All characters © Toboso Yana

Author's note: this was probably one of the hardest stories I've written. When you have a fairly new series and characters with little to no background information, writing for them can be difficult. I took a lot of liberties here trying to fit Kuroshitsuji to a theory that I had. The whole time I was writing, my mind was screaming in protest since I always try to stick to the storyline. This time it was different, and I'm still not used to it. I wasn't going to post this, actually, but I'm curious to hear your takes on it, those who read.

Huli Jing

"Well…I guess I won't hold back, then."

Sebastian winced as a steel blade punctured his palate and popped wetly out through the bottom of his chin. The pain wasn't immense, but it was enough to effectively irk him. He hadn't expected Lau to start from the top, of all places.

The audience's gasps were audible, even through the thick wood of the cupboard which now housed Sebastian Michaelis. The only other sounds were those of the Chinese noble, who was having quite a lot of fun in thrusting the swords into the box.

The other blades posed no problem. Sebastian in fact relished the smooth shick, the cool feeling as they slid in, and savored the brief sting as they came out. Demons were natural sybarites, and the pleasure of pain was no exception. After a while the chains crumbled and Sebastian emerged, unscathed, of course, with a resplendent beam on his face and arms open wide. Lau mirrored his expression as the ball's audience gave their plaudits in awe.


"You know, you could have held back a little," Sebastian remarked. Between his gloved fingers twirled a glass of lemonade, a drink utterly superfluous but merely present for the aesthetics.

He did not have to turn around to see that the figure was grinning. "Oya oya," it mused, "Still upset about the head?"

Sebastian turned, a little half-smile playing about his lips. Like burning paper, the smile slowly curled up the corners of his mouth. "Not really," he replied. "The human body can heal rather quickly."

Lau, for it was he, spoke a quiet "Oh?" with eyes slitted in his trademark unctuous grin. His tone, however, was one of fatuous curiosity, an almost laughable veneer so diaphanous that one could easily see through its veil if they looked closely. Underneath, there lay knowledge. Lau was not the fool he acted as, as Sebastian was well aware.

"I just wish you hadn't made it so blatantly obvious," Sebastian continued in a tone that was wearily polite. His eyes wandered to the empty cupboard, the vestige of their magic performance, where a few swords remained wedged into the wood. Wedged into the wood, one might add, at the exact same angle. Every single blade.

Lau's eyes followed, coming to rest on the golden hilts. The metal gleamed in the dim chandelier light. "If you're talking about that…" he trailed off, and after a moment his dark eyes opened a fraction wider. It was probably for the reason that the irises were entirely black that the noble always kept them partially shut.

"I just became tired of hiding. Maybe, like you, I only wanted to have a little fun."

The lemonade swirled around in Sebastian's glass. It made pellucid yellow ripples, sloshing against the edges slowly. The butler took a sip, looking satisfied, and was quiet for a moment. His silence was calculated, just like everything else he did.

"Foxes make bad humans, you know," he replied finally.

"Meh, that's interesting, coming from you," Lau remarked, his eyes crinkled humouredly into two black crescents. "I think I prefer this form. Aren't you the same?"

Sebastian touched the lace mask that rested on the bridge of his nose with an idle finger. "True, there are many benefits to this appearance…" he answered, his statement petering off.

"Not to mention we are quite lascivious. You should take advantage of that sometime, butler." The Chinese nobleman chuckled darkly. Sebastian gave a gentle sigh, fully aware that Lau exercised this trait quite frequently.

Lau suddenly looked up, a change in expression evident on his Asiatic features. "Oya, the Earl's been missing for some time now. Shouldn't you be investigating?"

"He will call me when he needs me," Sebastian responded. "Speaking of which," he went on, "I need not say this, but you of all people should be aware of our contract. If the situation arises, I will be obligated to…"

"I understand, I understand, no need to be subtle about it," the noble interjected smoothly, holding up a hand. "I have no intention of laying a finger on the precious Earl. He's far too interesting for that." Sebastian gave a nod and set down his glass on the nearest table.

"So for now," Lau said as Sebastian turned around, "I will call you butler and you will call me Lau, until we are forced to say otherwise. Hopefully that won't happen for a while. London is so interesting."

"Eh," the butler agreed in confirmation. "You never know what interesting things you'll find."

Lau smiled, eyes narrowed to nothing more than splits. "Tóng xi, Shitsuji-kun," he crooned.


Gloss: I thought a lot of the Huli Jing's qualities fit Lau nicely. It is a Chinese fox-spirit, usually considered in folklore to be evil, cunning, and lewd. Is Lau not all of these? The Huli Jing usually takes the form of a human and is domicile, haunting certain places. Lau does appear very foxlike, and he has his underground opium den. The spirit can also make its followers pass through walls of a house. If the Huli Jing also possesses this quality, Lau entering the Phantomhive estate as he pleases would explain a lot.

(1) Tóng xi: the same to you.