A/N: Finally, after a long time floudering about for inspiration for a Christmas-themed one-shot, this was the result!

I'm not very experienced with writing Kuroshitsuji- this is my first fic for the fandom- so pardon any factual mistakes like the fact that the maid's name not spelled "Maylene"(I think there're several spellings.) Inspired by MrMissMrs Random' E- even though my story and hers may not actually have a lot in common. Reviews appreciated!

Disclaimer: I don't own Kuroshitsuji. What ever gave you the slightest impression that someone like me would own Kuroshitsuji?


Ciel Phantomhive has never liked Christmas, and likely never will.

At the best of times he still feels a little out of place and everything looks towering, imposing, just about ready to come down on him and crush him into the ground- not that Sebastian would ever allow that to happen, but all he has now are feelings, little whispers of doubts and shadows of a fear yet to fully manifest- his demon butler does not care for those.

He's not even gotten to the worst of times yet, and for a strange reason those times coincide with the coming of the snow and frost and Santa Claus.

Coincide? Perhaps that's not the correct word.

He's barely keeping his head above the water already, that Ciel Phantomhive, and wintertime often brings on the strange crushing emotion that he likens to drowning.

Drowning in society, drowning in painted smiles and false kindness and stiff clothing, drowning; drowning in himself, drowning in the hollow mansion and heavy title and constant callings as the Queen's Watchdog, drowning; drowning in Sebastian, drowning.

His hatred for Christmas stems from the painful memories he has of this season; but there are other things. Subtle things that most save for Sebastian overlooks.

Foremost, the red- all that red, supposedly a festive colour, but it sickens him to his very core. Red. He lives in that bright scarlet- the red that pools around and under him as he tangles himself in the London underworld, the harsh vermillion and searing heat of a burning manor that haunts his memories, the carmine of Sebastian's predatory eyes that look upon him every minute of every day- waiting until the clock strikes endgame.

Christmas is not red and green and fluffy snow and wrapped presents and merry dinners by a crackling fireplace for him.

Ciel Phantomhive is not without means to acquire dinner by a crackling fireplace, but it's the joy and merriment of the holiday that stings him the most- why should anyone be happy when it's at this time of year that his beloved parents were cruelly taken from him?

He'll look around at the sea of jolly faces and he'll scowl; unable to be happy, unwilling to be happy.

And as for presents; the young Earl pretends not to care for presents but it's really him being bitter- he has everything a man would want. Money, a respectable title, loyal servants. But what he really wants, needs, hungers for – is out of reach. All the little trinkets and surprises Elizabeth showers upon him are appreciated, they really are; but it's not what Ciel wants, and it just reminds him that what he wants is something he can never obtain.

And he feels himself sinking a little bit deeper into the metaphorical water.


Sebastian Michaelis knows when his Young Master is sinking into those illusions again, hallucinating in an attempt to find comfort in this harsh human world. (he is, after all, one hell of a butler.)

The love Ciel Phantomhive so desperately seeks dangles so tantalizingly before those mismatched eyes (very proudly his doing), so close that the boy closes his eyes and tries to reach out and finds himself in the warm embrace of his parents again.

But it's an illusion. And illusions will shatter. They always do.

They come more often in the winter months- many an occasion Sebastian finds himself having to repeat his words as the Young Master is too far into his trance to notice. He'd sit there blinking as if seeing for the first time, and a frown would appear on his delicate features and his eyes would glare at space, at the painting of his parents, at Sebastian if he caught the butler looking.

Sebastian would have been sympathetic- if he had human feelings. (but he didn't.) Ciel Phantomhive, merely thirteen and forcing himself to realize that there's no happily ever after for him, that there is no more love for him in the cruel cruel world- they're either out for his money or his reputation or just to spite him. (or his soul- no one notices how good Ciel Phantomhive's soul is.)

He doesn't understand the need for Christmas, really. It's just there for humans to splurge on and give each other presents for no adequate reason. It's also an unpleasant reminder to the Young Master- and when unpleasantly reminded, Ciel often becomes generally unpleasant and rather exasperating to handle for a butler who can't quit, can't ask for days off and can't disobey. Ever.

It's not like it matters. He does his job and he'll reap his reward sooner or later- (Sebastian is looking forward to that.) –there is no escaping the contract.

Maybe, when the time comes, Ciel Phantomhive would welcome the ending of his life- no more dragging himself everywhere at the Queen's whim, no more living with the trauma of abuse and slavery, no more Christmases to remind him of that horrible chapter in his life where he lost everything.

No more being constantly tailed by the creature he knows will ultimately murder him?

Sebastian wonders what the Young Earl really thinks of him, the tame pet of a demon, the wolf in sheep's clothing.

Ciel, Ciel, Ciel. Such an unusual and fascinating case.

He almost wishes he could study the Young Master indefinitely and be amused by the boy's curious disposition instead of having to take his soul.



Christmas? Bard doesn't really think much of Christmas.

In rain or shine or even snow, Bard's the Phantomhive cook and the weather and seasons have no effect on his duties.

Well, stuff freezes over easily in winter's chill, and spoils easily in summer's heat. But that's about it. The master of the house does not like Christmas and thus nothing much is done to celebrate the festive season- which is a bit of a shame. He enjoys cooking big dishes.

Bard's kitchen is his seat of power, and preparing great big slabs of meat is the occasional check to ensure his skills are still in top shape- beef, turkey, ham, some exotic beast, whatever. It gives him ample opportunity to wield his flamethrowers and blowtorches and give a proper performance, not like most pathetically dull and Sebastian-prepared meals. He prides himself on being a cook that provides artistic entertainment as well as food.

Often Sebastian manages to cajole the Young Master into inviting Elizabeth over for Christmas, and he'd spend days planning beforehand how to get the butler busy so he'd get his hands on the turkey. It reminds him of his time in the army, strategizing before an attack. The turkey is the targeted city, Sebastian is the enemy defending that city, and the fact that there are other dishes to be cooked is often the surroundings Bard will cleverly make use of.

Being a servant working in a big manor, Bard has few days off, but he makes sure to save one for Christmas-shopping even though he does not care much for Christmas- it's really to spend time with fellow servants Maylene and Finnian, who adore Christmas. Those two are really quite cute.

Despite little peeves (like Sebastian's total lack of artistic appreciation) Bard finds himself quite enjoying his job, and quite enjoying Christmas.




Christmas meant many good things for Finny.

Firstly, his workload decreased. Plants died in winter anyway, so his care wasn't required as much. Since plants died in winter anyway, if he accidentally killed some (he doesn't mean to! Honest!) there would be no irritated Sebastian.

Which led to him being able to help out with Maylene and Bard more, and that presents more chances for them to talk.

He found out last week that Maylene's admiration of Sebastian is waaay more severe than he thought. He didn't think 'admiration' was the correct word to describe it anymore, but his vocabulary was quite limited- better ask Bard or Tanaka about it later on.

Christmas was generally a happy time where people gave each other presents. Maylene taught him that the first year he went to work under the Phantomhives, and gave him a bun as his first Christmas present.

Finny remembers that it made him so elated to get something. Every year he'd try to get Christmas presents for everyone- usually flowers from the garden for Maylene (he was getting better at flower-arrangement) and some flammable material for Bard (he didn't have much allowance, but you could do a whole lot more interesting stuff with flamethrowers and matches).

Sebastian and the Young Master he'd always had trouble with, because they always seemed so...above his station. Too perfect to associate with the likes of him.

One day, he'd pluck up the courage to get something nice for Sebastian and Young Master, something more than a cheery 'merry Christmas' that Sebastian would nod to as he led Young Master to his carriage for some-thing-or-other.

But for now, Finny was more than content with spending a merry Christmas with his friends, Maylene and Bard.

Friends. How wonderful that word sounded on his tongue.


Presents weren't given only during Christmas- Maylene knew that very well.

The broken glasses she treated like a precious heirloom- they were Young Master's first present to her, but they were passed through Sebastian so she always thought of it as Sebastian's first present to her as well. She remembers that occasion as clear as day- it was nowhere near Christmas.

-she'd finger her glasses from time to time and think about Sebastian's cool touch on their metal frames and a blush would spread across her face.

Jobwise, nothing of significance changes during Christmas- Young Master isn't fond of Christmas or Christmas parties. She goes about her duties as usual, cleaning bedsheets, sweeping up the floor, polishing furniture. She's a constant little thing- after years of service she's learned not to screw up as much anymore, and a sudden addition in her schedule would render her as clumsy as her first day at work again.

-that would make Sebastian very mad, and she doesn't want that.

Despite that, Christmas still held a special place in her heart when it came to holidays. It was during Christmas where she'd really gotten to know her fellow servants well- they were busy learning the ropes of their new jobs most of the time, and that day off where they Christmas-shopped together ranked really high in her list of Really Good Days.

-to make things better it was Sebastian who started off that day by showing them around the city. She's still able to recite little portions of his words but her voice would never match his melodic vocals. Not to mention, that day he smiled at her- he smiled! Looked right at her and smiled! Just...wow!

They bonded. Very well. And Christmas-shopping remains a tradition among the three, as was present-exchanging. Finny always was delighted to receive presents, and while Bard acted aloof about it Maylene could tell he felt good in the company of his fellow servants as well.

She feels a little ashamed that while Finny and Bard get presents just about every year, she can never find the courage to get Sebastian something. Before the dashing butler she's like a skittish foal- if she actually managed to find a present deemed worthy of being owned by Sebastian, her hands would tremble at the notion of giving that present and her mind would fail to conjure up the words "here's a present for you, Sebastian. Merry Christmas."

And there's also Young Master she feels for- she can see great pain in the depths of his visible blue eye, especially during Christmastime. It's not right for a child like him to have experienced such suffering, whatever it was. And what was behind that other eye, shielded from the world with an eyepatch?

But she's a good maid and doesn't prod.

Maybe one day Young Master will learn to enjoy Christmas; like she learned to clean plates without breaking them and carry bedsheets around without dropping them.

Maylene can only hope.


Tanaka is an old and respected member of the Phantomhive household staff. Even Sebastian the demon butler respects him to a certain degree.

No one really wants to try deciphering his thoughts- it'll be disrespectful. Status aside, he's still all chibiness and tea and 'ho, ho, ho'- what's there to know?

Needless to say the other servants keep a respectful distance unless the situation calls for it.

Tanaka's behaviour changes little at Christmas- he still sips his tea and chuckles to himself in the background as the other servants go about their daily duties. But when Ciel walks by Tanaka pauses in his tea-drinking and watches the Young Master walk by, already stepping firmly and confidently like an adult despite still being a young child.

He knows it's a facade. He knows what Young Master has been through, and feels for him deeply- something Sebastian cannot achieve simply because he has little understanding of how devastating and horrendous the fire that ruined Ciel's life was- and the fact that as a demon he feels very little. Sebastian doesn't understand 'sentimental value'- he watches silently as Ciel flashbacks so very often and learns that it's the Christmas that does it- but he will never fully understand why.

He's not sure if Ciel will ever recover from that ordeal, not sure if Sebastian is helping at all in this aspect (how could he, being a demon summoned from Ciel's suffering, an animated reminder of the past) , and can only present his well wishes. Tanaka isn't the Phantomhive butler anymore, and it's not his responsibility or right to care for Young Master now.

He places his trust in Sebastian, because despite being a demon in disguise he does his job very well, and perhaps is the kind of cynical person the wounded and perhaps equally cynical Ciel needs.

But Tanaka lets Ciel know he's there (there for the household and there for him) once in a while, especially during Christmas when Ciel needs comfort the most. He raises his steaming mug of tea to the child as he passes in the corridor, smiles, and wishes him a good day- Tanaka fashion.

"Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas."