating prompt that actually I had a hard time deciding which aspects of the modern world to focus on. So thank you for such an interesting prompt!
demon_vampirate
Jan. 9th, 2012 06:39 am (UTC)
And now this comment has sparked a possible story from ME. I'm not sure I should inflict it on the internet, though-- I'll figure that out later.
thesundaywriter
Jan. 9th, 2012 04:58 pm (UTC)
Lol! Well, if you write one I'll definitely read it~ I'm better at thinking of random ideas then writing them.
ratzels
Jan. 8th, 2012 02:37 am (UTC)
Kuroshitsuji was fantastic. I love Sebastian's discomfort with modern women, and Ciel's growing difficulties in hiding his identity. Fantastically done. :)
sinnatious
Jan. 8th, 2012 10:55 am (UTC)
Thanks!
demon_vampirate
Jan. 9th, 2012 06:40 am (UTC)
It's nice to see the great Ciel Phantomhive so very out of his element. I've read too many modern Kuro fics and they've never been so believable. (I've also sort of fallen out of the fandom since then, but that's neither here nor there. This one was refreshing.)

I don't think I have words for the second one. Just lols. Lots and lots of lols.
sinnatious
Jan. 9th, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Thank you! I haven't really been in the fandom for a very long time either, so I'm not sure what the status quo is on highlander-style fics there. Maybe a good thing.

:) I know, right? Cats the Musical. NEVER SAW THAT REQUEST COMING, so of course I had to try it.
demon_vampirate
Jan. 9th, 2012 08:56 pm (UTC)
It's perfect. Like I said, generally Ciel's perfect at adapting to immortality and blah blah blah. He shouldn't be.

It-- it threw me, yeah. But I can't not read that. I might have to share that with my mother, even. It's hysterical :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )