Title: Morning After

Author: Sybil Rowan

Summary: Snake mistakes Finny's friendliness towards a New Year's guest for something else and ends up not remembering much the next morning thanks to lots of wine. Just a cute, simple one-shot.

Pairing(s)/Characters: Finny/Snake

Rating: T

Warnings: Slash/Yaoi romance

Author's Notes: I used the character Klaus from the volume one manga, the first chapter "That Butler, Skilled." I loved page 19 or 20 when the guy, Klaus, puts that fedora on Finny's head; it makes him look even cuter than normal. In my story Klaus making another guest appearance soon after Snake is employed. I used the traditional spelling of his name rather than what they have in the manga, but I maintained that he is Italian. And yes, I do keep Bard as an American like the manga. Imagining how Snake would talk when drunk was so much fun. I had a blast brainstorming it with my husband.

Disclaimer: Black Butler is owned by Yana Tobosu.

Beta Reader: WingedPanther73, of course, says Oscar!

Date: December 28, 2015- 3:01pm

Word Count:

Snake had assisted with his first party, New Year's Eve, at the Phantomhive household. It had gone horribly wrong, and he was despairing of the morning after getting any better. Judging by last night, he was glad he had been out delivering gifts during Master Ciel's Christmas party.

Could the end of the party have been wonderful? Maybe...? He just couldn't remember all the details about the end of the evening's New Year's Eve party. Something wasn't right about it. Something bad had happened. In particular... with... Finny...?

Tears...?! An argument in the servants' quarters...? None of the fuzzy pieces of his jumbled memories made any sense. Maybe it wasn't such a wonderful ending to the party after all, considering he was now distinctly remembering Finny's tears.

The morning after the party was hard; his head was pounding. Typically, parties weren't the time when servants were allowed to drink, but it flowed so freely last night. It was New Year's Eve, the last real celebration of winter holidays. The only other holiday recognition was Twelfth Night on January 5th, but that was taking down all the decorations and an official end to festivities.

There were too many bottles of New Year's wine that had needed disposing of after Master Ciel's guests were all tucked away in their guests' rooms. After all, once wine hit the air, it started turning into vinegar, so something had to be done with them.

Bard was pressing some hot concoction in a mug on Snake while he barked questions about Finny.

"Finny, asks Wilde?" Snake whispered to keep his head from pounding harder from his hangover.

"Yeah, where is Finny?" Bard bellowed, to Snake's disgruntlement. Snake shook his head in bafflement and regretted the almost vomit-inducing motion. The American Chef snapped, "Well, he better not still be crying!"

"He was crying because of something Signore Klaus said to him!" Snake insisted bitterly. Then there was the hint of a doubt. "Wasn't he crying because of that man, asks Keats?" Snake asked meeker, dreading the reason for those tears from the young, sweet gardener.

Obviously, judging from Bard's tone, and Mey-rin's glares earlier this morning, Snake was really the reason for Finny's tears last night and not one of Master Ciel's guest. He and Finny had always gotten along so well since he had arrived and started working as Master Ciel's footman. He tried puzzling out what had happened, but nothing came to his hazy memories.

"Yeah. You don't remember, I guess. You were pretty plastered when I found you passed out on Finny's bed," Bard said with a chilly bite to his tone.

Finny's bed?! How did that happen?! Snake admitted with a sinking stomach, "No, I don't remember, Wordsworth admits."

"Well... it all started with Signore Klaus and went downhill from there." Bard then let out a low whistle and puffed on his cigarette. "Boy, you have a jealous streak a mile wide."

"Me? Jealous? Over what, Oscar asks?"

Bard gave him a "tsking" sound and an incredulous expression. "Finny... of course."

That answer sent a chill through Snake. Why did Bard sound so matter-of-fact? It was as if the man knew something Snake hadn't figured out. Snake left the kitchen fighting hard to remember and determined to find Finny so he could get to the truth.

Snake hadn't understood the explanation about the fedora. Nor the trench coat or carpetbags from the Italian man that Finny seemed so concerned over. Currently, Finny was running around the near empty ball room with Signore Klaus's fedora on his head, arms extended like he was flying and a joyous laughter.

Snake had found himself irritated a great deal when one of Master Ciel's guests had arrived and Finny seemed to have a special "shine" for the man. Finny took the man's items and gave a gushing promise to care over the man's needs this weekend. The man would raise a finger during the New Year's party and Finny would be by his side with more drinks or extra pipe tobacco. The man would say some joke in that Italian accent and Finny would chuckle; the gardener's cheeks would grow a delightful shade of pink.

Snake found himself despising that Italian man, Signore Klaus. He seemed too shady; the man reminded Snake too much of Lord Kelvin. Snake had no idea why Finny would faun so foolishly over that man! He watched Master Ciel and Signore Klaus retire to a private study to discuss business as the party was winding down. Snake had been very busy guiding guests to their rooms and helping them with any needs unpacking their luggage.

Finny had been very busy with other guests when Signore Klaus was ensconced with Master Ciel in the study. Bard was busy with buffet clean up, and Mey-rin... well, she was running around providing sheets, soap, and nightcaps. Of course, everything took twice as long as Snake expected, thanks to the other three servants hired before him and their penchant for creating disasters. Fortunately, Sebastian was there making sure every guest didn't see the behind-the-scene antics Snake had witnessed.

When the party was over and all the guests were tucked in for the night, Sebastian had given Snake a large bottle of wine. It had barely been touched; the dark butler had said Snake should do away with it as he saw fit. It was the end of the servants' duties, and all the guests had turned in, after all, why not have a glass? Snake had to admit he was irritated, because Finny had disappeared. He had hoped the gardener would show up soon so they could share a glass.

Snake sat in the now empty, clean, and dark ballroom and sipped on the wine. It didn't take long for it to go to his head; he never really drank, only when Dagger had badgered him some or to be social with Beast. Thinking of Dagger lead to him getting wistful over his adoptive siblings. That only led to him feeling morose. If only Joker hadn't sent their adoptive siblings out that night to assassinate Master Ciel. If only Joker had known that the Phantomhive servants were special.

Through the darkened ballroom, he could see out onto the expansive balcony; the French doors and wide windows didn't hide what was going on. It was a full moon, so the night was well-lit and beautiful. A light, snowy layer on the ground helped the reflection. The heat pits in Snake's cheeks flared bright, showing two warm mammals in the cold atmosphere. He narrowed his eyes and could see Signore Klaus and Finny walking across the balcony, talking.

He craved to know the words they were trading. Snake took another huge sip of wine and stood on wobbly feet. He was lighter headed than he anticipated. In spite of that, he snuck over to the French doors that lead to the balcony and pressed his right finger tips to a pane of glass, keeping himself behind by the drawn curtains. He touched his jaw with his left finger tips and absorbed the vibrations of the conversation going on in the night air. It was one of his unique, reptilian advantages, listening though his jaw.

"I'm sorry I can give you nothing," Klaus sounded sorrowful, as if he pitied Finny for something.

"You did your best," Finny said in a disappointed tone Snake had never heard from the younger teen before. Indeed, Snake peeked out into the moonlit balcony. Finny's expression was very melancholy as he handed back the man's fedora. The gardener was normally so joyful and full of life. What about this Italian man had taken it out of Finny? Snake felt an anger in the pit of stomach that this man would bring Finny into despair.

"I'm sorry, but there just isn't anything else I can do." Signore Klaus placed his large hand on Finny's slight shoulder and gave it a gentle pat. "This is the end of our arrangement."

"Thank you for trying," Finny said in a choked up voice before bolting and running across the balcony. Snake didn't mistake those tears of Finny's for melting snow flakes on his cheeks.

Snake stalked over to scoop up the bottle of wine and marched towards the servants' quarters.

"Finny, let me in, Emily insists," Snake's voice was right outside of the servants' quarters. It jarred Finny from his tears. He had been lying, belly down, on his bed and indulging his grief alone, since Bard was busy with Tanaka, a board game, and wine.

He buried his face deep in his pillow and mumbled, "Please go away, Snake. I'm very tired." Normally he'd be thrilled to spend time with Snake, but he didn't want to burden the older teen with his bad news. He wouldn't even know how to explain his past, anyway, that involved his bad news.

Finny started crying again and was startled when he felt Emily nuzzle his head. He sniffled and gave her a pat on the head. He didn't figure Snake would be so persistent as to send one of his friends under the door. He got up and opened the door before he had any more scaly invaders.

He was shocked to see Snake sway a little and steady himself against the door frame. He suspected something was wrong with Snake, because his eyes were bouncing back and forth, too. He quickly dragged Snake in and locked the door back when he saw the almost empty bottle of wine clutched in his scaly, pale hand.

"Have you been drinking?" Finny steadied the older, taller boy. Snake started slumping again, so Finny lifted him. The gardener walked him back to his own bed, since it was closest.

Finny shivered when he felt hot breath on the back of his neck. Snake slurred, "S-012? Waz dat, Emmie wantz ta know... Maybe Keats, too?"

Finny felt a cold, sinking worry in his stomach at the letter and number. He sat Snake on the bed and took the bottle of wine, in spite of Snake's strong grip. He had to push Snake back from the bottle and onto the bed. "No more! You'll get in trouble with Sebastian."

"But Black said I could haaazzzz... someone sayzzz." Snake gave a gentle hiccup, but didn't sit up from his sprawl across Finny's bed.

"I'm sure he didn't intend for you to get drunk," Finny said in a frantic whisper. Snake was a friend, such a great friend. They were about the same age, and Snake always seemed content to let Finny chat and include him in games, walks, and meals. He would hate it if Snake were dismissed for something like drinking too much, even on a New Year's Eve.

"I'm sure he didn't mean for me to get drunk, too. It's just you didn't join me and I noticed you were busy, sayzzz Emi-worth."

Finny wondered if Snake had gotten a new reptile friend or something because he never heard of Emi-worth, but his musings were interrupted when he was tugged onto his bed beside Snake. He stifled a surprised yelp and looked down at Snake's hands now holding his. His heart thudded; he couldn't look away from those glowing, amber eyes. So hypnotic...

"I saw you talking to Signatories Krausen Von Someone... or other... sayzzzzz Words-ily! He's no good for you! He's only using you like most older men. I don't want to see you end up like Joker was with Lord Kelvin! Please listen to him rejecting you, and let him leave you alone. Wilde pleads."

"Snake, everything is fine between me and and Signore Klaus. He's been very nice and given me..."

"I don't care what he's given you! He's just taking advantage of you! Sayzzz … someone in my head."

At first Finny was so confused, then it dawned on him what Snake was getting at, thanks to a conversation he had, had with Sebastian several months ago right before Snake had been hired. Finny gasped and shook his head vigorously. "You think Signore Klaus wants to... kiss me and stuff?" Finny asked shyly, feeling awkward talking about such things.

"I suspect the Signatories Krausen Von Someone Or Other wants more than that," Snake frowned and hiccuped. "You don't haszzz to put up with that man, insist Emmy!"

Finny shook his head again as Snake embraced him tightly. "No! My arrangement with Signore Klaus was business."

"That's worse! Bad boys do that sort of thing. Boys like Joker went around with older men for money. That's not a nice thing and you shouldn't do that! You're too sweet for that and you'll get hurt!"

Finny was baffled again and then he realized that Snake thought he was doing something way naughty that he had heard about on a trip to London once. Snake thought that Finny was exchanging kisses, and other intimacies, for money. He was stunned Snake would think such a thing and a little hurt over it, but he remembered Snake came from a different world than him. That, and Snake did care about his welfare. Snake cared about him! Oh no, he had to set Snake right on what was going on!

"No! He was trying to help me find out if I have any parents. He's been looking for two years now, since I came to work for the earl, but he couldn't find any trace of them. You see..." Finny quelled his nervousness as Snake started nuzzling his neck. Now his feelings were entirely different and he craved more this. "... I was taken away before I can remember what... hun?... Snake?" Finny realized Snake's affectionate overtures had tapered off and now the older boy was passed out. "Oh Snake," Finny murmured in pity as he put his head against Snake's chest. It was a tight fit on his bed with Snake, but he didn't mind at all. It felt so good to feel another's affection touch.

Finny sighed and smiled. It was so endearing to him how Snake cared about his well-being. The older boy was so protective. Finny had never had anyone watch after his well-being until he came to work for the Phantomhive household. He cherished that a great deal, since he couldn't remember what having a family was like.

He knew Bardroy and Mey-rin cared about him as older siblings, and he felt like he had a place here. And Finny would owe the earl his eternal gratitude for saving his life. Snake was just so new to Finny's awareness, and he wanted to spend more and more time enjoying getting closer to him in this new, mysterious way. He just didn't understand why Snake was so mad over him trying to get information from Signore Klaus.

He heard Bard's heavy, steady boot steps coming towards the servants' quarters. Finny was aware that Bard would ask all sorts of questions. He quickly untangled himself from Snake's arms and stood from his bed.

Bard unlocked the door with his key and walked in. He looked over at Finny, then Snake, then Finny, and then Snake. "What the hell is that kid doing here?"

"He was asking after Signore Klaus and he fell asleep in the middle of what I was telling him."

"Yeah, he had his eye on you and Signore Klaus all night. Is he drunk?" Bard asked giving Snake a closer look. "Hey, your eyes look puffy! Have you been crying?"

Finny just couldn't lie to Bard since the man was so observant. He wanted to avoid that topic so he said, "I think he had something to drink."

Bard lofted the mostly done bottle of wine where Finny had set it on the bedside table. "I'd say more than something. That kid has got to be three sheets to the wind."

"Please don't tell on him. He was very nice and was just checking on me."

Bard's eyes narrowed. "Yeah... checking in, alright." Bard went over and hoisted Snake over his shoulder before Finny could protest. He said, "I'm taking him to his own room. Stay here and get back to sleep. We'll have stuff to do tomorrow."

Finny felt some melancholy watching Snake being taken away. He had felt such comfort in those arms after what Signore Klaus had told him.

Snake gulped down the rest of Bard's hangover cure that he had called a soldier's "best friend." He left the mug beside the door to the servants' quarters and put his right fingertips to the door and left fingertips to his jaw. Not a sound inside.

He didn't think Finny would be here, but he did hope to find a clue as to what happened last night. After all, if Bard didn't know where Finny was, then he was hiding very well. He pushed open the door and wandered over to Finny's side of the room on the left. Three of Snake's friends came slithering in and ducked under Finny's bed: Oscar, Goethe, and Wilde.

They pressed thoughts into his mind that there was nothing under the bed. Just empty space. Snake asked his friends to look in the dresser by Finny's bed. The three of them each took a drawer and reported back how there was only a few clothes and really nothing else.

Snake went to Finny's bedside table and pulled open the drawer. He was surprised it was absolutely empty. Even Snake had some items in his footman's room that would tell others about him; things like books and old circus costumes. But with Finny, there was nothing.

What did he do before coming to work for Phantomhive? Didn't his parents send him things to comfort him? Why was Finny's past so empty? Wait, didn't Finny mention parents and Signore Klaus last night? But what was it?

"Snake? What are you doing here?"

Snake shivered and swirled around to see Finny standing in the doorway. Finny looked haggard and very wan. Those eyes were puffy and showed every sign of a lot of tears having been shed. Snake asked, "How are you doing, asks Oscar?" while ordering his friends to sneak away quickly. They darted out of the room along the baseboards' shadows, just out of Finny's awareness.

Finny gave a smile in spite of his obvious exhaustion and said, "I'm fine. Thanks for checking."

"I wanted to make sure you were okay, says Keats," Snake said, amazed Keats was so close with the other three. His friends were very concerned, obviously. He mentally asked all of his friends to go spy on Signore Klaus; they all agreed with relish and their presence in his mind was gone. Not only that, he wanted some privacy with Finny. Only when he knew his reptile friends were all gone, and they weren't listening in, did Snake say, "You seemed so upset least night. I know we had an argument..."

"What? Us argue?" Finny asked as he shut the door and sat on his bed. "We've never argued at all."

"We didn't? But I remember you being so upset. I'll be honest, I don't remember what we talked about last night. I don't remember why you were crying. Was it because Signore Klaus hurt you in some way?" Snake accused and sat beside Finny on the twin sized bed.

Finny looked surprised and shook his head vigorously. "Signore Klaus didn't hurt me. The Signore would never hurt me." Finny then sighed, his expression grew melancholy again. "He told me some bad news, and it wasn't his fault. He really, really tried to make me happy."

"I remember you crying last night. So it was Signore Klaus that hurt you! Just admit it," Snake insisted. "You don't have to chase after a man so much older than you. He's only going to bring you heart break! You can find someone else that'll make you happy."

Finny, blushed and then looked up the floor with an embarrassed expression. He shook his head. "No, Signore Klaus is a kind man. He's always been very nice to me, and he tried to give me something I really wanted." Finny then shyly whispered, "I thought after last night it was clear I'm not interested in kissing him or anything else."

"What could that man possibly give you that you really want?" Snake asked in ill-concealed hostility and disgust that brought bafflement to Finny's wide, green eyes. "Because whatever it is, I'll get it for you and you won't have to look to him any more."

"I... I told you about that last night, too. You really don't remember, do you?" Finny finally asked, looking hurt all over again.

"I'm sorry, I don't." Snake felt regretful now of not keeping better track of how much wine he had drank.

"Signore Klaus has been helping me trying to find out about my parents. His search came to an end and so he can't help me any longer. At least, that was one of the things I was trying to explain to you last night."

Snake about questioned him on what happened to separate Finny from his parents. Hadn't Finny told him something important last night? Why was the letter and number 'S-012' running through his head?

Even more important, though, "What else were you trying to tell me last night, Finny? It was something very important, wasn't it?"

Finny's face blazed hot as he nodded shyly. "Well, it all started after I went to bed last night. After Signore Klaus told me it was impossible to find my parents. I was feeling really depressed, and Bard was busy teaching Tanaka how to play draughts. I was happy to have your company.

"At first, I just wanted to be alone, but you pounded on the door and demanded to talk to me." Finny's face then grew into a slow, warm smile. "But you coming to see me made me feel better. You gave me comfort and held me. I just appreciated the way you cared." Finny reached over and took Snake's hand. "I'll tell you everything about me, but for now, can you lay here with me?"

Snake felt shocked and humbled by Finny forgiving his boorish behavior last night. He gently squeezed Finny's hand and tugged the gardener down to the narrow bed with him.