Hermione Granger woke up feeling shockingly well rested. She sat up in bed and stretched. There was some sunlight coming in through the window, but with how cloudy it always seemed to be in Houndsworth, there wasn't much. She looked over on her bedside table and saw a note written in Sebastian's neat cursive handwriting. She picked it up. It read:
Don't be alarmed if you realize you've slept in. I knew you had a bad night, and I thought it best to give you a little more time than the others to sleep. I hope you feel better.
Hermione smiled at the gesture. But, she still felt obligated to get up and get to work. Hermione threw her legs over the side of the bed and got up, stretching once again. She quickly got dressed, brushed her hair and teeth, then washed her face before going downstairs. Surely, breakfast for the servants was over, by now. But, she would probably find at least some fruit or something for breakfast in the kitchens.
She went down to the kitchens and grabbed a muffin and an apple for breakfast, eating quickly, before going to look for Ciel and Sebastian so that Ciel could tell her what he wanted her to do for the day.
Hermione was surprised that she didn't run into Mey-Rin, Bard, Finny, Tenaka, or even Angela on the way to the dining room, where Ciel would probably be having breakfast. The Phantomhive servants could usually be heard getting into one form of trouble or another from across the manor, by now. Surely, they didn't go anywhere without her!
Hermione found Ciel and Sebastian in the dining room, just where she thought they would be.
"Good morning, Young Master. Good morning, Sebastian."
Sebastian turned when he heard her voice. "Ah, good morning, Helena. Feeling better?"
"Much. Thank you. Did you sleep well, Ciel?" Hermione asked.
"As well as one can in a bed other than their own, I suppose." Ciel said, standing up.
"Come on then, you two. We'd best catch up to those three before they get themselves into trouble."
"I'll explain on the way." Sebastian sighed.
"Well, your servants sure are brave, Lord Phantomhive. Foolish too, sadly." Hermione sighed when Sebastian finished telling her of the morning's events. Angela had gone missing. She'd allegedly gone out to gather some herbs for Finny, who 'wasn't feeling good'. And off Bard, Mey-Rin, Finny, and Tenaka had gone looking for her. "Honestly, they could all be Gryffindors, the lot of them."
Ciel and Sebastian glanced at her. "Gryffindor?"
Hermione slapped herself on the inside for letting that slip.
"I went to a boarding school for the gifted in Scotland." Hermione said. That was the standard twist of the truth told to Muggles about Hogwarts. "The students were divided into four houses based on their characteristics, traits, and personalities. The houses were named after the school's founders. Gryffindor, for the brave. Ravenclaw, for the studious and intelligent. Slytherin, for the clever and cunning. And Hufflepuff, for the loyal as well as pretty much everyone who didn't fit into the other three houses."
"I suppose that's smart." Sebastian said. "That way, every student could learn in ways that are more prevalent to them, and they could socialize with children with similar personalities."
"That is the idea." Hermione said, "But it also created a lot of friction between students of different houses. Our sporting events were held between the four, and because they're sorted by personality, stereotypes formed quickly about each house."
"Example…" Ciel asked. Ah, so the usually bored, gloomy, lord was interested.
"People often say that 'Gryffindors are brave, but foolish and not very bright', 'Ravenclaws are snobs who live with their noses in books and don't know how to have fun', 'Slytherins are all evil', and 'Hufflepuffs are stupid and not good for much of anything'. There's more, but that's the basics."
"And what are your thoughts?" Ciel asked.
Hermione thought for a moment. She thought of Ron and Harry, foolheartedly running off into danger at a moment's notice. She smiled. "Gryffindors are brave. And they can be foolish. And though they sometimes act stupid, I've never known a Gryffindor who was."
Luna Lovegood, Hermione's only friend from Ravenclaw, came into Hermione's mind. "Ravenclaws are definitely smart." She said, "But one for my best friends was from Ravenclaw, and she definitely wasn't a snob. And she was too wild and eccentric to live with her whole life in a book. In fact, I fit that description more than she does.
"As for Slytherins, the stereotype itself came from the fact that a lot of bad people tend to come out of that house. But as I got older, I realized that a lot of Slytherins come from homes that either are or are rumored to be abusive or at least not very stable. They're so cunning because they have to avoid getting ridiculed or beaten. Or something along those lines."
"As for Hufflepuffs, I didn't' know very many, but I know that they're some of the greatest people you could ever hope to be friends with."
They walked in silence for a moment. Finally, Ciel spoke.
"This has me curious. What 'house' do you think I would belong to?"
"Slytherin." Hermione said, not missing a beat. "Not because I think you're evil or anything, but because your main strength comes from your cunning. You always know how to move your pieces around the chess board to win, and how to use your servants and other resources to accomplish your goals. I know you're a very brave boy, but it's not your strongest trait. Books wise, you're smart, but you don't lean towards it enough to be a Ravenclaw, and let's just say I couldn't see you in Hufflepuff in a million years."
"Hm. I can respect that." Ciel said. "That about Sebastian?"
Hermione paused. "You know, I don't know." She finally decided. "Sebastian, you're incredibly brave, cunning, smart, and loyal to a fault. I think you fit in all of them."
Sebastian chuckled. "Well, don't I feel special?" He joked.
Ciel started looking at the two of them funny, but when Hermione looked at him, he looked away.
"What house were you in?" Sebastian asked.
"Let me guess, Ravenclaw." Ciel said.
"Nope. But that one came in second place for me." Hermione said. "I was a Gryffindor. Sometimes I wonder why I was placed there over Ravenclaw, but looking back, I know that no house could have been better for me." She said wistfully, thinking of her friends.
Just then, the three of them heard a scream not too far away. It sounded like Bard, Mey-Rin, and Finny!
The three of them started to run. They rounded a corner and…
Amazing. The demon hound was real. The hound was huge, about the size of an elephant. He was as white as fresh fallen snow with long white teeth, large paws, black claws the size of steak knives, and glowing red eyes. Oh yeah, he was also trying to shake Finny off of one of his forelegs.
Bard, Mey-Rin, and Tenaka were just a little ways behind Finny. Bard was aiming Tenaka's gun at the hound, but Hermione couldn't help but snort a laugh when party streamers burst out of the barrel instead of bullets.
"Bloody hell! Why would you bring a toy gun with you?" Bard asked. Seriously, where was the logic in that?
The hound finally shook Finny off, and standing on his hind legs, and started to bring one of his huge clawed paws down in Finny.
Hermione and Mey-Rin screamed.
But, a certain black butler caught the paw midair. How he'd gotten over there so fast was beyond her.
"Would you look at that. So well trained, you even know how to shake hands." Sebastian said.
"You were just in time." Finny said, sitting up and sounding quite relieved.
"But I'm afraid, well trained or not, you'll have to go, now!" Sebastian said. And with one arm, he effortlessly threw the demon hound into the air by the paw. It crashed to the ground, sending up a cloud of dust.
"Come. This is no time to be playing with a puppy." Ciel said.
"How the bloody hell did he do that?!" Hermione exclaimed.
"Master! Miss Helena!" The Servants cried.
"Certainly. I shall finish it off at once." Sebastian said to Ciel.
The dust from the impact of the demon hound hitting the ground cleared, and Hermione saw the great hound still standing. The malevolent glow had disappeared from it's eyes, and it was sniffing the air.
Sebastian was smiling. In Hermione's experience so far, that was either very good, or a very bad sign. "Smells irresistible, doesn't it?" He asked the creature. And from behind his back, he procured… a box of dog treats.
Hermione deadpanned. He's seriously about to do this, isn't he?
"Dog treats?" The Servants exclaimed.
The demon hound's tail wagged, and it began to drool. Then, with a joyful howl, it pounced.
"Sebastian! Look out!" Hermione cried.
He didn't look too concerned, though. In fact, he had a small smile on his face. "There is only one way to properly train a bad dog. You must teach the creature to obey your every command. Using rewards and punishments."
"Oh. My. God." Hermione muttered in disbelief. Yep. He's definitely about to do this.
The 'rewards and punishments' spectacle that followed was one of the top five most ridiculous things Hermione had ever witnessed. And by the time Sebastian and the Demon hound smashed into the Earth so hard they left a perfect circular hole in the middle of an old swimming pool, Hermione was laughing too hard to be concerned about Sebastian. But through her laughter, Hermione couldn't escape the thought that had manifested itself in her brain from witnessing just how strong Sebastian was. He's not human.
Wiping tears from her eyes and trying desperately to stop giggling, Hermione followed the others to the edge of the crater to look for Sebastian.
"I don't see them down there!"
Okay, now Hermione was getting worried.
Then, Ciel walked up. And in a manner that Hermione could only describe as 'exactly like Mrs. Weasley', with his hands on his hips and in an annoyed tone, Ciel said "Quit dawdling down in that hole! Get back here, right now!"
"Sebastian!" Hermione called.
The earth began to shake. The six of them ran out of the way just in time. Because that was when a hot spring exploded out of the hole. And right at the top of it, carrying a naked man, no less was-
"Sebastian Michaelis! You have got to be one of the most ridiculous people I have ever met!" Hermione laughed.
"So long as I am amusing you, Miss Helena, I shall continue to do so." Sebastian's voice chuckled from above. "This village is intended to be a resort for the Queen. It needs a central attraction. A luxury, a way for visitors to relax and forget their cares. That's what we have here. A natural hot spring."
"Amazing!" The servants exclaimed.
"He certainly does go beyond the call of duty, doesn't he?" Hermione chuckled.
Sebastian jumped down from the spout of water. Hermione cringed, worried he'd break his leg or something landing, but he touched down gracefully, completely unharmed.
"If I couldn't find a hot spring or two for my master, then what kind of butler would I be?" Sebastian asked rhetorically.
A realistic one. Hermione thought. Because honestly, some of the things she'd seen Sebastian do were nothing short of impossible.
The white-haired naked man Sebastian was holding started licking Sebastian on the face. Sebastian looked quite uncomfortable, and Hermione felt her cheeks go red. She quickly turned around before she accidentally got a glimpse of something she'd regret.
So, was the Demon Hound an animagus? Hermione wondered. Or some variation of werewolf, maybe? In any case, I am not turning around until he's wearing pants.
"I don't know how much more of this I can take!" Mey-Rin exclaimed, also turning around.
"You and me both." Hermione agreed.
A familiar voice suddenly called, "Pluto!" Hermione turned.
Oh, look. Oddly perfect timing. It's Angela.
"Pluto?" Bard asked.
The demon hound, naked in human form, jumped out of Sebastian's arms and ran over to Angela on all fours. Hermione turned around to not face him. She did not need that engraved in her memory!
It eventually came out that Angela had found 'Pluto' last month. Like the rest of the village, she was a big dog lover. Apparently, he was so 'adorable', Angela just had to take him in! Honestly, was she one of Hagrid's ancestors?! And apparently, Pluto had a 'bad habit' of turning human when he got excited. Angela kept Pluto secret from the village and Barrymore because she was worried bout what would happen to him if anyone found out about him. Angela hadn't thought that her 'sweet boy' would ever hurt anyone.
Oh yeah, and apparently they were taking him with them. Sebastian and the servants were… less than enthusiastic about the idea. Frankly, so was Hermione. But, Ciel had the final say, and he agreed to it for the sole reason that Sebastian hated dogs, just to get on the butler's nerves.
In other news, the villagers now thought that 'The curse of the great demon hound was lifted'. As a result of the hot spring, which they interpreted as 'the land's tears', or something, from some old prophecy. Hermione had suffered through enough prophecies for a lifetime.
It was a big relief when Sebastian finally declared, "This case is now officially closed!"
That damn dog was put away at last, everything was unpacked, and the young master was safe and secure inside the manor. It had been a long, tiring trip back to the Phantomhive estate, and everyone was happy to be back. But, there was still one more little thing to do before Finny could put away the horses.
Sebastian looked down at Helena's sleeping form and smiled.
She looked so… peaceful when she slept, laid down across the seat of the carriage, her hair fanned out around her head like a halo.
God, she's so beautiful.
The last thing Sebastian wanted to do was disturb his sleeping beauty, but the carriages and horses needed to be put away, and she would certainly catch her death if she was out in the cold for too long.
"Helena," He said gently, touching the side of her face gingerly to try to rouse her, "we have arrived."
She stirred, but did not wake.
"As much as I hate to wake you, please wake up, my dear."
"Mmph. Five more minutes." She moaned quietly.
Sebastian chuckled. "As much as I would love to give you more time, a carriage is no place for such a beauty to sleep."
She didn't reply. She'd gone right back to sleep. She likely hadn't heard a word he'd just said.
"It seems I don't have much other choice." He sighed.
Sebastian hooked one arm under her legs and the other behind her back, effortlessly hoisting her up so that her body was against his, her head resting on his shoulder.
Finny didn't say a word, but he began to lead the horses back to the sables. Sebastian carried her back to the manor, but he froze when he had just gotten to the top step. She was nuzzling the side of his neck.
"Smell so nice…" She sighed contentedly in her sleep.
Sebastian inhaled. Honeysuckle. Cats. Books. You smell divine, my love. He thought.
Sebastian carried Helena all the way to her new room in the Servant's chambers. They had left so suddenly for Houndsworth, she hadn't had time to even see it, yet. It was nicer than most servant's rooms, since she was second-in-command among them behind himself, but he still wanted better for her. He wanted silk and gold and diamonds to adorn her with. He wanted to give her the world. Because she deserved no less, for she was his world.
Sebastian felt something rub against his leg. He looked down to see Knick-knacks, Helena's beautiful cat, purring and looking up at him.
He'd let the poor sweet thing out of its cat carrier as soon as they had arrived. But it seemed that the unusually intelligent cat had followed him and it's master.
"Now you, are a sweet boy, aren't you?" Sebastian asked the feline, thinking of the doting words that woman had given to that dog. There was something not right about Angela. Something… occult. But Sebastian couldn't put his finger on exactly what.
The cat meowed as if to say, "Of course I am. I'm wonderful."
Sebastian chuckled. Helena shifted in his arms, reminding him of his earlier job.
He gently and lovingly tucked her into bed. She rolled over facing away from him with a content sigh, and her cat jumped up on the bed and snuggled up next to her.
Cat, what I wouldn't give to be in your shoes right now. Sebastian thought.
Sebastian started to lean over to kiss Helena on the cheek, but he suddenly felt Ciel summon him. Sebastian growled. It's as if he has a freaking sixth sense. As soon as I'm at my happiest, he calls me for something.
God, he couldn't wait for this damn contract to be over! He thought as he started making his way to Ciel's office. He couldn't properly court his soulmate when he had to answer to that damn brat!
Sebastian paused and took a moment to compose himself.
His Young Master, Ciel Phantomhive, while he was a spoiled brat sometimes, was actually much more reasonable than many of his masters in the past had been. And he was much kinder to Sebastian and his other servants than many of them, too. Besides, Sebastian rather liked the butler lifestyle. Against what one would think, he was perfectly content living like this… until she came along.
Everything was different, now. The rewards reaped from courting her, from being with her, from holding and loving and protecting her, from spending eternity with her, were worth a thousand times more than any human soul. Even one as rare and succulent and divine as the soul of Ciel Phantomhive.
Helena Gryffin, I can't wait to start my eternity with you! Just thinking about it made Sebastian have to refrain from grinning.
When Sebastian arrived at Ciel's door, he knocked twice politely, requesting access. "Come in." Ciel's usual disinterested voice said.
"You called for me, Young Master?"
"Yes." Ciel said, not looking up. Sebastian stood in front of Ciel's desk, waiting for him to say something. Finally, he looked up at Sebastian and spoke. "I cannot help but remember something that Red Reaper, Grell, said."
"And what is that, my young Lord?" Sebastian asked.
"'Your eyes are filled with an impurity that loves absolutely nothing.' He was talking about you, of course."
"Ah, yes. I remember." Sebastian said.
"So tell me, Sebastian. Can demons love?"
Sebastian hesitated. "Why do you ask, young Master?" He asked.
"Call it simple curiosity." The Phantomhive replied. "Now answer the question."
Sebastian thought for a moment, trying to decide the best way to explain it to a human. Finally he sighed and said, "No, it's not true. Demons can love."
"Really?" Ciel said, raising an eyebrow. Sebastian sensed a bit of surprise coming from the boy.
"Yes. Not all demons have the capacity to love, but some have a significant other that they grow emotionally attached to instantly. Our soulmates."
"Soulmates? I thought demons didn't have a soul." Ciel said, a hint of a question in his tone.
"Of course demons have souls. All intelligent beings do. Humans, Demons, Reapers, and the like. Why would you think demons didn't have a soul?"
The look on Ciel's face said it all: Because you eat souls for dinner.
"Well, then. I'm just going to go out on a limb and assume Helena is your soulmate. Is that right?"
"Don't bother to deny it. To me at least, it's abundantly obvious you harbor serious feelings for her."
"Why ask if you knew?" Sebastian inquired.
"Because as I said, I wasn't aware that demons could love." Ciel stood up. "So tell me, Sebastian. What does that mean?"
Sebastian paused. "It means things are different, now." He said quietly.
"Different?" Ciel inquired, raising an eyebrow.
"Allow me to explain." Sebastian said. "The moment a demon first encounters their soulmate, a bond immediately forms, and said demon couldn't bear to stay away from their soulmate for too long even if they wanted to. Thoughts of them invade the mind at all hours of the day and we simply can't get enough of them. The moment I saw Helena, for instance, when you told me to run after her, I froze. She was… the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen." Sebastian remembered the sudden unfamiliar feeling in his chest, and the thoughts of her that had plagued his mind during the few days it took to find her, again.
"The moment I found her, I did as a gentleman should do and kissed her hand. But the moment we touched skin-to-skin, I knew what she was to me. I could have been blind, and I would know who she was."
"And?" Ciel prompted for further elaboration.
"The bond I mentioned only grows stronger as a demon and his soulmate spend more time in each other's company. For instance, I have already begin to get general ideas of how Helena is feeling even when I am not near her. She has not been affected nearly as much as I, because humans aren't quite as in tune with their instincts as we demons are. But eventually, she will be just as infatuated with me as I am with her. Then, once I am free of my contract with you, I will whisk her off to my palace in Hell and make her my mate. When that happens, she will become an immortal demoness, and the two of us will spend the rest of eternity together."
"Does that mean she'll become like you?" Ciel asked.
"If you are asking whether or not her personality will change at all, then no. She'll still have all the thoughts, feelings, and personality she has, now. I'd surely rather die than change her into someone else. She's perfect, just the way she is. She will merely inherit a demon's immortality and abilities. Frankly, I wouldn't even change that, but you humans don't live very long compared to us demons, you know."
"What would happen if something were to happen to her."
Sebastian visibly shuddered at the thought. "Even at this stage, my heart and willingness to live would die with her." Sebastian said. "I'd likely go into a rage and slaughter whoever was responsible for her death before going into an incredibly depressed state for weeks, processing the fact that she was gone. Not moving, breathing, or even thinking about anything other than the fact that she was gone and never coming back. Not even a contract would matter, anymore. Any order you or any master would give me would fall on deaf, uncaring ears. Once I finally snapped out of that, I would immediately go to Rome."
"Rome? Why Rome?" Ciel inquired.
"That's one of the few ways demons commit suicide." Sebastian replied. Ciel gasped, and his eyes visibly widened. "Walk right up the front steps of the Vatican and go into demon form, and an exorcist or a group of them would kill you in less than a minute." Sebastian said. "It's difficult to kill a demon, much less one as powerful as myself. But a demon that doesn't fight back against a skilled Catholic exorcist is as good as dead."
"You care about her that much?" Ciel asked, looking absolutely shocked at Sebastian's declaration.
"Yes. And that brings me to my final point, Young Master. How does any of this affect you?"
A hint of nervousness crossed Ciel's features, but it was gone as quickly as it appeared.
"A demon's contract changes the second they encounter their soulmate, should it happen while they are under contract. There's a new rule in place that you had best follow to the letter, Young Master."
"And what would that be?" Ciel asked.
"Should a demon's master make any attempt to separate a demon from his or her soulmate, whether that be altering my schedule or hers to keep us apart, murdering Helena, simply firing her to get rid of any unwanted distraction, telling me to do something on purpose just to keep me away from her, eccetera, will result in the immediate forfeit or destruction of the contract. If I'm feeling generous, I might let you keep your soul and simply disappear. You'd never see nor hear from myself or Helena again. We'd both simply vanish. But most likely, I'd devour your soul and take my soulmate away." Sebastian said. He felt his eyes turn fuchsia and the shadows around him began to dance dangerously.
"If the two of you were in danger and I could only save one, I'd save her over you in a heartbeat." Sebastian said with a dangerous smile.
And just like that, everything snapped back to normal.
"Now, Helena is currently asleep. It would seem that she was exhausted by the trip. Might I prepare you some tea? I'm sure you're quite tired, as well. It was a long trip." Sebastian suggested brightly.
Ciel collected himself. The hairs on the back of his neck were still standing on end from the demons' threatening presence. It was gone now, and Sebastian was back to his usual self.
"Yes. Yes, of course. Tea would be wonderful."
So so sorry it's been SO LONG! I'm one of those idiots who is writing six fanfictions at once PLUS an original story. I lost intrest writing this for a while in favor of another story of mine. Then, just as I was getting back into this, I had some crazy crap happen in my family. THEN, there was a shooting at my school, David W. Butler High School, just a hallway away from where I was at the time. (SCARIEST DAY OF MY LIFE! I was locked in the library, I started writing a letter to my family because I legit thought I was going to die, and then a pregnant girl started having contractions! But she was taken to the hospital once they gave the all clear and they stopped the birth because it was a month early.)
But enough with the excuses, I'm back now! I hoped you liked the chapter and I'll try not to have such a long gap between this one and the next one!
Have a great day! And remember to be One Hell of a Human at whatever you do!