Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2: Add-Ons :: 01

01 Kuroshitsuji

13062015

Kuroshitsuji

“My morning sun is the drug that brings me near, to the childhood I lost, replaced by fear.” — New Order, True Faith


Derek fiddled around with a screen on the wall and it was shortly thereafter Harry observed an image of a young boy with dark hair—almost more blue than black—wearing an eye-patch, though his hair covered most of it up. His one visible eye was a stunning shade of blue.

Derek produced a laser pointer out of nowhere and used it to point at the writing down one side of the image. “The boy’s name is Ciel Phantomhive. He is presently Earl Phantomhive after the murders of his parents, and a whole host of other events. He is known as the Queen’s Watchdog. She often sent members of the Phantomhive family out to take care of criminals and shady members of the underworld. The year is 1888, and the boy will turn twelve on the fourteenth of December.”

He nodded. “So what’s so special about him?”

“Ah, he is an anomaly. In his world there is no such thing as magic as you know it. There are angels, reapers, and demons, and all of them have powers, but humans do not. The most they can generally do is make a Faustian Contract with a demon, but that results in, after the terms of the contract have been fulfilled, having their soul consumed by the demon.”

“Like a dementor?” Tom asked.

“Similar, yes,” Derek said, moving the laser point a bit lower. “Ciel’s parents were murdered and their manor burnt down. Ciel was kidnapped and sold as a slave, and eventually ended up in the hands of a cult that intended to use him as a sacrifice in a ritual. Ciel unintentionally summoned a demon when he was first stabbed, and the demon who appeared asked the boy if he would like to make a contract. Ciel agreed. The problem arose when I came to realize that this particular Ciel is the equivalent of a muggle-born and should not exist as such.”

“So you want to—” He broke off, not actually be sure what he thought or wished to say.

“Remove him from that situation entirely and transport him to Ophiuchus.”

He raised a brow at Derek and shot a look at Tom to see his reaction. His partner looked intrigued, actually. “Has the kid even managed to get at whoever murdered his parents?”

“No, fortunately. But perhaps he might be persuaded to leave all of that behind and come to a new life, learn about magic. He certainly can’t do it there.”

“What of the contract?” Tom asked.

“You could easily enough break it. Simply getting him to agree and bringing him here would break it. The placement of the mark of the pact was incredibly painful for the child, but the pain of removal would be lost during the transition.”

“So the demon would have no way to follow him here and cause problems?”

“Correct. I don’t particularly think we’d want a sentient soul-sucking demon on Ophiuchus,” Derek said, then added, “You two are quite enough as it is.”

Harry laughed when Tom’s expression twisted into a scowl. “Well, if nothing else, I suppose we could check the situation out. See how much trouble it would be to make off with the boy’s wealth and convert it to pure gold. See how receptive the boy would be. How exactly does that contract mark affect things?”

“Ah.” Derek changed the image to show a split screen. One side held the boy’s right eye, uncovered and showing the mark, while the other side showed the back of someone’s hand—the demon’s, presumably—showing a very similar mark. “The marks are like a chain, of sorts, linking the two. The boy’s allows him control over the demon within the boundaries of the contract, and allows him to signal the demon that he needs him. The mark allows the demon to locate the boy anywhere, so he can go to him, either because he wants to or because the boy signals him.”

“And can we hide the boy from the demon?” Tom asked. “Keep him out of the way for this talk?”

Derek nodded. “The demon is inordinately fond of cats, so you could use one as a distraction, but the boy is allergic to them. You could persuade the boy to order the demon away for the duration. Or you could set up a barrier through me, though that might cause the boy to be overly suspicious.”

Tom looked at him and nodded. “I don’t see why we can’t go look.”

“All right, then.”

*

‘So, all right,’ he sent. ‘The kid has a ton of money we can exchange for gold bullion. Just nip in, steal all of it, and nip back out to—I dunno—multiple other banks for the exchange. Or just steal an appropriate amount of bullion and covert it on the other side, and forget about his actual money.’

‘Fine,’ Tom sent back. ‘Let’s go see the child, now. Though I wonder. . . .’

‘Eh?’

‘If he’s an Earl, I wonder just how much of a pain he’s going to be.’

He snorted. ‘I think we can be intimidating without sending the kid into a full-on panic attack. Now, let’s go get some props with that money we stole, before heading to the estate.’

Tom smirked at him and nodded.

After a side trip they arrived at Phantomhive Manor. Derek had helpfully passed on several mental images for their holiday that they might need, so they had not needed to do something like hire a carriage. Harry gave the bell-pull a tug and waited patiently for the door to be answered. A dashing man with ink black hair, red eyes, and pale skin opened the door. He was above average height by several inches. He looked positively demonic, even smiling so pleasantly.

“May I help you?”

Harry smiled back. “We seek an audience with the Earl Phantomhive. We are Yuki and Tom Viator—from Japan.”

When the man went to open his mouth Harry heard Tom warn him in his head, then did his best not to react when the expected stampede of cats went rushing by behind them. The man—presumably the demon—got a starry-eyed look on his face and called back over his shoulder, “Tanaka!” Then he swiftly edged past them and raced off after the cats.

‘That worked better than I expected,’ Tom commented as a grey-haired man rushed up to the still open door and greeted them. Not long after that they were being shown to seats in a receiving room. The young Earl was there, wearing expensive clothing, but to Harry’s eyes it all seemed like ridiculously poncy finery.

“Why have you sought an audience?” Phantomhive demanded after Tanaka poured tea around and quietly departed.

‘He’s adorable,’ Harry sent.

‘But he’s also spoiled and utterly helpless in some ways,’ Tom objected. ‘Though his faults are mitigated in some respects by the events he suffered through.’

“We have a proposition for you,” Harry said slowly, not entirely sure how to go on now that he was seated with the boy. “You are—different.”

Ciel looked as though he wanted to snort at that statement, but was too dignified to do so.

“No, not that.”

Ciel frowned slightly and started to reach up toward his face. Tom quickly immobilized the child with barely a hint of wand ever coming into play. And indeed, the boy’s eyes had been on Harry anyway.

“There’s no need to call in your pet demon, Earl,” Harry said with a roll of his eyes. “Unless, of course, you wish to sneeze your way into an early death? He is presently chasing a few dozen cats right now, probably squeezing any he catches with an excess of adoration.” He released the child and was pleased to see that hand drop. “As I was saying, you’re different, and it has nothing to do with your Faustian Pact. You are an anomaly in this universe.”

Ciel scowled at him for the perceived insult. “Who are you?”

“Yuki Viator, also Yuki Fuse, also Harry Potter. Not from this dimension. I and my companion are wizards. We do magic. Not that stuff your pet demon does. You have the ability to do magic, Earl. Your ability is an anomaly in this dimension. No other version of you in a magic-less dimension has the ability, though some in those with it do, some don’t.”

“Why so many names? Are you some criminal?”

“You keep avoiding the obvious,” he said sadly. “I am a dimension traveler. It makes sense to have multiple names. Would you like to see a demonstration of magic?”

“Pulling a rabbit out of a hat is hardly going to impress me,” Ciel said snottily.

‘Does he honestly think he froze of his own accord?’ Tom asked disbelievingly.

‘I’ve never done a muggle-born first contact, or even fished an example out of someone’s head, like Minnie’s, so I have no idea what we should be expecting. Suppose I should have checked with Flitwick before we left,’ he replied, then said, “Oh, nothing so mundane. Tell me, what is your favorite animal?”

Ciel’s visible eye narrowed in thought and suspicion. “The wooly mammoth,” he said smugly.

“All right,” he said easily. “It won’t be the proper size, of course, not in a room this small.” He brought his wand out and first levitated the tea tray off to a side table, then transfigured the coffee table into an animated wooly mammoth at about ten percent of average size, approximately a third of a meter high. It paraded around on the carpet, its trunk swishing around, and investigated its surroundings.

“I misspoke myself,” the boy said. “I meant to say a dog. A very particular dog.”

Harry smirked and stared at the Ciel intently for a few seconds, then flicked his wand again.

Ciel’s visible eye went wide at the sight of the dog he had named his pet demon after. “I—”

He chuckled quietly and flicked his wand a third time. The dog turned into a dove and began to fly around the room. Thankfully, the ceilings were quite high. But eventually Harry returned the coffee table back to its original form and levitated the tea set back onto it. “That is one branch of magic, known as Transfiguration. There’s also Charms, Offense, and Defense. Potions, Herbology, Ancient Runes, and so on. I feel compelled to ask you, Earl Phantomhive, what purpose is there in your . . . quest? To have your soul eaten by a demon? All so you can avenge your parents or get back at those who kidnapped you?”

The change of expression was curious and calculating.

‘I’m having flashbacks to Draco now,’ he commented, ‘except this one seems a whole lot more intelligent, driven, and resourceful.’

‘Yes, he’s very Slytherin,’ Tom replied, sounding almost interested.

“I . . . have never once thought to avenge my parents or anything of the sort. Were I to avenge them, the dead would still not come back to life . . . much less to enjoy the sweet taste of revenge. Calling it ‘vengeance’ or a ‘battle of revenge’ is just glossing over the truth. Such utterances amount to nothing more than the selfishness of the survivors, after all . . . a luxury of living, wouldn’t you say? I . . . did not return to Phantomhive for the sake of the previous head. I returned for myself. All I want is to give those who betrayed and defiled the name of Phantomhive . . . a taste of the humiliation . . . and pain . . . that I suffered.”

“At least you’re honest,” he said, nodding. “So again, say you accomplish that. You get eaten. End of story. The span of your life mostly wasted, when it could be so much more. You could live, learn, grow, mature, bring your family’s name back to prominence, even if not here. Isn’t the best revenge in living well? In rising above the people who keep trying to drag you down? Not just going for some goal that, once met, leaves you hollow inside, and then stuck in an unending torment?”

“What would you know?” Ciel said spitefully.

Harry was so amused at the defensive behavior that he got up, moved over, picked Ciel up and squeezed him in tender, fluffy hug, set him back down, and returned to his seat, in all of a few seconds. The boy made like a guppy with the opening and closing of his mouth in reaction.

“My life is not your life. My sorrows and regrets and suffering—none of those are yours. We can’t compare them like different horses.” He had almost said broom models, but the boy would be mystified by the reference. “It’s apples to oranges. Both fruit, but so very different.”

Ciel shook his head. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’ve already sold my soul.”

“Ah, but that is not a given,” he shot back. “I can get you out of that contract if you’re willing to come with us. We can bring the equivalent of your fortune in gold bullion, so you would not be without that comfort. You could start a new life, away from all of this insanity. True, your title would be meaningless and your wealth would mean little while in school, but wealth speaks a language all its own in the end, as does personal ability. We can correct some of the problems you currently deal with, such as the asthma. You wouldn’t have to remain . . . delicate . . . if you chose otherwise.”

Ciel slumped in his chair, good posture forgotten, and transformed into an angsty pre-teen in seconds. “I was so focused at that moment. I wanted them all to die for what they were doing. No one was coming to save me. And then Sebastian showed up and offered me the deal. He killed them for me. He’s protected me since then, killed again for me.”

Harry nodded, his expression serious. He tried to think of how to respond, but Tom did it for him.

“Harry saved me,” Tom said, catching Ciel’s attention. “I was a homicidal maniac who cared nothing for others, who delighted in their suffering and pain and deaths, all in retaliation for the way people abused me, mocked me, twisted me. He made me stop and think. Made me see the consequences of my actions. Made me see that there was more to life than anger and bitterness, or revenge. We’ve been partners for years now. Together we created a new world where no humans had ever before set foot. Started over. We gathered up people like us and gave them a new home, where they could live without fear of the non-magicals, and learn magic, as is their birthright, and go about their lives. This life, right now, doesn’t have to be the one you live and die. You can start over, if you dare.”

Harry honestly felt a bit weepy over that speech.

‘Don’t even go there,’ Tom said sternly in his head.

“. . .You can really get me out of the contract?” Ciel asked, his voice thin and so very young-sounding.

“Yes. It would require you coming with us. The contract would no longer be in force and the demon could not follow. He would have to find someone else to make a meal of.”

“What about the people who murdered my parents? Who took me, sold me?”

“We can take care of them, but it would have to be after you were moved. If we did so now, the contract would end and the demon would be free to consume your soul. If you can trust us enough to decide to take us up on our offer, then please trust that we will come back here and take care of the rest. That I promise you, if that is what you’d like to happen. I have no qualms killing people who deserve it.”

Ciel eyed him for long seconds. “How did you even know about me?”

Harry grinned, a bit psychotically. “I am known as the Master of Death, which means, amongst other things, I have a close and personal relationship with Death. Death, amusingly enough, occasionally likes to meddle in the various dimensions, generally when he finds someone of interest. It was Death who alerted us to you, to your situation. No one capable of magic should be left, all alone, without anyone of their own kind, never having the chance to explore and develop their birthright. We agreed to come assess the situation, and take you back with us if you were agreeable.”

“Death?” Ciel said skeptically.

“Oh yes. Death is. Until a day when every last living thing on every world in every dimension is dead, Death is. But when it comes to meddling, well, he needs a physical agent. So he brings things to my attention, Tom and I discuss them, and we decide if we’d like to meddle. In one dimension I saved an alternate version of myself, actually. It was a little weird seeing how differently I can turn out, depending on the circumstances and stimuli. You can meet Death if you like, but I shouldn’t like to send you into a panic attack or anything.”

“Death personified?” Ciel said, still skeptical.

“Mm-hm. He’s not a physical entity, not really, but no one ever said the personification of a concept had to be.”

Ciel’s eye narrowed again. “Are you?”

“I hugged you, didn’t I?” Harry reminded the boy. “Would you like time to think about our offer? We can always return later. Though I would ask, on your honor, that you not speak of this to anyone, or write it down, while you consider.”

“And if I did want time? Where would I contact you?”

“Eh, the Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria. A message to the desk there would get to us.”

“Are there—are there people like me? I mean, people who investigate things? Go after criminals?”

He nodded. “There are different roles, but yes. Those who patrol, those who we refer to as desk jockeys, those who investigate, those who deal with forensics. Your basic roles for law enforcement. We as magicals have some advantages, of course. We have truth potions, for one thing. I can’t say that we have much in the way of criminals just yet, but I’m sure that someone at some point will turn psychotic and we’ll have to consider something more than just the usual jail cells.”

Ciel blinked. “You don’t have prisons?”

“Not yet.” He shrugged. “It would be very interesting to have someone from a non-magical background in one of those roles. That would bring something to it, I think.”

“Why?”

He shrugged again. “Wizards get so used to being able to do so much that they sometimes let common sense fall by the wayside. I think you could really add something there, if that’s what you decided to be.”

Ciel nodded, his gaze going distant. “I’ll go,” he said after several minutes of silence. His voice was thin and reedy, but determined.

Tom looked over and nodded, got up, and vanished.

Ciel blinked and looked at Harry. “Where did he go?”

“He went to get the equivalent of your fortune in gold bullion. That will be far easier to convert to the coins we use. We use a system based on the size and value of each coin type, rather than something like there being one hundred pence to a pound. It’s a little odd, but you get used to it quickly enough. He should only be gone a few minutes.”

“So little time?”

“Well, I admit, we’re cheating a bit,” he said. “We checked to see how much money you had and, while we could just take that and exchange all of it properly, that much money at once would cause questions, and suspicions, and delays. So he’s simplifying things. He’ll just take the money and place it where the gold bullion is. An equivalent exchange. There’s absolutely no point in taking notes, only pure metal.”

Ciel didn’t seem too disturbed by that knowledge, which was just as well. Harry supposed he could tell the child right then about the various races he could expect to encounter, but. . . . No, he preferred to present that after the boy was free of the pact and in a new home. Then Harry could start by lending the child a house-elf to be his caretaker and servant (after impressing upon him the importance of his responsibility toward the elf in return for the service and loyalty), moving on after that had sunk in to goblins and veela and so on. Not necessarily nice of him, but he wanted the move to be a done deal first, to get the child where he ought to be, with his own kind.

Tom flicked into view a short time later and nodded. “We’re set.”

“Are you ready?” Harry asked the boy.

Ciel got up and nodded nervously.

Harry smiled and went over to take his hand, while Tom took his other hand. He glanced up out of habit. ‘Derek?’

‘Initiating transport.’

He heard the barest hint of a whimper of pain from Ciel, and then they were standing in K’veer. “Ah, okay,” he said, then looked at Ciel, who had an amazed look on his face. “Welcome to our home, K’veer. This is my personal sitting room, actually. So, the first question is, would you prefer to live on your own in a townhouse, with a host family—my friend Luna might be good for that, maybe—or we can set you up with a room here for now. Though for school you would live there during the week. Students are allowed to return home at the weekend so long as they’ve behaved themselves and turned in all their work.”

“And you can remove the eye-patch,” Tom added. “Your eye is normal again.”

Ciel reached up and slowly slipped the patch free, then looked into a hand mirror Tom raised up in front of him. His eyes went wet at the sight of his face, at his clear blue eyes, both of them. Harry pulled the kid into a loose hug and was surprised and pleased when Ciel didn’t fight him. “How about we set you up with a room here for now, hm?”

Ciel nodded against his chest.

“Okay. Now, I’m going to call in a servant, and I need you to not be too shocked. We’re magical, remember, so our servants are not human. They’re a race of sentient creatures called house-elves.”

Ciel stepped back a little so he could look up at him with a puzzled frown.

“They are very kind to those who treat them well, and extremely loyal to their masters. They can do just about anything, really. Tom and I have quite a number of them, but that’s both because we wanted to bring as many as possible with us, and because we needed help at first with things like setting up farms and delineating properties, that sort of thing. They cook, clean, and basically can take the place of a number of separate human servants. You ready?”

Ciel bit his lip, then nodded.

“Saen,” he called, then smiled when the elf popped in. “Hey. This is Ciel Phantomhive. Ciel, this is Saen, one of my two personal house-elves. The other is Cael.”

“Saen is pleased to meet Mr Phantomhive.”

Ciel nodded back, seemingly at a loss for words.

“Saen, I need you to set up a suite for our new friend here. Close to my quarters, all right? I’d like him to be able to get to me quickly if he needs to. I’ll see about getting him outfitted and all that. We didn’t actually bring anything except his fortune, so. . . .”

“Saen will do so immediately, master,” Saen said brightly, then popped out.

“Not too weird?” he asked Ciel.

“Ah, no?”

“Well, magic itself is a bit weird, really. Just try to roll with it. But if you get overwhelmed by anything, say so. Stop me, tell me, and we’ll take a break, have some tea or something.”

Tom handed over a satchel, which Harry took, and said, “I’m going to go relax. It was very unsettling being in a world with no magic.”

He nodded. “All right.”

‘Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,’ Tom sent as he departed.

‘Well, that allows for almost anything,’ he teased back, chuckling. “So, while Saen is taking care of getting a suite ready, why don’t we sit down and talk. Or, we can go for a walk and you can see what it looks like outside.”

“A walk,” Ciel said quietly.

“Sure.” He set the satchel down and led the way, not minding in the least when Ciel took his hand. Harry led Ciel down to the ground floor and outside. K’veer was on the outskirts of the city, so it wasn’t as though they stepped straight out onto a busy street. The boy was able to see it coming up and have a chance to get used to it. Seeing people fly by, or use magic, or apparate or link in or out—so many wonders as they approached. “How about some shopping, then? You’ll be needing a new wardrobe, if nothing else.”

“I suppose so,” Ciel said, eyeing the various forms of dress on display. Not everyone wore robes, some wore a combination of styles, with robes worn as an over-layer, and some wore only robes.

“I would suggest that even if you are not especially fond of robes that you still get a selection to wear over other clothes,” Harry advised. “You will need to wear a set during schooling, partly because school robes are treated to help protect you.”

“When will I begin that?” Ciel asked as Harry steered him off toward one of the clothiers catering to those of school age.

“Well, that depends. Normally you would start training when you’re eleven. You would have been almost a year older than many just by virtue of the month you were born in. I can bring in tutors until the beginning of the next school year, to catch you up and so that you have individualized attention to start out with. The issue is complicated further by two issues. One is that the school year starts on the first of September. It is presently April.”

“What?” Ciel threw a started look at him.

“Yes, confusing. The time streams often don’t match up. You were in 1888. The current year here is 1996, by our old calendar.” He smiled at the bewilderment the boy was showing, his aristocratic mask far from present. “That means your birthday has shifted from December to September. Still late enough that you’d be a year older than most. So, tutors. If you’re willing to work hard we can get you caught up in time for the next school year and you can join the second years. We have plenty of people with tutoring experience; not all of them have full schedules at the academy.”

“How much will that cost?”

Harry shook his head as he opened the door to the shop. “Education is free. Taxes help fund the school and the hospital, along with donations. Don’t worry about the cost. The more donations come in the lower the taxes for the next year. They’re set to be adjusted yearly based on how much is required to keep the three main aspects functioning and the people working for them paid. That way anyone can always seek out medical attention without having to pay a fee at that time, and the same for education. Higher education is a little different, but that depends on what you’re looking to advance in.”

He greeted the shopkeep and gestured toward Ciel. “My charge here will require a full wardrobe. The only thing mandatory will be three school robes. Beyond that, whatever he wants, his choices on colours and all that. Go wild, Ciel. I never gave you a chance to pack, so this is on me.”

Ciel gave him a sharp, assessing look, then nodded and turned his attention toward the proprietor. An hour later the two were on their way with a promise that the entire order would be delivered as soon as it was ready, and with Ciel wearing a lightweight set of day robes over his current clothing.

They next stopped in at a variety of shops to place orders for Ciel’s schooling, and then wandered over to Corvus Academy after Harry sent a patronus on ahead to request a meeting. Flitwick sent one back almost immediately inviting them to join him as soon as they were able.

“So,” Flitwick said jovially. “Who is our new friend?”

“Headmaster,” Harry greeted. “This is Ciel Phantomhive. He’ll be twelve on the fourteenth of September. Muggle-born, actually.”

Flitwick arched a brow at the information. “Tutors?”

“That’s what I’d like to arrange. Ciel, this is Headmaster Flitwick. He is a wonderful educator and also a fantastic dueler. Speaking of which, Tom and I need to have another one. I can’t wait until your kin get the arena construction done. It’s just not a priority yet,” he said a bit sadly.

“Well, do let me know when. You know how much I enjoy watching. Now, tutors for Mr Phantomhive. Let me see. . . .” He skittered back to his desk and popped up onto his chair so he could fetch papers to shuffle through. A short time later Flitwick had a proposed list and would be checking with those people. He would send confirmation as soon as he had it.

Harry thanked him and led Ciel away. Outside the boy said, hesitantly, “Is the headmaster entirely. . . ?”

“Human?” Harry said. “No. He’s part goblin. Goblins are another race. Short, a bit rough looking, I suppose. Very good with money, warding, and building. They run the bank for us and do a lot of construction work. You’ll see them later, when we go open an account for you. For now, we have two choices. We can either go to the hospital and make sure you’re doing well, maybe take care of that asthma, or if you’re feeling tired we can return to K’veer and get you set up in your suite.”

“I’m tired.”

“All right. Time for a quick lesson, then,” Harry said cheerfully. “I’m going to show you how to use linking books.” He walked over to the nearest linking pedestal and gestured. “Using one of these will take you to a place called Nexus. Watch the image for a few moments so you recognize it in the future, then go ahead and touch it. I’ll be right behind you.”

Ciel did as requested and Harry linked in after the boy did. “Now. This is the Nexus. You’ll note that there are innumerable alcoves and pedestals. You can spend time later looking at all of them, but for now, we go this way.” He led Ciel to the north alcove with respect to the arrival point. “You’ll notice that in here there’s a plate above each book with the name. We want the one for K’veer. It will drop us right outside, and saves us the long walk back.”

Ciel investigated and found the correct book, then linked through. Harry followed him. “There are other ways to travel, but you’re too young to apparate on your own, and we don’t allow floo access at K’veer.” He explained what that meant on the way back upstairs. Saen popped into view as soon as they were back on the correct floor and led the rest of the way, then asked if either was hungry.

Shortly thereafter they were ensconced back in Harry’s suite, which was just down the hall from Ciel’s, and tucking into a meal. The boy had nothing to complain about when it came to house-elf cooking; he looked inordinately pleased by everything he tried, actually. Harry filled the hours until it was time for Ciel to sleep with explanations regarding the magical world, and was pleased to see the child’s imperious behavior from before melt away to reveal excitement and an eagerness to learn.

They could visit the hospital and the bank the next day. And if Ciel needed some reassurance and comfort during the night, well, Harry was happy enough to provide it.