Rating: PG-13 for implied naughtiness (Discipline/Spanking)
Characters: Sebastian, Ciel, Elizabeth
Word Count: 1207
Warnings/Notes: Domestic discipline. Pun intended.
Written for kuroshi_contest Week #3, theme: bad habit.
His master bites his nails.
Impeccably groomed, expression as dark as an infant thundercloud, the Earl of Phantomhive lifts his ungloved fingertips to his mouth and bites, bites, bites, perfect half-moons of white horn snapping away, flying in neat parabolas to land on the rug below. Their corners hook into its Turkish threads, where they will prove even more of a nuisance to sweep up.
As a butler for the house of Phantomhive, Sebastian is suited to such nuisance tasks. As a fiend bound in contract to the boy, he wants to show the impossible bratling what consequences come of irritating a demon.
Ciel bites his nails, and Sebastian wants to fetter the boy's wrists behind his back. In payment for every yawn Ciel has failed to cover properly with a discreet palm, Sebastian would like to gag his open mouth; a glove would do. Ciel picks at some pubescent blemish on his cheek; a slap to the gagged face would remind him not to do that again. Every time a seated Ciel slips a finger beneath the suspender of one stockinged calf and snaps it in boredom, Sebastian imagines how Ciel would howl if said suspender were snapped most deliberately against tenderer portions of his anatomy. Multiple times. Until he's pink all over.
But Sebastian's role is that of servant, of protector. To lay a threatening hand on one's master is forbidden.
Though few of his ilk have served so young a master. A master who must be groomed to his role or be found wanting by his peers. That, too, has been Sebastian's duty. Hasn't he pressed the Earl into his routine of lessons--languages, arithmetic, music, dance, fencing--that the young master might shirk, were Sebastian not so diligent? So firm?
The terms of the contract might be stretched, if he dared.
Seated near the Earl, little Lady Elizabeth chatters on about, well, nothing. About the hair ribbons she saw in a shop window, but she'd forgotten her pocket money, so she'd have to make a second trip, and would the pink be more fetching with her hair, or the blue? She has a slice of cake and a fork; she never dirties her dress when she eats, nor forgets to use her linen napkin delicately, but as she takes eager bites of the confection and prattles away at the same time, it can't be missed: she chews with her mouth open.
It tips him over, figuratively speaking. Sebastian realizes he is going to have to punish someone today. Simplest to begin with someone to whom he is under no contractual obligation.
Ramrod straight at Lady Elizabeth's side, he lays a hand upon his breast and bows deeply. "Lady Elizabeth. Would you accompany me, please?"
Sebastian is always so serious. Elizabeth would like to clothe him in festive bows and frills and command him to smile, a real smile for once! That's what she'd do, if he were her butler. Perhaps Ciel will let her have him, just for a day, and she can return Sebastian to Ciel much improved for it.
She'll ask Ciel as soon as they return to the drawing room. What message does Sebastian have for her, that he has to call her away and deliver it in private?...It is a message, isn't it? He didn't say, but she assumed--
Sebastian stops in front of her and she almost bumps into him. He looks down at her over his shoulder and again she sees that not-real smile, the one that makes her shiver a bit.
She stares up at him. They're rather far from the drawing room now; is this Ciel's study? Ciel had given Sebastian an odd look when she rose to go with the butler. It occurs to her that if she called out--
Sebastian's face is suddenly quite close to hers. "To my very utmost I am a butler, and in that role, I confess that I detest uncouth manners."
She is bewildered. And not a little frightened. She stares back, opens her mouth to speak, flaps it closed. Does it again, still wordless.
"You see--" One gloved hand is touching her face, touching her, how dare the butler-- "that is exactly the behavior I am talking about." The palm presses against her mouth, starched white cotton muffling her squeak. "I have an overwhelming need to discipline a young wretch who deserves a lesson in comportment. You--" Elizabeth finds her wrists seized in Sebastian's other hand-- "will, I believe, do very well."
Her mouth is set free as Sebastian's arm circles her waist, hoists her in one motion so her feet leave the floor. She screeches, outraged and not understanding why Sebastian is carrying her to the velvet chaise near the window, nor why her petticoats are falling over her head as Sebastian pulls her face-down over his lap.
She is correct that they're too far from the drawing room for anyone to hear her yell.
Lizzy reenters the room; Ciel notes how flushed her face is. What was all that about? It's too much to hope that Sebastian had words with her, no matter how much her visit is distracting him from the investigation. Sebastian's always reminding him to be a gentleman around Lizzy, which means excruciating politeness and feigned attention to her nonsense.
Whatever excuse Sebastian invented to get her from the room--probably showed her Finian's canaries or somesuch--Ciel wonders what would leave her so red-faced. "Sebastian. Fresh tea for both of us. This has gone cold."
"Yes, my lord."
There is a noise from Lizzy; in the act of returning to her seat and her half-eaten cake she's straightened up again, flushing even harder before she does sit down once more, gingerly as if testing the chair. What? He shoots her a sharp look.
"Oh, it's--nothing, I only...thought there was a pin." She bites her lip, lying badly, shifting on her chair in obvious discomfort.
Wait--is this some sort of female thing? Ciel doesn't want to know, really doesn't want to know. "Of course," he lies in return. "That chair isn't as comfortable as it looks."
Lizzy ducks her head with a tiny grimace of a smile, continuing the artifice. She picks up her fork and makes an effort to look interested in the cake again.
Perhaps she'll go soon and Ciel can get back to business. He waits as Sebastian pours steaming tea, taps his fingertips against his lips in contemplation. Bites at the ragged edge of his middle fingernail.
Sebastian looks up at him in the middle of pouring. Ciel spits out the fragment of nail and wonders what makes his butler's eyes flash like that.
Lady Elizabeth chews her cake silently, not daring to look at Sebastian, mouth quite diligently shut. Youth learns its lessons so swiftly.
Sebastian looks again at his master, who is littering the rug once more with nail slivers. He suspects he will dare to stretch their contract terms quite a lot, before long.
After all, it won't do for his master to be thought ill-bred.