Chapter 1:

The foyer was furnished very subtly, and it set Kaito's nerves at ease for some reason, as he waited for the owner of the abode to meet with him. From what he had seen so far outside of the mansion and within it possessed an elegant look and feel to it while retaining a simplistic, almost rustic charm that he liked. He thought that maybe he could connect to this potential employer more than with some others he had worked with before. The man's home was away from everything, as he seemed to value his privacy, and Kaito didn't even know anyone wealthy lived nearby until he heard about the job opportunity from his friend Leon, who lived in the town he was visiting.

To be fair, though, he wasn't entirely sure what the job entailed – the details were a little fuzzy from what he was told. All he knew was that he had to help the owner of the mansion, or something like that. He had been greeted when he arrived by a servant that opened the door for him and led him into the foyer to have a seat. While he waited, he couldn't see anyone else pass by, and the house suddenly felt almost devoid of life in those moments. It appeared that the owner of this place lived alone except for possibly a couple of servants here and there. Kaito didn't know why the man needed assistance, but he really didn't mind what he had to do as long as it was fairly easy. He could get used to how relaxing life struck him as out here, and anyway, he desperately needed to get away for a while. The isolation and lack of many people didn't bother him in the slightest.

Gradually, he heard the sound of slow and methodical footsteps come closer and closer, becoming a little louder as they continued on. In addition to that, there was a strange tapping noise accompanying the steps that Kaito couldn't decipher. It sounded like a stick lightly pattering against a wall every so often.

He stood up, thinking that maybe the footsteps belonged to his employer. And sure enough, someone emerged at the top of the stairs, using a wooden cane they held in their right hand to "feel" for obstacles as they went, or in this case, the next step of the lightly twisting staircase. Kaito watched them interestedly, wondering perhaps a little foolishly if they were completely blind. He had never met a blind person before. This could be the owner of the place, though he couldn't be sure – their long hair, colored a soft shade of purple, as well as their androgynous features were throwing him off on their gender. He thought the owner of the mansion was a man.

Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs, the person finally spoke up, lifting their cane off the ground now that they didn't need it anymore. "I apologize for keeping you waiting." From their voice, they sounded distinctly male with surprisingly deep, mellow tones.

"No, that's fine," Kaito replied. As soon as the words tumbled from his lips, the man turned his head toward him since he could hear where he was, and Kaito finally got a good look at his face. The man's eyes were unfocused and a little glassy; he seemed as though he were gazing slightly past him. Their irises were a light blue color, but a paler hue than what Kaito thought blue eyes usually were. Despite himself, Kaito raised one of his hands and waved it in front of him. No response.

"You are the one Leon spoke of, correct? The one that's here for the job?" the man asked, clearly not noticing the hand in his face. Kaito put it down – he felt a bit ashamed that he had done something so childish.

"Yes. Might I ask what specifically it involves? I'm afraid I wasn't given much information when Leon told me about it. I hope it's something I'm able to do, and I haven't just wasted both of our time…"

The man chuckled good-naturedly. "Oh, no need to worry, it's actually quite a simple job, I think. I merely need an aide. Someone to help me a little around the house and maybe assist me with accomplishing a few things I wish to do. As you can no doubt tell, I am blind, and so the only real requirement is that you can see capably."

"That doesn't sound too hard – surely there were others before me? Is there anything else I need to do to prove myself for the position?" Kaito regarded him a little closer, now that he had more of an opportunity in doing so and they were speaking directly to each other. The man was young, probably around his age, and he was very handsome. He stood completely straight, his posture making him look a bit regal. Yet he spoke with a very gentle sort of air and pleasant voice; it made Kaito think more of him than just some rich guy.

He was snapped out of staring at him when the man answered, as calmly as he had before. "What I've done so far is keep a potential aide around for a couple of days and see how I feel about them. There isn't anything you need to provide besides a desire to work for me. Leon's recommendation of you also puts me at ease, for the others did not have that."

"Have you had aides before this?"

"Oh, not since I've moved into this place on my own not too long ago. But I've had some personal aides provided to me by my parents when I was growing up." He smiled. "There were several people who came here before you for this job, but I didn't like them very much."

"You're the kind of person that goes with your gut, then?"

"Yes. And I have a good feeling about you so far," the man added thoughtfully. A sudden idea lit up his countenance and he asked, "It's quite late already; would you like to stay the night?"

Somewhat startled by the suggestion, Kaito answered, "Well, my things are in the carriage outside. I was going to stay in a hotel once we were finished here."

"That won't do, I'll ask one of my servants to bring in your things. I should also mention that I prefer my aides to be live-ins, but if you absolutely must go back to your home then I'm sure we can arrange something. I would like during your trial run that you stay here if possible, though."

"I'm a bit of a drifter, so that's no trouble for me," Kaito replied. "You are Kamui Gakupo, right? I believe that's what he said your name was."

"How rude of me not to have introduced myself earlier! I am he. And you are…?"

"Shion Kaito."

"A pleasure, then, Mr. Shion, as I'm sure it will be." Gakupo extended his hand out in front of him, which Kaito shook immediately in order to eliminate any awkwardness that might have arisen from a long delay. "I'll have one of my servants give you a tour of the place; I'd do it myself if I weren't the way I am, of course. Once you've been shown where everything is, I would like it if you joined me for tea in my room this evening."

"I look forward to it."

They parted ways there, Kaito already feeling better about his potential employer after meeting him. Not only did he seem kind for a nobleman, he was also very pleasing to look at which was always a nice bonus. And it appeared that Kaito was on his way to getting the position. The work sounded easy enough, and it was a welcome change from things lately for him. He really had to thank Leon the next time they met.

Although at first the vastness of the mansion confused him, it didn't take much time for him to begin getting familiar with the passageways and rooms and memorizing the paths it would take to get to them. He figured that with a little more time by himself, he'd be able to make his way around the entire place soon enough.

Night fell shortly, and after having the room pointed out to him by the servant he was with, Kaito expressed his gratitude to them and went up to the door, albeit with some hesitation. But in his chest, he could feel a well of excitement bubble up and his heart was beginning to pound excitedly despite some of the anxiety he possessed. The meeting should go well, and the man couldn't be too busy since he was expecting him. There was nothing to fear.

He knocked on the wooden door several times and a voice from inside beckoned, "Please, come in."

Now that he had permission, Kaito entered the room and instantly looked around, his eye drawn to the little blaze crackling in the fireplace. Seated in front of it was Gakupo, the chair he sat in quite luxurious-looking and most likely expensive. Next to him was another one of the exact same kind, and between the two chairs was a small table.

Kaito moved to sit down in the empty chair, and even though the table was bare of any porcelain or chinaware as of now he hoped he hadn't caused any hindrance. "You weren't waiting long, I assume?" he asked.

"No, you're just in time." Gakupo hadn't moved to face him since Kaito walked in, his unseeing eyes staring aimlessly ahead of him into the fire. The orange and yellow colors illuminated his face and made his expression look even softer. He appeared as though he were contemplating something.

"Do you need me to get you anything?" Kaito inquired. Amusedly, he thought that this was probably the first of many times he would ask him that question.

The man looked up a little. "Oh, no, the tea will be arriving soon. Don't worry."

"Alright."

"I'm very interested in you; it isn't often that I get to meet new people. Could you tell me about yourself?"

Kaito was a little surprised by the question, though he knew he would have had to answer it at some point. He took a moment to collect his thoughts and breathed in deep before he spoke. "Oh, I'm not very interesting. My parents were always the traveling type, and they took me with them. We'd be part of a caravan every summer, too, traveling across the country with others. I guess it's why I drift from town to town now, unable to stay in one place too long."

"That isn't uninteresting; in fact, I'm envious. It sounds wonderful! You must have seen so many things. Please describe one of your experiences to me in detail, if you wish." He was clearly fascinated by what he had said, his attention drawn to him with a tilt of his head and his posture more alert than it was before.

"I don't know which one to talk about," Kaito uttered sheepishly. It was at that moment he noticed a knock at the door, and one of the servants came in with a boiling pot of water, several different types of tea leaves, and two small, white cups to set down at the table. They proceeded to pour the boiling water over a few leaves for their master without a word, and left Kaito to choose his own tea to make. There were several strands for him to pick from, though he wasn't all that familiar with the various kinds of tea one could have.

Gakupo thanked the servant and waited until they closed the door behind them before continuing their conversation. "Any one of them will do. Maybe something exciting?" He didn't move to take his tea, either waiting for his guest to pour his own first or anticipating help with his.

Kaito selected whatever leaves looked best, and poured a cup quickly so as not to keep him. The man smiled benignly upon hearing him, and put his arm out a little once he was done.

"Would you mind handing me mine? I'd rather not knock anything over."

"Of course." He did as he was asked, their fingers brushing for a brief moment when he relinquished his grip on the handle of the cup. In just that short-lived contact, Kaito could feel that the man's skin was much smoother compared to his more calloused hands. It was probably from Gakupo's pampered lifestyle and maybe some sort of care routine, since people like him had to make sure they were presentable at all times. Bringing himself back to the present, he sat back to let the leaves soak in his for a little while longer.

"Well," he started, trying to conjure up an exhilarating memory. "I was very young when this happened, but one time a friend and I were very bored and managed to secretly climb up on the roof of his family's caravan while it was moving. We tried jumped from one to the other. Stupid, I know, but of course we didn't know any better at the time. I slipped and wound up breaking my leg on the third jump – I'll spare you the bloody details of that since I don't think it would be appropriate. Anyway, another family stopped to pick me up, and yet another caravan had a doctor that helped my leg. When we caught up to my parents I was in a world of trouble, of course. But I can still remember the look on my friend's face when I missed his hand as I jumped. I teased him about it later, though. Asked him if he thought I had died or something to that effect."

When Kaito finished his story, he waited for a response, hoping that his tale wasn't too grotesque or strange for the noble to hear. To his surprise, Gakupo's smile grew wider and he looked as though he were trying to hold back a laugh.

"You must have been a very lively child," he said. "I wasn't allowed outside much after I lost my eyesight, but I don't know if I would have been brave enough to do something like that even if I hadn't."

Kaito perked up a bit at that piece of information. "You weren't born blind, if you don't mind me asking?" He realized that he had nearly forgotten about his tea, though, and hastily grabbed his cup so he could sip at it while he waited for a reply. The stuff didn't taste too bad, though he wasn't sure if he could have something like this daily. Maybe it was an acquired taste.

"No, I wasn't." But that was all he said, and Kaito didn't want to push the topic.

They drank their tea mostly in silence from then on, Gakupo reclining back in his chair once he finished. He welcomed his guest to have more if he wanted, but Kaito, too, had enough after he drained his cup. He hoped that the conversation had gone well, especially after that last part; it was hard to tell if his employer liked him or if he was just being nice.

A servant came in to clear away their cups, and Gakupo uttered suddenly to them, "Why don't you show Mr. Shion to his room? It seems our little meeting has come to an end."

"Yes, sir."

Kaito stood. "I very much enjoyed our conversation, and I trust you will have a good night." He received a nod in response and let himself be led to wherever the personal aide was allowed to sleep, which turned out to be just down the hall from his employer's room. At first he was surprised that he was going to be rooming so close to him, but it made sense because he probably had to be on-call a lot of the time.

The room itself was much more than he imagined. It was adorned like the rest of the house – in expensive, graceful furniture – and the dimensions were relatively large, especially for a spare room. The bed looked as though it was going to give him the best night's rest he was ever going to receive; he had never lain in one with anything more comfortable than that mattress and the velvety, silken sheets that lay on top of it. Next to the closet was his bags, and Kaito changed into something more suitable for sleep from one of them. His clothes made him feel plain compared to the rest of the room.

Even though this kind of luxury was something many would kill for, he wasn't used to it and Kaito couldn't see himself staying for a prolonged length of time if he got the job. In his blood was the desire to constantly travel and see new things, and he had other matters to attend to than assisting a blind nobleman for the rest of his years. Still, this experience would be good for him, he thought. He had never worked very closely with nobility before, and he was sure to learn a lot.

The entire day left him aching for sleep. It had taken a good while just to get there from the town he was staying at, and throughout his talks with Gakupo he was perpetually hoping he had left a good impression on his potential employer. Kaito was ready to turn in. It didn't take long for him to sink into sleep on the heavenly bed while he wondered what the next day would bring him.


A/N: Hey everyone, I'm sorry I haven't written anything for a while - I actually have been writing, I just wind up never finishing a lot of things or don't think they're good enough to post. I've been in a slump recently, too, so I'm not sure about the quality of this, but I hope you all enjoy it anyway! My beta for this fic is my bff Dom and her username is stellaa.