A/N: The mini-plotbunnies floating in my head wanted to turn into tiny little drabbles, some a few paragraphs, some just one sentence long. Some serious, some silly, some salacious.
Do not assume these all fit in the same storyverse. (Just like Kuroshitsuji itself.)
Ciel asks, "What's on today's schedule?", and Sebastian wants to say, My complete and eternal loathing for the pact which ties me to you for all time, just as it will be every damned day, but he's sure that wouldn't go over well and would get repetitive quite soon, so, instead, he says, "Nothing."
Ciel's first act is to lock Sebastian in a box. He lets him out after a fortnight. Or perhaps it's a year; he can't be bothered to keep track.
When they tell Lady Elizabeth, she spends two days not understanding, trying to pin down everyone and tell her what they mean in a way that makes sense, you sillies, you're not speaking nicely at all. Then she spends three days shouting, calling everyone fools and idiots. By the time tears come at the end of that fifth day she's locked herself in her bedroom where she doesn't have to look at anyone, and she doesn't come out for a week.
When she is fifteen she is betrothed again. At seventeen she is married to a baronet of modest standing, and she never speaks the name Ciel from that day forward. She dies at age 57 of an infection of the lungs, and everyone, including her grandchildren, remembers what a softly demure woman she was in life, if a little serious.
Luka calls him big brother and Hannah always refers to him as Master (she does this for Luka, too, but somehow they can tell which Master she means), and Claude still calls him your highness (and smiles when the response is "You're my highness," in return, and then, oh, Claude does more than just smile), so, in time, Alois finds it doesn't matter what his name is, or was.
"You're off the case, Rubinstein," says Randall gruffly.
"Does that mean I can shave?" says the junior detective, scratching at the absurd little mustache on his upper lip. "What happened? Don't tell me my cover's blown. Unless the smug little bastard found out Abberline didn't have a brother." He removes his hat, runs a hand through his hair. "Cold as a witch's tit, that kid. Never got him to open up to me. Who's taking over?"
Randall pushes aside the detritus of the gift box, all white ribbons and stiff black paper, and sits turning the card over and over in his fingers. "No one. It's closed."
At the end of their dance, Ciel steps away to bow to Lizzy, as he's been taught. Lizzy does not curtsy back. Lizzy, in fact, collapses to the ground and does not move or speak.
Ciel stares at the pink-and-white tumble of her corpse. From behind him, a long sigh. "Young master. You have an escalated strength in your new form. You must learn to control it. Quickly."
"Oh?" says Ciel. "That's very interesting. I should go test it." He starts to step away, then looks back at the broken thing on the floor. "Oh. I should be sorry, shouldn't I."
One consciousness, split between three bodies. In death, it feels good for him to be whole again.
The gift boxes are not identical.
Undertaker opens his and finds the following things: a lock of midnight hair, a stoppered vial of still-liquid blood, and a vellum square bearing the true name of an ancient demon and the phrase, Get me out of this.
Undertaker cackles. The ritual will take ten mortal years to prepare, and Sebastian must know that. But it will be good to be owed a favor by such a senior denizen of Hell. Undertaker picks up the box, and goes to begin.
The other reapers do notice that Grell flounces off in tears every time someone proposes a break for tea these days, but Grell has flounced off in tears for one reason or another for so long that no one pays much attention.
"Teach me." Ciel has looked into the eye of immortality and emerged ready. "Teach me how to contract souls."
Sebastian does as he is bid. "First, a human must want. Must want something," he begins.
"Hmp." Ciel's mouth curves in a smile. He does that more easily, these days. "In that, demons and humans are identical, aren't they."
Sebastian does not answer. He has the luxury of silence, at least.
Soma returns to the east. Agni does not oppose this plan, thinking it is the first sober decision the prince has made in his life.
His father is so pleased with his son's newfound maturity that Soma moves up several places in the ranks of succession, and, for a time, relations between England and Bengal are marked by a notable if short-lived stability.
It's as he said: memory doesn't count for anything.
Because if memory counted, Ciel would have to remember that the last significant act of his human soul was in humiliated but curious response to Alois Trancy's fey smile and his leer of Wouldn't you like to know what it's like, before you're truly dead to the world? To the kiss, to the exploration of hands, of mouths, all the way to the shudder and the capsize of flesh and guilty passion.
And he can't have that.
She knows the young master is wrong. Memories do count. They count for everything.
But Maylene does understand that they're meant to be memories. That's why she takes off her glasses at last, and stores them in her keepsake box. So they won't get broken again. Because Mr. Sebastian is no longer here to fix them.
The reapers notice a sudden escalation in the number of deaths marked by irregular soul transition. What new demon could be wreaking all this havoc? It stretches the reaper's ranks and abilities to their limits; they're exhausted. And the paperwork.
Right when William had been thinking of going into retirement. Honestly.
The massacre at the asylum was enough of a tragedy. But the gutting fire, a week later? And the sinkhole beneath? That seems more like a curse.
The asylum is not rebuilt.
One wouldn't think the afterlife would have so many pockets. But Claude and Alois manage to disappear together for long durations, and when Hannah thinks to look for them--Luka invariably tagging along--Hannah is forever leaping to cover Luka's young eyes from the sight.
"Could you have a little consideration?" she hisses at the two, as curious Luka protests and tries to twist free.
"We did," assures Alois, arching, not even bothering to cover up. "We went somewhere else. You're the one who interrupted."
Her glare is directed at Claude; he's older and should know better.
Claude doesn't look at all contrite. He doesn't even disengage from Alois. "I am sorry for whatever familial vision you had of this cluster of ours," he not-apologizes. "I am the least paternal creature you could imagine, Hannah. What did you expect?" He licks Alois's ear, and Alois mewls.
Perhaps she should have thought this through.
Without the queen's little watchdog to pester him for information, Lau is able to move back into comfortable obscurity. He finds he doesn't like it as much.
"I want to go see this Lucifer. Arrange an audience for me."
It is the worst idea possible. There will be blood and the deaths of demons. Mine, possibly. Yours, likely. His, not unthinkably. I do not know which outcome would be worse. Sebastian thinks all of this.
What he says is, "Yes, my lord."
It turns out that Ciel Phantomhive made a will shortly after he returned to the restored mansion with a black-clad butler in tow. The house legally does belong to the servants.
Bard learns enough cooking to keep them all fed, and somehow the house does not collapse under Maylene's maintenance, and Finny, well, Finny keeps their spirits up so that no day is too bleak. And Tanaka is there to greet every new visitor and escort them through the mansion, telling the tale of the house and of the late Phantomhive line.
But when Tanaka dies some years later, Bard, Finnian, and Maylene pack up and leave. They cannot state it in words, but they know they are all in danger of becoming the mansion's pale ghosts. They escape, and begin to breathe like living things once more.
Sometimes he thinks this is not so dreadful, or shouldn't be. He has spent a good portion of his existence in servitude to this human or that, and the Earl of Phantomhive had been a rather spectacular example of those, hadn't he. He had been content to wait for his reward. Perhaps he should continue along, just telling himself his reward will be a little longer in coming.
And sometimes he thinks he is one "Yes, my lord" away from punching his fist through his master's chest again.
The Viscount is broken-hearted, simply devastated, when he hears that cousin Alois is dead.
His uncle the earl had been such a splendid customer of his. Druitt had been looking forward to making a similar tidy profit in childflesh when cousin Alois was old enough to want his own. Ah, well.
"I found this," says Randall's aunt.
Randall stares at the folder she holds. "That's nothing with which you need concern yourself," he says at last.
"The queen should know these things," she cuts, lifting her chin.
Randall's lips are pressed into a thin, but amused line. "That works on nearly everyone else, madame."
She wilts a little. She's a formidable woman, and Randall himself suggested she would be fitting to play this role, but that's why he must be the one to keep her leashed.
"Give me that, your majesty," he says, respectfully but brooking no argument, and his aunt scowls as she gives over the folder marked Operation Watchdog to her nephew.
Hands on hips, Hannah stares back at Claude and retorts, "And what in Lucifer's name is a turkey pot pie?"
"Yes, my lord."
Sebastian, who has learned that he does not, in fact, possess infinite patience, answers, "What would my master like me to say."
Ciel's face holds some of the pique that was his natural state as a human. "Smile at me again, damn you. Say you are glad to be at my side. Say you are satisfied to serve." His face twists to true anger. "Say this pleases you!"
"Yes, my lord."
"Get out of my sight!" snarls Ciel, and Sebastian, remembering a similar command, actually can smile for a moment, and goes.
Lizzy's first daughter is born in September. Her father buys her a birthstone ring when she turns six; Lizzy stares at the blue of the sapphire and wills herself to stay composed and smile. She doesn't want to spoil her daughter's special day, or her present.
The boy who cannot legally bear the name Abberline has, at the least, wealth to compensate for his bastardy. The toys gifted to him in abundance before his birth are unique creations of the Funtom company and some of the very last that now-defunct company ever made, and his mother manages their sale to collectors wisely.
"I'm going to become a pastry chef. Like Mr. Sebastian," says Bard.
Finny claps his hands together, but Maylene makes a dismissive sound. "You just want to use a blowtorch on the sugar crusts."
She's right, of course.
What Claude told Sebastian was true: the maze's answer to What is Alois Trancy's real name was as he stated, for the reasons he gave. The maze had its own purpose, and the answers had to fit that purpose alone.
But there was another reason: the stolen child of the Trancy line did indeed survive. And was taken in by a then-childless family. One who lived in a poor little English village called Arachnohill.
But Alois is dead, and so knows everything now. And so is and so does Claude. And such indelicacies were only concerns for the living.
Under the depths of innumerable fathoms, under the crush of unimaginable tonnes of rock, the demon sword lies. It cannot be destroyed. Millennia may pass before any hand touches it again.
But unlike the creatures who wield it, Laevatein has perfect patience. And it waits.
"Yes, my lord?"
"You've been...so very efficient. No, that's not the word, I'm being churlish. You've been..." Ciel licks his lips as he searches for words. "I'm very glad you're at my side."
Sebastian lets silence stand between them.
"So," Ciel continues, "I was wondering if this might make you happy." Shedding feathers, shedding most of his flesh, Ciel transforms.
On pink-padded paws, Ciel steps daintily up to him. Butts at his hand with that sleek pointed-eared head. Mews.
Sebastian decides it's quite tiring being angry all the time.
It is not so easy to kill a demon.
After the destruction of the island, Hannah's body heals itself, though she makes no attempt to leave the ruin of rock on which she rests.
Demons have no souls, and no afterlife. Demon-devoured humans, likewise. But mad Hannah Annafellows, the sole demon ever to love, dreams her ecstatic dreams of her three beloveds joined with her in death.
She is a whispered legend, revered and pitied, among the denizens of Hell, and so other demons let her be, and do not disturb her dreams.
When they tell Lady Elizabeth, she goes very still. She goes to the garden. She stays there until nightfall. Then she gets in her carriage and goes home. She does not speak to anyone for three days.
On the fourth day, an hour before dawn, she walks out onto the Middleford grounds and pushes her face into a dew-covered spiderweb. "Is there a fairy out there?" she croaks in a voice three days hoarse from disuse. "I have a wish."
"Tell me you're pleased," Ciel commands as he once did, an immeasurable amount of time ago.
Sebastian looks at his master, seated upon the throne of Hell.
The view from the left-hand side of Hell's throne is a lofty one, even if one must stand. Slowly, as it is an action no longer so familiar to him, he finds himself gracing his master with the start of a smile.
"Yes, my lord."