All characters © Toboso Yana

Author's Note: this was a little piece I wrote last month, during a hard week in hopes that I could make people smile. Older fic, posted on Lj.

It was in the early hours of the morning, even before the robins rose, that the quiet echo of footsteps could be heard in the vast parlor of the Earl's estate. Sebastian Michaelis, because he did not sleep, had spent the night deciding what to do about the palpable need for change regarding decorum in the Phantomhive manor. Things had gotten a little out of hand as of late...although that in and of itself was an understatement. So Sebastian opted for the most indirect route to amelioration, namely, a decree.

Forty-one Points of Propriety

It has come to my attention that behavior in the manor has not been at its best. As servants of Phantomhive and as nobles, it is our responsibility to set an example for society. I must say I am appalled at some of the things I have borne witness to in the past few months, even though I understand that we all have issues that need to be addressed. I can add to this list as I see fit and will be enforcing these rules below down to its last punctuation in hopes that things will improve and that we will no longer be an embarrassment to the name of Phantomhive.

-Sebastian M.

1. Maylene should not be allowed to handle the pouring or distribution of any liquid.

2. No woodland creatures in the manor, or other objects of nature, for that matter. Finny.

3. The next time Madame Red leaves her Belladonna drops behind, do not use them.

sub-clause A: they will not increase your attractiveness.

4. If the food has been in the pantry for more than a month, do not use it (Bardroy).

5. Another reminder: as the young master has an unfortunate aversion to the feline persuasion, no cats are allowed in the house.

6. The young master's eye patch is not to be used as a slingshot. Bocchan, I'm surprised at you.

7. Do not poke Tanaka-san or attempt to put things in his tea.

8. If Tanaka-san offers you tea, do not drink it.

9. The manor's wire telephone should not be used to prank call the British Parliament or the embassy.

10. Only one mousetrap per room. If more are needed, contact me immediately.

11. Do not put weedkiller next to the wood polish (Finny).

12. The young master will not smile before nine o' clock am. Do not attempt to make him do so.

13. If someone named Grell Sutcliffe knocks, do not answer.

14. If a mailman named Grell Sutcliffe knocks, do not answer.

15. The Kunlu Lau should never be allowed to smoke near the Earl's papers.

16. The Funtom toys are not meant for individuals over eleven.

sub-clause A: Finny.

sub-clause B: Lau.

17. The Earl's knicker straps should not be used as tools of punishment by anyone other than myself.

18. If Lady Elizabeth is not on official business, pretend you're not home.

sub-clause A: Even if she starts to cry.

19. Mistletoe is hereby banned from the manor.

20. For the last time, do not steal Maylene's glasses. She needs them more than you do.

21. Physical examinations are meant for the doctor's office, not the young master's. Madame Red.

22. If there is a fire, calmly walk out the front door.

sub-clause A: if you started the fire, however, run.

23. Whoever drew those questionable pictures of Chief Commissioner Randall in the billiards room, please clean them up immediately.

24. Everyone's shoelaces should be tied before they walk down the stairs (Maylene).

25. Just because the young master has a velvet suit does not mean he likes the novel Little Lord Fauntleroy. Please stop pestering him about it.

26. The next time the Marchioness Frances Middleford visits, make sure your fingernails are clean.

27. Records are not Frisbees. That includes the Mozart arias.

28. If Soma and Agni demonstrate their hospitality to strangers while the Earl or myself is away, you are allowed to be armed.

29. If you hear strange noises coming from Soma's room, do not go in. Maylene. And Bardroy.

30. No running in the corridors.

31. Do not encourage Lau to teach you improper words in Chinese.

32. Maylene's brassiere is not to be used a flag, nor should it be used as a substitute for shoulder padding. You know who you are.

33. Impersonations of the local Undertaker within the manor are no longer allowed. The Earl is getting annoyed.

34. The Viscount of Druitt is not to be confused with the Viscount of Fruit. Attempts to make the Earl cross-dress when he visits are strictly prohibited.

35. Maylene should not be allowed near the brandy, no matter what the occasion.

sub-clause A: remember the end of season party, if anything.

36. If Bardroy is happy, it probably isn't edible.

37. If cutlery appears to be missing, there is a spare set in the pantry. Do not use your hands, as it is uncouth.

38. Stealing Tanaka's monocle is not allowed. Even if he does not know that it's gone.

39. Do not attempt to make your own curry. If you feel the urge, call Agni and refrain from making it yourself.

sub-clause A: the kitchen quarters took me a while to repair because of it.

40. Bets are not to be made on how many butler suits I have, nor are they to be placed on how much alcohol I can tolerate. You will never win.

41. Horse manure is not to be used for personal vendettas.