Nō aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu
Mornings in England are cold, I observe as I watch the curtains flutter daintily in the breeze from my place at the dressing table. In the mirror, a girl stares back at me. She has red lips, pale ivory skin, and black hair that spill over her shoulders to drape across her back like a curtain of glossy spilled ink. A pair of honey coloured eyes adorn her heart-shaped face, their unusual amber shade accentuated by the forest green robe that clings to her thin shoulders.
I close her eyes as a pair of soft gloved hands fixes a jeweled hairpiece to the top of her head, a shadow of black obscuring my vision.
"Ojou-san." A rich velvet voice ripples next to me.
I turn to the beautiful face that stands between me and the mirror. He is undeniably handsome, with long lashes and striking ruby eyes. His hair, dark like my own, falls into neat fringes that cup the sides of his thin face.
He smiles, noticing my attention. Wounding a long strand of midnight locks around his slender fingers as if they were strands of silk, Sebastian Michaelis—the ever perfect butler—kisses the tips of my hair.
"You look beautiful, ojou-san." His charming voice resonates against me. "The young master will be pleased."
I stare at the fan that rests idly on the dressing table—a gift from the Earl Phantomhive. The wind outside grows stronger, and branches sway unforgivingly in the chill. Not wanting to delay, I give the butler my hand. Grasping it, he helps me stand. The train of my layered kimono falls into a pool of white at my feet.
We walk together in silence. For the moment, I am content with listening to the rhythmic clicking of his shoes against the flooring.
"Ojou-san, please wait here." He turns to me with a smile as we stop outside the study.
I nod, watching this gorgeous man carefully as he disrupts the humming conversation on the other side of those mahogany doors. Chairs are pushed back in anticipation and remarks of excitement buzz audibly within. I resist the urge to sigh. European men make themselves so visible and plain this way.
"Lady Kawakimi Sadayakko." Sebastian-san formally introduces me with his impeccable mannerisms.
I give the three businessmen a small bow. "It is an occasion, okyaku-san." I say as I lift a sleeve to shield the lower half of my face. Their eyes light up at the sound of my native language, hungrily devouring the sight that I present.
Beside me, the Earl smirks noticeably. Extending his hand, he leads me to a large armchair at the other side of the room while Sebastian-san serves us tea.
Lifting the exquisite china to his lips, Ciel Phantomhive turns to me. "Sadayakko, it is rude to hide your face from guests."
The Japanese sounds a little stiff as it rolls off his British tongue. I raise my head to look into his cerulean eye—a deep, mesmerizing ocean of blue, and comply. "Hai, danna-sama."
Several audible gasps are heard as I drop my sleeve. Sebastian-san's reflection smiles darkly in my tea, and the Earl's smirk only grows wider.
Footsteps echo behind me in the vast manor. I do not quicken my pace. Soon, a rough hand touches my shoulder and spins me toward a wall. My back slams against the hard surface audibly, causing a ringing sensation to run along my spine.
"Got you." A voice that I recognize as belonging to the short Welsh man gloats triumphantly.
His large hands grip my chin and tilt my face upwards. His jawline is square and powerful. He smells salty, of tobacco leaves and the sea. Taking advantage of my silence, he runs his fingers along my cheek and I catch a glimpse of the sinister undertone behind his words.
"You are just as beautiful as the rumors say." He murmurs, pressing himself to me. "Why Her Majesty decided to award you to a brat like him is beyond me." A knife presses itself to my throat. "Come quietly now, my petite Japanese doll. If we bide our time right, I could have some fun with you while John and Walter finishes up that nosy little Chihuahua and his swallow-tail coat-!"
I watch impassively at the fear that flickers through his eyes as realization dawned. Constricted by red ribbons that flew from my sleeves, the male's weapon of choice now rests centimeters from his jugular—poised and sharp.
"Mr. Moore," my childish voice whispers against the darkness, "it is impolite to talk rudely of a host in his own home."
Disbelief radiates from his glare as he struggles against my hold. Mercilessly, I tighten the ribbon's hold around his throat until he is reduced to ugly gurgles for air. A few moments later, I feel a ringed hand on the small of my back. The smell of Earl Grey invades my senses and I relax into the embrace of a dark blue suit, understanding the implicit order to release the male of his confines.
"You have some nerve, Moore." The unmistakable voice of Ciel Phantomhive slices through the awful silence that had gathered around us. "Did you honestly believe that I would not have known where you had spent the money that was intended for new investments in Austria and Germany?" The little lord snickered to himself. "I tolerated your disgusting habits of drug and women thus far because your bank was strong enough to pierce the new markets and generate momentum." A cold smile emerges on the count's face as the older man's face turned a shade of ghastly white at the revelation of his own treachery. "Now you have come to bite the hand that feeds you. Strangely befitting, don't you think?"
I turn to face the man, who now stutters incomprehensibly. He looked like a deer caught in headlights, sweaty and dazed. Danna-sama's cool fingers brush against the red marks that the Welshman had made on the sides of my face. His eyes narrow in displeasure but his voice is even as he continues to speak. "It is unfortunate, Mr. Moore, but I have no patience to continue our game past today." He looks to me briefly before averting his gaze, and his smile only grows colder. "Besides, it is time you learned that children have an extreme dislike for those who dare to touch what belongs to them. Sebastian."
"My lord." a velvet voice responds without missing a beat.
The candles are put out, and a pair of crimson eyes emerges from the blackness. Danna-sama presses me against his shoulder, and I close my eyes against his steady heartbeat before succumbing to a welcomed darkness.