Disclaimer- I don't own Kuroshitsuji
"I still don't see why we need to attend. It's not like we don't see these people often enough."
"Her Majesty has requested our presence and we are at her disposal. If she wishes us to be at this party, then we will be at this party."
"Fine, fine," the young Earl Grey sighed boredly, waving a pale hand flippantly. His shaggy silver hair framed his face elegantly and his white and black ensemble was neatly pressed and obsessively clean. A polished sword hung low on his right hip and bounced off of his leg with each step he took. "Let's just hope the entertainment is worthwhile."
"I hear that there's a young woman who has been asked to sing by her majesty herself tonight, no one has any idea who she is, but she's supposed to be quite amazing," his companion replied. He was taller than his partner, but dressed quite similarly if not a bit less ostentatiously.
"Beautiful, too?" Grey smirked with an almost childish delight at the idea.
"Really, Grey, there are more important things than aesthetics."
The young man shrugged, not entirely convinced by his partner's lacking argument. "Perhaps, but those things are far less enjoyable, Phipps."
While his companion rolled his eyes and chose to refrain from replying he also pushed open a set of double doors that opened onto a balcony and a grand curving staircase. The staircase led to a large ballroom that was full of people in richly colored dresses and suits.
They had expected the grand room to be full of noise, of chattering and laughing, glasses clinking while toasts were exchanged over menial achievements, but instead the large, lavish room was oddly quiet. Except it wasn't. The sound of a string quartet floated up to him, their notes rising above the room and hovering there while beneath them a voice sang.
It was a woman, singing her portion of the song 'Death and the Lady', Grey had heard the song before of course, but never before had he heard it sung so beautifully, so hauntingly. He could feel a chill in his bones as goose pimples formed on his skin. He barely noticed that Phipps was already halfway down the stairs, he was mesmerized by the voice and he was searching out the owner of it just as every other person in the room was.
When his eyes finally found her, he couldn't help but to stare as their eyes seemed to meet despite the fact that she was clear on the opposite side of the large room. He thought he saw her smile, an angelic, innocent smile that was out of place in a room full of nobility and aristocracy that only smiled to gain something.
He remained transfixed at the top of the stairs, staring at the woman who was so pale she almost seemed to be glowing from within. Her snow white hair had been curled and pinned back simply, but gracefully and he thought he could see an odd strip of black hair pulled away from her crown, but it could easily have been a ribbon as well. She was dressed in a vibrant white gown, accented with fine black lace. The long white sleeves were reminiscent of the sleeves on his own coat, folded over and detailed with small silver buttons and black lining. The sleeves rose to a high neck that was secured with black ribbon. He thought the entire ensemble to be oddly similar to the uniforms that the Queen's private secretarial officers, such as himself and Phipps, wore.
When the song came to an end and she released the last note it took a few moments for the spell she had weaved over the crowd to break. When it did a thunderous applause filled the space with deafening noise. Cringing at the sudden din, Grey shook off the last remaining tendrils of the woman's haunting voice and followed after Phipps. They made their way through the crowd, greeting and chatting with those that noticed them until they were finally able to approach the high backed, padded chair that Queen Victoria herself sat in. The elderly woman was chatting with someone that they couldn't yet see and she appeared to be enjoying the conversation, it was one of the first times that Grey could remember seeing the woman smile since the loss of her husband.
He approached curiously, but when the Queen turned her attention to him, he kept himself from looking to see who she was conversing with so that he could properly greet her. Phipps bowed just as he did and they exchanged the usual, respectful greetings.
"Charles, and Charles, this is an old friend of mine," the Queen said, gesturing to the songstress in white and black that stood a few feet away. "Miss Alexis Blair."
"A pleasure to meet you, my lady," Phipps greeted the young woman, bowing at the waist and ducking his head respectfully. "I am Charles Phipps, an officer of Her Majesty the Queen."
She curtsied in response, smiling and replying, "Pleased to meet you as well, my lord." She turned to Grey then, a glimmer in her eye as she curtsied to him.
He bowed, realizing he hadn't yet done so, it was a bit sloppy, but he didn't really care. "Earl Charles Grey, milady." He noticed that the ribbon around her neck had a black cameo dangling from it with a side profile of the Queen herself on it. It was the exact same pendant the queen's secretarial officers wore over their hearts secured with a pin decorated with a white ribbon. He frowned, but said nothing.
"I do believe that I have had enough fun for one evening." The queen rose to her feet, letting a young man who wore sunglasses and a serious expression hold his arm out for so she could right herself and he could lead her out of the ballroom. "I believe we had a few things to discuss," she said looking back at both Phipps and Grey. "Would you be so kind as to accompany me? Alexis, my dear, you as well."
"Of course, Your Majesty," Alexis agreed. She folded her hands primly in front of herself, letting them rest on the skirt of her dress and began to follow obediently behind the queen.
Phipps stopped her with a respectful bow and offered her his arm. "If I may, my lady."
"Of course, thank you," she replied, smiling pleasantly as she let her arm become firmly wrapped around his.
Grey followed along behind them, eying the mysterious young woman that the queen was inviting to her personal chambers with a curious suspicion. The longer he looked at her the more beautiful he realized she was despite how simple he had thought her appearance. Her pale skin appeared to be free of any powder, but yet it almost seemed to glow with an other worldly light. Her cheek bones were softly angled and naturally tinged a pale pink. Her eyes he couldn't get a good look at, but they appeared to be a pale gray that nicely accentuated her pale, porcelain like skin. The strip of black he had seen in her hair proved to be a thin section of her hair that was a striking contrast to the rest. She walked with her shoulders back and her head held high, he could detect an air of nobility in her manner, but at the same time he sensed something else from her. Some kind of power that radiated from her entire being, he wasn't sure if it was threatening or not, but it was unsettling all the same.
He frowned. "What are you?" He asked without really thinking about the question.
Phipps and the young woman stopped. Phipps looked about to speak up for the woman, but she smiled as the queen spoke instead.
"That will all be explained soon, Grey, be patient."
The woman continued to stare at him a moment, a smile that said she was amused by his suspicion of her. He unconsciously rested his hand on the hilt of the sword at his side and narrowed his eyes as she turned away to be once again led along beside Phipps.
"I don't recommend drawing your sword, Earl Grey," Alexis said, not once turning to look back at him. "It would not end well for you."
His eyes flickered and his teeth scraped together.
They walked on in silence until reaching the rooms of the queen, entering into a parlor the queen sat herself down in a soft chair near the fireplace that had a small fire warming the large room.
Alexis took a seat on a couch to the queen's right while Grey and Phipps remained standing, as did the young man that had escorted Her Majesty. Grey didn't take his eyes from Alexis, but whether the woman noticed or cared he couldn't tell.
"Alexis, it is alright to call you that, isn't it? Or have you changed your name again, dear?" The queen asked.
"Your Majesty may call me whatever she wishes. My name is what you decide it to be."
"Ah, yes, well, I do forget some of the specifics of the contract."
"I am yours to use however you would like, Your Majesty. That's the most important part."
"How long has it been?" The queen wondered aloud. "Since you first began serving the royal family?"
"It's not the royal family that I serve, it's the current ruler of the country. The royal family has changed many times over the centuries after all, I wouldn't be here if I was contracted to the royal family I first served seeing as how I began serving over three-hundred years ago," Alexis answered easily.
"You mean your family, not yourself-"
"No, Lord Phipps," Alexis cut in with a slight smirk on her pink lips and a playful glimmer in her gray eyes. "I do not mean my family. My family would never have allowed the contract, which is why I entered into it, because as long as I am contracted I am of no use to them and I can be left mostly in peace."
"What are you?" Grey asked harshly.
"What would you like me to be?" She inquired, bemused.
"Now don't tease him, he's not one for demons or angels." The Queen said.
"No?" Alexis asked with a smile.
"If I can't run it through with my sword then-"
"It doesn't exist?" Alexis cut in, smiling when the earl twitched. "I assure you there are things you can run through with your sword, Lord Grey, that are not human but will take the shape of one. Not that it would matter, your sword wouldn't kill many of them. Myself included."
Taking this as a sort of challenge, Grey drew his sword in one fluid movement and soared through the air towards Alexis. Only she was no longer on the couch, she was beside Phipps with his sword held in her hand. She looked completely at ease as he flew at her, swiping, slashing, cutting, lunging. She blocked each move effortlessly and it only infuriated him more.
His movements sped up and he leapt over her, she blocked his sword but her skirts hindered her own movements and she scowled as he managed a cut across her cheek. She frowned at the blood that spilled from the cut as she touched her cheek with her fingertips and sighed.
"Impressive. It's been sometime since I've seen my own blood," Alexis muttered absently. "Usually I would be more than happy to allow you to have your way so I could prove my own point, but this is a new dress from Her Majesty and I have no desire to ruin it." With a flick of her wrist and a rustling of skirts, she smiled as she disarmed the earl and held the point of her borrowed sword against his neck. "You can run me through some other time, my lord, but I must assure you that I am not human. For now you're just going to have to take my word for it."
"And mine, as well. Alexis dear, leave the poor boy alone, it's not everyday someone learns that there are such things as as angels and demons," the queen scolded lightly.
Lowering the sword, she bowed her head to the Earl. "Forgive me, it seems I got carried away."
"So what are you exactly? An angel or a demon?" Grey asked skeptically.
She smiled as she returned Phipps's sword. "That's not as easy a question as one would think."
"Seems pretty straight forward to me," Grey replied haughtily.
Her smile grew. "I'm whichever one you'd like me to be. Though if it helps then I'll offer this; A demon will usually only ever enter into a contract with a human because they wish to devour their soul as sustenance. I have no need of souls."
I really shouldn't be doing this... Starting a new story while I still have five that are being neglected... -sigh- Well, this won't be getting updated often, but maybe now that it's out of my head and a chapter is posted I can focus on my other works.
Please review and let me know what you think, thank you!