I have decided to put together a mesh of Black Butler short stories that will contain both the manga and the anime. Most will center around Ciel and Elizabeth but there with be a few that stray to other characters. This particular story has been stuck in my mind for years now and I have been constantly looking for an excuse to write it and Black Butler is that perfect excuse. I hope you enjoy.
Summary: Years have passed and Elizabeth has grown to be a beautiful young woman of sixteen. She is bubbly, carefree and innocent. And it is for this particular reason that her dear aunt Perdita has come to visit. Perdita believes that a woman should hold power over her man but in a way that is not intirely noticable. So, before her niece's wedding, she intends to take her on a journey to the most glamorous courtesans of Europe to learn their feminine wiles. As she travels with her Aunt from Italy to Egypt and Paris, from Persia to Rome and America, several lessons are learned and Elizabeth is tested beyond her wildest imagination.
When the time comes for her to marry, Elizabeth is driven by her newfound powers to be the best wife she can for her beloved Ciel. Little does he know of the surprises she has in store for him.
The Edge of Propriety
It was a particlarily chilly November morning when the sturdy horse drawn carriage pulled up to the Phantomhive manor. The driver stepped from his perch and deftly opened the carriage door; a finely gloved hand extended from the dark interior. Elizabeth Middleford emerged from the carriage, a solemn expression painted upon her normally joyuos features as she was led to the manor entrance where a darkly clad butler awaited.
"Welcome Miss Elizabeth, Master Ciel has been informed of your visit and will be with you shortly, he asks that you wait in the study for him. May I offer you some tea while you wait?" He asked as he led her down the great hall towards the study. Elizabeth smiled slightly and shook her head as she stepped into the room. "No thank you, Sebastian, I won't be here that long, as I have a previous engagement I need to attend."
Sebastian nodded and watched as she went to stand beside the window. "I will inform the master." He said as he left, the door clicking quietly behind him. Elizabeth sighed as she pressed her forehead to the cool glass. A slow drizzel began to fall outside and ominous clouds gathered overhead as if sensing her mood. She reflected over the reason for her visit and though she had cried out all her tears beforehand, she could not help the tight constriction of her chest as the feeling of sadness washed over her. In the corner of the study a grandfather clock chimed eight times and she began to fret because she knew she didn't have long. If Ciel didn't hurry she would have to seek him out. Then, he would be angry with her. Suddenly her fears were set at ease as the familiar click of the study door opened and Ciel stepped into the room. He stared at her expectantly as she turned away from the window to face him. "Elizabeth, how are you?" He shut the door behind him and walked towards her. "Sebastian told me you didn't have long?" Ciel pondered on her sad expression and grew worried when she smiled sadly at him. "Ah, yes... my Aunt Perdita came to visit us a few days ago. I am to be going away with her for a while." Ciel went to stand beside her and now, even without heels, seemed to loom over her like a giant. She smiled, for now she could wear the heels she so desperately craved in her youth. "Going away, for how long?" He asked as he grasped her elbow and led her to sit in a chair. He turned and seated himself opposite of her, resting his elbows on his knees and peering curiously at her. She frowned and turned away from him and her fingers began pulling absently at her bodice strings. Ciel's brows furrowed and he reached to pull her hands into his own. "How long, Lizzy?"
She smiled bitterly. "I don't know, but it will be before our designated marriage age. So maybe two or three years? She really didn't say." Ciel stared at her in shock. "Why? Where are you going?"
"Perdita says I am to travel around the world with her to study the 'womanly arts'. She says it's essiential for a girl if she's to be married. I suppose she wants to change me." Somehow, when she had thought she'd cried all she could, a tear slipped over her cheek and she felt the warm brush of Ciel's thumb as he wiped it away. "Lizzy, I..." There came a knock from the door and Ciel dropped her hands and leaned back into his seat. "Yes?"
Sebastian entered and placing a gloved hand over his chest, bowed his head slightly towards them. "The Countess Perdita Middleford awaits you in the foyer Miss Elizabeth." Then he left.
Elizabeth sighed as she stood and brushed the invisible dust from her skirts. Ciel stood as well and watched her. "Well, I'll be seeing you soon...Ciel." She smiled.
"Yes, see you soon, Lizzy." He said as he walked her to the door. For a moment she paused and faced him reluctantly. He stared at her worried because she looked as if she wished to say more but could not bring herself to do so. Then she stared at him, her green eyes boring into his own, tracing the contours of his face as if to preserve it to memory.
"Lizzy...?" He was cut short as she raised slowly on her tip toes, her hands braced on his shoulders and kissed him lightly. He stood frozen, unsure what to do, until she pulled away and whispered in his ear, "goodbye Ciel."
Then she turned and left.
He watched as her carriage pulled away from his manor and dissappeared over the horizon.
The shrill cry of the steamboat's whisle made her jump in her seat and her aunt turned to look at her. Perdita sighed and patted Elizabeth's hand. Such a frail girl, her niece was, but Perdita knew that she wasn't weak in any means. At sixteen her niece was a skilled swordswoman, strong and brave and loyal beyond belief to those she loved but the girl was dreadfully ignorant she found in the ways of womanhood. As had been pounded into her head since she was a child, she was petite and frail, cute and innocent, but in the ever changing world an ignorant girl would be diminished quickly as Perdita had found out the hard way.
But Perdita did not plan to change her niece into the hard amazon her mother was, nor the soft-spoken child she is now, no she planned to change her into a woman fit for her station.
"By the time I will have to leave you, my dear, you will be well equipped with the knowledge of almost every art and artifice that the female sex has had to learn and use to gain their ends from time immemorial. And you have so far managed to keep your mind detached enough to use your weapons effectively." Perdita said as she ran nimble fingers through the girl's golden tresses.
Elizabeth gazed at her aunt. She was slim and frail but looks can be decieving because Elizabeth knew very well that her aunt was strong, cunning and witty. A true Femme Fatale. Only, Perdita was a very kind woman, sweet, like chocolate and cool like cream. Elizabeth thought her to be very queen like with her wavy red-brown hair that pulled back into an elegant braid and her peircing green eyes.
Elizabeth frowned and turned away.
"You will see in time my love, it is all for the best." Perdita chided.
"Am I your love?" Lizzy asked turning to her.
Perdita went to stand behind her and began braiding her hair. "I would dearly love you to be."
"My mother hates you." It was true, because her father held his dear sister in such high regard Elizabeth could say that her own mother was severly jelous and hateful towards her aunt.
Perdita finished her braiding and went to sit in front of Elizabeth. "Well that my dear... As women we control so little of our destiny. Men do."
"And?" Elizabeth retorted.
"The outcome is, we hate eachother. But we should not."
"Who should we hate then? Men?"
Perdita almost laughed but it came out more as a forlorn sigh. "No my love... it's in our nature to love them." Perdita lowered her eyes as if she were deep in thought and Elizabeth thought she looked very sad in that moment. "But we should protect ourselves against them... against our feelings towards them."
Elizabeth stared at her aunt confused. What did she mean?
"We will all of us one day be replaced." She said as she stood and walked over to the armoir. "Ciel would never replace me." Elizabeth argued even as her aunt approched with a soft satin night gown.
"Let us certainly hope so." Perdita slipped the gown over the girl's head and brushed away the wrinkles. Then she led her to bed. "What weapons do I have?" Lizzy asked as she lay back into the pillows.
Perdita paused to stare at her. "Your beauty."
Elizabeth smiled. "Is that a weapon?"
"It can be deadly, when well used." She sighed and sat on the edge of the mattress. "But beauty doesn't last forever. Gone, like the snows of last year."
"When beauty fades... your wit. Your intelligence." Perdita smiled and tucked a loose strand behind the girl's ear.
"And I have those weapons?"
"Oh in abundance. You should cultivate them." Perdita's smile fell. "You will be married some day, you may need them, sooner than you think."
Reaching for the kerosene lamp beside her bed, Perdita blew it out then kissed her niece's forehead. "Goodnight darling."
When she had gone, Elizabeth reached into her bedside drawer and pulled out a golden locket with a long gold chain. The locket itself had been a birthday present from Ciel many years prior, shaped in the form of a rose bud, but inside lay a more recent picture of him. He sad rigid, with no smile and his hair tousled around his eyes. His patch set in place hiding his right eye. He didn't look angry, just stern, tired, but even though he didn't smile in the portrait, she still found him attractive. She sweetly kissed the picture and closed the locket, placing it around her neck to lay agaist her heart.
And that's where it would stay for the next three years.
Year 1, Month 2
Elizabeth shivered and pulled her shawl closer around her shoulders. The darkly painted walls felt like they were closing in around her and she felt most out of place, but even so, she put on a brave face for her aunt who stood to one side of her. They were in Italy, more specifically in an upper class Italian Brothel. An Italian courtesan and close friend of her Aunt's named Francesca walked on her other side.
The two older women talked aimlessly but now Francesca turned to Elizabeth and stepped beside a dark curtain. "But now this is what I really wanted to show you." Francesca paused so suddenly that Elizabeth almost bumped into her. "There is a curtain here which I will draw aside to reaveal another kind of stage. I tell you this before because you must know that neither you nor I can be observed from the other side of what appears to be a wall of mirrors. So, now you will see my private theater and enjoy the performance that is offered tonight, I hope. This is the room to which my young ladies bring the men they choose. And they do so with the understanding that should I, or any personal guest of mine so choose...Ah!" Francesca's soft throaty laugh suggested infinite possiblilities before she said: "If you should like to join the two on the bed or take the woman's place, the choice is yours, of course! And I will even promise you privacy from all prying eyes, even my own!"
"Ah, but that will not be necessary, Francesca dear, my dear Elizabeth is merely here to observe and learn. "Oh, very well."
Francesca began to draw aside the curtain with short tugs on a velvet cord, revealing at last a stage set of mirrors lighted by crystal lamps that hung from gold chains in every corner of the enormous room. Dominating everything else was the only item of furniture in the particular chamber of Venus; a bed so large it could have easily accomodated three couples at one time on it's sheets of soft, oyster-colored velvet that almost seemed to glow.
A performance indeed! Without her realizing it, Elizabeth's fingers had suddenly tightened against eachother while her eyes dialated. Why, this was almost like looking through a shopwindow! But with a great difference, for these were no shopmaker's dummies swathed with lengths of material.
Both naked, they sat opposite eachother, the man's sunbrowned back to the mirror while the young woman faced it. She was quite lovely, with smooth ivory skin and long red-gold hair that fell in waves over her back. Leaning slightly forward her full, red lips parted and her hair covering just enough of her breasts to make her pose even more provacative as she deliberately invited the caress of the fingers that pushed aside strands of hair to find crimson peaks which seemed to quiver as the woman's breathing quickened. Her hands clutched fiercely at his shoulders as she whispered something and almost flung her body agaist her dark-haired partner, straddling him while her ivory pale legs wrapped themselves about his hips.
"She is always hungry and impatient, that Lucrezia!" Francesca whispered at Elizabeth's side as the man brought his hands up to the young woman's shoulders and pushed her backward while she continued to cling to him, her hips moving and now arching upward to answer thrust with counter thrust.
Elizabeth could feel her face becoming hot as her own breathing quickened and her heart pounded rapidly against her ribcage. The bed became an arena as the couple, like lusty young animals, playfully grappled with one another and changed positions, the man moving onto his side first and then onto his back with his hands as dark as mahogany against the pale flesh of his partner's hips as he controlled her wild, writhing movements. At the next instant, Lucrezia had suddenly flung had flung her head so far back that the veins had become ridges against the arc of her throat, her mouth open and contorted as if she were in the throes of acute agony. And it was between the tauntly held moment and the next, when the woman let her body collapse limply forward over his that Elizabeth knew for certainty what the purely intuitive part of her mind had guessed from the very beggining; holding her rooted in place by a sick kind of fascination that forced her to watch the whole obscene ritual of abandoned depravity.
Year 1, month 6:
"You must never loose your temper, but rather stay cool and collected. Aways make them think you are one step behind when really you are a step ahead. And be observant. Always keep your eyes open to the world around you Elizabeth, for knowlege is a key factor in a woman's life." Perdita instructed as she sat before her niece as she was fitted for her gown. This month, they were in Egypt, and the weather was much more stifling than her home of London.
"Do not crowd you husband, men more often than not are not overly affectionate, it is our jobs to please them, but not smother them. If he is bothered by something then ask why. If he doesn't tell you, or if he is too upset, then give him time to settle, perhaps he will tell you in time. But if he doesn't, then there are other means to finding out."
"So you mean I am to spy on him?" Elizabeth retorted as she wiped the sweat from her brow.
"No, of course not, I mean inquire to the servants, watch his emotions. You must know him front to back, his habits, his hobbies, his likes and dislikes. Always remember this my dear, behind every great man, stands an even greater woman pulling the strings and you must be that woman. And dear Ciel is indeed a great man."
"But I don't want to control him!" Elizabeth cried flinging her arm to the side.
"Then don't think of it as control, think of it as guiding him." Perdita chided.
Elizabeth sighed, she wasn't going to win this fight.
"Now, you look beautiful."
Elizabeth turned to stare at herself in the mirror and gasped.
She wore a translucent skirt and a satine cloth wrapped around her upper waist. Her middrift lay bare save for the inticate black lines that were painted over her skin. Gold bangles adorned her arms in the shapes of snakes and beatles. Her hair lay loose around her shoulders and tumbled over her back. Only a loose translucent cloth covered her breast which had grown fuller in the past months. She appeared as an egyptian goddess standing high on a pedistal before her subjects.
"I have brought you to Egypt so that you may learn the ways of dance. Women in Egypt use dancing to entrance their men. Like witches, they cast spells with their bodies, pulling them in to make them subdue to their every will. May I introduce you to Nafratiri, she will be your instructor.
Like the woman's name implied, she was a 'Beautiful Creation'. With long black hair that flowed like water over her shoulders only stopping just below her hips. In her arms, lay a lith, darkly colored snake. She hummed an enchanting tune to the creature as she rubbed her cheek over it's head. It hissed as if in pleasure, a sound that calmed the woman's nerves until she was in a trance like state. She smiled at Elizabeth who shied away at the creature. Though she did not scream, such things were silly her mother had told her.
"Her skin is like water." Nafratiri whispered, her acent rolling over her tounge as if she herself were a serpant. "Her toung is fire." She smiled and grasped Elizabeth's hand to place against the velvety skin of the serpant. "She is your friend."
When she felt Elizabeth calm she smiled and extended her arms. "Take it."
Elizabeth stared at her hesitantly. "If you hesitate, she will strike."
Elizabeth allowed the woman to wrap the creature around her forearm and stared in awe at the magnificient creature.
"They are like people. You can love them for years, feed them, nurture them, but still, they can turn on you." Elizabeth glanced at her then ran soft hands over the snake's skin. "She's beautiful." Elizabeth breathed.
"She is your true teacher." Nafratiri said. Elizabeth turned to her confused.
"It is from the snake, we learn our dance. They move like water, but strike like lightening. Here, let me show you." Nafratiri took the snake from her and placed it in a woven basket, she then turned and picking up and instrument Elizabeth didn't recognize, began to play a slow tune. Slowly, the snake rose from the basket and weaved through the air, as if following the music. Dancing.
After a while, Nafratiri stopped and signaled to some men in the cornor to begin playing their own music. Nafratiri stood in front of her and grasped her wrists. "Raise your arms and let your body flow with the music. Feel it inside, as it caresses your body."
Elizabeth watched as Nafratiri closed her eyes and moved her hips slowly, rythmically to the beat of the drums and tamborines. As the beat picked up so did her dancing, she gyrated her hips in a circle, her flat stomache waving like water. The bangles on her wrists and ankles clashed together creating their own music.
As she opened her eyes she saw that Elizabeth wasn't dancing. "Come, I'll help you. Close your eyes." So, Elizabeth did. She felt Nafratiri's hands wrap around her belly as she pressed her body against her back. They began to move, swaying, jerking, thrusting, moving with the music. Elizabeth's heart pounded and she felt almost euphoric as the music and smell of incense enveloped her senses.
Nafratiri grasped her wrists and held them above her head, moving them in and erotic pattern as her own hands ran over the taunt muscles of Elizabeth's stomache. Elizabeth opened her eyes. Her aunt had left. But, as her senses were overloaded she felt she didn't care. Nafratiri turned her around to face her and they rubbed agaist eachother scandalously. She felt as Nafratiri's hands rubbed across her back then up over her shoulder blades, then, ever so gently brushed over the sheer fabric of her blouse. Her thumbs pressed agaisnt the taunt nipples, then caressed the sides of her breasts, tickling her. Elizabeth gasped and flung her head back. What was this feeling? She had never felt this warmth before. Smoke wafted through the air around them as Nafratiri led Elizabeth back into a curtained area and pushed her back into a bed of soft cushions. She felt her own hands caress over the egyptian woman's dark skin and in her smoke filled haze, didn't fight when the woman kissed her. In fact, she kissed her back revealing in the feeling.
Nafratiri's hands slipped lower until one disappeared beneath Elizabeth's skirt and it wasn't long until a startled gasp and then a low moan errupted from the girl's lips. Nafratiri pushed the fabric aside as she fondled her then brought her lips to her breasts. Suckling, nipping, pushing Elizabeth over the edge as her fingers pulsed inside her.
She arched her back and slowly felt a liquid heat coiling like a tight spring in her loins until she though she might burst. Then, Nafratiri pulled away and Elizabeth almost cried at the loss, but it was short lived as the heat was reaplace as the egyptian woman straddled her allowing their heat to merge into a single burning flame. Nafratiri gasped as she thrust against the girl, reveling in her pleasured moans of ecstacy.
"Ooohh, please, faster." Elizabeth breathed as she grasped Nafratiri's hands that massaged her breasts. She began to match her thrusts, and her moans turned into broken screams as she neared her breaking point, then suddenly, she shut her eyes tight and it seemed that stars had errupted behind her eyes. Her eyes shot open, dialated then closed again as she opened her mouth in a silent scream. Nafratiri collapsed beside he, and they lay together, shaking and breathing heavily. It wasn't until she had come down from her high, that Elizabeth realized with horror, exactly what she had done.