Scent of Death

Summary: Grell tries to track down the source of a stinky odor at Madame Red's manor. Basically a short funny story.

Disclaimer: The characters are not mine. They belong to whoever owns the rights to Black Butler.

000

Grell opened the carriage door for Madame Red and offered his white gloved hand to help her down. She accepted it and climbed out of the carriage, her long skirts held up partly in her other hand. They had just returned from eating out at a lovely restaurant, mainly because he still didn't know how to cook and the Madame was getting tired of sandwiches. Truthfully, he couldn't blame her. He was tired of them too and there were only so many things one could do with sliced veggies, cheese, bread and sliced meat. To make matters even worst, he couldn't even cook the meat himself but had to buy it already roasted.

He really was a pathetic butler, but he was a glorious reaper of death!

She handed him the keys to the house silently and he took them, climbing the steps to the front door. Truthfully, he was a bit surprised she trusted him with them but she did. He inserted the proper key into the lock and turned it. Upon hearing the satisfying click, he twisted the knob and pulled the door open. He stepped out of the way so Madame could enter first as was only proper.

She stepped through the doorway and paused just inside the entry hall, her nose wrinkling. "What's that smell?"

"Smell, my lady?" Grell asked innocently as he pulled the key free from the lock and held the ring of keys in one hand, joining her inside and pulling the door shut.

"Yes, that awful stench!" She complained as she shifted her gaze around the room as if expecting the source of the stink to be evident. Unfortunately, the hour was late and the sun was already setting, the room practically as dark as coal. "It smells like a rotting carcass. I hope you didn't leave meat sitting out in this heat we've been having, have you, Grell?"

"Of course not, my lady." He replied smoothly as he dropped the house keys on a little table near the front door and set about lighting some candles. "It is the smell of death, although I don't know why it's here."

He could see her red eyes studying him and he could practically guess what she was thinking. Mortals were often easy to read that way.

"You haven't killed someone and stuffed them down in the basement, have you?"

"Who, me?" Grell acted innocent, his green eyes growing wide behind his plain eyeglasses and one white gloved hand pressing against his chest. "Of course not, my lady, I would never do that. I don't want to get caught anymore than you do. Besides, I'm waiting to learn whose next on our special list…"

"Well, we'll just have to wait for another woman to get an abortion I'm afraid…" She replied as she walked into the next room, sniffing. "This room stinks, too! It must be some dead animal somewhere. Can't you find it with those reaper skills of yours?"

"I'm afraid grim reapers only deal with human deaths." He explained as he double checked that the front door was locked securely and then followed her. "Besides, it's not like I wonder about to discover the dead bodies; my little book tells me the exact time and place. If there's a dead animal in the house, I'd have no idea where it is…"

"Well, find it and dispose of it." She ordered as she started up the staircase for the upstairs. "But draw me a bath first."

"But how am I supposed to find it?" He asked as he followed her upstairs to help her undress and to draw the bath. He really didn't see why it was his job to deal with some stinky dead animal. He dealt with human deaths and she knew that. Still, as her butler he supposed the job would fall to him anyway.

"Sniff around for it!" She declared as she hurried into her room. The air was cleaner in here but she feared soon the vile smell would flood the entire house. The horrid odor was already twisting her stomach and she paused, one hand on her chest. "Please, Grell, open a window!"

Grell hurried to open Madame's bedroom windows, fresh air blowing in. Then he helped her closer to the window and watched as she leaned heavily on the sill while gasping in the fresh air.

"I can't possibly do any entertaining while that stink is here! If you don't find it soon, the neighbor's will start complaining! With the murders in the news, suspicious glances will be thrown our way and that is what we do not need."

Grell could not argue her reasoning. He quickly undid the buttons of her dress and removed it. Then he set to work on the corset she wore. Soon it was off as well. He put her clothes away and got out her nightgown, laying it on the bed. "I shall go draw your bath."

"Thank you, Grell."

Once the bath was ready, Grell headed downstairs to start his new task. He frowned at the revolting odor that was everywhere, a few sharp shark-like teeth showing. He liked dead bodies, yes, but not ones this ripe. He bent from the waist and sniffed by various pieces of furniture to try and discover where the odor was the strongest. Soon he learned the horrid stink was strongest along the floor, so he guessed a draft was blowing it from somewhere. He paused to wipe sweat from his brow. "Oh, the horrors I suffer being a butler! I fear I will ruin my good white gloves when I find the rotten corpse!"

The draft led him to the large fireplace in the great room. He cautiously poked his head into the dark opening and quickly regretted it. "Oh, the stench! It would surely kill me if I were not immortal!"

Grell loved being dramatic even if no one was watching.

Getting a lit candle, he shoved the light source into the fireplace and shone all around the bottom of the large square location. He poked at the old ashes that he had left in place from the last chilly days in spring. But no matter how he shifted the ashes he didn't see any corpse, not even a tiny baby mouse. "Hmmmm…? Where is it? My nose says it's here but I don't see it!"

Then something wet dripped onto the black sleeve of his jacket.

Instantly the odor increased a thousand fold.

"Uggh!" Grell yanked his arm out of the fireplace, staring daggers at the ichor on his sleeve. "How dare some creature have the nerve to die in the chimney! How am I supposed to get it out of there? I'm skinny but not that skinny!"

He tried sticking his arm up inside the chimney's opening and although he felt all around, he didn't find the dead animal.

But more juices from the dripping corpse had rained down onto his jacket and gloves, staining them. Grell gritted his teeth, fuming at his ruined clothes.

"Grell? Did you find it yet?" Madame's voice called from the top of the stairs.

"Yes, Madame. It's in the chimney!"

"It must be one of those dreadful raccoons that have been hanging around. Be good and get rid of it."

"Of course, Madame." He replied sweetly while fuming at the supposedly dead raccoon. The question was how to reach it? He needed something long and thin…

Then a light bulb went off in Grell's head. He knew the perfect tool for the job!

Grell snuck off to the Shinigami realm, hoping none of his coworkers would see him in such a un-lady-like state. But it was late and he thought that they would all be sleeping. He crept silently to dear William's room and tried the knob. Just as he thought, the door was unlocked. Will had no reason to lock his door as there were no thieves up here and he possessed nothing worth stealing.

Until now.

Grell tippy-toed into Will's bedroom and spied the object of his desire. It was leaning against the wall right next to the bed. Will was fast asleep, his mouth hanging partly open and his arms spread wide as he snored softly. He wore a white T-shirt, the rest of him unseen under a light sheet. Without any hesitation, Grell stole the hedge trimmer and left as quickly as he could.

He popped back to the mortal realm and easily jumped up onto Madame's roof. Holding the hedge trimmer securely above the chimney's dark opening, he squeezed the trigger that sent the pole telescoping downward. He heard a satisfying loud wet sound and knew the dead animal had been speared. He then started to haul the pole up hand over hand. The carcass was just in sight when it slid off of the hedge trimmer back into the chimney.

"Nooooooo!" Grell cried in real anguish.

Gritting his teeth, he sent the deadly weapon back down again.

And again.

An hour before dawn Grell finally had the now greatly hated dead raccoon in hand. It was full of multiple holes from the hedge trimmer and looked horrid, its fur wet from the foul juices of its ruined body. The stench was unimaginable for something so small and he flung it as far as he could. He watched it sour over the rooftops and vanish from sight. Being a Shinigami, it could fly very far indeed from such a throw and truthfully he didn't care where it landed. He feared he still had to wash the inside of the fireplace as well.

"My clothes are absolutely ruined!" The brown haired butler huffed as he gritted his pointed teeth. He checked his pocket watch, fouling it in the process, and knew he had to return the death scythe before dear William woke up. He couldn't afford to be caught with it, not now. If that happened, his lovely chainsaw would be taken away and he'd be given those horrid scissors again!

A quick rinsing cleaned the tool but did nothing to remove the odor. Soon it was returned and Grell sighed in relief. He hurried to his room to take a perfumed bath and for a fresh change of clothing. He hoped his actions would not be found out, but he felt confident as dear Will had still been asleep when the tool had been returned.

Grell hurried into the office where he worked, only five minutes late. He smelled from sweet perfume and his hair was still slightly damp from washing it. Almost instantly he noted a foul odor in the air. Then he saw Ronald staring wide-eyed at William.

"Boy, you smell like death!" The young blonde reaper informed the grim supervisor with a loud gasp.

"Yes, I know. I cannot explain the odor though…" William adjusted his glasses with his black gloved finger while scowling.

Grell decided to act as normal as possible, grinning broadly and waving at his co-workers; blowing kisses.

Then the office door opened and an even greater stink came forth.

Grell was forced to clamp a hand over his nose.

Ronald gagged and did the same.

William only sighed heavily but turned to see what it was.

Eric and Alan trudged into the office slowly as they returned from the night shift. Their hair and clothes were covered in some type of slimy slop, the mysterious liquid being the source of the stink. Neither of them looked happy at all.

"We were doing our shift and a dead raccoon came flying out of the sky and hit me one in the face, knocked me right off of my feet!" Eric complained grumpily to the others. "Thing had more holes in it than a pasta strainer and stunk worst than a demon. It sprayed both of us with this … this .. goop!"

William sighed unhappily. It was clear to him already it was going to be one of those days. He turned to the redhead. "Grell Sutcliffe, I expect you to be on your best behavior today, as I have enough problems to deal with and it's just a few minutes after seven. I don't want to hear about any of your usual trouble-making nonsense!"

"I wouldn't dream of it, William dear!" Grell smiled broadly as he hurried to pick up his death scythe. "I'll just go collect my souls for today."

Grell hurried towards the door, making a wide curve around the two slime covered co-workers. He blew them the usual kisses so they wouldn't suspect his involvement, but they weren't even looking at him.

"And stay away from that demon!" William called after him.

Grell ignored him and popped down to the mortal realm. He needed to get his pocket watch cleaned. And maybe if he were lucky he'd see his red-eyed demon.

The End