Vincent Phantomhive was the previous Earl of Phantomhive.
After his father's death, and his own return, the now-11 year old Ciel had inherited that title, and all the responsibilities that came with it. His youth was not a factor in that decision; he made sure of it. The child was now the Queen's watchdog, the head of household, and a noble, who existed to contribute to society.
Yes, he was the new Earl of Phantomhive, a title he took great pride in, and he wanted to live up to that title as his father did, so he modeled himself after his predecessor: He had his house rebuilt exactly like it was before, and he wore the same rings his father had (for this among other reasons). He even had Tanaka come back on his staff as House Steward, although he knew that was done more out of respect for Tanaka than anything. Even though he was still a child, he already exhibited elegance and refined tastes when in public, was ambitious with his thirst for knowledge, and he was already living up to the Queen's expectations, both as a noble, and as one of the overseers of London's underworld.
For an 11 year old boy, he was no failure as an earl.
That young earl sat in front of a mirror in his dressing room, inspecting himself closely. His hair was combed and tamed, his tie was taut, and the buttons of his well-tailored business suit were perfectly aligned down his center. His appearance was perfect; one suited to a Phantomhive, and had been made up by a butler suited to be a Phantomhive servant.
Ciel had everything had been done according to how his father would have done, or would have wanted, but there was one thing missing…
He met his own gaze in the mirror, his right hand hovering over his covered right eye. It trailed down to his ear, and his small fingers smoothed over his unblemished earlobe, yanking on it gently, then rolling it between his forefinger and thumb.
Yes, that was what was missing.
He released the grip on his ear, and stood, shoulders back, mustering as authoritative a pose he could.
"Sebastian," he called.
He was there as soon as the boy released the final syllable of his name, looking at the young earl expectantly. "Yes, young master?"
"Prepare the carriage." Ciel met his butler's stare. "We're going to town."
A small flicker of shock moved across Sebastian's face, reflecting his inward confusion. For his Young Master to go to town of his own volition, in winter, no less, was a far cry from ordinary, but he swiftly returned his face to one of placidity. "Where to?"
Ciel averted his eyes from Sebastian's and moved to leave the room. "The Jeweler's."
Sebastian smiled. "At once, sir."
Sebastian held the door as Ciel stepped inside the Jeweler's Shop and lowered the fluffy hood of his winter cloak. An elderly man sat behind a desk, alert from hearing the door open.
"Well, hello there young fellow! Come to pick out a gift for your sweetheart?" He smiled pleasantly.
Ciel inwardly grimaced, but kept his face calm. "No, I would like a pair of earrings." The old man nodded and moved to grab a case. "For myself," He added as an afterthought.
"Ah, I see. Do you know specifically for what you're looking? We don't have a lot of variety for men's earrings." He pulled a different case out from behind the desk and opened it. "I'm afraid this is all we have."
Ciel brought a gloved hand to his chin and moved forward to examine the case. The choices were indeed limited, the options being only different sizes and colors of hooped earrings and studs.
"Studs should be fine…" he murmured, still eyeing the case intently. But what color…
Sebastian watched from behind, as his Young Master's eyes moved across the stud earrings. There were all sorts of colors and different gems, from black oynx, to ruby red, to amber.
His butler's voice interrupted his examination. "Young Master, if I may?" Ciel turned to look at him, giving him silent approval to continue. "I believe the Young Master would be most suited to the blue sapphire earrings."
Ciel moved his gaze back towards the case, eyes focusing in on the blue sapphire studs. The old man piped up.
"Ah, that would be an excellent choice. It matches the color of the stone in your ring there, and complements your eye, if I may say so."
Ciel concentrated in silence. After a few moments he stepped back and looked up. "Very well. I'll take the blue sapphire studs. Sebastian." His butler stepped forward and deposited a big of coins on the table.
"That should more than enough to cover it," He smiled. The Jeweler looked inside, bug-eyed. "Y-yes, certainly. Are you-"
"The Young Master's happiness is well worth it." Sebastian's smile didn't falter, and Ciel huffed and looked towards the door. The Jeweler quickly boxed the earrings and handed it to Sebastian.
"We should be headed back to the manor, Young Master. We do not want to miss afternoon tea." He opened the door for Ciel, who flipped up his hood as he stepped out wordlessly.
The Jeweler beamed. "Thank you for your business!"
Sebastian still wore his smile. "The pleasure was ours." He bowed and closed the door.
"Young Master, your ears do not have holes for earrings, is that not correct?" Sebastian inquired as he removed his young master's winter cloak from his small frame. He folded it neatly and placed it over his arm.
Ciel narrowed his eyes, unimpressed with his butler's hint for him to reveal his motive. "You know quite well they don't, Sebastian." He took the box with the earrings from Sebastian's hand. "But they will soon. Prepare the tea and snacks, and bring them to my study. I'm feeling famished." The young Earl moved towards the stairs, which he promptly ascended.
The butler bowed. "Yes, my Lord."
Ciel was satisfied. He remembered his father's earrings; they were black oynx studs, one in each ear. He didn't have to do everything as his father did, and it was true, blue suited him well. Sebastian may have been insufferable at times, but he would not allow him to go out looking like he dressed in the dark, less he let his master disgrace his name, and as his butler, he couldn't allow that.
As he situated himself in his study, he opened the box examining the earrings once more. They truly were nice earrings. Simple, yet elegant. A bit large, but not overwhelmingly so.
A knock shook him from his trance. He closed the box and set it on his desk. "Come in."
Sebastian entered with the tea cart. Ciel waited as Sebastian glided towards him and set down a tea cup and saucer and began to pour the tea.
"Today I have prepared a Munnar Black Tea with a warm apple raisin tart." He placed a dish in front of the boy with a portion of the tart. "I hope it is to your liking."
Ciel sipped the tea, letting the warmth creep through his body. "Sebastian." His butler looked him, but his eyes were down on the box with the earrings. "Sterilize some needles." Another sip. "You're going to be putting some 'holes in my ear.'" He put down the cup. "And bring some ice."
Sebastian smiled. "Are you ordering me to inflict pain on you, Young Master?"
Ciel scowled, ignoring his butler's last remark. "Now, Sebastian."
The thought that ripping a hole in his ear lobe might be painful hadn't really occurred to Ciel. After all, he'd never felt pain there before.
He'd also never before shoved a needle through it, however.
"Have you ever done this before, Sebastian?" Ciel asked warily. His ears were beginning to feel numb from the cold ice Sebastian held on them. He eyed the two needles lying on a white cloth on his desk, his new earrings sitting next to them.
Sebastian brought his face close to Ciel's and grinned. "I'm afraid not, but please don't worry, young master. I have read many books about human anatomy, and I should be quite proficient in helping you should something go wrong."
That didn't help Ciel's apprehension.
"Sebastian. This is an order. Make… Make this as painless as possible." Ciel blushed slightly and tried to turn his head, but Sebastian still gripped his ears. "Ah! Sebastian! I said painless!"
Sebastian's face dropped as he sighed and released his grip on the boy's ears. "There are things that even I am not capable of, sir." He placed what remained of the ice in a bowl and grabbed a needle and one earring.
"Now Young Master." He smiled. "Please stay still."
Ciel shut his eyes tightly, his small body appearing even smaller in the large chair in which he sat. He gripped the armrests of his chair with such force that it turned his knuckles white.
His right ear was first. He could feel Sebastian holding it, then a slight pressure on it.
Ciel opened his eyes and grabbed Sebastian's arm. "Sebastian! Stop!"
Sebastian held his position. "Yes, sir? Your right ear is finished. If we continue, I can-"
"I... what?" He released his butler's arm, and reached his hand up to his right ear. To his surprise, his fingers came in contact with the earring he had previously meticulously examined. His ear felt warm, and there was a tingling there, but the pain he expected didn't come.
He looked up at Sebastian, who looked down at him with a smirk. "Young Master, do you wish to stop?"
Ciel flushed and looked away. "Just continue already." He mumbled.
Sebastian's face was serious. "Young Master, you don't have to model yourself precisely after your father to live up to his name." He grabbed the other needle and earring.
The young earl closed his eyes; this time his face was serene, not scrunched in apprehension. "Sebastian, my predecessor did his job well. If I want to 'model myself' after someone who did their job well, I will do so."
The room was silent as Sebastian ripped a hole into Ciel's left ear.
The Earl of Phantomhive sat once more in his dressing room in front of his mirror and rolled the blue studs between his fingers. It was true, they suited him well, bringing out the blue of his left eye. They matched him perfectly. His hand drifted to behind his head, and grabbed hold of the strings that held his eye patch. He gave a gentle tug; the patch silently fell to his lap. His fingers drifted to his right eye, the violet pentagram burning.
It clashed against the sapphire blue in his ears.
He couldn't be his father. He knew his father wouldn't contract himself to a demon, even as a last resort. Ciel knew that his superficial efforts wouldn't change what he'd done, or who he now was, no matter how much he tried.
The boy sighed and got up from his position. He held the same position as him, but he was a different person from his father, and no amount of mimicking him was going to change that. He rolled the earring in his right ear.
His ears suddenly felt very sore.
At least he didn't want a Prince Albert, right? *is shot*
Kind of long and drawn out (when will I learn that brevity is the soul of wit?), but I thought it made for an interesting story, and that's what I care about. :B Obviously Ciel has his ears pierced, but then I noticed his father did as well (in the manga, at least). THEN I noticed Ciel's ears weren't pierced until well after his enslavement, which made me wonder: Why, and when, did he get his ears pierced? I would imagine the reason was more than just aesthetics, since men's ear piercings during his time weren't overly popular.
Thus this was born. XD I hope you enjoyed it. Don't be afraid to let me know what you think! I might rewrite it to be shorter and more to the point. Maybe. :]