Lady Keiko here...

Correction, this is the longest chapter I've ever written for TTLG. I'm so sorry everyone for taking so long but I've got real life to deal with and it be not pretty. Of course I am inspired by this story so I will finish it and soon. On a happier note, I can honestly say that I'm seriously excited to write the next chapter because something OMFG is gonna be happenin'. Seriously.

Also, I'm both impressed and amused by all the theories everyone seemed to have about Claude and Charity and the Mysterious Writer C. Funnier thing is that all but one of you guys are not even close to what I have planned [insert nefarious laugh here]. So now I'm left wondering how ya'll are gonna take this chapter :D As I said before, Mystery Arc is perfect for some character development so be warned my kiddies.

Another thing, if you wanna reach me or ask questions, I read and answer my pms so don't fear the button. I'll repeat that I'm mostly active on my DeviantArt account (yes, I'm an artist as well believe it or not) since I've got several things lined up. Do visit and see my art; I wanna know what you think XI. I also use my Twitter ( Lady_Keiko_Sama) to write nonsensical tidbits of my life and whatever else I'm doing (includes chapter updates, just so you know).

That's it, I suppose. Please do enjoy the chapter and leave a review :D They make me ever so happy, even if you've got a criticism; gotta be constructive, beau, because if its a flame, well, whatever, to each his own, but if its offensive, I'm deleting it /:T)

Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroshitsuji.

22. Too Much Drama Kills

"H-He's dead!" Arthur exclaimed in shock as he stared at the stiff unmoving body seated in the chair. His own body shook slightly as a cold chill began to settle in the room despite the heat from the fireplace. At that moment, Bard and Finny entered the room and reacted just like everyone else had once they spotted the unfortunate Mr. Siemens.

"I-Is this man dead?" Finny asked as he stared wide eyed.

"Yes," Arthur replied as Hero walked over to the corpse. "The hemorrhage from the chest wound was most likely fatal. I can't be certain because of how dark it is."

"Hold on a minute," Hero said as she peered closely down at the bloody wound. "Looks like death by stabbing. Of course he could still be alive."

"With that kind of wound?" Arthur doubted as he peered at the very much dead German banker.

"He's right, Girly Boy," added Grey as he stepped forward. "Looks very fatal."

"Still, just to be sure. I've seen situations like this," Hero told him as she suddenly grabbed Siemens's lapels. "Sometimes the victims are stunned or unconscious so you have to proceed gently and handle this very delicately."

"What—" Arthur began before he heard the sharp smack. He stared in shock as Hero slapped dead Mr. Siemen's cheeks so hard that they turned red. She kept doing it until the poor man's cheeks swelled up. It wasn't until Grey suddenly grabbed the girl from behind to separate the two of them up that Arthur remembered to breathe. "What was that?"

Hero eyed Grey who was still holding onto her waist. She looked back at Siemens then met Arthur's gaze with a smile. "Well we can safely say he's dead now."

"And you had to slap the corpse repeatedly for you to get the hint?" exclaimed a very upset Lord Hugho, who kept his distance from the four of them. Channings placed a hand on the man's shoulder to sooth him.

At that moment Ciel and Mr. Tanaka appeared. "I say, what on earth is the meaning of all this racket?"

"Ciel!" Hero called out.

"Young master," Sebastian greeted.

It was then that Ciel noticed the dead Mr. Siemens. "Lord Siemens!" He briefly exchanged looks between Hero and Sebastian, so brief no one noticed it.

"In any case, let's just leave things untouched as they are—" Grimsby said until Bard interrupted him.

"No. We should move the corpse right away," he explained calmly. "I don't wanna put it like this, fer the ladies present and all, but flesh rots faster than you might think. Even if we douse the fire now, the corpse'll go right off if it's kept by the hearth."

Irene looked pale as she clutched Grimsby's shirt. "Flesh…rots, you say?"

Arthur stood up. "He's right. I also believe that we should place the corpse in a dark cool place until the experts can examine it."

"Then let us relocate him to the cellar until the gentlemen of the yard arrive," Sebastian suggested to everyone. "Finny, bring a coat," he told the gardener who nodded and left. It wasn't long before he returned and with Bard's help, they cleared out the late Mr. Siemens from the room.

"But that won't be anytime soon now, will it?" Lau told everyone. They all looked at him. Lau chuckled as he parted the curtains of the room further. "I mean, have you seen this storm?"

Hero walked over to the window and whistled. "Man, it kind of looks the time Hurricane Katrina hit Florida. Killer weather."

"What! But that means we can't leave this place either doesn't it?" Woodley asked in panic.

"You only realized that now?" Lau and Hero said simultaneously. Hero smirked while Lau smiled innocently. "Anyways its fine, isn't it?" Lau continued. "We all planned on staying the night anyway."

"It's far from fine! A murder was just committed here!" Woodley reprimanded.

Lau smiled ominously. "Indeed. Right now, this manor is truly an isolated island in the middle of nowhere. Therefore, it's highly likely that the murderer is still inside the manor or within the grounds."

"Or perhaps I should say…" Grey added, looking quite serious at the gathered crowd. "Thinking it through logically, the murderer is one of us."

To say everyone was shocked was an understatement.

"Why must it be one of us? What kind of sick joke is that?" Grimsby exclaimed in outrage.

"Yes that's right!" Woodley agreed.

Arthur knelt by the fainted Phelps and Charity. He looked up. "They've got a point. First off, the majority of us have just met one another, and—"

"Ah!" Irene said suddenly.

Sebastian looked at her. "Miss Diaz?"

"When we arrived at the door to this room, it was locked, wasn't it?"

"Ah, now that you mention it, you're right miss. It was," Mey-Rin confirmed.

"Then someone could have entered the room from a window, and after locking the door to stall for time, escaped the same way they came, couldn't they?"

"But wouldn't you expect there to be footprints if someone came in from out of this downpour?" Grey pointed out as he checked the tall windows and found them locked. "And let's not forget, this room is on the second floor. The windows locked too."

Lau glanced over at the quiet Hero who stood beside Ciel, arms crossed. "Well Miss Hero? Don't you have an assessment to add? I do seem to recall your prowess as 'detective extraordinaire'? Or was that just all show?

"Detective?" Arthur repeated as he glanced at Hero who was giving Lau a look similar to "Watch it or I'll step on your foot". She sighed but smiled brilliantly at everyone.

"Ah, you're right, I am one! Ha! Silly me!" she admitted bashfully.

"Wait, you're telling me you're a detective?" Lord Hugho asked incredulously.

"Are you affiliated with the Yard?" Irene asked curiously.

"Nope. I'm something better than that. I work independently which means I actually solve my cases faster. Except for that missing sports car case. Never did know what happened to that car," she looked up to find puzzled faces. "ANYWAYS! From where this conversation is going, I'm going to save you all some time and say this is obviously a locked room murder case." Out of nowhere, Hero took out a deerstalker and placed it on her head while at the same time taking out a magnifying glass and pointing it at Sebastian. Where'd she get all that from? Did she have all that on her this whole time? Arthur asked himself. And why the hat? "From what I understand, aren't all the keys from the manor patterned differently when this place was first built and nearly impossible to make copies out of, right?"

Sebastian looked surprised, but confirmed her assessment.

"The keys must all be stored in a looked place and Sebastian being the butler would obviously know where it is and thus no one would be able to get the keys that easily. And so the only other conclusion that comes to mind is—" Hero pointed her magnifying glass at Ciel. "Take it away Ciel!"

"Eh? Oh, needle and thread," Ciel replied after his initial surprise. He yawned as boredom set in. "Honestly, you'd never hear the end of it from the public if an unsophisticated locked-room drama like this was ever published."

It all made sense Arthur now and he gaped. "Ah! My Lord is right. All the signs does point to it."

Hero smirked at she turned to Lau. "And there you have it. Happy?"

Lau smiled in reply. "As always I am left impressed by your deductions."

She rolled her eyes.

"Wait, wait," Lord Hugho called out. "What on earth are you all talking about?"

"Yes, what's a needle and thread?" Woodley asked.

"As Hero said, this door can only be locked from the inside. However, you can easily lock it from the outside with need and thread," Ciel began to explain. "It goes like this…" Two minutes later, Arthur told everyone that in the end, any one could have murdered Mr. Siemens. With that final conclusion, Woodley and Grimsby exploded in outrage.

"Alright guys, just calm down. Seriously," said Hero as she crossed her arms.

"Yes, come, come you two," Lau added. "We just need to calm down and verify everyone's alibis. Lord Siemens was murdered after he retired to his room or to put it more accurately, he was killed after he rang the bell for the servants and before master butler and company arrived at his door. Thus you only need have an alibi for that time frame."

"Irene and I were in the billiard room," Grimsby told everyone.

"I was there too," Grey announced.

Arthur looked up. "I as well. And Mister Phelps too. After Lord Siemens went to bed and until the commotion occurred, we were all in the billiard room. None of us left the room in that time."

Ciel looked at Lau and Ran Mao. "What were you two doing?"

"We were drinking in the lounge with Mister Woodley and Lord Hugho, right Ran Mao?"

"Yes! We were together until the racket began," Woodley confirmed. "And I believe we had Master Butler bring us more liquor after midnight because we ran out of drinks?"

"Yes, I brought that over around 12:10," Sebastian replied.

"W-We servants were cleaning up, all five of us, we were!" Mey-Rin quickly added.

"I was with them getting a snack," Channings supplied. Tanaka confirmed his alibi.

Everyone looked at Hero. "Whoa there, I was in my room with Charity getting ready for bed."

"And to begin with, we didn't even know which rooms Siemens was staying in!" Grimsby pointed out. "It would take ages to find him in this huge manor, am I right?"

"Definitely," Hero added. "I've been living in this place for months and I still lose my way around here."

"Which leaves…," Grey trailed off and immediately everyone turned to Ciel who stood still when he realized that his "I was asleep in bed" alibi wasn't going to cut it.

"Forgive my insolence Lord Earl, but what were you doing at that time?" asked Lau.

Ciel sighed. "I am indeed the only one without an alibi, but I had no reason to murderer his lordship."

"Ehhh, reaaaally?" Grey drawled from across the room.

Ciel looked at him, blue eye serious. "What is it?"

"You can't say you had no reason with absolute certainty," Lau supplied. "The reason for which one person murders another is typically inconceivable to other folk." At that moment, Arthur noticed Hero shiver, her coloring paling a bit as she stared at the carpet. "People will never be able to understand another's mind, regardless of how much research genius scholars collect on the subject."

Hero cleared her throat and poked Lau in the chest. "Well whatever else you're gonna say is moot at this point Lau. Even if Ciel has no alibi, do you see how small and scrawny this kid is? There's no way he'd be able to murder Siemens himself."

Ciel flushed. "Hey now, that's not very—"

"Miss Hero is right!" Finny suddenly exclaimed, looking like he'll burst into tears any minute. "I don't quite get the complicated stuff, but…but! Young master would never do such a—"

"Finny," Ciel said sternly. "It's fine. Step back."

Finny looked down at his feet.

"What I want is a guarantee," Grey added after a while of silence.

"A guarantee?" questioned Irene.

"A guarantee we'll be able to make it out of here alive," he clarified as he looked at everyone. The rain pounded harder against the window pane, the sky outside looking unmerciful as the foul weather raged on. "'Cos this here is a manor under the control of the killer, right? And until the storm passes, we're stuck." Suddenly lightening flashed, illuminating the room in an eerie hue, casting Grey's face in a dark shadow. "And what happens if all our lips are forcibly sealed before the storm ends?"

Now everyone paled.

Hero scoffed. "You make it sound so dramatic."

"Well, then, how about we confine him. You know, lock him up!" Lau cheerfully suggested as Mey-Rin, Bard, and Finny were outaged.

"Lock him up?!"

"Our young master?!"

"'Cos I'm so scared!" was Lau's excuse though he looked anything but scared.

Hero exhaled as she rubbed her temple. "Oh geez."

Ciel sighed tiredly, but resigned himself to the inevitable. "If that will satisfy you then do it."

"His lordship's room won't work. An aristocrat's quarters usually have some secret means of escape. My place has them too," Grey explained.

Hero looked at Ciel. "Does your room actually have a secret passage or whatever?"

Ciel looked away. "More or less."

She gaped. "What? And I didn't know? Dude! You totally have to show them to me when this is all over."

Sebastian cleared his throat to get our undivided attention. "A-hem. Then how about we keep watch over the young master while seeing to you—"

"That won't do either," Lau added. "Cause you lot might let the Earl get away, hm?"

"Therefore I believe the best alternative is to have one of the guests stay with his lordship and keep an eye on him," suggested Grey.

The general consensus was a strong negatory. While everyone started spouting excuses why they didn't want to have to do the honors of sleeping with a would-be killer, Hero cheerfully spoke up. "Well since everyone refuses, I'll do the honors of staying with Ciel!"

"Definitely not," was Grey's blunt reply.

Hero frowned as she looked at him. "And why ever not? I'm a guest too you know."

Grey smiled as he patted her head. "For obvious reasons, Girly-Boy. One, you'd be…" he whispered the rest in her ear and Hero nearly lunged at him in fury. Luckily, Sebastian was there to hold onto the struggling Hero before she attacked the smiling infuriating man.

"Let me go! I swear he's asking for trouble! That son of a mother!"

"How about we have one of the male guests do it instead?" Arthur suggested tentatively, suddenly fearing Hero's raging anger. Were American women this normally open with their anger?

Lau suddenly placed a hand on Arthur's unsuspecting shoulder and congratulated him with a beaming smile. "Thanks for volunteering! It's in your hands now, Professor!"

"Ehhhh?" Arthur sputtered in shock as he quickly looked at the Chinaman. "W-Wait!"

"Make sure you keep a close watch on His Lordship so he doesn't run off now!" Lau added as he walked away.

"N-No wait! I didn't mean to—I—This can't be!"

Hero leveled Grey with a heavy look. "You're itchin' for a fight man."

Grey chuckled. "When you're ready let me know."

"Hero don't antagonize him. I believe it only brings him pleasure," Ciel told her sternly.

Grey frowned at him, looking quite annoyed when he suddenly brightened. "Oh yes!" He turned toward Bard and Finny. "I have something useful loaded on my carriage. Will you two go and get it for me?"

Bard and Finny looked at each other briefly and did as he asked. Not like they had much of a choice. Ciel turned to face everyone. "Then with this, we'll break for the night." He looked at Sebastian. "Sebastian. Show everyone to their rooms."

"As you wish," Sebastian replied.

At that moment, Charity seemed to regain consciousness from her brief fainting spell. "Oh…what happened?"

A worried Hero ran over to her. "You fainted when you saw Siemens."


She looked over at the body still sitting in the chair and shrieked, instantly fainting again. Hero sweat dropped. She looked over at Sebastian and smiled. "Hey Sebastian, wanna do me a favor…?"

Twenty Minutes Later

"Ugh, this has turned out to be quite troublesome," Ciel muttered as Sebastian finished dressing the young master up for bed.

"You are quite right, sir," agreed Sebastian, wishing a certain guest within the house to leave, namely a one Mister Grey. Not that he'd ever say that aloud of course.

Across the room at the edge of the bed sat Arthur as he rubbed his face in his hands, asking again what he had done to God to have ended up in this awkward situation. He mentally sighed, sensing the uncomfortable iron clasped around his wrist, feeling like a prisoner. In fact he could even remember Mister Grey's cheerful face as he showed them the long chained iron cuffs.

"Here, I use these shackles when escorting terrorists and such whom I've captured for work," he merrily explained, chains rattling. "They're perfect 'cos the chain's long, so if you run it underneath the bed, neither of you'll be able to escape!"

Like Arthur wanted to hear that. This time he sighed audibly and looked at the clasp around his right wrist. Of all the luck…

"By the way," Sebastian began. "The room we prepared for Mister Phelps was next to Mister Siemens' room, and he refused to use it."

"It figures," muttered Ciel.

"The only other room I could show him immediately was young master's bedroom. Unfortunately, Hero threatened the poor man against taking the chamber so I had no choice but to take him to an unprepared room," Sebastian sighed. "Trying to make it presentable in less than five minutes was no easy task."

Ciel paused. "Wait, so he's not staying in my room? What did Hero say? And why?"

"Said something about it being unlivable for the night," Sebastian explained as he finished buttoning up his young master's night shirt. "Which I don't believe for a minute since I personally made sure the room was as it always is."

"…well, who knows what Hero was thinking. Maybe she doesn't want anyone finding out that—"

"Ohmyfriggin'gosh it took me forever to find this room," announced Hero as she burst into the room, nightgown swishing around her knees as her robe fell about the shoulders, loosely tied at the waist. "I mean seriously! Sebastian, Ciel, you guys should really have these rooms numbered or something."

Ciel blushed furiously. "H-Hero what are you doing here?"

She stopped before both the shocked Sebastian and Ciel and placed a hand at her hip. "I'm gonna sleep with you, ah-der, what'd you think I was gonna do here?"

"Now? Under the circumstances?"

Hero looked over at the shell-shocked Arthur whose face resembled a very ripe tomato. She smiled and waved. "It's okay, I'm used to bed mates. I mean, my bed back home was a Queen's size and Noodle did love to sleep on there, even when I had slumber parties."

"That's not—"

Hero promptly turned toward the bed. "Alrighty now, let's see. Arthur sleeps left, Ciel right and I take the middle."

Arthur choked on the air he was breathing. Sebastian merely shook his head. "And where's Miss Price if I may ask?"

"Well after she had me ready and thought I'd be sleeping in my room, she left to sleep in the maid's quarter with Mey-Rin." Hero handed him her robe and crawled under the covers.

Sebastian frowned slightly but said nothing. "I assume that Mister Channings is sleeping with Bard, Finny and Tanaka then."

"Are they? That's cool," Hero yawned as she plopped down on the pillows. "Alright lets go to sleep. It's really late and I am not a morning person."

Ciel finally sighed, running a hand through his hair. He looked at the still speechless Arthur. "Well, I hope you don't mind an extra bed mate, Professor."

"N-No, o-of course not my lord," Arthur gulped nervously.

Hero smiled. "That's great. Now be a man and get into bed already. I'm feeling exhausted."

Arthur just blushed but got into bed, staying at the very edge. Hero giggled. Ciel turned to face Sebastian for some last minute instructions. "It's to be cold tonight. Make sure the guest rooms have enough coke to keep going through the night," a gleam entered Ciel's eye as his lips curled a bit. "Even if I'm not around, make sure our guests get the finest Phantomhive has to offer."

Sebastian had that knowing look in his face. "Yes, my lord."

"Ah! Before you do that," Hero said as she sat up. "Can you check Ciel's room? I think there's something suspicious there and I want it removed. Like ASAP."

Sebastian raised a brow.

"As soon as possible?"

He smiled. "Of course."

Ciel got into bed and looked at both Hero and Arthur. "Well, shall we get some rest?"

Hero stretched and fell back. "Finally."

Arthur said nothing, looking at his hand instead.

"Then I bid you goodnight, sir, Miss Hero," Sebastian replied.

"Night Sebastian," Hero called out.

The fire in the fire place quieted down until it was gone and the candle light was soon blown, settling the room into darkness. Once Sebastian left, no one said a word.

Talk about awkward. Five minutes into the night and Arthur wasn't sure whether he should move or keep in this stiff position for the next eight hours. Hero presence was very distinctive, not even a few inches away. Never in his life had he ever shared a bed with a female, not even his sisters. Thank goodness the bed was rather large so all three of them could fit in. All three of them…Goodness what a predicament.

"Uh, um, do you two often sleep together?" Arthur asked, cursing the confounded wine that was still in his system and made his tongue loose. Otherwise, he'd have remained as quite as a church mouse.

"I was wondering when you'd say something," Hero said as she laid on her back, Ciel on his side facing Arthur. "Since Ciel won't get me a dog," she glanced at the boy. "I'd like one of those German wiener dogs by the way," she looked back at Arthur. "I've taken to sleeping with him since I sort of can't sleep comfortably when I'm alone. It's a habit I've developed when I was little."


Ciel smirked. "You're not feeling awkward are you Professor?"


"You could scoot closer you know. You look like your about to fall off the bed," Hero observed.

"N-No! I'm fine!" Arthur insisted, glad for the darkness that hid his flaming face. He looked at them both. "So…are you two…um, you two are…" he trailed off, embarrassed for even attempting to say it.

Ciel's smirk widened and Hero giggled. "Are you asking if we're together?"

Arthur flushed. Hero smiled. "Well, not the way you're thinking. Madame Red, Ciel's aunt, made this competition, mainly between Ciel and Sebastian, and at the end of the year, whoever I've fallen in love is supposed to win 'my hand'. That last part leaves room for interpretation though."

Arthur's mouth fell open.

"There's nothing to interpret," Ciel added. "It's as it's stated. And why are you telling this to everyone you meet?"

"Me? I didn't tell him anything he hasn't already heard. Did you hear Lau earlier? He all but proclaimed to the world we were married."

Arthur watched them as they talked to each other with familiar ease. Despite the very inappropriate situation he was in, he found himself sort of fascinated by the close relationship the little Earl and Miss Hero had. Never mind that this obviously wasn't the first time she slept with him (the thought still made him blush), Arthur was starting to see that even though Hero had that exotic plainness about her (enhanced by her American background) there was just something about her personality, a certain spark, a certain vitality within her that seemed to affect people. It made sense why this little Earl, rumored to be usually so reserved, seemed to be quite taken with her. It was obvious from the way simple way he reacted and looked at her. Such little details would have gone amiss had he not made it a habit of observing people.

In fact, once you get past the social status between them (now that he thought of it, did Miss Hero even have a status?), the unintentional comedic display before him had Arthur chuckling softly; which apparently was easily heard despite the two talking. They paused and looked at him, making Arthur instantly uncomfortable and fumbling for excuses to explain his amusement but Hero merely smiled and Ciel looked none too bothered. In fact, he even cracked a small smile.

"Professor," he said. "I do apologize for getting you involved in all this. I bet sharing a bed with a murderer makes it rather hard to sleep even when one should be sleeping, eh?"

"N-Not at all," Arthur replied, noticing how quiet Hero was as she stared at the ceiling. She sighed but suddenly smiled as she looked at him.

"Alright boys, time to sleep!"

Ciel muttered something but was muffled by the sheets.

"Um, I know I have no right," began Arthur, blaming the wine still lingering in his body. "But shouldn't the Earl remove his eye patch before going to bed? It would encourage healing—" Hero was quick to grab his already moving hand. In fact the speed and strength he felt was rather…scary.

"There's no need for that," she explained. "Ciel usually removes the eye patch at night. It's just tonight…well…you know…" she trailed off but Arthur caught the hint.

"Right, right, of course. How presumptuous of me."

"There's no need to worry, Professor," Ciel sighed as he closed his eye. "It's simply how things are done."

As the darkness descended with sleep, Arthur was the last person in the room to fall asleep, mainly because he still kept himself at the edge of the bed, despite the pillow that Ciel had placed in between Hero and himself. The tick of the clock and crickets outside playing was all he was able to hear in the silence. Ciel and Hero were fast asleep, each huddled close facing each other, breaths even and deep. It was sort of adorable, Arthur found himself admitting. He briefly wondered about this competition apparently going on for the girl's hand. That was when he remembered the butler; that strangely handsome yet intimidating butler. Judging by his earlier reaction to Miss Hero, Arthur found no surprise in surmising that the butler was quite obviously smitten with the girl. He didn't show it openly and he probably never will but there was no doubt that he held Miss Hero in high regards just from the simple gestures and slight brief glances.

In fact, Arthur wondered if Sebastian himself even realized the way he unconsciously acted with the girl. It'd be interesting to see what he'd do or how he'd react if he should ever realize how deep his feelings really were.

Just as Arthur finally found himself falling asleep, he was suddenly jolted awake when he felt Hero sit up silently. He stilled, wondering what she was doing. She just sat there, gazing into the far off wall, eyes a million miles away. Finally, after what seemed like hours (when really it had only been ten minutes), Hero carefully crawled out of bed. Arthur was confused, wondering where she was going when she suddenly caught his eye. He flushed, dreadfully thankful for the darkness hiding his pathetic blush. The girl simply smiled as she held a finger to her lips. Arthur gathered that she wanted him to keep quiet. A request he could easily do but still curious to know what she was up to.

Hero merely slid off the bed, searching her slippers before she stood up and walked silently toward the door. She paused and turned to look at him.

"I'll be back," she whispered to him before slipping out the room.

Arthur just stared after the door she had exited out of, feeling unsure and extremely puzzled. Was she feeling alright? Lately Miss Hero has seemed rather…off. He wasn't sure how she usually acted, but he sensed that she was only a few layers away from…what were the words? Ah yes, crying her eyes out. No amount of smiles, giggles and happy faces could hide the rumbling dark emotions he sensed she was probably feeling inside. If Arthur could guess accurately (and judging from their earlier conversation), he would say she was homesick. But then, Arthur wasn't exactly a professional so he could be wrong. Still, he was a bit worried that she would wonder the halls so late at night when a murderer was still loose (Arthur still found it hard to believe that a little boy like Ciel could possibly be a murderer). It wasn't safe for her but then who was he too tell her what to do?

And besides, he was probably overanalyzing this sudden ill premonition he was feeling (had been feeling for the last hour). Arthur sighed, sensing sleep come at him, deciding that Miss Hero would return soon enough. Just as Arthur closed his eyes, he suddenly felt Ciel suddenly sit up as well.

Was there no sleep to be had tonight?

"My lord?"

"Where'd Hero go?" Ciel asked as he stared at the door she had left through earlier.

"I-I don't know. She said she'd be back," Arthur responded, sensing he wouldn't be sleeping any time soon. Ciel narrowed his eye before sighing.

"That foolish girl will no doubt find herself in trouble. Best we follow her for her own good," he murmured as he got out of bed. He tugged at the chain. "Coming Professor?"

Like Arthur had a choice.

I don't know why I do it. I mean, I've already done it like a trillion times and nothing has ever happened.

As you're all aware by now, I came to this strangely exciting but freaked up world by this magical oven (something that I have yet to really understand how) in an abandoned multiplex in the wrongs side of town. I won't question how the darn thing works (I'm sure the answer will give me a headache) but all I care is that it freakin' transports me back!

Don't get me wrong, I really am torn between this world that I've grown so attached to, but I just can't severe my allegiance, my familiarity to my home time as if it were nothing (who does that?). It's where I grew up, where I was raised. Too simply forget would be treacherous.

I would be betraying my dad who adopted me (something I'm still grateful for).

I would be betraying my friends (who had to put up with me and still stuck around).

I would be betraying all I stood for (which is familial loyalty and justice).

Not to mention all those modern conveniences that a 21st Century gal is so used to (like a blow drier! Not that I know how to use one but I know Amanda would die if all five of hers broke). I sighed, rubbing my temple as I walked down the dark halls, staring off into space, hoping that I was going in the right direction.

Still, as much as I yearn to go back, it's kind of hard imagining that I'd be leaving Ciel and Sebastian forever. It didn't sit well with me. Just the thought of not seeing them every day makes me frown and feel sort of hollow inside. Makes my chest hurt. I'd gotten so used to them. I know them a little deeper than what I once knew from them in both the anime and manga (and that's saying something).

But anyways! It's not like I'm leaving forever right now. I always go down to the kitchens to see if the thing was working (it bakes just fine if you're wondering) on a supernatural level. I do this almost every day (during the day at least). I haven't been down there lately though (if you can call a week lately) but after not seeing it for so long I've been kind of antsy (sort of like losing your passport while in a foreign country except less hysterical). I know Sebastian doesn't really like it when I look at it (he's convinced I'll disappear one day) and Ciel hates it when I mention it, but can you blame me?

Sometimes…you just have to go home, to at least let them know you're okay…to tell them goodbye …and thank you, for everything.

I was so muddled in my thoughts that I didn't notice someone following me until they suddenly placed a firm hand on my shoulder. I was so startled that I almost shrieked witless until a hand was clasped over my mouth. My next reaction would have been to throw whoever over my shoulder and punch them in the face, but a familiar face had me not doing that…yet.

"Quiet Girly-Boy or you'll wake everyone," Grey whispered.

I blinked. I moved his gloved hand away from my mouth. "Grey? What are you doing here?"

He raised a brow. "I could ask you the very same question."

I placed my hands on my hips and gave him the "Excuse me? Who you think you talkin' to?" look. "I was innocently heading towards the kitchen. What are you doing here?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Grey said as he pointed at the sword on his belt. "I'm patrolling. Making sure nothing out of the ordinary arises."

Mm-hm, right….

"Well whatever. I'm out," I told him as I turned around and continued walking. I was halted not even two seconds later.

"Wait, are you really going to the kitchen? This late at night?"

I arched a brow. "Gotta problem?"

Grey smiled. "None at all. Let me join you. Besides, you shouldn't wander the halls alone, especially late at night. Never know who or what might be creeping around."

Besides a poisonous snake that wouldn't be killing tonight, my only other problem was Grey's secret murderous side (apparently almost everyone had them). And since he seemed rather tame at the moment (so long as I didn't mention Siemens death), it seemed safe enough to walk with him.

I sighed and rolled my eyes. "Fine."

We mostly walked in silence. Despite the darkness, I was able to lead Grey to the kitchen (it's like the only place I have memorized down pat). It was a little awkward, being totally alone with him. I keep expecting him to declare that we fight (and honestly I'd love to knock the wind out of him but right now I was dressed in a flimsy cotton night gown and slippers) but thankfully Grey seemed entirely at ease as he folded his arms behind his head.

Finally he broke the silence between us. "So what exactly did you want from the kitchen? I mean I myself could use a late night snack but I didn't place you as a late night snacker."

I waved my hand at him. "Pfft. Of course I'm a late night snacker, at least during soccer season. My dad likes to stay up late and watch the matches with me too, tough we weren't supposed to be staying up late. School night and all."

"Hmm, that reminds me," Grey drawled in a tone that said something had just occurred to him. "Earlier this week, there was an ongoing debate about how best to court one's prospective partner in the palace. Phipps said that the best way for a courtship to work is to get to know the other person. I initially thought it a stupid idea but I suppose he has a point. So we might as well start with that."

I almost tripped.

"What's this we business? And Grey, I gotta ask you, are you serious about this courtship thing?"

"Of course," he replied, like it was so obvious even a caveman could see it.

"But you hate me!"

"I don't hate you…merely like bothering you is all," he faced me and smiled. "It's interesting seeing you react. You're so very amusing. Unlike all the ladies I've met. Of course a first glance at you no would be able to tell you are one." I punched him in the arm. He didn't even blink. "And I told you that I've decided to make you mine. Not to mention I long to see the look on that Phantomhive brat's face when he loses you."

"You're demented. And it doesn't even sound like your 'in love' with me," I paused. "Wait, how did you know you were 'in love' with me to begin with?"

Grey shrugged. "Beats me. I was told by my older brother that if you feel a little hot and bothered and suddenly find said female attractive and want to make her yours, then you're in love."


Since when did Grey have an older brother? Wait never mind that! I looked at the boy as if he'd suddenly grown a second head that looked exactly like Justin Bieber (scream and run away everyone!). "Grey you loser that's not love! That's...well…it's when…you know, you…and the thing…," Gosh this was awkward. "It's when you wanna scratch that itch."

"What itch? My heads not itchy."

Oh…my…glerb. Please tell me this boy knows the basics.

"Grey, what your brother told you was to basically…hit second base with said woman," I explained, face a little flushed by the awkwardness. I wonder how my eighth grade teacher felt when she taught a bunch of preteens SexEd.

Grey suddenly looked thoughtful. "Really? He said this feeling is only felt once. And I've never felt it until I met you."

I backed away.

His brother must be an evil prick and Grey really is sexually oblivious (which is shocking because I didn't get this from him in the manga) or he could be playing me (but I'll beat him senseless if it's the latter). Then again, Grey could be working for both teams unbeknownst to him which would explain why he's never felt "the urge" before (or I could just be overthinking this). Oh well.

"Anywho," Grey continued as if the last two minutes of conversation didn't make me feel awkward. "Onto what I was saying earlier—"

"The wanting to get to know me part?"

"Yes that. I'd thought we could start with your family and home in America. Tell me, is it barbaric as they say it is?"

That funny feeling behind my eyes that I felt when I thought about my comfy crazy home in Miami came back again. It pinched my nose and I had to rub my face a little to keep from…to keep from what? Crying?

Me? Hero Sanders, Detective Extraordinaire? No, no. I never cry. Not even when I was punched in the face by the hoodlums around Casa de Maria or when I saw the Titanic (heart of steel man C:). Even my dad knows that Hero and tears, just don't mix. I have that "Man Up And Get Over It" attitude that's helped me overcome tough sticky situations that I've managed to land myself in (and trust me I've encountered quite a number of them).

Still, never once did I shed a tear over anything petty and so…ridiculous.

But then again, I never imagined homesickness would be so…tear-worthy, especially if my only transportation back home is an oven.

"Hellooo? Girly-Boy?"

I snapped out of my thoughts, blinked away any probable moisture in my eyes and quickly presented Grey with a smile. "What?"

"You haven't answered my question."

Hero sighed as they turned another corner and went down a flight of stairs. "Of course America isn't barbaric. It's the same as here only different." Way Different.

"And your family?"

"I was adopted. I only have my dad since he wasn't married when he got me. Still single the poor man. Wait, why am I telling you this?"

"Never mind that, what about your real parents?"

"My…real parents?"

"Of course. One always has a biological parent whether they choose to deny it or not. Otherwise you wouldn't be here. Literally."

I ran a hand through my hair, hating this subject every time it's brought up by anyone. "Oh what's it matter? They're either dead or livin' le vida loca," I said quickly, ignoring the thought of my non-existent parents. What's there to think about anyways?

Grey looked at me. "I sense resentment."

I looked at him in annoyance. "It's not resentment. Just frustration and the truth. I was left at an orphanage when I was five and…," I paused, remembering Sebastian's face, his apparent involvement in my not so innocent toddlerhood. If Sebastian rescued me from a very frightening fate, then how'd I end up kidnapped by the Cartel in the first place? My real parents had better be dead because my opinion of them has begun to deteriorate dramatically (and it was already low to begin with). "Well yeah, five at orphanage."

"Boring," Grey added, waving that information away like it was nothing. "There's no mystery in that. Tell me where you born."

"I have no idea and can we talk about something else? Oh wait, let's not talk at all," I said as I stopped before a familiar doorway. "Kitchen's here. Now shut up before Sebastian hears you. He dislikes it when I sneak into the kitchen."


"Various reasons," I replied when I entered the dimly lit kitchen. I noticed some vegetables laid out on the counter but said nothing.

Grey stopped by the island counter, taking a good look around. "This place isn't so impressive. I've got a larger one at my place."

"Yeah, well, the manor's got three kitchens."


"Yup," I mumbled as I walked over to the left side of the room. I frowned, scratching my head as I stared at an unfamiliar oven where my time-travelling oven used to be. There were no familiar burnt marks or scratches and there were a few scuff marks on the floor in front of the oven, meaning this oven was new and had been recently installed too. I huffed and crossed my arms over my chest. Talk about rude. You don't just go move someone's time machine from their parking space.

"Damn Phantomhive," Grey muttered, suddenly annoyed about being bested in the kitchen department.

I ignored Grey's rambling and continued to search the area. After a five minute thorough search, including the larder, I was confused beyond belief. Suddenly the seconds ticking by seemed to suffocate me and I sensed that far away hysteria creeping closer. I grabbed Grey's sleeve and dragged him out of the kitchen mid-rant.

"Something the matter?" he asked.

I didn't answer. But he guessed something was definitely the matter as ten minutes later I located the other kitchens and began my relentless search. My frantic searching proved fruitless as I nearly overturned the kitchens and tore them apart in search of my missing oven. Just when I was sure I had searched every nook and cranny I lowered the giant barrel full of soybeans in despair. I backed up against the counter as my hands gripped my hair, forcing myself to calm down as the hysteria began to take me in full force.

Whereisitwhereisitwhereisitwhereisitwhereisit—WHER E IS IT? The question kept screaming itself in my mind and unfortunately I couldn't stay calm no matter how hard I tried.

"What the hell is going on!" I shouted in frustration, throwing my hands in the air. "I can't find the oven anywhere! Where the hell is it?! And why can't I find it anywhere?!"

Grey yawned before he continued munching on an apple he had managed to find in earlier in my search. "What's so important about an oven? Phantomhive's got several."

"This isn't just any oven!" I whirled on him, probably looking like a crack addict suffering from a withdrawal. "It's my only way home! And it's gone! Gone! I NEED to find it. It's so important it's not even funny! That's why I have to know WHERE THE FUCK IT IS!"

Grey blinked for a minute before shrugging and tossing the apple core in a nearby waste basket. "I'll never understand Americans. Why not ask the butler?"

I stopped pacing around in circles and froze. Oh my gosh…why hadn't I thought of that? No wait, Sebastian. HE has to know where it is. Maybe he placed it in some storage room or something. "You're right. The kitchen may be Bard's domain but Sebastian would know where it is." For a minute my rapidly beating heart that had been about to jump out of my chest (gruesome image I know) calmed down dramatically. The thought that I would get to see my oven, even if its time-travelling properties didn't work, filled me with gratifying relief. "All we have to do now is find him."

"Wonderful idea," Grey replied absently as he rummaged through the pantry, discovering a wrapped basket of something sweet. "Hey this looks good. Why didn't we have this for dessert? Anyways, who knows where Phantomhive's butler might be. He could be anywhere within the manor."

I smiled. "Don't worry. I know a way to get Sebastian here without having to leave the room."

Grey looked up, already chewing on a cream filled biscuit. "Without searching for him? How?"


"I suppose Miss Hero had been right," Sebastian muttered to himself as he lifted the snake he had tied into a knot. After bidding Miss Hero and the young master, along with the professor, a good night, Sebastian had decided that he may as well start the night with whatever had bothered Hero of the room he had left immaculately clean earlier that day.

At first nothing had seemed a missed and he hadn't sensed anything out of the ordinary when he inspected the room. Just as he had been about to leave to follow his young master's orders next, he heard it.

If he hadn't possessed his superior hearing, he would have missed it.

The hissing. The slight shifting of a smooth and scaly skin against cool metal. Sebastian had gone over to the air vent in the room, took off the cover and peered inside. It wasn't in there but he knew it would slither on down here any minute so he had then lain in wait for the would-be killer's arrival.

Once it had, Sebastian had been quick to grab and apprehend it. Sebastian took a closer inspection of the struggling, coiling twisting reptile he had in his hands. Black. African Mamba. Dangerous. Deadly. It took Sebastian only a few minutes to realize just who exactly owned this

"It would seem I'll have to make a visit to the greenhouse," he murmured. "But this one still has its uses."

With that, Sebastian placed the snake inside a basket Hero somehow owned, closing the lid and latching it shut. He'd have to keep the reptile hidden until the time was right, only then would the plan work. Just as Sebastian deftly hid the basket, he heard her.

No ordinary human could have heard her. For he gathered that she was down below in the kitchens…


Sebastian cursed himself.

He left and raced below stairs. The timing just had to be rotten. He hadn't expected her to find out so soon. He had been hoping to find a suitable excuse in order to staunch her fury, but as of late, he'd yet to find one. And honestly, there was no excuse for this. For what was done. But it had to be done.

Sebastian found her in the third kitchen where he liked to prepare desserts and pastries (mainly because it was the only kitchen forbidden to Bard until the man can learn that explosives and firearms do not belong in places where one prepares delicate food). To his surprise and dismay, Grey was present there as well, eating tomorrow's prepared dessert. A tick formed in his cheek, but he smoothed his features out as he stepped on the threshold of the kitchenette.

"You called?" he replied.

Grey looked startled and Hero turned around quickly, smiling when she saw him. Ah that smile. For reasons that still escaped him, Sebastian didn't understand why he relished it when Hero smiled. It was obvious that she was a naturally optimistic girl that tended to smile at everyone, but when she smiled solely at him…well it made him think—and feel something strange.

Sebastian blinked and cleared his throat, focusing on the storm he could feel in only a matter of seconds. "Miss Hero what are you doing out of bed in the kitchen so late at night? And with Earl Grey no less?"

He might as well distract her a little.

"I was making sure Hero was safe from the murderer, after all he could have escaped our gullible Professor," Grey answered after he finished eating his third cream filled biscuit. "By the by, why didn't you serve this for dessert tonight?"

Sebastian mentally sighed. He'll have to make another batch before the night ended.

"Never mind about that," Hero interrupted. "Sebastian I wanna know where the oven is."

There. She said it.

"Which one Girly Boy," Grey added. "I counted at least eight ovens in total."

"Sebastian knows exactly which one I'm talking about," Hero stated, placing her hands on her hips. Waiting for an answer.

Well…he might as well break the news.

"It's gone."

She blinked, looking surprised for a moment before she became confused. "What?"

"It's gone."

She gave him a brittle smile, eyes telling him that she refused to believe his words. "W-What do you mean it's gone?"

Sebastian sighed. "I got rid of it about a week ago. It wasn't working after Bard attempted to…'cook' the roasted lamb you had for dinner."

"…so…you…got rid of it? Just like that? Without telling me?"

Grey looked up, his attention to the situation had been vague at best (what's so special about an oven?) but when he heard Hero's sharp tone, he suddenly looked very interested in what was going on. It was without a doubt that something was going to happen.

Sebastian didn't flinch, instead he merely looked at Hero, waiting for her to calm down a bit before he could reply. He had to tread carefully now. Anything he said could offset her.


Hero snapped.

She started shrieking and yelling at him in a flurry of Spanish. Her words flew by so fast and furious that it seemed to impress Grey even though he had no idea what she was saying. Still, just as she was gonna lunge at Sebastian for an attack, Grey managed to catch her around the waist and prevent her assault. He held her firmly as she struggled and cursed out of the hold of his arms.

Sebastian for his part merely stood where he was. He surmised that he should have remained still instead of dodging the frying pan Hero had gotten hanging from the wall where she and Grey stood. His actions seemed to fuel her rage even more as she caught another and threw it with deadly accuracy near his head. Though she could not escape from the secretarial officer's hold, he made no move to stop Hero from throwing all that she could at Sebastian. Instead he smirked at the butler, seeming content to hold onto the furious harpy he held in his arms.

Sebastian had half a mind to separate the two, but he was already in enough hot water. And he also briefly wondered how she didn't wake the whole manor.

"What on Earth is going on!" came a familiar voice as Sebastian dodged a rather nasty projectile.

Hmm, he may have spoken too soon.

Ciel came running down the hall, chain rattling as a worried Arthur ran behind him. His voice seemed to snap Hero from her fury. She blinked and slowly lowered the large frying pan she held in her hand, chest still heaving, face a little red. Grey looked annoyed when the newcomers and reluctantly let go of Hero's waists.

Ciel blinked when he spotted the three in the messy kitchen. "Hero? What are you doing here? Do you have any idea how loud you were? And were you really going to throw that?"

Arthur looked at the many pots, pans, plates, and silverware littered about as if the kitchen has suddenly retched. He sidestepped a broken cup. "Why's everyone in the kitchen?"

Hero pointed the frying pan she still held in hand at Sebastian, eye still furious. "Sebastian got rid of the oven! THE OVEN!"

Arthur stood still, not believing this mess was because an oven was gone. Had he missed something? Grey was already used to Hero's eccentricities and therefore was not surprised that she was upset over something so trivial.

But no matter how ridiculous they thought a missing oven was, Ciel looked grim as he stared at Hero. "Why don't we discuss this in my study? Preferably when you're not holding the frying pan."

"Oh no," Hero said firmly, clenched fists shaking. "I am not going anywhere without hearing an explanation right now!"

Down the hall, the B-MR-F trio along with Tanaka plus Channings and Charity quickly ran down the corridor to where the uproar was occurring. The servants quarters was merely a hop skip and away so it was really no surprise that they'd all get woken up by the ruckus Hero had caused. Sebastian noticed them arrived but said nothing as they crowded around him to peer inside.

"Hey! What the 'ell's with this mess?" Bard complained as he looked at chaos within.

"Is Miss Hero alright?" Finny asked worriedly.

"Why is everyone up?" Mey-Rin added.

Charity and Channings, who had been sleeping with the servants, were equally puzzled by the sudden commotion. Charity for her part gaped when she saw Hero's state of undress.

"My lady! Wearing a nightgown in the presence of men without a robe is most indelicate!"

But Hero ignored her as she looked intensely at Ciel.

Ciel saw that no amount of persuasion was going to remove Hero from this spot. Of all the ways and times for her to find out and it had to be in the most inconvenient of circumstances. He supposed he had no choice now. He had to tell her the truth; though he was dead certain he was going to regret it later. He cleared his throat. "Hero," he began slowly, his fist involuntarily clenching. "I ordered Sebastian to get rid of it."

Hero froze.

No one said a word. No one moved. The air in the kitchen suddenly filled with tension so thick that Arthur wondered how he didn't die of suffocation. He gulped. What is going on? Why is Miss Hero so upset? Everyone almost flinched when Hero spoke.

"Ciel," she said calmly, eyes suddenly cool as she placed the frying pan on the kitchen counter. "What are you talking about?"

Ciel swallowed but soldiered on; knowing that what he had done was for the best.

"I ordered Sebastian to get rid of the oven."


"It wasn't working so it was no longer needed."

Hero took a step forward and the servants minus Channings and Charity flinched. "So you just thought 'Oh it's not working. Who cares that its Hero's only way back home? It's not needed so let's get rid of it'?"

"Not in those exact words—"

"Ciel! Do you realize what you've done?" cried Hero, looking distressed. "You've trapped me here! I'm stranded in this world and I can't ever go back home! I can't ever see my family and friends ever again!"

"Does this mean you'd have left me if you had the chance?" Ciel countered, suddenly upset. "You promised you'd stay with me the third night you came here. Remember?"

Hero looked pained. "I did, but I can't just disappear from my time! It's not right! I can't just vanish! My dad's most likely worried sick and I can't just disappear on him! He's the only parent I've got! And I've never had parents before!"

Ciel couldn't stop what was next. How could he? He loved Hero and yet she wanted to leave! How could she? Was all that he'd done been for nothing? Was all that he felt for her nothing? No. He would not let Hero leave. No matter how much it'd pain her. He had her now and he would not let his pawn, his Queen, get away. His eye cooled considerably and his tone was equally chilling. "We all lose them eventually Hero. There's nothing to miss once they're gone."

He might as well have slapped her. Hero looked absolutely shocked and everyone else silently gasped. Arthur was mightily uncomfortable as he stared between the two. He sensed that what had just transpired was not going to end very well.

It hurt.

It hurt too much.

My chest felt heavy and my eyes were stinging.

It was a wonder no one noticed just how much I wanted to cry. But it just wasn't fair! It wasn't fair! I've never had anything to truly call my own and when I finally get it, when I finally get used to it, something ends up happening that I end up losing it in the end. Only this time it'll be forever.

Ciel's eye was too-blue and hard. His lips were set firmly and he stared at me unflinchingly. I didn't get it. I don't understand why this had to happen. I mean how could he? How could he not care? How could he be so callous? Just because I yearned to go back didn't mean I cared about Ciel any less. Quite the contraire. I've learned a lot about this kid (a lot more than what the manga and anime told us of him) and the more I find out about the more I get attached to him. The same for Sebastian. And anyways, the oven's time traveling properties didn't even work so it's no surprise that I have eventually come to terms with my stay here (it's been like four or five months already, any chance of me going back home is clearly non-existent). That's why I can't quite understand why they react so negatively to the oven or my missing home.

Don't they know that home is where my family is? And not just my family, but Phil. Hello! He's my freakin' father!

He raised me. He gave me a proper home and affection. He taught me it wasn't okay to hit other children just because they said mean things to me. He made sure I never went hungry and curiously enough, three months after he adopted me…I was happy to be myself.

I used to be the type of girl who would pick a fight just to get attention since I was usually avoided (probably because I fought a lot and they thought I was weird for not being girly enough). And since my background was still a mystery to all them, they didn't quite trust me since I wouldn't open up to them. That's why I mostly kept to myself during my orphanage days. The nuns didn't know what to do with me. Mild punishments like sewing and picking away at weeds in the small garden didn't really do much nor did it get rid of my damaging social-status.

I was a wild child. Yeah I had a soft heart for kids that were bullied, but that only got me into more scraps as I fought their tormentors. They were grateful but they still kept their distance. Still, I guess it wasn't so bad. I wasn't beaten by the nuns. I was fed at least once a day and I always got to play outside (albeit by myself).

When Phil and a friend of his had come to the orphanage to repair the roof due to a recent hurricane, I had been really curious, having never seen a foreigner before. He saw that I didn't quite fit in with the others kids so he would talk to me. I understood him a little (having been taught English by our only English-speaking nun). I didn't say much and eventually I would have gotten bored of him had he not said he worked as a detective from where he was from.

Suddenly I was always by his side, wanting to know what he did.

He would indulge me and smile. Everyone was quite confused why he would even speak to me but…it was quite apparent he thought I was more than a troublesome child.

He saw that I could be more than what everyone (including myself) thought I could be. He had faith in me. He believed in me. And a year later, I was officially his daughter. I not only owe Phil gratitude but my life too.

Which is why he deserves more than having me suddenly disappear because of my incurable habit of handling things on my own; especially when today of all todays is his birthday.

"Ciel," I said, surprised that my voice sounded so neutral when I wanted to scream in frustration. "That's strike two."

He blinked. "What?"

I looked at Sebastian. "You too. You both conspired against me. You didn't even take into account what I might have to say. You guys obviously still have no regards toward my feelings! And it isn't the first time this has happened."

"Wait what do you mean strike two?" Ciel asked. "You can't mean that the first one was because of…you know. I thought you'd forgiven me for that."

"Just because I forgave doesn't mean I forget. And its stuff like this that makes the bad stuff you do hard to overlook," I told him seriously.

Ciel's eye hardened, fist clenched. "I'm sorry I'm not the person you thought I was."

I smiled tiredly, an intense urge to sleep over taking me. "No one is what people think they are, Ciel. But that doesn't mean you have to prove them right." With that I walked past Ciel, past Sebastian and the others as I headed toward my room. I've seriously had enough for one night.

Anymore and I would have broken down right there and then.

When I finally made it to my room (more like when I finally found my room…could have sworn it was to the left three doors down), I closed the door behind me and sighed.

And like magic, the dam cracked and my tears started gush forth. I slid down the door and began bawling like a baby. It felt strange. Crying. People do it when they're sad, hurting, in pain, sometimes even happy and relieved. But I wasn't happy and I wasn't relieved. I was emotionally in pain, I was hurting inside and I felt more than sadness, I felt desolate.

My throat felt tight as I forced a swallow. My tears were hot and they kept pouring out like an open faucet. Ick, I think even my nose might be running. Still, I couldn't stop waterworks and frankly I didn't want to. I just wanted to cry and forget.

Cry and forget that I'll never be seeing my dad again. Or my friends.

I suppose these tears were long overdue. I really should have cried the day I fractured my arm. The day I saw a dog get ran over right in front of me. The day when the marlins lost the World Series after coming so far from the finals (what? So sue me). The day I saw the Titanic and Passion of Christ on the same day. And most especially when I began to realize I'd never be going home.

But now as I reflected a little, I wasn't just crying because I missed my home really badly, but also because of who I used to be. That emotionless child murderess. That only made me cry harder because I was a hypocrite.

Here I was fighting crime (in a way), solving mysteries, and just being all out energetic and all this time it turned out that I should have been behind bars all along. I wasn't the person Ciel and Sebastian thought I was. I wasn't that always happy girl with a can-do attitude. Truth was I wanted to be her. I always wanted to be her ever since I was child. Why couldn't I be more social? Why couldn't I be more friendly? Why wasn't I beautiful or tall or confident or talented? The why's had haunted me as a child. But when Phil told me that I was me and that that was better than being something fake, well, I really felt grateful. I then figured I didn't have to try so hard to become something impossible.

I was just me. And honestly, I felt happy being me.

My tears slowed and I sniffed.

My thoughts then returned to my dark past. I know Madame Red said that as a child it wasn't my fault but I can't just forget something like that. How could I forget something like that? Ciel says he loves me but I don't deserve to be loved by him. What makes me so special? What have I done? Yeah he let the children in BK's manor die, but at least he came to terms with it and regretted it. Yes I forgave him because I knew the circumstances and what caused them and that as a person, Ciel isn't like some people.

I sighed, sniffing again as I rubbed my eyes. Sooner or later I was going to have to tell Sebastian and Ciel about my past. It was only right. I can't stand hypocrisy and foundations built on lies (at least where it mattered; the life of a detective extraordinaire called for some serious huge ass white lies). I blinked, remembering a certain demon butler. Oh Sebastian. Sebastian, Sebastian…I can't believe I threw all those things at him! But he deserved it! Yeah he has to follow orders and all that, but he could have at least not looked like he did not regret throwing the oven away. The reluctant Demon Mate has to have some kind of respect, right?

And Ciel. You don't just throw away someone's time machine. That was going too far. They knew how important that was to me. They knew it was like clinging onto a life saver in a vast empty ocean. It may not have worked or did much (except bake great treats) but it still gave me hope; gave me the will to continue in this strange surreal world.

The sad truth of it was that these last couple of months, I had been seeing it with distant eyes, just going along with everything because that's how it was supposed to be. It wasn't until recently (the hitting of my head when Lizzy pushed me back into the ocean by accident, or not, and I blacked out; unable to save myself, thank goodness for Sebastian!) that I realized that this place really was real. I didn't just stumble into Black Butler. I stumbled into another reality, another parallel universe if you will, that was just as real as the one I had been living in.

A firm knock at my door startled me and had me standing up and backing away from the door.

"Hero! Open up!"

It was Ciel.

I flushed but ignored his protest to let him in. I really wasn't in the mood for this. I grabbed the comforter from the bed, along with Raspberry Cheesecake. I paused, looking at the bear (the first one in existence apparently) and smiled a little sadly. This was very thoughtful of him. It just shows what Ciel was capable when he thought about others. Still, I was mad at him and rather than give in so easily, I was gonna prolong this a little longer. Shaking my head and ignoring the incessant knocks at my door, I ensconced myself inside the rather spacious armoire.

From there, I closed my eyes. And before I knew it, I fell asleep.

Ciel sighed as he gazed up at the ceiling. He was in bed again. Ten minutes of banging at Hero's door only succeeded in Miss Irene and Lau waking up in confusion. After that he retired to bed, the professor following him all the while. There was silence in the room now as both males lay in bed, neither saying a word of what had just transpired in the last hour.

After Hero left, everyone had returned to their beds after Ciel had ordered Sebastian to continue his duties, dragging Arthur with him to find their resident time travel. It couldn't end like this. It just couldn't. Of course he'd figure she would be upset when she discovered that he'd gotten rid of the oven, but he had no choice. Lately he had felt Hero distancing herself (which was a feat since she acted the same as usual). He knew she was starting to miss her home in the future (more so than usual). But the thought of her not being around him anymore was…well, he couldn't even imagine it. He'd gotten so use to her presence that it was hard remembering what it was like, living alone, before she came along. Hero was just so loud and so forward, always there. He was used to her ways, her Americanism. Her warmth and what she represented to him.

Ciel sighed again. "I really made a mess of things."

Arthur, silent but awake, looked at the little Earl. "Um, I may not have understood what exactly happened back there, but in a sense I suppose you did."

"Now what? Hero won't talk to me and I don't want her mad at me."

"…this oven she was talking about…where exactly is it?"

"It's gone," Ciel replied. "I had Sebastian destroy it. That way she wouldn't leave us."

Arthur wasn't really sure what to say at this point (how would an oven be pivotal in stopping her from leaving when she could just take the next ship out of England?) but being a little familiar with courtship (however unsuccessful) he decided to impart some advice. "You know, they say a way to understand women is to listen to them."

"Women are difficult and confusing. At least one woman in particular. And she just had to be American," Ciel muttered, but he tucked away Arthur's words in his mind for another time. He closed his eyes and exhaled. "I shall have to apologize again. But I'm not sure that will do any good."

"I'm sure it will, my lord."

"It's so strange," Ciel added after a silent minute. "I've always won whatever game I play. It can be any game from cards to a simple guessing game. But this one I'm playing, the one to win Hero, it's hard."

Arthur yawned. "It'd help if you'd start to think of Miss Hero not as a game but as a puzzling person you really want to get to know. After all, the girl's not an object. And I get the feeling she'd been through a lot," he looked Ciel. "You too, my lord."

Ciel looked away, pulling the covers over his shoulder. "Good night, Professor."

"Night," Arthur answered, staring at the back of the boy's head, a myriad of thoughts running through his mind.

The halls were silent and dark, save for the inaudible tap of leather shoes as they made their way toward the scene of the crime. Sebastian said nothing as he carried a bucket of coal in one hand and a lit candelabra in the other. His thoughts were currently focused on his orders but he couldn't help but wonder about Miss Hero.

They had messed up. A great deal.

But there was no use regretting what was done. At least now they know Hero can't leave them. "Still, I suppose an apology is in order," Sebastian murmured to himself as he entered the room Deceased Siemens had breathed his last. "Now then, to 'make sure there is enough coke to keep the fires going through the night' was it?" Sebastian knelt down in front of the fireplace and proceeded to replace the coke. It didn't take him long to find what exactly had killed Mr. Siemens.

"I should have known," he added looking at the object in his hands as a dark figure creeped up behind him, a dark pointy weapon raised. "This is—!"

"…Bard. Bardroy!"

Bard's eyes snapped open and as an instant reflex he took out the gun he kept under his pillow and quickly pointed it at the intruder. But the intruder was equally fast and grabbed his arm. Bard blinked and saw that the intruder was actually Sebastian.

"What the 'eck! It's just you!" Bard muttered as he sighed and put his gun away. "Don't sneak up on me all silent like! I near took you for a ghost or somethin'!" He laid back in bed and wrapped himself up in the blankets. "What d'ya want?"

"It is about the menu for tomorrow," Sebastian answered.

"We can talk about that stuff in the mornin' can't we? I'm beat y'know."

"I want you to listen now," Sebastian said seriously as he grabbed Bard's shoulder. Bard paused, sensing that this was important though he didn't understand why. He sighed as he sat, ruffling his hair. "Tch! Yeah, all right,"

"First, tomorrow's breakfast. As I think the guests will be eating around noon, please prepare something somewhat filling. I have prepared herring pie and spinach quiche and put them in the larder, so please serve those to the guests. Please be vigilant and avoid cooking and serving something like kidney pie. There is a stockpot full of curry that I have made on the stove, so serve that for dinner. For hors d'oeuvres, there are chopped vegetables—"

"Hey! Hey! Even if ya spout all of that off in one go, I 'aint some secretary! I'll never remember it all!"

"Quite," Sebastian warned, handing him a pile of folded papers. "Thus I have seen to the menu for the next three days, taken care of preliminary arrangements and written a memo detailing where the foodstuff's may be found and the procedure for warming them up."

"Hunh?" Bard mumbled as he took the papers. "I don't need this. You just gotta tell me straight what you want done…" he paused. "And what about the mess in the third kitchen? I think one of 'em pans got a nasty dent."

"There's no need to worry about that. I took the liberty of taking care of the mess. So just focus on these instructions."

On the other cot, Finny stirred awake and yawned. "Nnnm, wha's goink oon?"

Sebastian turned toward the gardener. "Finny. I am sorry to have woken you."

"Mister Sebastian?" Finny uttered, struggling to open his eye lids. "What're you doin' up at this hour…?" He then became a little more alert. "Ah, did something happen to Miss Hero after all? She looked terribly upset earlier."

"It's nothing," Sebastian succinctly answered. "Finny, due to the storm, you will be unable to work on the garden for some time. Starting tomorrow, I would like you to see to replacing the coke for the fires. Do it first thing in the morning. Understood?"

Knowing nothing was wrong with Miss Hero after all, Finny returned to his zombie like state of sleep. "Yesssh!" He collapsed in bed and snuggled into the pillow.

Sebastian came over and covered him with the blanket. "Now to bed with you. Tomorrow will be another early start."

"Uh, why's everyone up again?" mumbled a sleepy Channings as he too sat up on his borrowed cot.

"Nothing at all. Just some last minute instructions," Sebastian quickly explained. "Sorry to have disturbed you."

"'kay," mumbled Channings as he fell back into bed. He was asleep within seconds.

Sebastian turned to face Bard once more. "Well then, I entrust tomorrow to you…Chef."

"Yep," Bard muttered absently as he retreated into the warm comforts of his bed.

With that done, Sebastian left the room. It took exactly one minute for Bard to realize something was off.

"Did he say chef?"

"Miss Mey-Rin!" whispered Charity as she shook the red-head awake. "There's someone knocking on the door."

Mey-Rin cracked her eyes opened, realized that indeed, there was someone knocking on their door. She sat up and searched for her glasses. Just as she was about to fall over the bed, Charity handed her the sought after spectacles and Mey-Rin quickly got out of bed. "I'll be right there, I will!" she said as she started walking. Unfortunately she had kicked the sheets on the floor and thus tripped over them.

"Miss Mey-Rin!"

"I'm alright I am!" Mey-Rin quickly assured her, getting up and scrambling towards the door. "I beg your pardon for keeping you waiting, I do!" Mey-Rin greeted nervously. Charity peered over her shoulder in curiosity.

Both women were quite shocked to see Sebastian before them, holding a caged owl.

"Forgive me for disturbing you ladies at this late hour," he said.

"M-M-M-Mister Sebastian?" Mey-Rin exclaimed.

"Is something the matter with my lady?" Charity worriedly asked. "She looked awful upset in the kitchen. What was all that about?"

"Do not concern yourself over that," Sebastian answered. "It is a mere squabble between us. Nevertheless there is something I would like Mey-Rin to do first thing in the morning."

"Eh? Oh yes," she said, adjusting her glasses.

"When dawn breaks, please promptly set this bird free. There is a letter tied to its leg."

"A letter?" Charity repeated curiously.

"For whom?" Mey-Rin asked.

"It is not essential for you to know that. However…it will prove useful in the future without fail." He looked at Mey-Rin. "As soon as dawn breaks now. Understood?"

"Y-Yes, sir."

"But what about Miss Hero? Is she alright?" Charity insisted.

Sebastian smiled at her. "I forgot that I also have a task for you."

She blinked. "Me?"

Sebastian studied her carefully before replying. "If left alone, Miss Hero can cause a bit of trouble. Please look after her."

She looked momentarily surprised, but nodded.

"Good then, if you'll excuse me ladies." Sebastian promptly turned around and left down the stairs. Charity and Mey-Rin looked at each in confusion before returning into the room. Mey-Rin's back faced the blonde lady's maid so she didn't see the slow smile that crept onto Charity's face as she adjusted her braid over her shoulder.

Oh I'll look after her alright…

Ugh…I can't sleep, thought Arthur as he opened his eyes, staring at the ceiling above him. Part of the reason could be contributed to the fact that Miss Hero and Ciel argument earlier was still ringing in his ears, second was that Hero's added warmth to bed was sorely missed, most felt by Ciel, though Arthur was sure he'd never admit it. Still, it was clear that the boy obviously missed the girl's presence (the fact that this was not their first time sleeping together still freaked Arthur in some distant level). He mentally sighed, wondering how such a night could have worsened.

And all over a kitchen appliance…

Arthur sat up and looked at the boy, who suddenly shifted, back facing him. He smiled. "I suppose you're missing Miss Hero, huh?"

"Indeed, it would seem he is," Sebastian replied, sighing as if it were a shame the boy was feeling that way.

Arthur whirled and freaked. "Eh? Hey…! You were still here?"

"Shut up, Sebastian. I don't need you to tease me," Ciel muttered darkly.

Arthur was beyond embarrassed as he faced Ciel. "E-Earl Phantomhive! D-Did you hear me?"

Ciel ignored him and held out a hand. "Quickly, hand me my pillow."

Arthur blinked. "Pillow?"

Sebastian handed Ciel a much larger and luxurious looking pillow. "I suppose you could say this is the young master's security blanket at present. Of course he wouldn't have much need for it if Miss Hero were still here."

Ciel glared at him. "Shut up! And you had as much fault in this as me."

Sebastian smiled humbly. "Too true, sir. I do hope you can repair the riff should you see her next time."

Ciel muttered something inaudible, but Sebastian continued to look unfazed.

"Of course, young master."

Arthur looked puzzled. "What—"

"Don't worry about it professor. Anyways, get back to your quarters Sebastian. I'm going to sleep." No sooner had he announced those words that Ciel fell asleep.

"It's nice to see that he can sleep so soundly after having argued with Miss Hero," Sebastian added with a smirk.

Arthur peered at the boy's twitching hand. "I wouldn't say soundly but he is tired." Not to mention that he fell asleep so quickly!

"Professor," Sebastian suddenly whispered. "I apologize for the inconvenience that has occurred. The young master is stoutly conducting himself as the head of the family, but he is still only thirteen. Still very young."

"You're right," agreed Arthur. "He must be feeling helpless with anxiety, having been caught up in all this, not to mention the fight with Miss Hero."

Sebastian looked at him. "Do you also believe in the young master's innocence then, professor?

Arthur looked up. "I do. I can't believe that the Earl would such a thing."

Sebastian smiled. "I thank you for that. It is truly fortunate that you are the one to be watching over the young master. Professor," he gave Arthur a sincere look. "Do take care of the young master and Miss Hero. I fear they shall need looking after."

Arthur blinked but before he could say anything, Sebastian had left.

Sebastian quietly opened the door and peered cautiously inside, half-expecting a lamp or chair to be thrown at his head. But thankfully, Hero's room was silent and dark, which led Sebastian to correctly assume that their resident forever-stranded time-traveler was now asleep. He entered the room and noticed that the large bed was empty of both Hero and sheets. He frowned, wondering where she had gone when he caught sight of the fractionally opened armoire.

So that's where she stashed herself.

Sebastian walked over to the armoire and opened the partially closed door, revealing a cuddled Hero tangled in her sheets and clothes. A small endearing smile formed on the butler's lips as he stared at her. The girl looked so ill at ease, but very much deeply asleep, all while unintentionally looking quite adorable. It's really quite sad that for a seventeen year old, the girl looked no older then maybe thirteen or fourteen.

Hero shifted and managed to roll herself out of the armoire, landing in a tangled heap on the floor. Sebastian merely bent down and picked her up, sheets and all, as he laid her on her bed. He fixed up the covers and positioned the pillows so she was comfortable. Sebastian noticed the stuffed bear the young master gave her caught in a fold and held it up. He had half a mind to place it on the night stand, away from her, but decided against it as he placed it next to her sleeping head.

"There, that should do it," Sebastian murmured quietly as he shifted a few strands of dark hair away from her forehead. "As your demon mate, it pains me that I must leave you for a short while. Try not to get into trouble while I'm gone."

Sebastian's lips ghosted over her temple and gently traveled to Hero's unsuspecting lips, giving her a quick but chaste kiss. He smirked when she unconsciously shifted, messing up the covers again. He sighed in mock resignation but fixed them once more. He paused.

"I suppose I shall have to apologize when I see you awake next time," he whispered. "But note that I regret nothing."

March 13, 1803

I can sense it…my death is coming. And soon. If this were not all very dire, I would be sourly cross for not being able to visit my brother in the regiment stationed in Norfolk. But I suppose he will have to go wondering what happened to me.

Luckily the eccentric stranger I met yesterday had most graciously helped hide me. I can't say I don't find it odd why he's so interested in this demon mate business, but then, I never did understand men. Still, once you get pass his cackle and love of macabre, he is a rather amiable if a little peculiar character. He's told me some interesting stories about those he's met before me, their struggle to survive once they were discovered and how all, eventually, died.

I must say that I find all of this a bit surreal. Just yesterday I was a normal shop girl, going to church and helping Mrs. Tibblenittle bake cookies for the children in the orphanage. But then again, I guess you could say I've always known there was something odd about myself. I seem to have this unnatural gift for knowing what's going to happen in the future. It might have sounded exciting but I only just know what's going to happen five seconds before things actually happen. Just five seconds. Not very useful I know, but at least its helped me from being clumsy; except for that time in Hyde Park that led to this whole situation. If only I'd understood that the luggage the woman with the feather hat had wasn't her luggage but a dog. They looked terribly alike they did. Big and black and most horribly shaggy!

Ah…I digress.

On a more positive note, the...Undertaker, I think he's called, has given me a compilation of notes and diary entries from previous deceased demon mates. As strange as this all is, I find that it's actually quite fascinating. There are so many things that I didn't know about myself, or my endangered kind.

Like the pale white symbols we all carry in different parts of our bodies. I've always assumed it was merely a queer birthmark, but apparently it's a symbol that tells us which demon we belong to. And if they come to claim us, however that happens, the mark will turn black! If such a thing does happen, I thank the Good Lord I am able to wear skirts.

Oh what else…

Here's something else that's quite interesting, during the time that a demon mate is without his or her demon, we each have a secret ability that helps us survive our time of vulnerability. It explains why I'm able to see the future five seconds before it happens. Apparently the last demon mate of Mister Undertaker's acquaintance had the ability to change their own age! Imagine! If I should have to be fifteen again I think I should die! Still, I discovered that each demon mate's special ability compliments that of their respective demon. I do wonder though, what demon would need a demon mate that's able to change their age? A most peculiar question this is.

Nevertheless, even if I'm unable to walk the streets in London for fear of getting attacked in broad daylight, I must say that this demon mate thing is very fascinating. I shall have to tell you more of my learning's dear journal!

But not tonight. It is supper time and I pray that Mister Undertaker has brought something that looks at least edible. I do fear for the man's diet. Until next time.


"Everything looks perfect and in working order," Madame Red commented as she pulled the covers over the blond boy. "His wounds may have looked terrible and if it had been any other doctor they would have surely gotten worse, but remarkably the gash on his shoulder was non-threatening and the bullet was safely removed without risk of infection." She straightened and looked at Claude. "And thankfully the sedatives lasted through the operation. He should wake up any minute now."

At that moment Stanton appeared inside the room. "Madame, the tools have been cleaned and put away. Shall I fetch the tea?"

"Most definitely. Earl Trancy will need lots of fluids to replace the blood he's lost. Which reminds me," Madame Red added as she walked toward the door. "Stanton! Get me my stationary! I forgot to tell Ciel and Hero that I won't be able to attend their dinner party. A pity really. I was so looking forward to meeting Irene. The dear sang lovely the other night and I meant to compliment her this evening."

Stanton nodded his head. "Yes, Madame."

Madame Red followed Stanton out the room and Claude was left alone with the still unconscious blond boy. He didn't have much choice but to sit down on the chair beside the bed. He had a lot to think about recently, especially with the rumor circulating. That rumor…

There are always vespers of whispers…old tales and new stories that always made up these rumors…but what were the odds that they were real this time? All the other ones he had checked out turned out to be false.

As Claude contemplated what he'd recently heard from a shifty source, Alois stirred in bed and that's when his eyes cracked opened to reveal aquamarine orbs. He looked disoriented and confused for a minute, his unfamiliar surroundings alerting him that he was in unknown territory. But he needn't have worried because Alois soon noticed Claude seated next to the bed.

"Your Highness," Claude greeted.

The boy looked relieved as he looked at him. "Claude, you're here."

"Of course," he replied nonchalantly. "You know I will never leave your side so long as the contract binds us."

The corner of his lips curled down. "Claude, come here."

Claude moved.


Claude did so.


Alois's face twisted in anger as he looked at his demon butler, hand raised and slightly red. "What the bloody hell was that? What was that stunt you pulled earlier?"

Claude had known that the boy would bring it up. He just hadn't expected it to be so soon. He fixed his spectacles and looked at his master. "It was an unfortunate oversight on my part sir,"

"Don't let it happen again," Alois commanded. "Or else there'll be hell to pay."

Claude said nothing.

At that moment, Madame Red appeared inside the room, her butler Stanton following close behind with a tray of rosehip tea and some watercresses. She looked happy to see the boy awake.

"And I was right!" She said as she neared the bed. "So you are awake."

Alois looked confused as he stared at her. He looked at Claude. "What…?"

"After you were wounded, I brought you to a doctor to tend to your injuries. According to her you are mostly healed," Claude explained as he helped Alois sit up straight.

"Mostly," Madame Red repeated as she sat at the edge of the bed, opposite Claude. "You need to eat and drink to get your strength back up. I've had Stanton prepare some tea and had Cook make some watercresses to stave off any hunger you might have now. You'll eat a lot more heartier during breakfast."

"Oh, thank you very much," Alois thanked her politely, watching her butler prepare the tea. "But who are you?"

"Oh I have many names, but call me Madame Red. Everyone does," she said.

"Madame Red? Interesting name," Alois murmured.

Madame Red smiled and turned to look at Stanton. "Oh and Stanton, I finished my letter. When the weather clears, do send it as quickly as possible. I'd hate to have my nephew and Hero wonder what happened to me."

"Of course," Stanton replied as he handed Alois the tea.

"You know," Madame Red added. "My nephew also happens to be an Earl, though a year younger then you I imagine."

Alois paused mid-sip. "Nephew? Earl? Younger than me?"

Madame Red absently nodded. "Yes. He's hosting a party tonight you know." She looked at him. "Say, you two should meet. You both look like you have much in common. And it'll do Ciel some good to be around people his age."

"Ciel? You mean Ciel Phantomhive?"

Madame Red smiled. "Yes that's his name."

Claude and Alois briefly exchanged looks. Alois returned his gaze to Madame Red and smiled. "And you know him?"

Now they were on Madame Red's second favorite topic of conversation, her darling favorite nephew Ciel. Suddenly she was animated and all smiles and laughter. "Of course I do! I'm his favorite aunt," she boasted as she lifted her bangs away from her face.

"Tell me, does he also have a butler by the name of Sebastian Michaelis?"

"Ah yes, handsome Sebastian. Ever the efficient and impossible butler."

Alois lowered his teacup onto the saucer and smiled brightly at Madame Red. "Please, do tell more."

"Miss Hero! Miss Hero please! You must wake up!" shouted a distressed Charity as she banged away at my bedroom door. I groaned, feeling sore as I rolled over and attempted to bury my face under the pillow. Unfortunately sleep would elude me today since I rolled a little too far and ended up falling over the bed. I sighed and opened my eyes, groaning as I sat up. The incessant banging kept vibrating through my head and finally I got up, if a little wobbly.

"Gosh damn it! Its way to damn early for this!" I complained in frustration. Did no one understand that I was NOT a morning person? I marched over to the door and threw it wide open. "What in the world is going…," I trailed off when I saw the distraught look on Charity's pale face.

My brow furrowed in sudden concern. "Charity what's wrong?"

But she needn't have told me anything. It was like the time I had been hit in the head by a baseball in the Marlin's Ballpark Stadium (the odds of it landing on my cranium still leaves me mystified to this day) and suddenly it all came back to me.

"Oh shit!" I cried out as I ran down the hall, Charity following close behind. "I cannot believe I overslept!" By the time we made it to the room Sebastian had been murdered in, I stopped, cautiously walking inside in time to hear everyone freak out as they wondered who had killed Sebastian.

Guess this was my cue.

"What's going on?" asked a familiar voice that could only belong to a one Miss Hero.

Arthur froze, having forgotten that Sebastian's grisly death would not only impact the little Earl, but Miss Hero as well. Everyone suddenly quieted as she entered the room. Ciel had stiffened but he turned around in time to see her catch a glimpse of the dead butler.

The silence was tense.

By now almost everyone was made aware in some form or another of the close connection Miss Hero had with the butler (information shamelessly provided by Lau) so they all awaited some reaction that would equal or be greater than Ciel's.

To their absolute shock and confusion, Hero began to laugh good-naturedly.

"Hahahaha, Sebastian what are you doing on the floor playing dead?" she said as she walked closer. "If this is a way to say sorry you could have just made me a cake," she stopped before the pool of blood, looking at him with a bemused smile. "No seriously though, you should get up. You've got some explaining to do."

"M-Miss Hero," a pale Charity croaked as she pulled on the girl's nightgown sleeve. "H-He's dead. The Professor confirmed it."

Hero stopped smiling and looked over at Arthur. He gulped, briefly looked at Ciel who avoided looking at Hero before he returned his gaze to her. "I-It's true."

She blinked. "W-What? That can't be right. This is Sebastian we're talking about. The most amazing perfect butler in the whole universe!"

"Well he was the most amazing perfect butler in the whole universe," Grey added as he stepped forward. "Now he's dead."

Hero looked at Sebastian's body again, her face saying nothing. The only way you could tell something was wrong was the way her shoulders slightly shook and that her eyes appeared glassy. He noticed that Ciel had turned toward her and was about to say something when Hero placed a hand over her mouth and suddenly ran out the room.

"My lady!" Charity exclaimed as she followed her out.

"Do you think she's alright?" Mey-Rin worriedly asked.

"I dunno. I hope so, especially after last night," Finny added.

"Last night?" Lau repeated. "What do you mean last night? Did something happen?"

"It's none of your business, Lau," Ciel snapped.

"Nothing too untoward happened anyways," Grey commented as he began to walk out the room.


"It's simply that Girly Boy got into a fight with the earl and butler. Something about an oven,"

"An oven?" Lord Huhgo said as he looked at Channings. "By jolly, I don't understand Americans and I never will."

Grey paused as he looked at them. "I understand completely. And another thing, we'll have to move that thing down to the cellar before it rots," Grey motioned Sebastian's body with his gloved hand casually. "We can discuss the details to this latest murder when the servants are less sensitive and Girly Boy is more fit to see company, hmm?"

Woodley looked at Grey. "How can you take this so leisurely—!"

"He's right," Lau interrupted. "No good will come of rushing things."

Grey began to walk away again. "That's that then! Well leave you servants to handle the disposal of that thing. Oh and…have breakfast ready for us as well, hm?" He yawned as he left the room. "I'm going ahead to drag Girly Boy into the dining room since left alone who knows what she'll do."

Ciel looked upset. "Why—"

Grey gave him one last smug look. "Isn't it obvious? That butler is dead and she's still upset with you. The only company she'll accept is likely to be mine." With that The Queen's Secretarial Officer left.

Ciel gritted his teeth and looked at the floor darkly.

Arthur frowned as he stared after the man. Talk about lack of sensitivity…

It didn't take long for Grey to find Hero's room. He could very well hear her shouting and throwing things about. Still, never one for preamble, Grey opened the door and entered without knocking, noting a flustered Charity and a furious Hero as she stood behind a Chinese screen.

Charity looked at him and gaped. "Mi—" Grey quickly placed a hand over her mouth and placed a finger on his lips to indicate for her to be silent. She nodded quickly and he removed his hand.

"I freakin' swear! If I get my hands on the motherfucker he is so dead! This isn't funny man! Sebastian was supposed to fess up about what happened and now I can't know a thing because someone had to be a ding wad and fuck it all up! Gosh! What I wouldn't give for a soda right now!"

Hero peered around the curtain. "Charity do you have…," she trailed off, looking surprised at Grey's presence. "Grey? What the hell are you doing here!" she exclaimed as she lunged at him. "You're a friggin' Victorian person! Aren't you supposed to knock?"

"My lady!"

Grey smiled as he caught her hands from straying too close to his face. "I came to fetch you for breakfast."

She looked at him as if he had two heads. "And you couldn't have bothered to knock? I was in my nightgown you know!"

"My lady! You're partially exposed right now!" Charity cried out as she rushed to grab her robe. "You're only in your drawers and chemise!"

Hero huffed and dragged Grey to the door. "You made your point, Grey, so get out!"

"You know, for someone who just had a suitor die, you don't look distraught," Grey commented. "Could it be that you never really had feelings for that thing now down in the cellar?"

Hero paused for a minute, confusion marring her features. She suddenly shook her head and looked at him with a serious face. "Nice try Grey, but wait outside," she told him as she slammed the door in his face.

Hero faced Charity. "I swear! That boy is cruising for a bruising," Hero blinked before she face-palmed. "Oh wait of course he is."

"Um, Miss Hero?" Charity tentatively caught her attention. "We should finish you up."

"Right, right," Hero muttered as she took off her chemise. "Here. This chemise thing has a tear around the back."

As Charity went and retrieved the chemise Hero held out to her, she stilled when she noticed something on Hero's lower back.

"M-Miss Hero?" she called.

"Hmm?" Hero absently said as she walked back to the screen.

"What's that peculiar mark on your back?"

Hero froze. She quickly turned around and placed a hand to her back. "Mark? Oh you mean my birthmark. Looks weird right? Yeah it's been like that since forever—um hey! How about I wear that short brown dress? You know? The one with the long sleeves?

Charity smiled. "Of course. I'll just be a moment!" She walked over to the large armoire near the window and opened it up as Hero returned behind the screen. Charity's fingers tightened around the wood, her hand shaking slightly as she stared blindly at the dresses hanged in front of her. Her lips curled upwards. Finally

It didn't take long for Hero to finish. She was a simple girl by nature, ruled by her emotions and passions. She once again rebuffed the corset and only gave her hair a once over before she left the room, Grey tagging along as they headed toward the dining room.

Charity walked slowly, her thoughts elsewhere as she headed toward the kitchen below stairs.

The dining room was unusually quiet since the wake of Sebastian's untimely and violent death. Hero sat across the table from Ciel. They've been avoiding looking at each other for the last few minutes and that behavior seemed to only make Grey all the more cheerful.

"It's a great help that he took care of the meals in advance," Ciel said when Tanaka appeared with the final dishes.

"And he even remembered to mash my potatoes," Hero added. "Now that's dedication."

"Smells yummy!" Grey announced merrily. "Let's eat! I didn't eat this morning, so I'm famished!"

In the end they all began to eat. Hero noticed that two chairs were empty and she frowned. "Hey wait, where's Woodley and Phelps?"

Lord Hugho looked up. "Ah, I think Woodley said something about waking Phelps up. He wasn't in the room with us."

Hero looked concerned and was about to say something when both Woodley and a pale Phelps appeared. "Sorry everyone, the poor boy heard the news and was scared out of his wits," Woodley explained as he slapped the boy's back.

Phelps looked uncomfortable. Hero looked relieved as she watched them sit down ready (or not) for breakfast. The atmosphere around the dining room was a little somber now, the clink of silverware against the china plates helped give a little life to their otherwise silent activity. As Arthur ate, he noticed that Ciel would occasionally look at Hero, who studiously avoided meeting his gaze. Ciel said nothing as he continued to eat.

"Trouble in paradise?" Lau asked Ciel after noticing the troubled two.

"It's none of your business," Ciel told him.

Lau smiled. "Well, things like that happen you know. At some point or another there will come a time in every courtship where two lovers will come to a disagreement."

"It's more than that," Ciel muttered, skewering a pea.

"Well whatever it is, with the Master Butler gone, you only need to worry about Mister Grey." If only, thought Ciel. "So I suggest you make all attempts at repairing the riff. It's either that or let someone else snatch her away."

Ciel's fist tightened. Arthur focused his gaze back on his plate.

On the other side of the table, Hero tried to unsuccessfully engage Lord Hugho into a conversation.

"You'll have to talk about this some time," she told him.

"Sometime next week when I'm in India," he told her.

She sighed. "Honestly, I gotta say this straight up, I seriously don't understand why Her Majesty is making me do this."

"That makes two of us,"

"It's not like I'm some successful matchmaker. And you know what, my love life ain't that easier to figure out," Hero whispered.

Lord Hugho eyed Lau and mildly glared at him for having been forced to hear about the Earl and Miss Hero's love life. "Yes so I've heard…unfortunately."

Hero stabbed her already mashed potatoes. "And do we even know who this girl is? The one you're supposed to marry?"

"I hear she's quite pretty, though a little dull. And by little, I mean a sheep can be a far greater source of entertainment then this lady," Grey added, joining in the conversation. "I know because I was forced to talk to her."

Hero glared at him. "Well isn't that a lovely compliment."

At that moment a terrified shriek from upstairs startled everyone in the dining room.

"What was that?" Irene asked as she paled.

"That sounded like Mey-Rin," Hero said as she stood up, pushing back her chair.

Arthur quickly stood up as well. "We better go check it out."

Ordinarily they could have sent a servant to check out what was wrong, but since things were slightly less than normal, they all decided that rushing to see the problem en masse was the perfect solution. And so, it wasn't until when they arrived down the hall, a blubbering Mey-Rin and terrified Finny greeting them, did they see the problem.

Phelps on cue fainted and Grimsby held Irene as the poor dear covered he mouth. Ciel looked shocked and Hero was absolutely stunned. Arthur felt himself sick to his stomach but forced himself to move forward. He knelt down beside the corpse. One look and there was no need to examine further.

Charity Price laid on the floor, facing the ceiling, filmed eyes staring wide eyed as blood ran down her mouth. A gaping crimson hole tore through her stomach and dress, allowing the blood to pool beneath her uniform and blonde braided hair.

It was without a doubt to anyone that Hero's lady's maid was dead.

Boom, baby. What chall think? Didn't expect that now did yous? Lol, well I had fun writing this, especially Grey's scene . I love that man. I HAVE to give him someone for him to end up with. Which is why I've been thinking, but I know if I write a Grey story it'll majorly spoil this story, mostly. But meh, who knows?

Remember to review pretty please!

UPDATED: S'cuse my popping up, but everyone! I made this poll on my profile and I want all of you to vote! Why? Cause I'm curious what the result will be. And if enough people answer this poll, I might make another that I'm sure all of you will love ;D That's it!

Oh and due to several circumstances, mainly because I'm being timed on my own laptop :T I've decided to answer reviewers that have asked questions or need a response. Thank you all for reviewing! I always read 'em all and think of you guys. I promise to reply to you all next chapter. Till then!

FlyingCake: I seriously have respect for you man. I thank you for honestly telling me your thoughts. Its helped me improve some areas and bring others to my attention. And your write that every character needs a flaw. Its what makes your character and story a little more interesting. I'm just sorry it took me a few chapters to finally get to it XP And the typing with the fake nails thing, XD That is really fun! Love the clacking sound!

SmileRen: Lizzy and Alois? Oh gosh I think he'd freak her out, not to mention Lizzy's personality clashes terribly with his. Its a thing for me to pair people up that compliment each personalities wise, so most likely not.

Plaxoria: Who's this Charity girl? You'll see ^v^ Also, the question of why would demons want to kill an unclaimed demon mate instead of taking her for themselves will most likely be explained next chapter or the one after that (cause some shit is gonna be hittin' the proverbial fan). And by now I'm sure you understand why Hero was lookin' all down when she was talking with Arthur.

tohru15: I suppose Siemens about to throw the beer at Hero would definitely give Grey reason to murder ^v^

Rin-chan Desu: Yes Alois will temporarily and briefly stay at Madame Reds. :) All part of the least my plan ^w^

sebby-fan: Claude and Alois? You'll just have to wait and see how they react in meeting her...

shadowprincess100: I still recommend reading the manga. Why? Because Yana Toboso's skills at drawing are breathtaking (especially the details =^w^=) and the plot just as interesting. And because this is fanfiction, I have license to tweak and add stuff. Yay fanfiction!

Jude: Lol! Jude its you! I was confused for a minute and then I read your second review and I was like "oh!". Thanks for the review! I'm glad your enjoying the story. And yes, the Little Black Book are all the compilations of previous demon mate's journals and diary entries and then some. And funnily enough, I do put some double meanings to what write. I know not many people get them but its fun to see who does. Congrats on getting it!

ilovecocks: Good gosh no! Lol, I don't have time to dream myself in weird places (and though I love Hero, I'd never want to be in her situation even if hot Sebastian and shota Ciel were there). I mostly write because I seriously need to hone my writing skills if I ever want to become a successful published author. Still, cute thought. And G-rate your username. Got some younger viewing audiences.

rin-chan-desu: I feel so bad writing to you so late, but honestly you don't have to worry much. Most of what I write will be T, at least this story since that's how I started it. And none of THAT will be happening any time soon, but if there is a need to write something of the Very Mature nature, I'll put up a warning and you can read at your own risk. Its honestly up to you if you should or not, but if you do, I congratualte you into womanhood (since you'll be introduced to that sort of environment when you get to high school, maybe even middle school). But I seriously doubt you'll have to worry much on that department. Still, I appreciate your review and voicing your concern.

Plagiator: And you got that from one chapter that consisted of roughly 3k words? *shakes head* please read on before I face palm.

Cheerio82897: I like that qoute, "Great Minds Think Alike". If you do post your story, tell me! And the CielxHero and GreyxHero gets to me too ^v^

safranbrod: Ciel has use for Hero, but its not of the "Sebastian, I Choose You!" nature. Her skills as a detective are a valuable assest, especially her knowledge of her "future". Though the last skill is shifty so he mainly focuses on the first. Still, gotta love his character. Though its rough and sometimes misdirected and unsee, he's truly got a soft heart. And power to us Sherlock lovers! Finished watching Elementary Season 1 and gonna rewatch Sherlock! again. Cannot wait for their Season 3!

Guest (3/19) #2: I've already discussed this issue earlier. Seriously. I have my own plot and Cutie's got hers. Excuse me that this OC time- traveling to Kuroshitsuji World idea has been over used (but its a favorite ^v^). I even have a whole community dedicated to stories of this nature, both of Cutie's A Kiss To My Prince Series included. And why do you "I copied her" people always review on the first chapter? I don't get it! But whatever, to each his own.

animelover56349: "Hit Puberty" LOFL! THAT was hilarious XD and I am so honore you trust me to see who she ends up. I hope I can live on par to your expectations.

Yami Mizuna: Welcome back home! I'm so glad your here safe TvT