All characters (c) Toboso Yana
Musings: The Butler
Sebastian loathes the mirror effect, if that is indeed a term in the English vocabulary.
The expression 'copycat' will not take its place in society for another few years; besides, Sebastian wouldn't dream to associate a word of contempt with his favorite earthly creatures. Monkey see, monkey do can also suffice, but who wants to be caught saying such a nonsensical phrase?
All the same, it is an inevitable trait of the living, as natural and unavoidable as using the latrine. Sebastian sees when the Englishmen
(sheep in his pen of souls)
talk blithely with one another, unconsciously donning each other's expressions without even knowing it. A foreigner living in a different land will certainly adopt that land's vernacular in his speech if he lives there long enough.
(taking root and slowly growing to contort the tongue and lips, a metastases of the mouth)
Sentient beings will adapt to the things in their environment, and will eventually mimic their surroundings. Sebastian sees it every day, as common as Earl Grey tea. It is disgusting.
There are no humans in hell, just shapes of things that were once men but have transformed into twisting hulks of desire and charred fireflesh.
(things that can no longer speak but produce sounds that no human throat can manifest, things that grin wetly when the darkness grows.)
There is nothing human about that place, which is just how Sebastian likes it. It's not as up here, where there is oxygen, water, light…and other things.
Demons are the carriers of fear, never once thinking about what it would be like to experience it themselves. Sebastian, although he doesn't understand fear in the first person, knows enough to know that he has one himself. It is his greatest and only terror.
Even he is subject to the mirror effect.
(mimic what is seen, feel what is felt, and a reflection will appear on the other side of that looking glass)
Even he, who once dropped Asian Black rats into the fountains of Constantinople, who started the Black Death, who once brought virgin girls to the Tigress of Čachtice every month for their blood to be bathed in. After all, he should have known that mingling with the world above the ground would have its repercussions. The demon turns the child into a monster, yes, but in turn the child also turns the demon human. It truly is a contract in the fullest sense of the word.
But there are ways to reacquaint himself with his truer nature, so that he will not entirely succumb to the weak wiles of the human temperament. Sebastian finds that he can find comfort—well, not comfort, exactly, but familiarity in little things.
Cleaning. His master's presence is the only thing stopping him from carrying out his quotidian tasks in a whizzing blur. He could have this study clean in no longer than a blink of the eye, but when there are guests, Sebastian takes his time. When they leave, the rooms will become clean in mere seconds. Sebastian highly doubts that any human could move with such a speed. Perfection is the dream of all men, yet as humans they will spend their lives trying and failing to obtain it.
(he is more than human, more than inhuman, he is the unman)
Sleeping. The nights are long and cold. Humans need sleep. He does not. Lately Sebastian has taken to prowling the mansion during the late hours of the evening, strolling back and forth, back and forth like a panther in heat, meandering with no set purpose but to show something unseen that sleep is not for him.
(sometimes Ciel wakes to the creak of the floorboards, and he holds his hand over his eye and tells himself that the house is old, there is no one walking about)
Pain. When he is slapped by his master Sebastian finds himself troubled. Demons are natural sybarites, and the pleasure of pain is no exception. Yet why does the sting feel unsatisfying? Just to make sure, for every blow received, Sebastian increases it tenfold later on, gouging the eyes or the tongue, or even using the idiot cook's oven to brand his hands. That pain and regeneration is fine, almost savory in a sweet, claret kind of way… but when it is dealt by another, especially by his master, why does it bother him so?
His goal is to blend in with the humans, but Sebastian must remind himself that he is not a human. He is a demon, born from the pits of blackness and destined to thrive on the shadows of the weak. However, he is irritated to find that when people look at him, even the most perspicacious, they cannot tell the difference.
(The mortician smiles at him as he comes in with the boy, and although that man knows exactly what he is, he is not in the least bit curious as to why he is here)
It is a human thing, to be happy when presented with praise. The idiot servants simply fawn over his housekeeping prowess, impressed with the simplest things such as balancing three dozen plates on his head or catching the rogue mice that roam the cracks in the walls…and the worst part is that he likes it.
"Maybe one day you will grow something that does not poison us all," he says to the gardener boy, with his usual pleasant candor, "though with your skills I doubt that you will even get the soil to be fertile." The boy's face falls faster than Maylene off of a steel ladder. There. Much better. Sebastian walks away, satisfied. Humans normally don't have the heart to say such things to one another.
…the heart. Sebastian then recalls something that happened the other night, something that he did not like very much. He had been resting on a settee in the downstairs parlor, watching the moon come to its fullest peak outside his window. Everything had been pretty much fine and dandy until—
Sebastian had bolted up, eyes scanning the mansion for the intruder. Only there was no one. That sound had been…
He pressed a gloved hand against his chest, where the noise had originated. The intruder had come from inside, which made Sebastian uncharacteristically fretful. There should be no sound in there, in that dank fallacy of a body where even the rush of blood through veins is absent.
(but he heard it, he heard it and he didn't like it one bit)
Pointing his gloved digits together like a spade, Sebastian had smoothly clawed through the flimsy butler's fabric of his blouse, then through the skin. Even for him, this process was akin to pouring salt crystals into an open wound, but he didn't mind. Curiosity will always dominate pain, no matter what the species. Wincing, Sebastian reached in and drew out the heart, hearing the wet tear of gristle as he tugged it forth.
Silent. It had lain on his palm, dripping with a pale, celadon ichor, completely at rest. A resplendent gleam, created from the moon that shone through the window like a drop of milk in the sky, fell on the object in his hand. Sebastian had stared at it for a minute, making sure that it wouldn't move before carefully reinserting it.
It walks like a man, talks like a man, but is it a man? Will it be soon, if it hasn't become one already?
There had been no beat. He is sure of it. It had just been a trick of the mind, a slight misconception, Sebastian thinks now, as his eyes glow a malignant vermillion in the dim of the night.
But demons don't make mistakes.