Author: Sybil Rowan
Summary: After Finny and Snake start a romance it's revealed that Finny's life is shortened because of the chemicals he had been exposed to by the scientists. Snake and the others go on a quest to find someone to help cure him. However, the man that could do that is a fugitive and protected by four clockwork cyborgs. This is a companion piece to The Tight Spot and Mellow Candle.
Pairing(s)/Characters: Bard, Mey-rin, and Finny in friendship; Finny/Snake; also, if your familiar with Cyborg 009 there will be Albert/Jet in the background
Warnings: memories of horrible child abuse, some language, not terribly graphic, but can strike a chord, some mentions of sexual abuse against Finny from my fic, The Tight Spot.
Author's Notes: I recommend reading "The Tight Spot" and "Mellow Candle" first, but I'm going to try to make this a standalone piece. I just love Finny, Bard, and Mey-rin... that trio is way too fun! This is a blend of the anime and manga. Also, BE FOREWARNED, I'm using characters from Cyborg 009; it's not a cross-over really, though. I've written Cyborg 009 for years, so I'm comfortable with them. I'm using my "Young Offenders" story version of these characters in this story, so they're a bit more testy with each other. This story named after a New Order song.
Disclaimer: Black Butler is owned by Yana Tobosu. Cyborg 009 characters are owned by Shotaro Ishinomori's estate.
Beta Reader: WingedPanther73, of course.
Date: August 8, 2014- 9:28pm
Word Count: on going
Paradise, part one
Will T. Spears looked up from his desk and scowled when Grell's shadow fell across his paperwork. He looked up and repressed a sigh. Grell was flashing Will one of those sly smiles he never trusted. The redhead said in his most lecherous tone, "So, you wanted to see me, Will?"
Will pushed his glasses to the bridge of his nose and said, "Yes. It would seem you've been hanging around someone that is persona-non-grata among grim reapers."
"Aww," Grell pouted, "You aren't referring to that delicious Sebby, are you?"
"No," Will said blandly, covering how pissed off he really was at the demon butler over that whole Noah's Ark Circus fiasco. He never wanted to look at that smug demon's face again. He wished Sebastian would hurry up and consume his contracted person, already, and pack off for Hades.
Sebastian Michaelis always seemed to interfere in grim reaper affairs, and he was a major distraction to Grell. Demons weren't known to keep a contract going this long. He shook his head and got back to the subject of their meeting. Will said, "No. I'm talking about Adrian Crevan."
"Name doesn't ring a bell." Grell batted his eyes. "Is he tall, dark haired, and built?"
"He goes by a different name, or rather, title. He's known as the Undertaker now."
Will had known Grell a long time. He noticed the slightest drop to Grell's smile; the redhead was making an effort to not show his hand. Grell waved his hand in the air. "Oh, him? He's just someone I used to know."
"Really?" Will picked up his investigation book, flipped to Grell's massive section, and said, "You've visited him every weekend for the past two months."
"Will, are you spying on me?" Grell accused with an angry pout.
"That is my job. Now, stop playing around. You know him don't you?"
Grell sighed and admitted, "He's a friend."
"And you are aware he is a grim reaper?"
"I have my suspicions," Grell admitted weakly. Will gave him a sharp, accusing glare. Grell then burst out, "Okay, okay! I saw his eyes a few weeks ago. He doesn't wear his glasses all the time and has bushy bangs, so I didn't figure it out at first. He gets around blind, mostly."
"So did he tell you he retired abruptly, leaving some souls in need of reaping?"
Grell's face fell. Now he looked surprised. Maybe Grell would be honest. "No, he didn't tell me that. I haven't even seen his book or scythe."
"If you had seen his book, you'd see four, pink bookmarks. He halted the reaping on those people. They were due to die four decades ago. That's when he left our service. Recently, a new name appeared in his book."
"Wait? I thought death reaper's books no longer accepted names if they left the service." Then Grell got thoughtful. After all, Grell had graduated at the top of their class; he was no dummy. "That is, unless the man who is due to be reaped has a cinematic record deeply tied with the four the Undertaker halted. That means the man appeared in the Undertaker's book because his life was too involved with the other four. He's obligated to reap that soul, even if he's retired."
"Yes. Since you've been fraternizing with Crevan, you need to go urge him to finish reaping all five souls left in his book, so his book can be halted, or you need to claim his book and scythe and reap the five yourself."
Grell crossed his arms with a slight frown. "I'll go talk with him, but I don't think he'll listen."
"You have your assignment," Will said firmly. Grell swirled and gave a wave over his shoulder before walking out of Will's office.
"Oh wow! This is going to be so great!" Finny said, after he finished stabilizing the evergreen in the main hall of Phantomhive manner. He turned to Snake and said, "This is my third Christmas. I love them! The trees, the music, the food, it's all so good."
Finny noticed Snake's face took on a slight frown. He grew concerned, because Snake seemed to get more withdrawn. Finny asked, "Didn't you have Christmas at the circus? I mean... I didn't have Christmas either, until I came here, so it's okay if you didn't either."
Snake said, "Well, we would gather on Christmas Eve and have a nice meal. Kelvin would gather us together on Christmas morning and give us very expensive gifts. That was usually it."
Finny never really heard Snake talk about Lord Kelvin too much, but when he did it was always in dower tones. "Oh? So did you keep anything? You only came here with a trunk of costumes and a few books."
"No. I always threw out what he gave me the moment his eyes left me. I never wanted to have any ties to him. I only brought with me the things that meant something to me."
Finny repressed the wave of pity he felt towards his lover and smiled. "Well, this Christmas will be wonderful." Finny then grew bashful. "I got something for you. I really hope you like it."
Snake's face fell and he said, "I've got to go!"
"What? I didn't know you had a job."
"There is something I have to do! Now!" Snake snapped suddenly and bolted from the room, looking ashen. Finny cocked his head to one side in bafflement. He finally shrugged and started decorating the Christmas tree.
Ivan looked around at his other four companions in the horse drawn carriage. He refrained from reading their minds. They were all in their own states of agitation. They had barely fled Germany without being captured, again.
It was Albert that gave Ivan a steely look. The man was older and had guided them with extreme wisdom through some harrowing times. Ivan didn't miss the weary slump to his shoulders, though.
"We're not ready, yet, to face the Black Ghost. But one day, we will destroy them," Ivan announced, knowing he was mimicking Albert's dark thoughts without his telepathy. After all, how many decades had they all been traveling together? Ivan had lost track and couldn't care anymore.
"I'm ready to face them! I'm not coward," Jet snarled, raising his head from where it had rested against Albert's shoulder. "It's time to get rid of them!"
"We were beat last time because of your recklessness! After all this time, I thought you'd learn!" Francoise snapped, her hands were clenched and she looked moments away from tears.
Jet glared and her and leaned over into her face. "Listen, you little fool, you can't blame me for all that! I kept my cover!"
"You idiot! You're one to talk you pig-headed..."
"Silence!" Albert ordered the two antagonists. "I refuse to sit through another of your fights. After all these decades, it's as if neither of you aged a bit." True indeed, their appearances were the same. Albert was left at thirty and Ivan at fourteen. Francoise and Jet's lives were halted in their late teenage years, not quite hitting twenty.
"You should take my side," Jet protested. Ivan knew this was Jet trying to use his unfair advantage of being Albert's lover over Francoise.
However, as usual, Albert glared at him and said, "When you're in the wrong, I won't support you."
"Where are we anyway?" Jet snapped and started sulking.
"We're almost to Cambridge," the oldest appearing man among them spoke up. Ivan looked over to his side as Doctor Gilmore set aside his newspaper. He wasn't a clockwork cyborg like them, so he was somewhere in his sixties now. Maybe even seventies? Ivan couldn't keep track of the Doctor's age, either.
Ivan found his mind was changing, now. His sense of time and space were leaving. He perceived those things in a different way. He hadn't shared this with his companions yet, but he would have to soon. It was starting to affect his abilities. Who knew what that butcher, his own father, had done to his brain decades ago. Not even Gilmore was able to figure it all out.
Gilmore said, "I'm hoping to find a place to rest. A friend of mine, Dressler, is lecturing at the university there. We'll take shelter and figure out where we want to go."
"I have a suggestion," Jet said with a sly smile.
Albert and Francoise both glared at him and shouted, "No!" in unison.
Jet lost his temper, now, and started bellowing about going back to New York, his home city. Albert and Francoise were having none of it for very good reasons. Ivan tuned them out and stretched his senses beyond the carriage. It was such tranquil and picturesque snowy landscape.
This wasn't what he craved. He craved getting back to his war against the Black Ghost. He wouldn't let anyone get in the way of that. He would destroy anything that got in the way of that goal. After all, his parents had removed his ability to feel pity so long ago.
"So what should I do?" Snake asked Bard and Mey-rin in desperation.
"I don't know," the American chef said, as he stirred a bowl of eggs. "I give him a sock filled with candy and tin soldiers and he seems to like that, but you can't just give him something like that."
"I always give him a new scarf or socks I knitted. I make sure the color brings out his nice eyes. Yes, I do," she answered. "I bet you don't knit, do you?"
Snake shook his head. "I wouldn't have a clue, Longfellow says."
"Aggghhhhh!" Bard shouted and jumped on a chair, looking around for the offending snake. "Where is it?"
"He," Snake corrected and reached down, lofting the black snake. "So what do you think?" Snake cocked his head to one side and got an impression in his head from Longfellow. "Thank you, Longfellow. That's perfect! And Miss Nina is at Midford right now."
"Aggghhhhh!" Mey-rin shouted, jumped on a chair, and covered her breasts with her arms at the mention of the perverted seamstress. Snake bolted from the room, went to the one trunk he had left the circus with, and took out a special cloak from one of his costumes: it was made of crimson silk.
"Oh please, Miss Nina. Please help him," Lizzy pleaded on Snake's behalf. "He's such a nice person, and he protected Ciel and me on a horrid cruise. Please."
"Okay, I'll do it," the seamstress capitulated. "But it's for you, Lady Elizabeth."
Snake handed over his red, silk cloak; and she examined it. Nina's eyes popped open in shock and she whistled. Nina said, "This is a high quality fabric and such a well made garment. Are you sure?"
"Yes. I don't need it any longer, and I want the boy I love to smile."
Nina smirked. "Okay. I'll do it."
"Yay!" Lizzy shouted, grabbed Snake's wrists, and started skipping around with him through the Midford mansion. He put up with her, since she was his advocate in getting the perfect present for Finny.
Snake looked at what Miss Nina had created, and it took his breath away. It was a scarlet poppy made of silk fabric. The peddles had tangerine spinel beading as if they were dew drops. It rested on a stiff wire wrapped in green silk. It's amber stamen featured a two carrot, umber topaz stone in some glossy fabric Nina had in reserve.
"These stones. They're real, aren't they?" Snake asked not expecting the extra embellishments.
Lizzy nodded and smiled. "Most certainly! Don't worry about them. I wanted Finnian to have something very nice since he's always a good servant of Ciel's. I hope this is a good gift and he really likes it."
Snake started getting a sinking feeling. "How much do I owe you, Lady Elizabeth, Miss Nina?"
"If you give me the left over fabric from your cloak, we'll call it even," Nina said with a chipper expression.
"Don't worry about the gems at all. They were taken out of an old ring of Grandmother Milford's and were going to be sold. Don't worry about it at all."
"Of course! Please have the cloak. I'm not going back to the circus," Snake said very happy. "And thank you so much for the gems, Lady Elizabeth. I'm in your debt."
"It does look beautiful!" Lizzy gushed as she examined the fabric poppy in Snake's hand. "I hope Ciel gives me something as wonderful."
"I'm sure he will," Snake said.
"Oh! Ciel's birthday is in just a few days, so we need to plan, Miss Nina!" Lizzy said.
Snake felt that was his queue to leave. "I have to get back now." With that, he left Midford Manor very satisfied.
To be continued.