All characters © Toboso Yana
Summary: Maylene is smarter than she looks.
No Strings Attached
"I despise Murphy's Law."
"I know, Bocchan."
"Tell me why, Sebastian," Ciel said through his fingers, "why must I suffer such hardships?" He removed his hands from his face and turned to look at his butler with a pained expression. It was also an expression of the utmost annoyance, which made Sebastian smile faintly.
"One does not become great without having to suffer for it, Bocchan," he replied. "And I would hardly call asking Maylene to deliver these papers a hardship. Please do not overreact in such a way; histrionics are hardly your style."
"I'm not overreacting," Ciel snapped, turning his head sharply. With a flick of a ringed hand he brandished an envelope in front of Sebastian's face like a lethal weapon. "These are important documents of trade that need to be delivered to the Kunlun Lau immediately. Maylene is terrified of the man." And with good reason to be, he did not add aloud.
What he did say aloud was: "Can't you do it?"
Sebastian resumed dusting the bookshelf in his master's study. "I have a tight schedule to keep, if we want to get everything in today," he answered, his tone mildly solemn.
A groan escaped Ciel, and he leaned back in his armchair. "Damn Bardroy and Finny both for catching influenza at the same time," he grumbled.
"Why are you so worried?" Sebastian inquired. "Although obviously inept at household chores, Maylene is far from incompetent. She just needs a little persuasion.
"Plus," he added, his smile sly, "you need to start doing things yourself more, and not relying on your pawns to do them for you, Bocchan."
"Tch." Ciel's hand came up and he squeezed the bridge of his nose like an old man afflicted with a migraine. "I honestly have no idea of how to convince her to go. The last time Lau visited she was emotionally traumatized for a week."
Sebastian gave a flick of his dusting cloth. "Well then Bocchan, I guess you'll have to think of something," he suggested.
Ciel cocked his head and smiled then, a sardonic, impish little thing which made Sebastian raise an eyebrow.
"I already have," the boy replied, as his hands crept up behind his head to untie the string of his eye patch.
"Here's an order, Sebastian Michaelis."
Slender fingers fumbled idly at her collar. Maylene, despite it being her day off, had not changed out of her maid's garb. Since Sebastian had no time to spare, she found herself taking care of Finny and Bard, much to her dismay.
The day dress that she was supposed to have worn today hung limply over a chair in her room, a velvet sea of fabric the color of vapid stormclouds. It was a calming shade of pepper- gray and very comfortable, though she concluded that noontime was too late a time to change.
Her fingers, tired of playing with her collar, went to her temple. She removed her glasses, and, finding them quite dirty, began to clean them until a voice jolted her out of her thoughts.
"Y-yes!" Maylene whirled around, setting her spectacles back on her face. She had not finished cleaning them, and the world still looked a bit smudgy through the lenses. Perhaps if they had been cleaner (and not cracked) she would have noticed that the young master was not wearing his eye patch.
"I wasn't interrupting anything, was I?" Ciel leaned his frame against the archway of her room, arms folded at his chest.
Maylene bowed. "Not at all, young master!" she exclaimed through her hair, which she had left down for the day.
"Good." Ciel crossed the room slowly, surveying her from the east window. "Seeing as no one else is able to make the trip, I would like you to deliver my trade papers to the Kunlun Lau," he told her. Maylene blanched visibly.
"L-L-Lau?" she spluttered. Her face began to creep with a florid tinge at once, and she muttered a quiet, "Um, young master. Lau makes me feel a little…uncomfortable."
Ciel looked at her stonily. "Uncomfortable?"
"Yes," she replied. Her hands began to twist around the hem of her skirt. "That man...he likes to, um, fondle."
To her surprise, Ciel burst out laughing. "Well you certainly give him reason to, Maylene," he said, recovering and wiping at the corners of his eyes.
"I need those documents delivered, so you may want to change into something Lau would find less lascivious," he continued. "And as a maid of Phantomhive," he eyed the clasp with his family's symbol pinned to her vest, "you are obligated to carry out my orders."
Maylene paused for a moment. After tucking a rogue fringe behind her ear, she began, "As a maid of Phantomhive, it's true that I should follow the young master's orders…
"But you are not the young master."
Ciel's expression crumbled into a wide grin. "Oh?"
Maylene pushed her dirty glasses up on the bridge of her nose. "That's something I can see clearly without myopia," she said simply, continuing with newfound defiance: "The young master would never make me do something I was not contented doing."
Ciel blinked his red eyes, fixing her with a half-lidded stare. "Very good, Maylene," he concluded. "I don't suppose you know who I am?"
At this she frowned, blinking a few times. It was at the tip of her tongue, it really was. She could almost see the boy behind the boy, but now the boysbody was merely a window for…something else.
In one instant Ciel had been standing in the archway; the other he was at her side. Although she was taller than him by quite a few inches, Maylene felt small. Her bravado evaporated like water on a hot sidewalk.
"Why don't you change into that lovely gray dress?" he murmured into her ear, standing on his toes. A small hand snaked out and touched a lock of her hair. "I'm sure the young master would enjoy that very much."
Maylene swallowed audibly, but remained silent. There was not much she could say.
"Come now, nervous of a thirteen-year old boy?" Ciel asked as he drew back. Mirth danced on his strange face—a face that was somehow two instead of one.
"You're not a boy," she quavered, now close enough to him to see that her master's eye, once a china-blue, had turned claret. And there was a pair.
"I want the young master back," she told the boything. It was silly to say, but there was little else she could have told it.
At this Ciel considered for a moment, his lower lip jutting out. "You have a point there," he began, then paused, frowning. "Oh, he's trying to get out now. You'll have to excuse me." He bowed uncharacteristically, then glided out of the room.
When the sound of footfalls faded, Maylene blew out a shaky breath and sat down in the middle of the floor. That was when Bard, clad in long johns and with a blanket of wool draped tightly around him, poked his head into her room. His expression held a strange cross between bemused and incredulous.
"What the fuck was that all about?"
Sebastian only sighed at his master's irascibility. "And what does this tell you, Bocchan?"
"Be quiet, Sebastian. That's the first and last time I'll ever ask you to possess me!" Ciel snapped. With quick, agitated hands he re-tied his eye patch. "Do you have any idea how utterly embarrassing that was to my image?"
"Which was not my fault," Sebastian replied, with his usual candor. He was not making excuses for himself, as a normal human would, but was merely stating the truth. "I have no orders once the one who normally gives them lends me his body."
With a glower, Ciel tightened the knot of his patch with a jerky puppet-motion. "You could have at least acted decent," he mumbled. Sebastian leered impenitently.
"I guess I will have to apologize to Maylene now," Ciel added, "for allowing you to use my body in such an asinine way." He paused, rubbing his temple as he realized how the words had tumbled from his mouth. "Wait, let me rephrase."
"No need, Bocchan," Sebastian spoke through pointed incisors, the bone-white gleam barely visible behind a lip that was curled up in jollity.
"I agree that possession does not suit your personality, since Bocchan always wants to be in control. But," he went on, "whenever you wish, I can do your bidding for you. I can turn you into a puppet and make you do the most amazing things."
"Not in this lifetime, Sebastian," Ciel replied, rubbing the skin under his eyes that was already darkening into coon-rings of fatigue.
His demon grinned. "Then perhaps in another," he said.