ROLL THE BONES
I do not own Harry Potter, Kuroshitsuji, or Neverwhere. They are property of JK Rowling, Yana Tobosa, and Neil Gaiman. This is fanfiction, be prepared to have your canon horribly, horribly, raped for my enjoyment and discretion.
Hired to investigate the no longer derelict Phantomhive Estate, Harry gets caught up in something more annoying than Squatters when he finds himself blackmailed into being the Housekeeper.
Warnings: Slash, Crossdressing, Quiet!Competent!Perceptive!Immortal!Harry, (Surprise!)!Undertaker. Sebastian/Harry, Lizzie/Ciel.
That Butler... Perplexed
The moon was high and the night was crisp and bitterly cold the way that only a dry and cloudless night could. December had descended with a vengeance upon the British isles, frost rimming the edges of fallen leaves and moss buds, clouding glasses and highlighting gargoyles perched upon their flint and lead roofs. It wouldn't be long before a blanket of white would descend upon the small island nation, an unusual but celebrated event. Many a privileged child was hoping and praying for a White Christmas, a wish that looked as though it were going to be granted by the mercurial grey and black clouds overhead. While those less fortunate, those who prayed for warmer winds, would sadly be disappointed.
Stalking on silent feet through the undergrowth, fingers, toes, and ribs aching with cold, Harry Potter wasn't far off from one of those less fortunate individuals in hoping for warmer winds to blow his way.
Carefully climbing the frigidly cold drain-pipes, he made his way onto the roof of the elegant old mansion. This was, perhaps, not his most intelligent, or carefully chosen jobs. But employment had been thin on the ground and for a young man of dubious background and no letter of introduction, there wasn't much that one could do without resorting to... underground professions. True he could have quite easily become a servant in some small out of the way humble household, but when you had spent so long fighting, it was next to impossible to turn those instincts off. He knew that any attempt to do try and pretend otherwise would fail the moment he almost snapped the neck of a homeless youth who attempted to mug him.
This mansion had formerly been a burnt out wreck. His employer, a man of some standing, had been looking to purchase the land for some reason that Harry hadn't listened to, and then suddenly, the building was repaired to its former splendour and inhabited. He had sent men to be rid of whatever squatters that had taken residence, only to have none of them return. When he sent more out, he had the misfortune of having some of the bodies dumped in the near-by town, bloodied, broken, and clearly dead from precise and deep slashes. No gun wounds. Knife wounds, perhaps a sword? Either way, he didn't know who had taken up the former Phantomhive Estate, but given how the corpse of the child who had once called this place home had never been recovered, and how the Lady of the house still had a living sister – currently in London working as a Doctor – he didn't want to cause offence or lower his standing in polite society by continuing his behaviour of sending Thugs to their door had a true legitimate owner to the home returned. He had been at his wits end, unwilling to give up on the property just in case it simply was a case of Squatters, and then a friend introduced him to Harry. Which brought him here. Moving across the roof like a spider for a pay-packet that he was considering asking a tip for given how freezing cold it was.
He wasn't to enter the property, just ascertain who had taken up residence in the formerly dilapidated mansion. Given how usually he was being asked to murder certain individuals, Harry was thankful for the change of pace. He had never been comfortable with the idea of cold-blooded murder. But times had changed, as had he. Things he would have never considered in his youth were now, sadly, necessary evils for survival. It was both amazing and strange how your outlook changed with age and experience. And there was only one man who had more age and experience than him, and he had gone on his Next Great Adventure some many, many years ago.
There... didn't seem to be anyone in the house though. Not even any servants, despite the fact that all the lights were on and the rooms were not only impeccably clean, but also somewhat lived in. A discarded book here, a dirty glass on a coaster there, a scuff-mark on a waxed floor. The house was definitely occupied. And it had to possess a large number of staff for its upkeep. It was just... after several hours of clambering over slate and lead roofing – flawlessly clean roofing, not a speck of moss or lichen to be seen – he hadn't seen a single soul whenever he flipped over to peer through the windows.
Over an hour of creeping, of stinging, hot, and strained fingers, of dizzy-spells as blood rushed to and from his head, and aching muscles from clinging to the roof, he finally hit paydirt. A study on the first floor, it's curtains still open, and the soft sound of voices.
Gripping the decorative window frame, Harry flipped over, eyes scanning the room, and the occupants swiftly. Fire place to the left, bookcases lining every wall, large grand desk in front of the window, papers stacked neatly here and there, black tea in fine chinaware, and sitting with his back to him was a young boy clad in white and blue. A strip of fabric wound around his face, hiding one eye. His hair was a curious shade of black that looked almost charcoal-blue. His skin was pale and flawless in the same way a china doll was. Opposite him stood a tall dark haired man, clad in traditional Butler's regalia. Impeccable dress, shiny black shoes, and a thin, aristocratic face with all the cunning of a fox, complete with bastard's smirk. He wasn't close enough to see, but Harry could swear his eyes were red. Or perhaps a particularly rich shade of hazel. It was hard to say. He had such long eyelashes.
Hauling himself back onto the roof, he flexed his fingers for a moment, blowing on them to try and regain some feeling in the frigid digits, shivering in the cold before rolling his shoulders and returning to the matter at hand. He pulled a sheet of paper from his pocket – the particulars of his job, and double-checked his information. Hermione was the one with the photographic memory for things she'd seen, he still needed a cheat sheet so to speak when it came to information. On the other hand, what his mind lacked, his body made up for in spades. Once he had successfully done something, it would remain in his muscle-memory for years to come. Very useful.
Right, so. This clearly wasn't the Lady of the House's younger sister, the widowed Baroness Durless. Which meant the only remaining legitimate owner of the property was the currently missing twelve year old heir, Ciel Phantomhive. A reportedly sickly young boy engaged to the sole daughter of Alexis Leon Midford, head of the British Knights Order. Harry snorted quietly. He knew that being a Knight in this day and age was actually something worth having, where as back in his time, any Celebrity the Queen liked to a sufficient degree could be Knighted. Heck, even he was Knighted, which only went to show how pointless it had become when a Murderer was given such a thing.
Regardless. He checked the picture that came with his information. Dark hair, that same shade of charcoal-blue. Slender and petite, much in the same way Harry himself had been at that age, though clearly better taken care of. Large, as in dominating, blue eyes. Pale skin. And likely wearing a blue diamond ring set in silver or platinum. A family heirloom and the symbol of the Phantomhive Earldom. In a word, the boy was blue. Baby blue.
Opposite him, the vivacious woman with her scarlet hair and lips, in her red dress trimmed in black lace, the infamous Angelina Durless, the widowed Baroness and Aunt to the young boy. A Doctor at the Royal London Hospital – admirable, and clearly an exceptional woman given the time period when women were to be breeding-factories, keep quiet, and look pretty. That she not only was recognised as a Doctor, but was able to be so vivacious and social a creature and not have it impact upon her career or her standing in polite society only spoke all the louder for her abilities in medicine and just how well thought of she was.
Tucking both paper and pictures into his inside breast pocket, he gripped the roofing once again and swung himself upside down once more. Peering through the glass. Well, the boy matched the physical description, with the exception of the eye-patch. Though, his fingers were ba-
On his thumb!
Blue diamond on a silver band. That was definitely it, right down to the cut of the gem and the almost sapphire shade that caught the light. There was a second ring as well, golden, ah, the Phantomhive family crest. Yes, this was him. Ciel Phantomhive, rightful owner of the Estate.
Wait... The Butler was gone. Hm, he would have to be extra careful as he left if one of them was wondering around. Probably gone to get a refill on that tea, Harry thought enviously. Warm, hot tea. It sounded glorious. He sighed once more as he pulled himself up, deciding that, either way, that was his job done. All he had to do was report back, collect his money and be on his way. He would have to make himself a cup of – no, a pot of tea, lovely hot vanilla tea with a generous dollop of honey, and drink it all to himself as he curled up in front of the fireplace of the room he'd rented at the shady Opium den he now called home.
"Well, well, well," a rich baritone voice purred barely an inch from his ear, vice-like hands landing on his shoulders even as Harry's whole body seized with shock, his blood momentarily turning as cold as the tiles beneath his fingers. "It looks as though the Young Master's vermin problem is as never ending as usual," the voice continued.
Harry twisted, even as he fell back, letting gravity take him. It was the Butler, smirking his bastard's smirk, with eyes the colour of cinders and blood.
Adrenalin hit his system like a freight-train and the world stood still. Red eyes. That was never a good sign. No matter the time, or place.
"Expelliarmus!" he commanded, throwing an arm out and flinging the Butler across the roof. He didn't stick around to watch him gracefully flip over and right himself before landing in an elegant crouch, his polished black shoes skidding just a little on the frosted roof. Harry was already throwing himself to the side in a roll that took him off the roof and skidding down the tiles into a convenient balcony below.
Well, one aspect of his job was over. He had been discovered. All he had to do now was get the hell off the property and back to London. Once there, if he were still being pursued, he could quite easily lose his shadow in the rat-warren of sewers that were his second home. From there he would contact his employer.
Until then, all he had to do was escape.
Landing hard, he sprung back up and vaulted over the balcony's railing, grabbing at tree-branches as he descended to the ground. The springy wood slowing him enough that when he hit the ground and rolled across the frosted grass, he didn't even receive a bruise.
He had a split second as he rolled to his hands and feet to realise the Butler was in front of him and flung himself to the left – dodging the axe kick aimed at his head by a bare inch.
The man's foot dug into the iron hard frozen ground with alarming force and Harry felt his blood-chill at the display of inhuman strength before he was off, running with every ounce of speed his muscles could produce.
He hung-low to the ground, legs pumping hard, his arms trailed behind him – he couldn't afford to waste energy moving them as well, he may need them to defend himself at a later point. His eyes flickered every which way, checking his footing and surroundings at a speed that would make most professional Quidditch Players dizzy unless they were Seekers.
Black caught the edge of his vision and he didn't hesitate to dive to the side, only, the Butler had been expecting it and a low sweeping kick tripped him. Harry tumbled and rolled. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end as he realised his back was facing the Butler, and his blood chilled.
"Reducto!" he yelped, forcing the spell down onto the ground, bracing his hands as the recoil thrust him violently backwards and into the air. Green eyes widened as a silver knife missed his nose by centimetres. That had been aimed for the back of his neck!
The force of the spell recoil had him flipping through the air and catching the sturdy branches of a tall oak. He twisted, holding the bark hard enough that he felt the skin on his fingertips shredding as he flipped up and landed on his feet. This was more acrobatics than he was used to, or appreciated! His back and stomach were going to hate him tomorrow morning!
He certainly wasn't expecting the branch he was crouched on to suddenly not be there.
Harry yelled in shock as the ground rose up beneath him, the Butler having destroyed the tree-branch beneath his very feet.
He hadn't even hit the ground before one very finely cobbled shiny black shoe, with its hard wooden heel, slammed into his side – snapping his upper-arm like a twig and throwing him like a rag doll across the soggy undergrowth.
He couldn't stop the scream that tore from between his lips as the bone was wrenched painfully out of place and tore through both muscle, tendon, and vein as he rolled over and over, landing in a heap.
Ashen white with pain, dizzy and gasping for breath, he still staggered to his feet, his free hand instinctively moving to his bicep only to hiss and cringe in pain and revulsion as he felt the jagged bloody edge of bone beneath his fingertips. The break by itself would have been fine, but the throw and consequent hitting of the ground and rolling hard managed to twist and tear the lower half of his arm – and thus the bone – out of his flesh.
He couldn't stop shaking.
Suddenly, a gloved hand cupped his mouth, compressing the fabric of his face cloth against his mouth. Harry started and cried out against the Butler's hand as a second hand cruelly grabbed at his broken arm. A sinister chuckle filled his ear as he felt the frame of a tall adult male press against his back, smelling of ash, and cooking cocoa.
"You are a quick, little bird, with an interesting little song," the Butler admitted, not that Harry heard him. The man was viciously kneading his broken arm, Harry was deaf and blind to anything but the pain as he went wholly limp in the red eyed man's grasp. "But our little game of Cat and Mouse now has to come to an end. I'm sure you understand."
Harry had a moment of clarity when he recognised the told touch of a blade against his neck before his neck and chest felt abnormally hot and wet. He hit the ground and stared at the vivid scarlet staining the leaves in front of him, feeling light headed and dizzy.
He... that bastard had just slit his throat.
Sebastian flicked the table-knife he had used to cut the little bird's throat clean of blood.
Such an interesting little Song-Bird. Lovely eyes as well, he noted as he began his brisk trek back to the mansion. The local wild-life would do away with the body quickly enough. Still. He wondered just what the little Song-Bird had been. He had never encountered a creature, human or otherwise, able to speak magic and have magic respond like an eager puppy. The fact that Song-Bird had done so with such creativity was also a point of interest. Really, if he had such an ability as that 'reducto', capable of blasting three foot-deep craters into frozen ground, why had he not used it on Sebastian himself? Why only that mild throwing spell, 'expelliarmus'?
Such a curiosity. But, the Young Master's order was absolute. 'Remove the vermin – with prejudice'.
What followed his return to the mansion was simply routine. Bathe, and prepare the Young Master for bed, warm some milk, add honey, scold him regarding cavities, and then begin to clean the mansion of clutter that had accumulated during the day, turning the lights off as he went.
It was during his tidying of the study when his ears heard it.
A sharp inhale, the startled thundering of a heartbeat, and the sickening crack of a broken bone being realigned.
The Demon dropped the book he was in the process of putting away and opened the window, ears straining in the crisp cold night air. Panting breath, human, coughing, and sniffling. The crunch and rasp of damp leaf-mould and undergrowth moving. The scent of blood, old and fresh, sweat, tears, and...
Sebastian frowned. He had never smelt that before. Not without the accompanying natural phenomenon. It smelt like the air following a lightning strike. Like the air beneath a thunderous sky, flashing and roaring with rage and power.
A second set of sounds reached his ears, smaller, faster, and almost silent footsteps. Two sets, moving in curious tandem. A rapid heartbeat and set of soft breaths. Some manner of small animal, but too calm and steady to be part of the local wildlife.
The Butler jumped from the window, easily clearing the rose-bushes beneath him and made his way back to where he had left the little Song-Bird's body for the bears and beasts. He had slit the little bird's throat. He had made sure to sever both jugular and carotid and slice clean through his oesophagus. It was a slice that no human would survive. Ever.
But, there it was, irrefutably right in front of his eyes.
The little Song-Bird was sitting up, trembling violently, panting hard as he rubbed his broken arm. Sat in front of him, peering up quizzically was the source of the curious second set of sounds. A four legged creature of black fur and equally exquisite eyes of liquid gold. It was sniffing at the blood on the ground and making anxious cries as it stared up at the little bird.
"I'm fine, Sootbul," the young man promised, coughing slightly, a hand reaching up to rub his throat. Well, at least Sebastian knew that he could feel pain from whatever he suffered through. Or died. Which meant he could be crippled, or maimed. Though... garnet eyes studied the formerly broken arm and the flashes of unbroken bloodied skin the tear in black fabric provided. Not even a bruise to show for the crippling damage he had received. That was a demonic level of healing, right there.
The animal made another cry, delicately picking its way around the blood-splatter to clamber onto the young man's lap. He only sighed and idly pulled the fabric shielding his face off and began to rub between the animal's bell-shaped ears. He had an interesting face, too soft to be called handsome, too sharp to be called beautiful. His nose and mouth were petite, with thin bow shaped lips; he had high, sharp cheekbones, pale skin that looked almost as white as the frost around him with thick wild black hair only making him look all the paler. Sharp, clear-cut emerald green eyes provided the only colour on his face, framed with long black eye-lashes. A curious scar stood out, silvery pink, old, and burned, on his forehead.
"Come on, get off me. We still have to report back," he told the small animal, wincing slightly as he gently shoved it off his lap. "Seriously, I'm demanding danger pay on this. Information gathering my left foot," he grunted as he climbed to his feet, leaning heavily against the tree as he visibly changed colours. Becoming even paler. Severe blood-loss could affect him as well, even if it couldn't kill him.
Sebastian grabbed him by the side of the head, and crushed his skull against the tree.
He felt the young man's head crumple beneath his fingers. Saw the blood that decorated the bark. Heard his heart stop beating.
He let the body drop and then settled back to watch. Ignoring the black creature that hissed at him and fled, kicking up leaf-mould as it did, moving with shadowy liquid grace that he would find himself admiring under other circumstances. For now, he crouched and he waited.
And, he was not left waiting, or disappointed, for very long. He heard the sound of bone grating first. And saw the young man's hair shift without a breeze as bone shards realigned beneath his scalp. And then he breathed in, and his heart started again. Fascinating! Sebastian watched intently as the thin figure curled up on himself with a groan of pain, the trembling ever so slight until he was shuddering with what had to be rather painful muscle-tremors.
"Ow..." he groaned as the tremors subsided and he was able to begin to uncurl.
Sebastian pulled out his trusty knife and promptly thrust it through the man's back, angling it directly into his heart – he even twisted the blade to make sure. It stopped beating and the young man wasn't even able to cry out in pain or surprise before his lungs were filling with blood.
Again, Sebastian sat back to watch.
It was faster this time. Weather by virtue of the location, or the lack of broken bones, he didn't know. But five minutes after the stabbing, the young man was gagging and spitting up blood. Rolling away from where Sebastian was crouched watching him. Bloody knife in hand.
"Would you stop that?" he demanded, coughing blood and spitting it to the side as he pressed his back against the tree behind him. "It doesn't matter what you do, I'm not going to stay dead!" he snapped, watching him with narrowed, wary, green eyes.
Sebastian hummed, tapping one of his mildly blood-splattered gloves against his lower lip in thought. From what he had seen, this was indeed very true. Save... "Even if I were to completely remove your head and take it elsewhere?" he asked curiously.
"Even then," he admitted grumpily. "I may not be able to move or do much, but somehow my head and my body always end up reunited. It's caused me more than enough trouble, thank you very much. So I'd rather you not attempt to do it either. It's a pain in the ass having to reattach my spine!"
The Demon couldn't help but chortle in agreement. Though he didn't have a spine in the human sense of the term, having to re...create himself after every enterprise gone wrong, he could attest to how awkward and time consuming it was. Humans, for all their fragility, were complex creatures internally. Which made this one all the more interesting. A little Song-Bird with his power of change, and feathers to fly away from even death's cold embrace. A feat not even Demons had managed to accomplish. Oh, they were harder to kill than any human, and even most Shinigami. But they could bleed and die all the same as the rest. All the rest, apart from him.
Sebastian smiled, "Well then. Since I cannot eliminate you as the Young Master has ordered me to..."
AND BOOM! End of Chapter One. I hope you guys have enjoyed it thus far. And yes, Sebastian killing Harry repeatedly was supposed to happen. Can you see him doing anything else?
'Oh. I killed you and you're still alive. (SQUISH) not anymore... No wait. You're back? How irritating. (CRUSH) Perhaps you'll... no, evidentially you won't. What to do? Perhaps if I... (SMASH) hmm... No. Indeed not. Well. That's frustrating, and interesting. Very interesting...'
Only more like a cat playing with its food. Y'know.