Chapter 1: A Street Urchin
The day had begun with sunshine and fair weather. However, by mid afternoon a torrential downpour materialized out of no where. This weather made one demon butler very unhappy. Sebastian Michaelis butler of the Phantomhive household had originally planned on returning to the mansion for dinner. Yet, as the rain continued he realized that was impossible and was forced to purchase his Young Master food from a tavern. The other servants were left at home to eat what ever charcoal concoction Bard cooked up.
Few things annoyed Sebastian more than the destruction of his schedule. So as he prepared the carriage for the trip back to Phantomhive manor he wore a very bitter face. The thirteen year old Ciel Phantomhive was also irritated that business in town took longer than planned. The boy considered mocking his butler for miscalculating the weather but decided against it. He wisely got into the covered carriage without a word. Once his master was warm and dry Sebastian climbed into the driver's seat. The chill wind didn't bother him but the heavy droplets of water made visibility low, even for someone like him. At first the horses were reluctant to travel but Sebastian eventually got them moving. Thunder and lightning spooked the horses but not nearly as much as the red glowing eyes of their driver.
The trip home dragged on forever. The young earl sat comfortably unconcerned as he thought over the day's business. Sebastian did not doubt his ability to drive safely through the storm but he mentally fumed at the inconvenience. Their rout home included traveling over a bridge, this was nothing unordinary. Ciel lazily stared out the window to watch the turbulent river. Then something caught his eye. A figure appeared out of the gloom. The small human stood very close to the edge of the bridge, on the other side of the safety rail.
"Sebastian stop!" Ciel called before opening the carriage door. A flood of cold water hit his face as he started to climb out.
"Young Master?" Sebastian jerked his head around in surprise. He pulled on the rains to halt the carriage.
"What are you doing?" The boy ignored the rain and approached the figure.
"Huh?" The stranger answered as if just noticing Ciel's presence.
"Why are you out here?" Ciel demanded, "Her majesty frowns on suicide."
"Huh?" the stranger said again, "suicide? You think I was going to jump?"
"Young Master, you are getting wet." Sebastian approached Ciel and draped a coat over the boy's head. "And as for you," the butler took a step towards the stranger, "stop upsetting my master." He reached over and grasped the small figure's shoulders.
"Don't touch me! Put me down!" The stranger objected as Sebastian lifted him over the rail and onto the roadway.
The stranger seemed to be about the same height as Ciel, which was pretty short. He wore brown pants, gray shirt, large hat that hid his hair, and a threadbare jacket. The entire outfit was made of cheap fabric and was, of course, soaking wet.
"What do you want?" The strange boy squirmed away from Sebastian.
"I'm saving your life." Ciel retorted. The street boy glared at him.
"I wasn't going to jump!" he insisted.
"Take him to Scotland Yard, an orphanage, or something," the earl said to his butler.
"I can not do so at this moment, my lord. My first priority is to get you home safely," Sebastian explained.
"Fine. Then bring him along for now." Ciel decided and headed back the carriage.
"What?" the stranger snapped then glanced around as if planning to make a run for it. Sebastian foiled this plan by taking the boy's shoulders and guiding him into the carriage. The street boy jerked away from the butler but took the offer of getting out of the rain. Sebastian sighed, another inconvenience, then mounted the driver's seat. He coaxed the horses into continuing their trip home. The demon paid attention to the road but kept an ear open to hear the passengers' conversation.
Ciel sat in silence for a moment and watched the newcomer. He wondered if saving this obviously poor boy was worth the trouble. Well, the queen didn't need bodies polluting the river and taking care of the visitor would be Sebastian's problem.
"Why were you on that bridge?" Ciel asked, hoping to make the trip less boring.
"I wasn't there to jump," the stranger said again, "I just like the rain."
"You were standing, alone, on a bridge at night in the middle of a storm to enjoy the weather?" Ciel asked unbelievingly.
"Yes." The stranger leaned back against the upholstery.
"The seats are wet; Sebastian's not going to like that," the earl thought.
"Who are you?" the passenger asked.
"Earl Ciel Phantomhive," he didn't see any problem with telling this person. There was nothing a street child could do to hurt him.
"Earl?" the stranger repeated. He recognized the title but not the name.
"Where would you like my butler to escort you?" Ciel asked out of curiosity.
"The orphanage is fine," the stranger shrugged, "I just came from there."
"Then why were you going to kill yourself?" Ciel wanted to know.
"I wasn't going to jump!" the stranger snapped.
"Of course," the earl sighed. The street boy crossed his arms and stared out the window. Obviously, he had no intention to talk with Ciel further.
The two rode the rest of the way in silence. By the time the carriage arrived at the Phantomhive house it was very late and all four servants had assembled by the front door. When the horses pulled up they hurried to help the master inside. They were confused by the stranger but didn't ask until everyone was standing in the entrance hall.
"Is this a friend of yours, Young Master?" asked Maylene, the red head maid with opaque looking glasses.
"No, just some street urchin. Sebastian will take her to the orphanage momentarily." Ciel shrugged out of his wet coat.
"Actually, Young Master, I will have to attend to that after you go to bed." Sebastian handed the soaked clothes to the adorable blond gardener, Finny. The stranger eyed the servants suspiciously. He nervously backed away from Bard, the tall cook with blast goggles. Tanaka waddled away caring coats.
"Ugh." Ciel placed his forefinger on his head. "Just let her stay the night then. The storm is getting worse anyway."
"Why are you calling me 'her'?" the stranger asked, trying to sound offended.
"A boy would have taken his hat off," the earl told her. The stranger smiled and laughed slightly. She grabbed her hat with a slender hand and pulled the wet cloth off of her head.
"Heh, I guess I'm no good as an actress." Jet black hair appeared and fell to about her pale face. She shook a few water droplets out of the straight and silky strands.
"Huh, why are you dressed as a boy?" Bard asked.
"Girls get more attention on the streets," the light skinned girl answered simply.
"Put her in the basement or something and give her a change of clothes. Then, take her to an orphanage once the storm stops," Ciel ordered the black clad butler.
"As you wish," Sebastian bowed.
"Would you like boys' clothes or a dress?" Ciel asked, slightly mockingly, to the visitor.
"Either," the girl replied, "whatever you have that fits me."
The next morning dawned when the skies were still gray with rain. The visitor had spent the night sharing Maylene's room. She hadn't minded sleeping on the floor. The black haired girl had been provided with a set of old brown clothes. The shirt and pants were oversized on her skinny figure. She wore her damp hat from last night but didn't tuck her hair under it. Her black hair hung just above her shoulders in a sloppy style that looked as if it had been hastily cut with a knife.
"Good morning," Bard greeted her as he entered the pallor. The visitor seated herself on one of the overstuffed chairs. She perched on the back of the chair and rested her bare feet on the seat cushion.
"Hello," she answered politely.
"Y'know, I forgot to ask your name," Bard said cheerfully.
"Oh, what is it?" Maylene wondered.
"Does it matter?" the girl responded stubbornly.
"Is it a boy name?" Bard teased.
"No, my mother knew I was a girl when she named me." The stranger tried to ignore the curious faces of the three servants. "Fine," she surrendered, "my name is Aliya."
"A-lee-ya?" Finny repeated.
"Wow, such a pretty name," complemented Maylene.
"Well, Miss Aliya," Sebastian entered the room, "in a civilized household we keep our feet on the floor." The girl ignored him entirely and instead greeted Ciel as he followed the butler.
"Morning, earl. The storm is dying down. Just give me a moment to fetch my shoes and I'll leave," she told him. Aliya jumped down from her elevated seat, a bit too nimbly.
"I'll have a word with you first," Ciel said solemnly. Sebastian quickly shooed the servants out of the room and locked the door. Aliya watched him suspiciously. "Before I can let you leave, I need to know what manner of creature you are and why you are in England." The young earl stared at the strange girl carefully. Last night Sebastian had warned him that something was off.
"Oh?" the girl's eyes narrowed, "what do you think I am?"
"Something I've never seen before. You're certainly not human. Yet, neither are you a demon or angel." Sebastian stood by his master and examined the stranger.
Aliya looked hard at the butler, she could feel nothing but dark power emitting from him. But Ciel was human, something she could understand. She could sense that underneath the hard exterior he was a decent person. Perhaps if she told these two the truth they could help her. She had no where else to go. She might as well take a chance.
"You are right," she sighed, "I'm both." Aliya clasped her hands together over her chest as if in prayer. She closed her eyes and popped her shoulders forward. This unfolded two gray feathered wings from her back. The appendages appeared from her back but somehow didn't rip her clothes as they came out of her flesh. The girl sighed contently as she stretched her wings but Sebastian was taken back. He quickly positioned himself between the stranger and his Young Master. Ciel had expected something like giant wings to appear but Sebastian's reaction surprised him.
"Gray," the demon butler muttered, "an angel bears white wings of purity and a demon the black of sin. You claim to be both? A creature like that could never be born." Sebastian's eyes glowed red.
"I wasn't born. I was created. They made me using forbidden magic that fused the powers of heaven and hell together." Aliya crossed her arms over her chest and tried to explain. She held her wings comfortably, very used to having them in the open.
"Who's 'they'?" Ciel asked calmly.
"An angel, I presume. That would be the only being with power over life," Sebastian said.
"My mother," Aliya nodded. "And you," she looked at Sebastian, "you're a demon? I've never seen one before."
"Right now I'm just one hell of a butler to the Phantomhive house," he joked.
"He works as my butler in exchange for my soul," Ciel interrupted. He left out any more details about the contract.
"A demon contract? My mother told me what that was," Aliya remembered.
"I fail to understand what a messenger of God would want with a half-demon," Sebastian returned to questioning the girl.
At the mention of the angel, the girl dug her finger nails into her arm, "I don't know what her agenda is, but it involves using me as a weapon."
"So that's why were on the bridge." Ciel recognized the pain in her face.
"I wasn't going to jump! And even if I did it wouldn't have killed me. I've tried," said the girl.
"What I meant was; you're a runaway," the earl corrected.
"My escape was mostly luck; I got past her human guards. Then I ran to the largest city to hide." Aliya glanced at the floor.
"How old are you?" Ciel asked on impulse.
"According to my mother, my body is that of an eleven year old. Even though I don't think I've been alive that long. Not that I had very good time perception while locked in a church," Aliya muttered.
"An angel alone couldn't create such a powerful creature," Sebastian continued to consider. "Who helped your mother?" he asked with an insensitive voice. Aliya paused for a moment before answering.
"A cult of humans,"
"A religious cult? That was what I expected," Sebastian continued bluntly. Ciel's eye widened at the mention of a cult.
"Describe them," the demon butler demanded, "perhaps they had a symbol?"
"Yes… just this." Aliya reluctantly rolled up her right sleeve. Etched into the flesh of her arm was a familiar design.
"Th…That's…" Ciel pointed, suddenly startled. He knew that symbol, it was the same one branded onto his back. That meant the cult that killed him had created the gray winged girl. His surprise quickly turned to anger. An angel, her mother, was responsible for what happened to him?
Aliya saw Ciel's face contort with rage. She didn't need her sixth sense to recognize his hostility. Even more frightening was the man with narrowed red eyes that fed off the boy's anger. "I've made more enemies," she thought. Aliya felt neither surprise nor sadness by these events. The gray winged girl turned on her heals and sprinted. Aliya blew past the front doors as she started to flap her wings. She leapt off the front steps and flew.
"Young Master," Sebastian warned. He glanced to the boy wondering if his orders were to kill, capture, or follow.
"Catch her!" Ciel yelled. The moment the words left his mouth Sebastian disappeared.
Sebastian ran as fast as he could but the girl was much quicker than he anticipated. She had darted out of the room faster than Ciel could watch. She had demon speed and a few seconds head start. Sebastian reached the front doors before they had time to swing shut. He stood in the doorway searching for her. He scanned the skies but rain and thick clouds made sight impossible. Aliya was gone.
"Damn," Sebastian held his head with a sigh. That was the third uncompleted order in less than 24 hours.