Her Butler Waterlogged
Her Butler, Waterlogged
Summary: Grell tries to deal with a clogged sink at Madame Red's manor … unfortunately, he had never even heard of that problem before.
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to whoever owns the rights to Black Butler.
"Being a butler is such hard work, ah…" Grell sighed dramatically as he managed to place the last wet and sparkly clean plate on the drying rack. Through some miracle he had managed to avoid breaking a single one; a new record and he felt proud of his new accomplishment. Usually he broke something, whether it was a plate, saucer, bowl or teapot but this time the washing had gone smoothly. Madame always forgave him, of course, but he hated feeling like such a klutz in his human form. It was hard to take when in his Shinigami form he could effortlessly leap from rooftop to rooftop feeling light as a feather and now the cruel gravity kept pulling at him.
Reaching into the sudsy water, he pulled the stopper out of the sink. The water gurgled, made a few bubbles and then stopped.
Grell blinked his green eyes behind his plain eyeglasses, staring at the sink full of water in confusion. "Why isn't it going down…?"
It always went down before…
It was supposed to go down, to wherever used water went. Being a Shinigami he had no idea where used human water went… a river maybe? But wherever it was supposed to go, clearly it was not going there at all. And that clearly was a problem, his problem. "Ah, being a butler is so complicated! Nothing ever goes as it should it seems, with it being one tragedy after another…"
He reached into the sink, feeling around to see if he had left a dish or something under the sudsy water, something that might block the drain…but it was just the sink and the soapy water. He then poked his finger into the drain hole as far as it would go and didn't feel anything in there, either. "Well, there is nothing in the drain hole, so why oh why doesn't it go down?"
Grell tapped a finger on his chin as he thought about the unusual problem, but no obvious cause or solution came to mind. "I have to go do my reaping soon. Maybe it will have gone down when I return? I really do hope I haven't managed to kill the sink! Madame Red might get mad about that as surely sinks are not as easily to replace as plates or teapots!"
Leaving the sink full of water, he hurried upstairs to go grab his chainsaw so he could go collect the souls listed on his To Die List. When he returned four hours later in bloody clothes and carrying a bloody chainsaw, he glanced at the kitchen sink hopefully but his face soon fell. "What? It's still full of water? How am I supposed to clean my death scythe now? Unless I could use the same soapy dishwater..?"
Grell stepped closer to the sink but his nose soon wrinkled as an unpleasant odor hit him, something a tad different and perhaps worst than the familiar odor of blood and death. "Eeewwww, the water stinks!"
It was obvious he'd have to do something with the stinky water, but what? An idea then flashed through his mind, lighting up his green eyes. Dropping the bloody chainsaw onto the kitchen table, he hurried to get the bucket. Soon he had the bucket full and he dragged it outside, dumping the water onto Madame Red's flower beds along the side of the house. He was supposed to water them anyway so…
A few buckets full of water later, the large sink was empty and he was wiping his now sweaty brow. Who knew water could be so heavy? It was really ridiculous! "I hope it fixes itself during the night, as a lady can't be hauling buckets of water outside each time she uses the sink! And now I have to clean up that trail of stinky water on the floor, too! It is going to ruin my perfect nails and I still need to wash the blood out of my hair…"
The kitchen floor dry, Grell went upstairs to go take his relaxing bath and to clean his precious death scythe. Finally, after what seemed forever, he managed to crawl into bed in his red nightgown, his long hair braided.
The next day came all too early and he forced himself out of bed to go play butler again. He picked up his plain eyeglasses, frowning at them with a few shark teeth showing. "The things I put up with playing butler, these horrid plain glasses and the dreadful brown hair…but at least she appreciates me more than William does! He is so cruel, hitting me in the head with his hedge trimmers and dragging me about by my hair! I should protest one of these days…not that he ever listens."
All too soon he discovered the sink still was not working. He tapped his foot impatiently as he once again waited for the water to go down but of course it did not. He gripped the edge of the sink, staring at the small pool of water that just sat at the bottom of the sink basin. There was no gurgling, no bubbles, nothing at all. "Oh, what's the matter with you, you stupid sink? Even a child can use a sink! One fills it with water and when you remove the stopper, it goes down!"
So why wasn't it going down?
Grell gritted his teeth, annoyed. He would have to haul more buckets of water now! He thought of asking Madame Red but then his cheeks grew red at the thought. It would be so embarrassing! She would surely think he was some sort of idiot if he couldn't use a sink! Sebastian? No, that would be even more embarrassing! But then whom could he ask?
He thought about the sticky situation as he brewed Madame Red her tea and prepared some toast. Luckily, it wasn't burned too badly and looked like it might be edible if he scraped the worst black spots off with a knife. Some bright red raspberry jam would hide the rest and cover up the taste. No way could he make scones or bake anything for that matter. Luckily the Madame was very patient with him. He often saw humor dancing in her eyes and she truly seemed happy with him, blunders and all.
Their nightly bloody rampages made up for it all…
Madame Red was the only woman he had ever met that enjoyed blood as much as he did.
He served her the breakfast he had made and stepped back as she ate it, hoping that it was good enough for her. He clasped his fingers together before him but he could feel them twitching nervously as she tried the tea. His heart was in his throat as he watched her taste it and then sighed in relief as she drank more. He didn't understand why it mattered to please her so much when she was just a mere human and he a death god…if the other death gods knew he was playing butler to a mortal they would surely laugh in his face.
They were so cruel.
He watched her eat the toast, his feelings soaring skyward when she complemented him on doing a good job. It made him feel good to know he was improving, but what to do about that sink? Maybe he could ask someone at the office after he dropped Madame Red off at the hospital where she worked?
Soon he was back to his glorious self with his shining red hair flowing to his knees and his lovely red eyeglasses, his shark teeth perfectly white. He strolled into the office on a breeze of perfume and face powders, making his trademark 'I love you' sign to his coworkers with one black gloved hand. "Hello my darlings! It is another beautiful day, is it not?"
A few muttered replies greeted him, the loudest being from his sometimes partner, Ronald Knox. He eyed Ronald for a moment, pondering if he should ask him about the sink issue, but quickly dismissed it. Ronald was too young to know of such complicated things and spent all of his free time going on dates with secretaries.
And William was out. The man knew nothing but rules and regulations! No doubt he would say he was breaking another rule by breaking the sink and then he would get brought up on more charges! The less Will knew the better.
That only left Alan and Eric. Alan was nice and easy going but sort of quiet, maybe due to that sickness he had. Eric seemed to have a harder edge about him, so maybe he was the better choice? Grell bit his lip, uncertain about asking them at all but he needed to find a solution soon or he'd be hauling buckets of water forever! Flipping his hair behind his back with a hand, he set off for the desk the two men were gathered at. "Hello Eric! Hello Alan! I was wondering if a lady could ask you an important question…?"
"Of course, Grell, you can ask us anything." Eric replied with a grin.
"What do you do if the water doesn't go down in your sink?" Once the question was out of his mouth, he could feel his face heating up with embarrassment.
Eric chuckled as he leaned back in his swivel chair. "First now you get a clogged sink drain, after all of these years? I would think with hair like that, you'd have it clogged all the time…"
"Hair?" Grell clutched some of his long red tresses and stared at it, utterly confused. What did his hair have to do with standing water in the kitchen sink?
"Yeah, your hair." Eric confirmed as he pointed a finger at it. "Some of it falls out when you wash it and it goes down the drain…"
Grell's green eyes grew wide with horror. "It falls out?"
"Of course it does!" Eric replied with a laugh, apparently enjoying himself. "Why else would the drain be clogged?"
"But my lovely hair, it cannot be falling out!" The very idea sent chills down his back and not the good kind, either. It was a nightmare! His red tresses were a part of him, one of the most important parts! "It's that horrid Will, always pulling on it! I'll kill him if I start…"
"Going bald." Eric laughed.
"It's not funny!" Grell hotly protested as his cheeks turned as red as his hair. "It is so cruel to laugh at a lady, especially one in distress!"
"You should eat more fish, eggs, beans and raisins." Alan suggested helpfully, a calm look on his face. "They're supposed to be good for your hair…"
"The lot it did for your thinning hair!" Eric laughed as he playfully poked Alan on his shoulder gently.
"At least one of you has manners!" Grell hotly replied as he made a mental list of the foods that Alan had been kind enough to list. "But what to do about the sink?"
"That's easy." Eric replied as he waved a hand, dismissing the problem as anything serious. "I fix mine all the time due to Alan's hair loss…"
"Hey!" Alan protested unhappily. "I am not losing my hair!"
"Sure you are. Why else would I be hauling big wads of hair out of the drain, err? It's certainly not my hair!" Eric ran a hand through his thick bushy hair, a smug look on his face. "Anyway, you get a metal clothes hanger, straighten it out, make a little hook on the end and shove it down your drain. Move it about in there a bit and then pull it back up. You should have a big thick wad of hair. But it'll look nasty, so I warned you."
A sigh of relief escaped Grell's soft lips at the ease of the solution. Then a thought occurred to him. "But isn't a drain pipe long? Surely that wire won't go very far…?"
"Trust me," Eric said with a confident grin. "All of that hair will be just in that "U" shape right under the sink. It's as easy as baking a cake!"
"Is baking a cake easy?" He had always thought it would be hard, so many ingredients! And Sebastian hadn't dared let him try to cook anything but tea at Ciel's house…hmmm. And now, dear God, he would have to cook fish! He had no idea how that was done! If he wanted fish, he just got it from a restaurant and now to cook the nasty slimy things himself…eeewww.
"Nothing to it." The other death god replied with a wide grin.
"Thank you, my dears! I must be off as my fans await!" Grell hurried off to his office, his heels clicking on the floor. Upon reaching his office, he sighed at the huge stack of paperwork that waited for him. Why oh why must he do paperwork? All of the writing made his poor hand cramp up and he was sure it was ruining his nails. Settling down behind his desk, he pulled out a hand mirror from his desk drawer and tried to peer at his head, running his painted red fingernails through his thick hair. It was still thick, was it not? Or was it starting to thin like Eric had suggested? "But I'm only one-hundred years old! That is no time for a Shinigami to be going bald! Why, the horrors of it!"
Not really seeing anything noticeable in the mirror, he placed it back in his desk drawer and decided to repaint his fingernails. That and a decadent box of chocolates always made him feel better.
The day went by quickly and for once he did not get yelled at by William, as he had managed to actually turn his papers in on time. Popping off to the human world, he changed his appearance and went to pick Madame Red up at the hospital. He drove the carriage home and set about making some supper or he would try to.
Dashing upstairs, he stole a clothes hanger from an empty guest room and untwisted it. Making a little hook on the end was a lot harder than he had thought but he managed that as well. Approaching the kitchen sink, he stared at it with trepidation. He felt unsure if he should actually try Eric's solution, as the idea had occurred to him that the bit of metal might get stuck in the pipe somehow and then what would he do? And what it Eric had lied to him? He had been laughing more than anything else, so what if it was all some big joke?
But he had to try something…
And the other death god did seem to know what he was talking about…
And so he jabbed it down the drain pipe, a sharp tooth biting at his bottom lip uncertainly. It didn't go very far down at all and seemed it hit something almost immediately. He twirled it around, moving the metal this way and that and after a few short minutes hauled it back up. To his relief, it came up right away but there was nothing on the end of the hook! Well, not hair anyway… it did seem to be coated with some nasty black slime that smelled just awful! "A lot of good that did! I should have known there was no hair in the kitchen sink! But I couldn't exactly tell Eric it was a sink at a human's house, could I? He probably thought it was the bathroom sink in my apartment in the Shinigami Realm…Ah, what to do now?"
Grell assembled some sandwiches from baked ham, cheese and various vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce. The cooked ham and the bread had been purchased, of course, because he had no idea on how to roast meat yet or bake bread. But sandwiches were easy enough to make and so was a salad. For desert he mixed some fresh berries with yogurt he had bought on the way home. It was simple but Madame Red said it was healthy as well. After making the tea, he served her the meal and she was pleased with it and that made him happy.
After doing the dishes and hauling yet more buckets of water outside to pour onto the flower beds, he left early to go see Undertaker. He recalled how Ciel had gone to see the strange man about the murders and he seemed to know things. Maybe, just maybe, he knew about clogged sink drains too?
"Undertaker, are you here?" Grell called uncertainly as he stepped into the elderly man's business that sold coffins and fixed up dead bodies. Dead bodies, of course, didn't bother him at all. He was wearing his usual Shinigami outfit of white dress shirt, red-and-white striped tie, dark waistcoat, black pants, his red-and-black heeled boots and a black jacket, his long red hair trailing down his back. Standing straight, he gazed about the room but only saw several coffins. With hand on hip, he sighed. "It's just my luck! No one's here!"
A coffin creaked open and a hand with long black fingernails appeared.
"Hehehehehe, did someone call my name?" Undertaker said as he emerged from inside the coffin. "I was just taking a restful nap. Do you by chance stop in to purchase a coffin, young Shinigami? They make very restful beds you know…"
Grell grimaced at the thought. "I prefer my red silk sheets!"
"The insides can be red if you want…" Undertaker replied as he opened the coffin wider to show off the nice insides he had made. "It can even be cushioned for an extra fee!"
"No, I just don't need one…" Grell waved it off with a flick of his black gloved hand. "Do you by chance know how to fix a clogged kitchen sink drain? There is apparently some horrid black gunk in it!"
"Hehehehehehe…" Undertaker giggled as he nodded his head, his long silver hair moving with him. The man's eyes were hidden by long bangs and a scar ran across part of his face, just visible right below the bangs. "Of course I do! But there will be a fee if you want the answer!"
"I don't want to hear anything about sticking a wire down the pipe, either!" Grell warned as his yellow-green eyes flashed. "It is so hard for a lady to get reliable help these days!"
"Well, I promise a solution that will work!" Undertaker promised as he moved to a tall bookcase at the side of the room. "In fact, I got the perfect thing for you right here, in this little bottle!"
"Really?" Grell eyed the tiny bottle hopefully, really wanting it to work. "Do you want the usual fee?"
"Of course! Laughter is the best medicine, don't you think?" The elderly Shinigami sat down on a handy coffin and waited patiently.
The redhead tried to think up something funny, but he just wasn't confident with making up jokes. He was better with romance and quoting Shakespeare and not funny stuff. Madame Red and her friends laughed at all sorts of things but he just didn't see what was funny about any of it. Mostly they just gossiped about people he had never heard of, humans that would most likely be dead in a few decades anyway. Then he recalled how Eric had been laughing like crazy that morning and a bit of hope bloomed within him. "I'm going bald?"
"HAHAHAHAHAHA!" Undertaker laughed as he pointed a shaking finger at the redhead, tears leaking down his face. "A Shinigami going bald, that's the craziest thing I ever heard! Who thought that up?"
"Eric…" Grell replied honestly.
"He must still think he's human!" The retired death god laughed as he tried to gasp for air. "Maybe he needs his brain checked! I'd be glad to look at it here in my lab!"
Grell accepted the small black bottle, looking at it with curiosity. "What do I do with it?"
"Just pour it down the sink drain, but carefully!" Undertaker warned in a serious tone, the laughter gone. "It's strong stuff! Don't get it on your skin or you'll be seeing bone! Only in the drain, mind you, not the sink itself!"
"Thank you, Undertaker! You are a real dear!" Grell stuck the bottle into his pocket and hurried off to do his nightly reaping. He finished it quickly and then ran on the rooftops back to Madame Red's house. Soon he was there and he easily jumped off of the roof to land on the sidewalk in the yard. A bad smell greeted his nose but he dismissed it, thinking it was blowing on the wind from somewhere. He went inside and took off his black coat, tossing it over a chair. Truthfully, he had been eying Madame Red's red coat and really desired that one instead of his black one. It would look so much better on him!
Red was to die for!
The little bottle in hand, he went up to the sink and unstopped it carefully. Holding it over the drain, he poured the strange water-like stuff down into the drain. A horrible stink came fourth, the worst smell he had ever smelled in his immortal life and he stumbled backward, fanning the air desperately with his free hand. To his utter horror, white smoke was rising out of the sink and his precious eyes were burning from the ungodly scent that was rapidly filling the kitchen. He raced to open the back door and then all of the windows, his heart racing inside his chest as if he had ran all day. "Oh, what if that stuff just ruined the sink? Madame Red will murder me! I do not like that smoking at all, as surely that is not a good sign?"
The smoke slowly vanished as did the awful stink.
Grell breathed easier and cautiously approached the sink. Peering within, he thought it looked normal. "Maybe it's OK after all…? A lady can only hope!"
He turned the water on and waited with held breath to see what would happen…
After ten minutes that had stretched on for eternity, he breathed a huge sigh of relief. The water was going down like normal and the floor was staying dry as well. He even opened the cabinets under the sink and looked at the pipes there, that "U" shaped ones that Eric had mentioned. "It's all dry! That was the easiest solution ever!"
Happy that he had fixed the problem on his own, he picked up his bloody chain saw and a book on cooking to head upstairs. He would read some recipes while soaking in the tub. "Tomorrow for breakfast I will be bold and cook the Madame some eggs, as I do not want to go bald like Alan is…"
The morning came and Grell found himself hard boiling some eggs, which in his opinion was a pretty serious step. Yes, eggs were one step away from cooking meat, was it not? At least by boiling them whole he didn't have to try to crack a raw one open and get goo and shell bits all over everything. And on the way home he would pick up a fish and try to fry it. That one place he visited had fish nuggets that were already cut into chunks. He would just have to roll it in some flour and a little seasoning, and then fry it. Truthfully, that sounded easy enough except for the fact he had never fried anything in his life.
Hopefully he would not set the house on fire…
To be safe, he checked his To Die List and did not see Madame Red listed, so apparently his planned fish frying would go OK tonight. It gave him a little boost to his self confidence.
He set the breakfast on the tray and carried it out to the dining room.
"Grell, be a dear and go down into the basement and bring up a bottle of wine." Madame Red said as she studied her hard boiled eggs with interest. "Some of my friends will be coming over on the weekend and we need to let the wine breathe in the decanter."
"The basement?" Grell blinked at her in surprise.
"Yes, it's that door off of the kitchen. I'm sure you seen it. There's a wine cellar in the forward part of the basement. In fact, bring up a few bottles, two or three so I can entertain properly."
Grell bowed to his mistress and set off to find the basement. He found the door easy enough as well as a staircase going downward, however upon reaching the bottom of the stairs his feet splashed loudly into some sort of liquid. Bending over and lowering the candelabra he was carrying, he saw he was standing in a few inches of water. He grimaced at the sight, wondering where the water had come from. Was it from recent rain maybe? His face paled more than usual and he thought of the smoking liquid that he had poured down the kitchen sink. What if…?
No, surely Undertaker wouldn't give him stuff that would eat right through the pipe, would he? But that old man was crazy so who knew what he might do?
Grell sighed and turned around, heading back up the stairs. Once in the kitchen, he dried his boots off with a rag so he wouldn't leave wet tracks through the house and hurried back to the dining room. He stopped nervously in front of his mistress, his nerves jumping. He bowed politely. "Madame?"
"Yes, what is it Grell? Did you not find the wine?"
"I am sorry to say, Madame, but the basement seems to be flooded…" He admitted as he watched her with big round green eyes. "I… I'm afraid I'm clueless as to what to do."
"There are always problems with these old houses." She informed him calmly as she ate her boiled egg daintily. "They need a lot of upkeep as something is always falling apart it seems. I'm sure that wherever you live you don't have these mundane problems but here on Earth it is very common, especially with a house this old. Why don't you go see if Sebastian can lend a hand in fixing this? He seems very handy at that sort of thing…"
A thrill went through Grell at the demon's name.
But then he recalled that the demon didn't care for him too much and thought him hopeless as a butler. Oh well, at least he would have an excuse to go over there and talk to him now.
After driving Madame Red to the hospital, he drove the carriage to the Phantomhive Manor and politely knocked on the door. He was in his proper butler disguise of course, with his dark brown hair in a neat ponytail with a big red bow and his plain eyeglasses. He was waiting patiently to introduce the real Grell to Sebastian someday, but that would have to wait longer it seemed. Still, he knew the neatly dressed raven haired man was a demon due to his sulfur scent. Grell was slightly smarter and covered his own sweet reaper scent with perfume.
The door opened and Sebastian stood there, the usual blank expression on his face. "Yes? What may I do for you?"
"Madame Red politely requests your assistance with a flooded basement…" Grell informed him in a nice tone of voice, but just being this close to the man was making him nervous. "That is, if you have some time?"
"I shall go ask my master…" Sebastian replied smoothly as he invited the other man inside. "Wait here."
Grell waited in the parlor as he gazed up at the old paintings on the walls, trying to think up what he could say to the demon. But being in the house again brought back the beginning of his butler training and all of the horrible goofs he had made, like crashing into a wall with the serving cart and that incredibly embarrassing thing of turning trees into skulls. He had learned a lot since then but when next to Sebastian he felt like a total beginner as the other was so suave and confident.
"My Master has given me permission to accompany you." The demon stated as he reappeared a moment later. "Let us go and see to the problem."
They drove back to Madame Red's house and Grell let Sebastian in, showing him to the basement. They both stepped off into the water and the other man started to look around. Almost immediately he found the problem.
"Something has eaten through your drain pipe, allowing the waste water from upstairs to pool here in the basement." Sebastian said as he pointed out a badly eroded pipe on the ceiling that took a turn before vanishing into the floor. "It smells like some sort of acid, possibly the stuff used in cleaning skeletons."
Grell gulped, his eyes growing wider than normal as a guilty feeling built inside his chest. The demon was staring directly at him, those garnet eyes seemingly able to see right into his very soul. "I…"
"Have you been to see Undertaker," Sebastian asked in a cool tone, "Possibly to fix a clogged pipe?"
"Maybe…" Grell admitted sheepishly as his cheeks turned scarlet.
"There are better ways to fix clogged plumbing." The demon continued as he studied the damaged pipe for a moment. "Humans are always doing dumb things. You'd be amazed at what the servants under me stick in the plumbing. Even with constant supervision they manage to stick things in there that don't belong."
"Hu..humans?" Grell asked innocently as he could.
"Come Grell, we both know that neither of us is human." The demon continued as he once again turned those red eyes to the other man. "I have no idea why a reaper would be playing butler, but I'm sure you know why I am: a contract. You do realize, I hope, that the acid did not remove the clog further down your drain pipe…"
"Ah, I was afraid of that…" He sighed as he inched slightly closer to the demon. His yellow-green eyes looked hopeful and he wiggled his shoulders with excitement. "So how do you remove a clog? Come on, Sebastian, tell me the secret! I need to know!"
"Like this." Sebastian waved his white gloved hand through the air and the room was filled with the dark tingle of his demon powers. The pipe grew back together like magic, the water on the floor vanished and the basement floor even appeared to be dry and spotless. "I use my demon powers to fix things at the Phantomhive Manor as I have always done."
"But that's not fair!" Grell pouted unhappily as he stared at the result of the demon's obvious magic. "I can't do that!"
"Then I suggest you learn how." The demon replied. "I'm sure someday humans might discover a solution for clogged plumbing, but I find that my powers work best and can easily repair all sorts of major catastrophes."
"But how am I supposed to learn when I'm not a demon?" Grell cried unhappily as he followed the raven haired man upstairs.
"Perhaps by taking a spell course and continuing your education?" The demon paused to glance at his pocket watch. "You're lucky you don't have any other servants working under you, as you won't believe the foolish things they do. Baldroy likes to cook with explosives and often blows up the kitchen and May-Rin would wax the floor with shoe polish if I don't watch her…"
"Ah, if only that were possible for me to take a spell course!" Grell cried as he followed the demon outside with a dreamy look on his face. "But until then, I shall have to call on you to help fix these things!"
"Yes, I suppose so." The demon replied as he stood on the front walk for a moment. "I can only presume you are improving in your butler abilities."
"Yes, I believe I am." Grell admitted with a smile. He threw a hand over his forehead in a dramatic fashion. "But being a butler is such hard work and there are so many things I need to learn and now you're talking about casting magic spells! Ah, where will it end?"
"I suggest you learn planting flowers next." The demon stated dryly. "Your flower beds are dying from the sink water you poured on them…"
"It is like a Shakespeare play, one tragedy after another!"
He watched as Sebastian ran off to return to his own manor and then Grell went inside to change into his lovely Shinigami true self. Glancing at his pocket watch, he saw he was late for work by about an hour. He arrived at work a bit later to see an angry Will glaring at him.
"Sutcliffe, where have you been?"