Hello fellow Kuroshitsuji fans, and thank you for considering my story!
This story is set in a slightly AU universe, mostly because I thought it would be lazy to just copy the plot from the original series. However, many of the original characters and concepts from Kuroshitsuji will still make their way into this story. They will just be used in new and different ways.
I realize that in the manga and anime, Sebastian is only able to assume the form of a crow. However, here I have him turning into a cat, because it just seems to fit him better. Also, I'm pretty sure that as a demon, he is powerful enough to transform himself into whatever he wants.
I will provide more pre-story notes if and when they are needed, but for the most part my readers can just discover things at their own reading pace.
That said, I hope you enjoy my story! :)
On a fine February evening, in a stately manor house set in the countryside to the north of London, chaos reigned supreme. The curtains were not drawn, as they normally would have been to keep out the evening chill, and if a visitor to that house were to have peered in through the windows, they would have observed a great deal of women running about on every floor, every one of them engaged in some urgent activity. Maids were carrying sheets up the stairs and heating pans of water over the kitchen fireplace. Seamstresses were congregating around flat boxes in certain bedrooms, lifting tiny outfits up to the light and scrutinizing them. Nurses bent in a huddle outside of a single bedroom door, the only room in the house to have its curtains drawn. From this room, the painful cries of a woman could be heard, pouring fourth into the night.
She will deliver with pain the life that is inside of her. Their soul is stretching. The little one is fluttering.
Incidentally, there was someone watching the people in the manor house through the windowpanes; however, this creature was not exactly human. Out in the front gardens, upon a pathway ledge that ran near to the building, the elongated body of a black feline slid through the night, padding silently from one window to another. All of the men in the house seemed to be segregated in just one room downstairs, a drawing room, where they paced and smoked and waited. The black cat put its paws up on the window through which the seamstresses were still unpacking tiny pieces of clothing from yet another box, and watched them for awhile. Clothes that now hung empty and useless would soon serve a purpose. As soon as….
As soon as she comes. The soul will be clothed in flesh, and the flesh will be covered in life. Now, now she is coming….what shall this one be like, I wonder? Will she look at me with the same hateful face as her mother?
A shout of agony rained down into the gardens. Nurses and maids were hurrying in and out of the bedroom doorway, carrying clean sheets and hot water and yes, yes, a tiny scissors….she will take on a life of her own. As soon as she opens her eyes she will be transmuted, no longer part of a larger whole, but a whole separate being of her own.
The woman was sobbing in the upstairs bedroom.
Does she cry because she is losing that constant togetherness, that smothering bond? It will be a shock for them both to be separated. The baby will cry too, soon, soon….
Groans of pain were heard, intermingled with frantic gasps. Inside the house, people stopped running in and out of the room. The ones who had been left outside pressed up against the door, listening, listening….
The voice of the universe is speaking. I wonder if they can hear it? I cannot, but I know it is here, for the soul is separating into two bodies. In the back of my dark eyes, I can see it. She is coming now.
A long, drawn-out scream from the bedroom shattered the momentary stillness of the night. Outside, the cat jumped down from the window ledge and sat among the tall grasses, facing the house.
She is here.
Now the woman was crying again, but no longer with pain. Her voice had taken on a higher pitch, a cry of praise and joy. Joining her in this cry was the sound of the soft, stunned first wails of a newborn child. Outside the bedroom, the nurses clasped each others' hands and performed involuntary little dances as the head midwife leaned out of the doorway and announced that the baby was healthy and fine. One of the women ran downstairs with the news, into the drawing room, and the next minute, a young, careworn-looking man in a black suit raced up the steps. Eyes wide and eager, he strode into the bedroom to meet his daughter. The cries of the baby gradually ceased.
Outside of the manor, the cat heard the grinding of a carriage as it approached the country house. It had barely halted by the steps before the door was kicked open and an angry-looking man stormed out its door and into the manor. The servants scattered in his wake, and he proceeded straight to the drawing room. The men who were already there all gathered around him, and they were soon joined by a stately-looking elderly couple, the parents of the woman upstairs. While the angry man ranted and waved his arms, the whole room nodded empathetically at his words while the cat watched from outside.
Not even an hour old, and already she is being plotted against. Such a family of vipers that I must serve. But her soul is now her own.
However, no matter what was going on downstairs, whenever one of the drawing room party tried to venture up the steps in order to spy on the couple in the bedroom, they were always turned away by the polite, yet firm presence of a later-aged man with gray, wiry hair and a monocle in one eye. He stood guard at the bottom of the grand staircase, and nothing interfered with the new family's happiness that night.
It was much, much later in the night, around 2:00 in the morning, when the cat finally moved from its covert place among the grasses. The bedroom which had been used for the birthing had been vacated while it was cleaned and aired out, and the new family was now scattered around the house. The careworn man slept in a small, out of the way bedroom downstairs, with his shoes on and a miniature revolver clasped in his right hand. Outside of his temporary bedroom, the man with the monocle stood silent guard, staring down the dark and empty hallway. The woman slept upstairs in a corner room, under the watchful eye of a trained midwife, who had been ordered to keep a night's vigil over the woman for reasons of her unstable health. The child, only a few hours old, was tucked in a cradle in the bedroom that would be hers, while another midwife rocked in a chair close beside her. Barely awake, the older woman's legs gave a sleepy jerk, and she rose and decided to take a walk down to the kitchen, so that she might brew herself something to keep her awake until morning. As soon as she'd slipped out the door, the cat trotted over to the place beneath the bedroom's window, leaped nimbly onto the wall, and began climbing, digging its amazingly durable claws into the wood. He had been ordered not to cross the house's doorway until he was called for, but he was not planning on going in through the door, anyway.
Humans and their numerous loopholes. Too easy.
Perching on the outside windowsill, the black cat stared through the glass at the cradle, half-bathed in moonlight and covered in a cloud of innocent sleep. Pressing a paw up against the crack in the window's opening, the cat brought his long claws out and hooked them onto the latch, flipping it over without a sound. He nudged the window and it swung inward relentingly, and a black figure stepped down from the windowsill into the bedroom. It was no longer that of a cat. The form of a tall, thin man, clad entirely in black clothing which contrasted with his pale, porcelain skin, walked silently over to the cradle and gazed down at the baby within. The man who had been a cat, and who was in truth neither a man nor a cat at all, but a demon, possessed a hauntingly handsome face and a perfectly proportioned body. His hair, which was also black, flowed elegantly down the sides of his face but did not quite reach his shoulders. His mouth was quirked upward into an expression of curiosity, and the eyes that watched the baby were a deep, gleaming red.
Softly, he bent over the cradle, listening to the tiny breaths of the sleeping child. Her hair was a pale patch of fuzz atop her head, and her face was round and doughy. The rest of the child was wrapped up snugly in a woolen blanket, keeping the early Spring chill from reaching her brand-new body.
"Hello, little one. Welcome to the world. I am pleased that you have come."
The man's voice was deep and pleasant to the ear, no outer part of him besides his eyes betraying him for what he really was. However, newly attuned to her human instincts, the baby girl awoke at its sound. Sky-blue eyes opened widely, taking in the man before her without a sound. The demon bowed his head, speaking as if to an adult. "As the oldest child of your mother, I present myself to you as your birthright. You shall be my final master. I shall belong to you completely and be bound to obey your every command, as were the terms of my contract with your great-great-great-grandfather, little one, for the price of his soul. Because of your ancestor's ambition, every wish and desire which you bear shall be granted. Before you leave your childhood, you will accept my mark, and I shall become one hell of a butler for you. Let us henceforth accept our places as master and servant, little one."
The baby made a small sound, and the dark-haired demon straightened himself and turned to leave before she started crying and summoned the midwife back from downstairs. His current master would be most displeased if she found out that he was visiting her child without her presence. He'd made it halfway to the window when he noticed that the room was still silent. Intrigued, the demon backtracked across the carpet and once again bent over the cradle, staring down at the tiny child and making no attempt to camouflage the frightening color of his eyes. The baby did not seem affected. She stared back up at her unexpected guest in a bemused fashion, breathing calmly.
"You're not going to cry and be afraid of me, little one? How very interesting…."
I wonder if perhaps….
Although it went against his instincts, the demon slowly reached down into the cradle and wrapped his thin, long-fingered hands around the small child. Just as slowly, he lifted her up and held her out in front of him, scrutinizing the tiny face. The baby yawned and gurgled peaceably, seeming to be all right with this arrangement. Experimentally, he tucked her against his shoulder and meandered over to the window with her, gazing out into the night. There was a rush of air, and suddenly neither the demon nor the child could be found within the room. One story up, they were perched upon a large gable on the rooftop, open sky above them and the world stretched out around them. The demon's long fingers caressed the back of the child as he considered the manor estate before him. The baby squirmed in his arms, and a single tiny hand reached out of the folds of the blanket to brush against the man's head. She made a low, puzzled-sounding noise in her throat, and the red eyes were pulled downward.
"It must be strange for you to be here, yes, little one? I wonder if your soul is still accustomed to that place. Do you remember it?" the deep voice purred, the eyes taking on an almost greedy sheen. "But you are here on earth now, and quickly will you pass from eternity into eternity. Human life is pitifully short, and the condition of your kinds' bodies is truly deplorable- so weak and fragile. It seems impossible that The Named would ever choose to manifest Himself in one such as yourself, and yet…." the demon mused softly, cradling the child in his arms and staring down at her, "I can sense your soul, little one. It is your own."
The baby's only reply to all of this was a strong, definite, "Meh!" as her arms came up and waved around purposelessly in the air. The demon grinned, a feral, amused smile as he played with her fingers. "You will have many difficulties in life, for you have not been born under sacred wedlock, little one. The husband of your mother is a cruel, ruthless man, and his heart is filled with hatred for your father and for your very existence. Someday I will devour his soul in hell, and then you will be rid of him. However, while he is alive, you can overcome him with me by your side. It matters not who your father is, only that you are the firstborn child of your mother, Rachel Phantomhive. It is your family line whom I have been bound to serve for six generations, ever since I accepted the price paid by that fool of a man. With all of my work, the name of Phantomhive has become one of the top business names in Europe. You will not want for anything material in your life, little one. Even now, when you barely possess a will…." The demon hitched his shoulders, feeling the formation of a second, scarcer set of needles underneath his porcelain skin. "I can feel the hold you have over me. Heh, this is going to make me rather uncomfortable until you learn to focus that will and give commands. Until then, I will take care of you….my, you are an interesting one, are you not? So quiet. I know you can sense what I am, so why do you not cry?"
The baby gurgled a set of gibberish words, peering up at the demon sedately while the unholy creature pondered, staring at the ground. Overhead, a shooting star flashed through the night, and the light caught in the baby's eyes. The demon did not see it. Eventually, tapping his chin in thought, he lifted his eyes and observed the child. "I wonder…."
Moving slowly, he pulled off the white glove that covered his right hand, flexing his long, pale fingers in the air. Even more slowly, he reached down toward the baby, still cradled in his opposite arm. "This will probably make you cry, little one, but it won't hurt you….I only want to stand in the light of your soul. Be good now…." At once, he curled his fingers around the child's right arm, touching skin-to-skin for the first time. The baby girl's blue eyes widened in surprise as the red eyes of the demon slid closed in relief. The night remained silent.
After a few moments, the demon opened one of his red eyes curiously and stared down at the baby, who had currently discovered her other hand and begun to suck on it. She seemed to sense that an abnormality was occurring, another creature's presence in the space created only for herself, but she seemed supremely unbothered by it. The demon's eyebrow raised. "Oh? Still no crying? What a little oddity you are! Good girl….so you don't mind sharing, hmmm? Perhaps you won't be so much like your mother, after all. That would be most agreeable, little one. She hates that I exist. She blames me for your family's vilification by the Church. She has not acknowledged me for years. She knows the nature of my condition, but she prefers to let me burn….is that fair, little one? I've served her for her whole life, and she refuses to even share a tiny bit of her light with me, to quell the pain of the fire which I am cursed to carry with me for eternity. But perhaps her daughter will make up for her lack of generosity, yes? Good girl…."
The demon laughed a little, brushing his black hair out of his eyes with his still-gloved hand. "Oh my, I seem to be talking quite a lot, don't I? This is most unusual….but then again, I suppose it's all right. You have no idea what I'm saying, and you won't remember any of this. Just keep on being good, my master. Your soul is like a balm to me."
There was silence on the rooftop again as the baby continued to suck on her hand, and the demon savored the unexpected respite from his constant agony which his new master's allowance provided him. The baby was….different from other humans. There was no denying this truth. Her soul looked and felt no different, admittedly, but anyone else would have pushed him out upon feeling another creature basking in the light of the soul that belonged to them. This child did not seem concerned. It was as if she knew that her own light did not diminish upon being shared, which was a thing that few humans of any age understood. He hoped very much that she would continue being like this. He doubted that his current master would give him express permission, but if he could spend just enough time around the child to teach her not to fear him, to give him consideration as a fellow creature, maybe, just maybe….
I could change my situation through this child. I could have the kind of master that I want.
It was a long shot, but the demon promised himself that he would try. He didn't think that he could take another lifetime of the abuse and disregard which he had suffered in the past. The child showed promise. He kept his right hand wrapped around the child's arm as his left began petting her hair, both the demon and the baby staring up into the stars. Quietly, he murmured, "That's right, you don't have a name yet, do you, little one? You'll be given one in the morning, I don't doubt. Just for tonight then, I suppose we are the same. Only you will never remember what it felt like to be nameless."
The baby yawned, unconcerned with this just as she'd been with everything else he'd said. Slowly, she began to drift off as the demon closed his red eyes, using his extraordinary senses to check on the condition of the house. The midwife was leaving the kitchen holding a steaming mug of early-brewed coffee before her as she headed toward the staircase. It was time to return his little master to her cradle. Standing softly, the demon and the baby disappeared in another fresh swoosh of air, and one story downward, through the open window, a tall, black-clad man could be seen tucking the baby back into bed. Knowing that he had not yet absorbed enough of her light to grant him continued reprieve from the flames of his eternal curse, the demon kept his hands locked around the baby's fleshy arms until he absolutely had to let go. Bending over the still body of the child, he whispered, "Sleep well, my master. It would make me very happy if you would keep your soul open to me. Be a good girl." Finally releasing her, the figure of the man hunched over the crib bars, twisting and convulsing in pain as the flames flared up again. A single groan arose from somewhere deep inside him, and the baby girl opened her eyes and stared at the demon as he suffered. Perhaps used to touching him by now, one of her tiny hands came up unexpectedly, and patted her visitor on the face. Chuckling stiffly, the demon gave her a fang-toothed smile as he leaned in to her touch, allowing it to seep inside him, trying to internalize its power….
The next moment, the midwife swung open the door, and beheld the scene exactly as she'd left it. The rocking chair was still, the crib glowing in moonlight, the window closed. Ambling over to the cradle, she leaned in and saw the baby sleeping exactly as she had left her, her doughy face still and silent. She walked back over to the rocking chair and sat down, taking generous sips of her coffee as she watched the moon and waited for daybreak. Outside the house, the black cat slid back down the wall silently, landing into his old spot in the grass. After he had paced back and forth in front of all the windows, and concluded that nothing was going on inside, the cat leaped onto the pathway wall and stared in silence up at the window through which slumbered his new, strange master. He thought of her bright little soul, and how odd it was that even though she'd just acquired a soul of her own, she had been so willing to share its light with him. Yes, she definitely had promise. Inside, the demon was aware that all that this whole night entailed was merely another birth of another, regular human, but….even so….
Puzzled at his inability to finish that sentence, the cat tilted his black-furred head to one side and proceeded to wait for the morning, with the hope that he might be allowed back inside to begin to take care of his new little master. She had a frayed, tumultuous youth ahead of her, this the demon knew well, but for now he did not begrudge her sleep and the ignorance it brought. Let her be a child for as long as she could. The demon already belonged to her, and soon, she would belong to him in kind.
Overhead, the sky was awash with the faraway points of stars. They shimmered and whispered to each other as the demon, deaf and blind to such things as a part of his curse, sat outside and stared at the one light which he could behold, the tiny little seedling of his master's soul.