Rating: G for Gen (OMG I KNOW. What's up with that.)
Main characters: Sebastian-centric.
Word count: 578
Warnings: Anime-compliant. Spoilers for the first seven-eighths of the series (I counted.)
Written for kuroshi_contest, Week Two. Prompt: achilles' heel.
It isn't dislike which motivates him. Sebastian dislikes a number of humans of his aquaintance, but that isn't what prompts him to catalogue the ways in which they might be manipulated. He simply has a duty, has he not, as protector of the Phantomhive heir, to know how he might strike down those surrounding his master if they became a threat.
So he studies their weaknesses.
Bard, brash and mouthy, nevertheless has a soldier's discipline beneath his rogue's manner, and won't touch a morsel of pastry if he thinks it will displease Sebastian. He may never have thought the word demon about the butler, yet he knows something not-quite-human directs the mansion's remaining servants, and that its displeasure is A Very Bad Thing. So Bard would only have to be kept off his guard with words of praise, smiles of approval. Bard wouldn't even have time to understand he'd been deceived, if removing him were necessary. Sebastian values that.
Sebastian sees how Meirin clings to the disguise of her glasses, stumbling and fumbling her way through a maid's duties, no hint betrayed of the sniper's hand or eye. She wants to serve the household well; her incompetence is not an act. Yet any suggestion that she set aside the glasses is met with panic: "They were a gift from the master." Duty she understands, but generosity unmakes her, the starved child. Sebastian stores this knowledge away, prepared.
Finian has a heart to match his body's great strength. He, in contrast to Meirin, understands generosity, as he gives and gives aid, comfort, ease, to weaker creatures (which is to say, everyone). Feign weakness, feign need, and Finian would be his.
Pluto is already Sebastian's devoted creature. Convenient, despite Sebastian's contempt for the drooling beast.
Tanaka is frail. Plain, simple.
Sebastian's observations extend beyond the mansion. Lau considers himself a man of secrets, but Sebastian isn't fooled. He even knows the true value of the girl at Lau's side, the one Lau pretends is only some loose-limbed concubine. Agni, with his godlike skills, would seem formidable, but his weakness is his prince. As Agni himself is Prince Soma's. And Lady Elizabeth...well, Lady Elizabeth is a twelve-year-old girl. Pudding can captivate her.
Abberline...For some reason Sebastian does not feel Abberline is worth his thoughts.
His own master, however, is. Even if the thoughts are only academic: Ciel is no threat to Ciel, of course. And that, Sebastian supposes, is just as well, for his young master provides something of a puzzle, imagining his weaknesses. Others have learned the same, seeing only the child, the beribboned brat of a young noble, daring to wear his late father's rings, and underestimating the Earl of Phantomhive's observations, his resilience, his anger. Even Sebastian is occasionally surprised by Ciel's perceptions.
One might even think he had no weakness--
Sebastian's thoughts are interrupted by the soft brush of fur about his ankle, the sublime purr of the black cat as she deigns to give him her attention. Sebastian sighs with pleasure as he hoists the little beauty into his arms. She favors him with a rose-pink yawn, and he sighs again.
What was he thinking about? Oh, yes--that his young master could almost be supposed to have no weaknesses. But that, of course, is foolish. All humans have their weaknesses; only demons are free of such flaws.
Caressing one enchantingly spongy cat's paw pad in his fingers, Sebastian thinks how glad he is of that.