A/N: Written for 10orders LiveJournal writing challenge community using the prompt #3 – Shut up.

Disclaimer: Toboso Yana and all associated companies are the rightful owners of the Kuroshitsuji universe. No copyright infringement intended and no money is being made out of this. Please support the mangaka by buying her work.

Warnings: Does Alois being himself warrant a warning?

Non-Golden Silence

There is one order which Alois thinks he'll never give Claude. Not because it's something Claude couldn't do (Alois doesn't think there is such a thing which his demonic servant couldn't manage), but because Alois himself doesn't want it. He doesn't want Claude to stop talking because Alois thrives on his words, drinks up every syllable, believes everything the demon tells him, everything about his enemies and how they will win, and how Alois will get his revenge. Alois listens to him and soon he is the one talking and laughing, and dancing gleefully because there is so much hatred inside of him that it simply has no other way of expression but this. No, Alois thinks to himself as he settles down again, tired from that charade, Claude doesn't need this order. There wouldn't be any point in it, after all – the demonic butler speaks only rarely, anyway, and never out of place. And in the young Trancy lord's eyes his every word is worth glittering gold.

But there is a first time for everything.

"I want her gone!" Alois almost screams. The presence of the new additions to the Trancy household unsettles him. All he needs is Claude and the new servants seem to say that his butler is unable to handle everything on his own – a reminder that somehow tells Alois that there are others who are stronger than Claude. A thought like that he cannot bear.

"The Trancy household cannot exist without a maid," Claude informs him sternly. He is a butler, not a servant. And he has recognised Hannah as a worthy opponent and he is interested in the ulterior motives behind her sudden pledge of allegiance. He cannot let her go just yet.

"Shut up!" Alois snarls and immediately freezes, realising that he has just done the one thing which he'd almost sworn himself to never do. The words have left his mouth. They cannot be taken back.

Claude looks at him, his face impassive and his golden eyes emotionless, and he bows curtly before leaving the room. When the door closes behind him, Alois can finally breathe again. He thinks that he can hear Claude's steps growing more and more distant, echoing inside of him. He wants to call out, to call him back, but even though his lips part, the sound won't come.

"Claude…" he finally breathes low – too low for it to be heard.

There is no answer.