[ Black Butler Story ❦ Patriot ❦ 01 ]

Damn you Sebastian and your sexy black butler-ness... By the way, I'm following the manga's story line, which means yes, there are differences between it's and the anime's.

Created by Horse-Youkai on Saturday, February 13, 2010

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I vividly recall the first time I saw Ciel Phantomhive.

The winters of London were cruel and frigid, particularly for those like myself who were living on the streets. After my first two months of living in London from moving from the States, I had found myself destitute and out of money. In order to buy boat fare back home, I began to scour the streets for loose change that lay forgotten on the dirty streets. Homeless people were a common sight in the urban London, and most of the nobility pointedly ignore us when they passed by.

If it wasn’t for a gem, Ciel Phantomhive and I would have never exchanged words.

It was my sixth month in London, and I longed for the wooded hills of Pennsylvania and the company of my nine siblings. Ciel Phantomhive was walking briskly by me, and I kept my eyes glued to the slushy, dirty street. My shoulders were dusted with the fresh snowfall; I could feel the cold through my ratty, oversized brown coat.

Something glittery landed in the snow at my feet where Ciel had walked by, and I swiped it up after he had walked by. Realizing that it was a square cut, dark jem that looked as if it was made for a male ring or cuff, I looked up and called out to the small child. “Hey kid!”

Ciel obviously resented my rude nature, and he turned stiffly to look at me. I held up the jewel pinched between two fingers and said dryly, “I’m certain that this belongs to you.”

Paling, he stiffly jerked one of his hands up to his face for closer inspection and realizing that he had lost the special rock, he strolled over and I dropped the jewel into his outstretched hand.

“I’ve never meant a moral bum before.” Ciel replied indifferently, and I remember that I had stared at his eye patch before I recovered.

Frowning at him, I knew that he was probably taken aback by my abrasive nature. Bums do not talk back to nobility.

“I’m not a bum; I’m merely in between careers.”

Reigning in his temper, I could see a vein in Ciel’s forehead throb in annoyance. “And those careers would be?”

“Erm…Being homeless and having a job.”

Rolling his visible eye, Ciel eyed me unabashed, and I was suddenly very aware of how my blonde hair was clumped with dirt and sweat and the stench of my body. I knew that my skin had soaked in the smell of London’s smog and the vile scent of overflowing trash.

“What skills do you have?”

Ciel never ceases to surprise me, even in the first few moments of our acquaintance. Despite only seeing twelve summers, he had an air of bone chilling maturity and intelligence. I raised an eyebrow at him, and shrugged.

“Honestly, I’m talented in three areas.” I counted down on my fingers as I spoke. “Horses, guns, and fighting.”

“Interesting skills for a woman.”

My expression didn’t change. “My father trained me to be honest, and those are the skills that he passed onto me.”

Ciel went quiet for a moment, and then seemed to inhale deeply. “Well, it’s settled then. Come with me.”

I titled my head to the side. “Why?”

He smirked, the pale angelic face as white as the freshly falling snow. “It just so happens that I’m in need of a horse trainer and carriage driver.”

And that was it, a simple encounter that led me to my integration into the Phantomhive household.

Awaking at the same time as I did every morning, I yawned loudly into my hand and dressed in the dark. I had long since traded in my ratty clothes for threads more appropriate to drive Ciel around London in, and to work in the barn. It was acceptable for a carriage driver’s clothing to be dirtied by their trade.

My black shirt was off the shoulder and had a built in tied corset around my stomach, and the bell sleeves tightened at the elbow. Next I pulled my tight black pants that clung comfortably to my legs, and I frowned when I felt lint on the fabric and I spent two minutes picking it off. Over my shirt went my black coat that came down two inches above my knees, it had double rows of buttons that went from breast to waist, and it’s style was gothic in nature, keeping theme with Ciel’s own clothes.

My boots were plain black riding boots that went to my knees, and I ran my fingers through my blonde hair to untangle the knots. I left it cascading down my back, it kept my head and neck warm from the early morning chill.

Once I had dressed for the day, I crept into the kitchen, knowing that the other three servants would never be up at this hour and made a hasty breakfast of bacon, eggs, and coffee for myself. I’d learned that whenever Bardroy offered to make me a meal, turn it down and wait until he was gone to make my own food. Although I do enjoy setting things on fire, I would never want to eat the very same thing I took a blow torch to.

I ran into Sebastian on my way out the door, the somber looking butler appearing perfectly awake and energetic. “Good morning, Grace.”

I frowned. “Sebastian, we do this every morning. Everyone else calls me Roland, why can’t you do as well?”

“Your first name is so much more pleasant to say.” The pale skinned butler smiled red eyes half lidded. “Is it that offensive to you?”

My heart spluttered, and I scoffed. “No, I suppose I shouldn’t even attempt to correct you. You always seem to get your way, Sebastian.”

“I am the butler of the Phantomhive family; usually my way is the correct way.”

Rolling my eyes, I walked past him toward the door. “One day I’m going to see you get your arse handed to you, Sebastian. And then I will laugh.”

“I would never suspend any pleasure of yours, Grace.”

Scowling, I stomped out of the manor, feeling Sebastian’s perfect smirk burning against my back as if a flame had been pressed against my skin. The cool morning air repressed my smarting skin, and I cleared my head before I entered the luxurious barn. Ciel only kept two carriage horses; both were – surprisingly – black. Also, when I first arrived at the Phantomhive manor, he had never actually taken the time to name either of them, so he left me in charge of that as well. Achilles was the pure black stallion with a smooth dark mane and dark brown eyes, and Hector was his twin except for a white star pattern on his forehead.

Ciel only kept two other equines in the barn besides his two carriage horses. There was Theodore, the dapple grey, sweet-tempered pony that I still forced the young Earl to ride recreationally because he was too small to ride the other two Thoroughbreds that were his carriage horses. Then, there was Pumpkin, my own horse that Ciel had given me. Pumpkin was an American Cream, the first American bred draft horse, and his coat ranged from pure white around his muzzle and hooves to a light orange, apple cinnamon color that I found very pleasing. His mane and tail were a thick white, and he was good natured and docile.

Taking all four equines out to their large and well furnished paddock, I mucked out all of their stalls and then returned to the manor to get the day’s schedule. Bardroy, Mey-Ren, and Finny were all bustling around by now, and I greeted each one in turn. Making my way up to Ciel’s study, I knocked once on the door and waited.

“Come in.”

I entered and walked up to the large desk where, as always, Sebastian was standing close to the Master.

“What is my schedule today, Ciel?” I was the only one whom he allowed to speak to him informally at all times. I suppose his short temper exhausted itself when he discovered that he could not break that habit out of me.

“We’re going into town for a few hours after lunch; I have to pick something up.”

I took the hint that was given at the end, look presentable. With a quick nod, I followed Sebastian out the door, who had also apparently finished his meeting with Ciel.

“Hey Sebby?”

The black haired butler arched an eyebrow at me, he never approved of the nickname that I gave him. “Yes Grace?”

“Do you think Ciel would mind if while he’s at his meeting if I sneak away quickly to the drop off some posts?”

The pale man sighed heavily, but I could see his eyebrow twitch in annoyance. “As long as you are quick about it Grace.”

“Thanks Sebby ~” I scampered off to my room in order to quickly get the stench of the barn off my clothes and hair, and I picked the hay and dirt off of my pants and coat.

My blonde hair was the most vexing part of my appearance, the long blonde strands never seemed to behave when I wished it too, and if I had been able to have my way, then I would have cut it. However, my puny Master would not hear of such a thing.

“I like your blonde hair; it makes you look your appropriate gender. I don’t want a trans-gender carriage driver!”

Ah, the kindness never seems to cease flowing from his lips. I thought to myself sardonically as I used a wet cloth to dampen my hair, and the strands felt cleaner once I had dried them.

Once that was finished, I wandered into the kitchen and packed some cheeses, apples, and slices of bread along with a bottle of wine into a black bag that I kept with me when I was driving the carriage. Bardroy was already preparing the main course for dinner, and he smiled warmly at me.

“Hey Roland.”

“Hello Bard.”

Puffing on his cigarette, Brad looked into his tall, metal pot as he stirred something that smelled like burning. “Getting ready to escort the Master today?”

“Indeed I am.” I peeked over his shoulder and I wrinkled my nose as the scent wafted up to me. “Good God, man! What is that?”

The bristly cook smiled arrogantly. “It’s dinner!”

Shaking my head, I clapped him once on the shoulder heartily. “Good luck with that!”

Quickly I left the manor, I was always wary when it came to Bard and his cooking. I occupied my thoughts by concentrating on brushing Achilles and Hector’s coats until they shone like obsidian, and I hitched them up to the black carriage before driving it up to the manor.

Ciel and Sebastian came down the stone stairs shortly afterward, and I leapt down and opened the door politely. “Is that coat thick enough, Ciel? It’s freezing and you’re going to catch your death of cold!”

Sebastian chuckled lowly. “Grace, I will never let our Master freeze.”

I sniffed. “Well, it’s a good thing you look out for him Sebastian. Or else the little Master would have a difficult-”

“Stop talking about me like I’m not here!” Ciel snapped angrily, and ducked his head as he slipped into the luxurious carriage. “Roland, I’m not a child, I’m perfectly capable.”

I threw Sebastian a look, and he shook his head, a soft smirk on his face. The sinewy butler gracefully slipped inside the carriage and I closed the door with a snap. Pulling myself up into the driver’s seat in the front of the carriage, I grabbed the reins and urged the horses onward in a steady, soft trot toward London. The sky was a crystal clear blue with no clouds and the air smelled fresh. Achilles and Hector enjoyed the work, their strides had a certain energy and they nickered to one another playfully.

However, when he entered the urban parts of London that freshness disappeared. The sky darkened with smog, and I could smell the scent of decay and mildew. The horses steps grew more sluggish and I coughed loudly into my elbow. Once we pulled up to an empty carriage space closest to the building where Ciel needed to get to, I leapt once more over the edge of the seat and opened the door swiftly.

People always knew what carriage belonged to the Earl of Phantomhive. The entire frame work was all a sleek black, and the trim was a deep vermillion shade. To keep the same aesthetics, my own uniform was black and sleek, as were the equines that pulled the carriage. There was no other that looked like Ciel’s.

“Very prompt, as always Roland.”

“I’m happy my efforts are appreciated.”

The butler and the earl disappeared into the busy throng of London, and I was left with Hector and Achilles for company. Reaching up to the driver’s seat, I pulled the black bag filled with food down and pulled out two of the apples and gave one to each of the black equines. They gobbled up the fruit gratefully, and then sighed heavily as their heads dropped and their eyes were half lidded. Laughing, I shook my head at them and took out a knife and the cheese and sliced the dairy onto my bread.

“You two are not tired yet.” I chuckled, and bit down hungrily into the bread. I chewed vigorously and took a swig of the wine, before climbing back up into the driver’s seat and letting my head loll on my neck. Then, with a jerk, I jumped down from the carriage and hurried down the street toward the post office.

I was only gone for two or three minutes to drop off some letters that I needed to send home, and I was positive that I would still return to the carriage before Ciel. But as I exited the post building, I heard the sounds of a struggle and looked over to see a pregnant woman being dragged off into an alley with a grimy man pressing a knife to her throat. It was obvious he wanted the ratty looking coin purse she clutched in her hand, but the frightened woman refused to give it up.

And I was disgusted by the people walking back that pointedly ignored her screams.

“Son of a-” I cut myself off and sprinted across the cobbled street and into the alley. “Hey, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”

The man stopped walking, but I could see him press the blade closer to the woman’s throat. “It’s none of your business, bitch.” I took a step closer and I saw the whites of eyes grow. “Take another step and I slit her throat, I swear to God.”

I held up my hands in a sign of peace. “Alright, alright. Why don’t we all just calm down. Sir, you don’t want to kill her, she’s obviously pregnant, and you don’t want to hurt her right?”

The man merely blinked at me, and I saw the blade lower itself fractionally. Quickly, I lunged at him and grabbed onto the wrist holding the knife and wrenched the whole arm away from the woman’s body. She screamed, but I used my free hand to yank her out of his grasp and push her out of the way. With both of my hands occupied, I was basically defenseless, and I was unsurprised to feel the man’s free hand bunch into a fist and connected itself with my cheek.

Recovering quickly, I head butted him right on the forehead and kicked the knife away from his grasp once he collapsed onto the dirty ground. Wiping the blood trickling down my chin with my sleeve, I spat at him.

“Targeting a woman with child…You disgust me.”

I left him in the dirty alley, and slowly made my way over to the badly shaken woman. Tears trailed down her face, and I helped her to her feet.

“Oh, thank you so much!” She spoke in uneasy tones, obviously still dazed; her hands were shaking as she clasped my own. “God bless you, miss.”

I waved my hand in the air dismissively. “I’m just trying to do right by God, ma’am. But be careful walking home.”

Watching her until she disappeared around a corner, I slowly made my way back to the carriage, where an angry Ciel stood waiting for me. Sebastian arched an eyebrow curiously behind his master’s back when he saw my swollen face.

“What were you doing, Grace?”

“Saving a pregnant woman from a robber, what were you doing Sebastian?”

“Nothing as noble, I’m afraid.” He smirked at me.

Ciel glared up at me with his one visible eye. “Roland, I told you to wait with the carriage.”

“But, I couldn’t just let her-”

Cutting me off with a wave of his hand, Ciel sighed heavily. “Just open the door, Roland. I’m ready to return to the mansion.”

Opening the black door quickly, I remained silently as the child lord climbed inside. Sebastian smirked at me as he climbed in after him and whispered, “I’ll make him see reason, Grace.”

I smiled, the expression made me wince immediately. “Thanks.”

After closing the door swiftly, I clambered back up into the driver’s seat and flicked the long leather reins against Achilles and Hector’s backs. The black horses perked up and trotted miserably, but their steps grew more energetic as we moved away from the city, and I talked to them as we continued back to the Phantomhive mansion, the cool air soothing my smarting cheek.

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