Chapter Three: His Butler: A Matchmaker
So beautiful, so elegant… His flowing red hair, that crimson coat that he wears over his formal attire… Carrying his chainsaw death scythe, so dangerous, so powerful, the razor sharp teeth of his weapon matching the pearly white ones in his mouth in sharpness and beauty… Like a god amongst men… Who is that man? I must know his name… I would do anything to meet him, just to talk to him… But… None of my fellow classmates know who he is… That’s why… I must talk to Mr. Spears… But he’s kind of scary… Why does he glare at us so? Does he see some fault in us through those experienced eyes of his?
“Miss Aldershof… You’ve been standing there for the past ten minutes…” Came a voice from behind her. Rael jumped and turned around to see the jovial face of Ronald Knox come into view, only to have it go immediately out of focus as she fell over, and her training glasses were thrust from her nose and clattered on the floor.
“You’d do better, Miss Aldershof, to have a cord on them so that they don’t fall off so easily.” Ron said, picking them up and handing them back to her.
“Thank you, Mr. Knox. I’m blind as a bat without my glasses… Oh, no! Where did Mr. Spears go!!?” She cried in despair, fearing that she may never find out the name of that man.
“Will? He’s just over there…” Ronald said, raising an eyebrow. “Don’t worry so much about talking to him. He only looks scary. He’s actually a pretty decent guy…”
“… A-and so, Mr. Spears, I wanted to know the name of a certain Shinigami…” She said nervously. Will looked down at her from over his glasses. She was certainly an oddity among Shinigami. A woman who had been born with yellow-green eyes and terrible eyesight that was the trademark sign of a Shinigami to be. The genetic trait was usually random, except in a few families that were old beyond measure, families that could trace their lineage back to long before the time when Augustus Rhodes reaped Jesus’ soul. In these three families, almost every male was born with the ability to become a Shinigami. Women were certainly born into those families, and were raised every bit as nobly as the men. However, there was only a 1 in 1.000.000. chance that one would be born with Shinigami potential. Thus, for one such as Rael to be born to a non-noble family, the Shinigami Gene a completely random chance in her was about 1 in 10.000.000, and had not happened in over 800 years.
“Could you describe the Shinigami in question, Miss Aldershof?” Will asked patiently. Rael blushed. She was surprised that he knew who she was.
“W-well… He’s extremely handsome… H-has the most amazing long red hair ever, and sharp eyes that seem like they could cut right through you… And a chainsaw to match… His red…”
Grell!? Grell Sutcliff!? He’s the one this girl is trying to talk to!? What the hell!? I would rather bow down to a demon than subject this poor girl to such torture!! But what can I do? Surely she’d find out on her own that he’s a complete moron! But would she drop out of Shinigami Academy in horror at what a Shinigami can be!? She’s got top grades in the academy, in academics, and fighting! Shit!
“From your description, miss, I think you’re talking about Grell Sutcliff…” Came a friendly voice from behind Will. He smirked at Will. Although he didn’t really like Grell much, he didn’t show the open loathing that Will felt towards the man. And so, he watched with a smile as Rael scribbled Grell’s name in two places on her letter, and requested that it be given to him.
“Grell!!” Came Will’s sharp and demanding voice. Grell snapped around to attention. When he saw that it was Will, though, a blush made its way across his features, and he sidled up to the man, flirting with him as he always did.
“Oh, my, Will! Have you finally sought me out for a repeat of that night in the snow all those years ago? It was such a fabulous day that I will never forge… GAHH! So dangerous.” Grell cried, his nose bleeding even as he retreated hastily from Will’s death scythe.
“Here…! It’s from an academy student addressed to you, Grell! I know how much you hate kids, but you’d better play nice! This one is a top student, and doesn’t need you dashing their hopes to pieces!” Will snapped, deliberately not saying ‘her’.
“Let’s see…” Grell muttered under his breath, slitting the envelope with his fingernail, and opening the letter.
“Dear Mr. Sutcliff,
I’ve been wanting to meet you for a long time, but have never had the courage to openly approach you. Your noble bearing and natural flair have long dazzled me, and I wish to talk to you in person. I know it’s short notice, but would you please meet me at the Sanguine Street Café tomorrow, Saturday, June 14th at noon. You needn’t respond. I have already requested that Mr. Spears return the message for you. Thank you in advance.”
“It isn’t signed…” Grell said quietly. “Who is this student? They have excellent writing form, and beautiful handwriting… It’s almost as if…” Grell said, not finishing. He narrowed his eyes at Will, and the Grell from the early academy days was briefly back, his disdain for others apparent on his face.
“So, will you meet them?”
“It would be the height of insult not to. Tell them that I’ll be there…” Grell said dismissively, sighing and walking on. He honestly couldn’t stand kids, but this one seemed to know what they were talking about, or at least, he was flattered by the attention. The last time he had gotten a love letter had been in the Academy. One of the trainee girls in Human Resources had sent him one…
Sadly, I messed that one up pretty badly, and sent her home crying… Perhaps I will be able to not make this one cry… It’s unusual to see a boy so openly attracted to another man, though, and with such feminine writing and style… I should be deeply interested to meet this boy.
And so, at 11:55, Grell sat at the café, waiting for his mystery admirer to come. He had been sitting for at least five minutes. He was an impatient person, and had assumed that the boy would have gotten there early to make sure that he didn’t miss him. However, it was seemly to arrive “fashionably late”. Perhaps in the next five minutes…
With that thought, Grell ordered black coffee and sipped on it while he waited, checking his watch every so often. It was noon… Then 12:05… Then 12:15. Then, finally, he heard a panting sound approaching the table, and an out of breath person talking to the waitress, who pointed at him. Upon seeing the student, Grell’s eyes widened. It was a girl? There was a girl in the Shinigami Academy!? But that so rarely happened happened. It wasn’t that girls weren’t allowed. It was simply so rare for female Shinigami to be born, as stated before. She gasped as she bowed politely to Grell, and stood there.
“Well? Sit down…” Grell said impatiently, and just a little bit suspiciously. Was this a joke of some kind? Did some of his friends pull a practical joke on him? Will would never have such a sense of humor, but he could think of more than a few others who might get a kick out of this. But then, she spoke.
“Th-thank you very much, Mr. Sutcliff!” She said rather hectically. In her attempt to be polite, though, her glasses slid right off her face. Grell watched in minor interest as she cursed under her breath and fell to her knees, feeling around for her glasses.
“Hey… Miss…” Grell said, holding the glasses up and handing them to her. She smiled nervously and put them back on her face and sat down once more.
“My name is Rael Aldershof! Year 3, class 1, student at the Shinigami Academy!” She rambled off. “My zodiac symbol is Capricorn, my birthday is December 23rd, I’m 100 years old, but everyone says I look younger… I was born in District 6 of the Bucol region… And…”
“Hold on… You don’t have to tell me your life story…” Grell said, remembering what Will had told him… Be nice, he had said. Maybe if he did this right, he could spend time with Will later.
“However…” Grell said hesitantly, for fear of offending her, “It would be nice to know what made you take an interest in me?” He said, raising his eyebrow. She was so much younger than he was. He didn’t often tell people his age, although he wasn’t exactly embarrassed about it, only being 230 years old, but saying how old she was right off the bat made it seem as though she had no idea what she was supposed to say. Actually, he wasn’t much better off. He didn’t really know what he was supposed to say, either.
“Oh!! I knew as soon as I saw you that you were special, Mr. Sutcliffe! You were so distinctly unique and stood out from the rest of the Shinigami. Your red coat contrasted so sharply with their dull black and white and your chainsaw so dramatically with their cold, archaic weapons! I heard the way you talked, saw the poise with which you presented yourself… Completely unafraid to be who you are, seeking the company of men and women alike!”
Mm… She must’ve seen me with Ronald Knox while he was flirting with some of the secretaries and mistaken me for being in on it…
“I want to know everything about you! Your astrological sign, your favorite thing to do, your likes and dislikes… Your…”
“Whoa! Hold on! I can’t tell you all that in one sitting. How about this?” Grell said, gritting his teeth. He had hoped to invite Will or someone like that to this event, but unfortunately, things didn’t seem to be steering in that direction. “I’ve got two tickets to see Der Freischutz tomorrow at 8:00 in London… Perhaps you would come with me? We can talk more on the way to the opera house.”
“R-really!? Does that mean that you’ll…”
“No…” Grell said bluntly, and at this, Rael looked crushed. “It doesn’t mean anything one way or the other. However, it would be rude of me to have accepted your lunch invitation and not even try to get to know you at all. Tell me, do you have a nice dress that you can wear to the opera… This isn’t the kind of event you can go to wearing street clothes…”
“N-no… I-I came from a pretty poor family, so I only have a few outfits and my uniform…”
“That’s alright. I think I know a solution, if the superiors will permit me to bring a student into the human world. It’s normally forbidden, but I have a friend who might be able to call in a favor with the ladies in Human Resources…
And thus, Grell found himself standing before the Phantomhive Estate. How the hell was he going to explain to Sebastian that he had brought (to all appearances, anyhow) a girl not much older than Ciel over? Nonetheless, he took Rael’s hand and took her up to the front door, where she marveled at the size of the estate. It was a pitch black butler who answered, as handsome as Grell, but with a completely different air about him, one of quiet, understated efficiency, rather than shocking artistic eccentricity.
“Welcome to the Phantomhive Estate… My master has only recently returned, but I pray you’d be kind enough to wait for a few… Grell Sutcliff?” Sebastian asked, drawing a few knives from inside his sleeve, in anticipation of the fight he was expecting. However, the chainsaw didn’t come out, and indeed, didn’t even seem to be there.
“No need for alarm. I’ve brought… a friend over. I was hoping your Young Master could do us a favor. I’m taking her to see Der Freischutz at the London Opera House tomorrow, you see, Sebastian, however, she comes from a poor family, and hasn’t got any clothes to wear that would be appropriate…”
“You’re… bringing a date to the opera that’s female and not even half your age?” Sebastian said paying no mind to the deep blush that was appearing on Rael’s face.
“Sebastian!!” Came a demanding voice from the stairs. Rael looked up and saw a boy with slate colored hair and crystal clear blue eyes, although they seemed to flash red when he called his butler’s name.
“Yes, Young Master. I do apologize if I’ve woken you… However…”
“Why are there Shinigami in my house?”
“Ciel…” Grell said, showing an uncommon level of humility. “I merely came here because you were the only person I could think of who might be able to obtain clothes for a girl of this size on such short notice. I’m taking her to see Der Freischutz at the London Opera House tomorrow, and she hasn’t got anything decent to wear.”
“I see…” Ciel said, approaching Rael and looking at her, comparing their height, and seeing that there wasn’t much difference in height or size in general.
“I have a few dresses on hand that might approximately fit you. I have no use for them anymore. Please feel free to take whichever one you like. Sebastian! Get the dresses that I have upstairs!”
“Yes, My Lord…” Sebastian said, and even as he stared suspiciously at Grell, he walked upstairs and turned to the left.
“Please come into the sitting room. We’ve just made tea…” Ciel said, bowing and leading the two into the other room. Rael hadn’t said a word that entire time, but she couldn’t believe how big one person’s house was.
“Um… M-Master Ciel? D-do you and your butler live alone here? O-or do you live with your mother and father? Any brothers and sisters?”
“No. My mother, my father, even the family dog, was all murdered years ago.” Ciel said sharply. Rael blanched at this, and fell back slightly.
“I-I’m sorry, sir. I-I didn’t mean to bring up…”
“Don’t call me sir, and don’t feel sorry for me. I’ve already obtained my revenge. Ironically, I’m still here to tell of it.” Ciel said with an ironic and grim smile.
Suddenly, the door burst open, and a girl with curly blonde hair stormed through it, ran up to Ciel and hugged him tightly.
“Ciel!!!!!!” Lizzie cried brightly, kissing Ciel on the cheek. Ciel gently pushed her off of him and indicated that she should sit.
“Hey!” Lizzie said, when she saw Rael sitting across from Ciel next to Grell and drinking tea.
“Who the hell is this!? She looks like a real ragamuffin!” Lizzie said insensitively, making Rael pull away from the rather blunt, though beautiful girl in embarrassment. “Is there something you haven’t been telling me, Ciel!?” Lizzie huffed, putting her hands on her hips and glaring between Ciel and Rael. Seeing this girl, Rael blushed slightly. She was so gorgeous. Her blonde hair and sparkling green eyes made Rael feel terribly out of place with her drab burgundy dress and rather plain hair. She wondered how any normal person was able to stand even being in the same room with one of these beautiful people.
“Of course not!” Ciel replied angrily, and at this, Rael was sure that his eyes glowed fluorescent pink, even as a flush rose in his cheeks.
“Lizzie, I’d like to introduce you to Grell Sutcliff. He’s the owner of several orphanages. This is Rael. She’s an orphan at one of the orphanages he is in charge of, and they’ve requested some financial support from the Funtom Company, so I asked if they would bring over one of the orphans so that I could talk to them. I want to make sure, of course, that the orphans are being treated properly, as I would never financially back an organization that would abuse its children.” Ciel said, smiling at Lizzie. Rael could see that although Ciel had a cold exterior, he was a good hearted person, and that his lie to this Elizabeth girl was to avoid unnecessarily complex explanations.
“Oh! Of course! How silly of me! Please excuse my rudeness, Rael-chan! My name is Elizabeth Ethel Cordelia Midford, but I prefer that people call me Lizzie! I’m Ciel’s fiancée!”
“H-his fiancée!?” Rael gasped. “B-but you can’t possibly be any older than 100 years! Too young even to be considered an adult, let alone married!”
“100!! How rude!! I’m 15! 15!! Well… I-I guess if Ciel is a demon, now… It would make sense that I should be older than I look, and…”
“Rael!” Grell whispered. “Humans age much faster than Shinigami! They reach adulthood at 15, and rarely live past 70! It’s actually remarkable that Lady Midford even knows Ciel is a demon.”
“Th-they do!? Then that means that Sebastian…”
“Is different than the rest of these people! He’s a demon, and so is Ciel. I’m not supposed to know, but I found out through some private investigation. Sebastian is over 4.000 years old, and Ciel is just recently turned into a demon through an ironic twist of fate…”
“Ah! I-I am very sorry, Master Phantomhive, Miss Midford! Please forgive my rudeness!” She said formally, standing and bowing in apology, but dropping her glasses again. Grell was prepared this time, though, and caught them in his gloved hand and slipped them back on her face.
I swear, this girl is clumsier than I pretended to be when I was playing a butler… How she makes such good grades, I haven’t a clue…
“Please don’t worry about it! I was pretty shocked when I found out that Ciel was a demon, so I can sort of understand your confusion” Lizzie said cheerfully, but then she looked at Rael with concern… “Why would you think I was 100 years old? I don’t look that old, do I? Are you demons like Ciel”
“Um…” Rael didn’t have an answer for that.
“They’re…” Ciel began. He didn’t know what to say, though. For once, even Ciel was at a loss for words.
“They’re the survivors of mad scientists who were researching immortality potions, and testing them on the children. This girl may not look it, but she’s 100 years old. She’s been stuck in the body of a child for that long, Milady…” Sebastian said, appearing behind Ciel with a cheerful smile. Ciel slapped his forehead.
Even Lizzie wouldn’t believe that!! He groaned.
“Oh!! Oh, Rael, I’m so sorry!! I didn’t mean to bring up bad memories!!”
How stupid is this girl!? Grell thought to himself.
“Indeed. It has been much envied since the days of early China. Emperors and peasants alike lusted after this selfsame goal…”
“You heard the story, then?” Ciel asked. He had long ago learned never to be surprised by Lau’s rather inopportune entrances.
“Heard what? What are we talking about?”
“Are you fucking retarded!? You were just…” Grell shouted, glaring at Lau, quite forgetting that he was in the presence of children, and supposed to be a benevolent orphanage owner.
“Calm down, Grell. He’s always like this. He’s just playing along. He’s actually an idiot whose brain has been fried by all the opium he smokes…” Ciel said dully. Rael looked up and then back at Lau, and then at Ran Mao.
Such amazingly good looking people that surround Mr. Sutcliff. And I’m so plain and boring… I wonder why he even bothered bringing me along… I see why nobody around them feels out of place. Are all humans this lovely? Rael wondered vaguely, a miserable look appearing on her face.
“Rael… What’s wrong?” Lizzie asked, looking over and seeing Rael looking like she was about to cry. Ciel and the others looked up and saw that indeed, Rael did look rather miserable.
“Oh!! I-it’s nothing!! I-I just… Was amazed. You people have all been really nice to me, and I wonder how I’m supposed to thank you. Y-you obviously already have everything you could want… So…”
Ciel stopped her, though, and whispered something to her. While he did this, he was actually smiling, which, apart from looking slightly strange on the extremely serious boy’s face, was actually rather pleasing to the eye. “Just enjoy your date with Grell. Try not to let his eccentricities bother you too much…” Upon feeling his breath on her cheek, Rael shivered. He was so handsome, and seeing him up this close was almost too much. She had lived most of her life among the ordinary folk, so to have so many beautiful people surrounding her was overwhelming at best.
“Well, let’s go try on that dress, and see how it fits you, eh?” Grell said. “Miss Midford, I feel I’m not the right person to help Rael put on a dress. Perhaps you could help her?”
“Of course!!” Lizzie said brightly, grabbing Rael’s wrist and pulling her out of the room and into a private changing room, where she forcibly stripped off her street clothes, and brought a corset around. Rael tried desperately to cover herself from Lizzie’s prying eyes, all the while, reminding herself that they were both women, and thus, it wasn’t an issue.
“W-w-w-what’s that thing!?” Rael asked, shrinking away from the corset. She had never seen one before, but it looked excruciatingly painful.
“Thing? This is a corset. Ladies wear them under their dresses to improve posture and to make them slimmer.”
“Hey!! Are you saying I’m fat!?” Rael asked angrily. Lizzie merely laughed at this, though. “Ahaha! No, not at all. Even Ciel wore a corset when he was impersonating a girl, though. It’s just good form. Now hold still!!” Lizzie ordered, fitting the corset onto Rael and pulling tightly, causing Rael to gasp for air.
“Tighter! Tighter! Tighter!! My mother was always much better at this!! She can even tie her own corset as tight as you please!” Lizzie said enthusiastically.
“M-My organs!! My organs are gonna burst!!” Rael gasped desperately. Lizzy put a single finger to her lip.
“It’s never happened before that I’m aware of. I’ve worn them as long as I can remember, too…”
“That you’re aware!! What does that mean!?” Rael shouted angrily as Lizzie tied off the corset and put the underwear on over that, and the dress on over them.
“Let’s see. Hm… What are we going to do with your hair?”
“My hair? My hair looks fine as is!”
“Rael! You can’t go to an opera with hair like that! It’s uncouth… Let’s see… Sebastian always does Ciel’s hair. How different can yours possibly be? SEBASTIAN!!!” She yelled. Less than a minute later, Sebastian appeared and knocked on the door.
“Sebastian, do you think you could give Rael’s hair a touch up?”
“Of course, milady… As you wish…” Sebastian said politely. “Miss Midford, I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to do, but would you mind allowing me to work alone with her. I promise when she comes out, she’ll look as good as new.” Sebastian said, bowing to Lizzie with a smile.
It was almost a little irritating to have these two talking about her right in her presence as though she wasn’t even there. But then, Lizzie left, and shut the door, Sebastian put Rael in a seat and bent down to inspect her hair.
“Let’s see. It’s been a while since I’ve done this I’m afraid. I do so hate to be rude, but would you mind if I removed my gloves?”
“N-not at all… M-Mr. Sutcliff told me that you and Master Ciel are demons?”
“That is correct, Miss Aldershof. Do not worry. Contrary to popular belief, I do not eat human flesh, and I do not eat Shinigami, either, although I am quite partial to the taste of souls, which is why your kind and mine are such bitter enemies. I am sure that your superior, Mr. Spears, would be quite angry if he knew we were consorting.”
He’s so polite and formal! Such a perfect butler…
“How old are you, Sebastian?”
“Hmm… I have not been asked that question in ages. About 4.000 years. However, I am only middle aged compared to some demons. There are some out there that have existed since before humans as we know them walked the earth, since before the Earth existed. In fact, I met one only half a year ago, maybe.”
“Really? That’s amazing!” Rael said brightly, as Sebastian clipped away a piece of her hair, then another, and another, until finally, he was done, and handed Rael a mirror.
“Oh my God! I look completely different!!” Rael said, seeing that her hair was now gleaming instead of its previous dull sandy brown, and pulled back into an elaborate plait held together with pins, and other fancy accessories.
“Thank you so much, Sebastian…”
“It was my pleasure, Miss Aldershof. I do hope that you enjoy the opera.”
“D-do I owe you anything f-for all this? I-I’m sure the pieces of metal in my hair alone cost a fortune… Please send me the bill for this later…”
“Miss Aldershof…” Sebastian said, bowing politely to her. “You are my young master’s guest right now. Besides…” He added on a more teasing note. “With what money were you planning to pay us?”
And so, Grell stepped out of the carriage and took Rael’s hand a moment later. When she stepped out, she looked completely different, her hair sleek, clean and well done up, her clothing perfectly done, and looking just like any other high society woman.
“Now, Rael, we have balcony seats. I managed to get a favor from a noble who knows a few people down in the human world, and he got me these tickets. You’ll need these binoculars.”
“I do? But they don’t work…” They’re just flat glass…”
“It’s part of the outfit. Use your Shinigami zoom to see the stage properly.”
“But I haven’t learned how to do that yet…”
“O-oh, of course… It’s simple. Just focus on the stage and imagine every detail that you can imagine that they would have were you to be able to look closer. Practice now. Zoom in on that window over there and tell me what you see.” Grell said. Rael squinted her eyes and fiddled with her glasses, pretending that she could see through it. Her vision slid and moved around a bit, but ultimately stayed put.
“Okay. That’s an office window. Try again. Imagine what would be in an office. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or not. It’s the image that matters.”
Rael tried again, and this time, she zoomed in, and saw that there was a man who was working at his desk, by candlelight and writing in a book.
“There’s a man in there. He’s going to miss the show, so he’s hurrying as fast as he can…”
“Y-you read his mind, too?” Grell asked, impressed. Usually, students didn’t learn that kind of thing. It was reserved for more advanced Shinigami who needed to learn more about their target before they reaped them.
“N-no. More like, his feelings. He was in a rush, and panicked…”
“I see. Wow. No wonder they call you a prodigy. You might even show up old Undertaker one day.”
“I’m honored that you would say that, Mr. Sutcliff…” Rael said, bowing clumsily, but holding onto her glasses this time.”
“Ehehehehehehe!” Came a voice from across the way, and Grell and Rael looked up to see the grinning countenance of Undertaker, who had pulled his hair back into a ponytail, uncovering his face, which was extraordinarily beautiful, despite the scar that bisected it right across the man’s nose. Tonight, he was wearing glasses, oval shaped spectacles that hung halfway down his nose and made his eyes seem distorted.
“Ehehehehehe! Grell Sutcliff taking a girl out on a date… Such an amusing prospect for such a disagreeable fellow…”
Rael turned bright red at Undertaker’s comment, and Grell scowled. “Are you also here to see the play, Undertaker?”
“Yes. I’ve taken the night off, you see… Tragedies are my favorite type of production…”
“I would’ve thought you liked comedies.”
“But tragedies are comedies for me… Ehehehehehehe…” Undertaker said gleefully, rubbing his hands together. He then muttered under his breath that he must make sure not to laugh.
“Ugghh! Rael, pay him no mind. He’s mad. Let’s go…”
“Yes, Mr. Sutcliff…” Rael said quickly, scurrying along after Grell. Behind them, Undertaker was laughing even harder than ever…
“Such fine laughter!! The world would definitely be worse off without those two… Gehehehehehe!!!”
When they were finally inside, and seated up in the highest seats in the house, Grell sat down, and grinned. It had been ages since he had been able to escape to see an opera, although he had never gone with a companion before. He looked over, and found to his dismay that Rael seemed less than thrilled.
“Is something wrong, Rael?” Grell asked, looking around to see the source of her discontent.
“I-I… I’m just slightly unnerved by heights…” She said nervously, as the lights dimmed, and the opera performers came out on stage.
Grell sighed in contentment as the opera began, and zoomed in on the stage, admiring the skill with which the costumes were made, and with which they sang. Occasionally, he looked over at Rael, who looked entranced, following every word as easily as he was. Did she know German? Grell himself was only passable in the language, and so, although he had seen the opera enough times to know what was going on, he couldn't understand every word. Rael, however, was singing along under her breath with the opera, as though she knew the music by heart. She had said that she had never seen the opera before. However, she may have been familiar with the music. Grell was amazed to see that now, she was even singing along with the opera with perfect timing and speech, albeit, under her breath. She was truly a prodigy of rare talent. She watched the opera through the binoculars, though Grell knew that she didn’t need them, as she was already talented enough to use zoom vision, and she was whispering along with the opera, seeming to enjoy every moment of it.
Finally, intermission came, and Grell and Rael walked out to the lobby to get some snacks.
“What would you like to eat? Don’t get a lot, because you’re not allowed to bring food into the theater…” Grell said.
“What? Why not?”
‘”Because they don’t want people spilling drinks, and getting crumbs on the carpet, which would attract rats.” Grell said. “So choose something small. I have money, so don’t worry about that.”
“N-no, I-I couldn’t ask you to pay for my food…”
“Don’t worry. Besides, what money do you have to pay for it?” Grell asked, watching as Rael hesitantly picked a Funtom chocolate bar. He then paid for it, and another bar for himself. He had always been fond of chocolate. He would eat it all day if he wasn’t worried about what it would do to his body.
“Hurry and eat. You don’t want to be caught downstairs when the opera starts back up. Wait… I saw you singing along in perfect time with the actors. You’ve never seen Der Freischutz, have you?”
“Well, no… But I’ve listened to all the songs. They’re beautiful, and I learned German back when I was young, mostly just so I’d have something to do. Hn… Who makes these Funtom bars… They’re really good…”
“What? You’ve already met the owner of the Funtom company. Ciel Phantomhive is the owner, though chocolate isn’t the only thing they make. They are a major producer of toys and other things for children…”
“Master Phantomhive is? But he seemed like such a taciturn young man… I can’t really see him making toys and sweets…”
“Well… Honestly, I don’t see it, either, but I think perhaps the company was passed down from his father… Oops! Time to go back up. Finish up your candy, and drink this…”
“W-what! I’m too young to drink! You know that, Mr. Sutcliffe…”
“It’s Grell! Grell! Fine… I’ll drink it…” Grell said, grabbing Rael’s hand, drinking the wine quickly, and running back up the stairs and settling into his balcony seat just as the curtains rose again. Rael gasped in joy, and focused in again, taking the last bite of her chocolate, and concentrating completely on the show.
All too soon for Rael, the curtains closed, and the audience rose to applaud the opera singers. The troupe came back on stage for one last bow, and Rael and Grell left quickly before the rest of the audience, as Grell knew that they needed to get back to their own world. He would worry about returning the dress later.
“Let’s see… It should be right… About… Here!” Grell said, pulling out his chainsaw and ripping open a passage to the other side. Rael stood up on her tiptoes, and kissed Grell on the cheek nervously.
“Thank you, Mr. Sutcliff. I had a great time tonight… But… I-I just wondered… I know I’m not nearly so beautiful as all your other friends, but… M-maybe… M-maybe… N-never mind!” Rael muttered nervously. Grell shook his head, though.
“No, no. You aren’t getting out of it that easily. What did you want to ask me?” Grell asked, already having a feeling that he knew.
“Um… W-would you… Perhaps be willing to go out with me? I-I know it’s audacious of me to ask that, but….”
“Hold it. While I’m flattered that you think so much of me, I couldn’t possibly accept. First of all, Will would personally have me castrated if I did. Second… You’re just a child…”
“I-I am not a child!! I’m a hundred years old! I’m a young lady already!” Rael said, flushing slightly.
“Yeah? Well, when you come of age, if you still feel like asking me, I’ll consider it then. For now, you should concentrate on your education.” Upon saying this, Grell knelt down, and put a hand on Rael’s shoulder.
“Rael… You’re a brilliant girl… Don’t argue with me. You are. You should know full well that until you graduate, you haven’t got time to be distracted by things like romance. I promise you that I will be first in line at your graduation and glasses presentation ceremony. Until then, I’ll be glad to help you study on the weekends… Although, for a girl as bright as yourself, I’m not sure what I could possibly teach you…”
“That’s not true, Mr. Sutcliff! You’re a great Shinigami! I’m sure that I have much to learn still from you…”
“Well, regardless, go ahead through the portal. If we’re late, I’ll end up being reprimanded…”
“Rael smiled at Grell, and walked through the portal and Grell quickly followed her. He knew that Will would be sure to interrogate him about how the date went. Will seemed to have a fondness for Rael, and though Grell was slightly jealous, he couldn’t say he blamed him. She was quite pretty, and beyond that, she was likely one of the most intelligent people Grell had ever met, apart from Sebastian, perhaps, though Sebastian had the benefit of 4000 years of existence.
Grell sighed, then turned to Rael, and smiled at her, before walking her back to her dorm room, and bowing to her before walking off.
“Rael! Who was that man that just dropped you off? He was so handsome!!” Rael’s roommate gushed. Rael blushed slightly, and nodded.
“M-Mr. Sutcliff. H-he was kind enough to spend his day with me. He brought me to a young man named Master Phantomhive, got me a dress, and something called a corset, and then Mr. Sutcliff brought me to see Der Freischutz… I-it was the most amazing evening I’ve had in decades…” Rael whispered, almost in tears, now, sure that she was about to wake up and find that it had all been a dream. That she had not yet even seen Grell, and that she would go to see him in a few hours only for him to reject her brutally and send her away heartbroken.
“That was the man you’ve been going on about for a year and a half, now!? You told me he was good looking, but you never told me he was… That amazing!” She continued.
“T-tell me, Bianca… A-am I… A-awake right now?” Rael asked, now crying in earnest. She had just had the best day of her life, so they were partly tears of joy, and elation. But she was also terrified of what the next few minutes might bring. Was she dreaming?”
“W-wha? Of course you’re awake! Why are you crying? If I had just gone on a date with a man as beautiful as him, I would be ecstatic… Even if he did consider something as dull as going to a German opera a proper date…”
“Hey!! Der Freischutz is a great opera!! I love every song in it, and they performed it brilliantly!! I-I’ve never actually been to the opera before… Mr. Sutcliff was so kind to bring me… I’m sure he could have chosen from a long list of women to take, a-and he brought me instead… That’s why.. Take this needle and stab me with it as hard as you can, Bianca!” Rael snapped, thrusting a needle into Bianca’s hand. The girl gasped, and shook her head. She had no intention of harming Rael, even if it was what she asked for.
“Yes! You have to! I have to know if this is for real. If it was a dream, of course you would tell me it was real…”
“Fine… But only if you let me kiss you… And I mean a real kiss!” Bianca said. Rael blushed at this. She knew her roommate was a lesbian, and it wasn’t that it bothered her. She had made it clear when Bianca first brought it up that she wasn’t gay, and had no interest in a relationship… And Bianca had encouraged her all along to go after Grell. Bianca wasn’t actually in the Shinigami Academy. After all, there were so few females that even could become Shinigami that those that could were almost always put in a dorm room with a girl who was training to be a secretary.
“A-alright…” Rael said, blushing heavily. “But I s-stand by what I said that time… I won’t go any further than that with you…”
“I know… It’s just so hard to find good women who are as understanding as you these days…”
“Fine… Now stick me…” Rael said forcefully. Bianca sighed, took a deep breath, and thrust the needle forward, sticking Rael in the arm. Rael yelped in pain, and she rubbed her arm, licking the spot that had been stuck, cleaning some blood off.
“Good… I-I wasn’t dreaming… Th-that was the best day of my life… I-I was so amazed that he did so much for me… Now, come here, and let’s get it over with…” Rael said nervously. Bianca shook her head, though.
“Nah… I just wanted to see how much you really wanted me to stick you. Save your first kiss for Grell… You aren’t already going out with him, are you?” Bianca asked.
“No… He said that he’d come to my graduation and glasses presentation ceremony, and that once I came of age, he’d consider going out with me. I’m not really expecting very much. I saw the people by whom Mr. Sutcliff is surrounded. Master Phantomhive, Lady Midford, Mr. Michaelis, Lau and Ran Mao, Mr. Undertaker… They’re all so beautiful… Even his servants have an air of nobility and refinement about them. I couldn’t possibly compare…”
“Now, see… If you keep telling yourself that, there’s no way you’ll ever win his heart… You’re very pretty, and as long as I’ve known you, you’ve always been very refined and proper… If the servants can even pull it off, you certainly can. Rael… Listen to me. You have everything you need to win Grell over… Well, except maybe that I kind of suspect he may be gay…” Bianca said. She hadn’t originally wanted to tell Rael this. But now seemed as good a time as any.
“I-I know he takes interest in both men and women, but…”
“You’ve never seen him hitting on Mr. Spears, have you?” Bianca asked with a giggle.
“’Fraid not. I did my best to stay away from him. I always lose my cool when in his presence. You know that…”
“I know that. But I think you may want to consider another man… Or maybe you should even consider lesing it up. It’s not so bad… I promise…”
Rael merely smiled, and giggled at this. Bianca had never really come on to her before. It was a little bit cute. Rael leaned over, and kissed Bianca on the cheek. It wasn’t quite the ‘real kiss’ that Bianca had hoped for, but… It was better than nothing.
“I’ll have to pass, Bianca. As I told you, I have no problem sharing a dorm with you… But I won’t ‘les it up with you’ as you say.”
“Eh… Your loss… Anyway, goodnight, Rael-chan… I wish you the best of luck with Grell.” Secretly, Bianca was thinking that Rael was going to need all the luck she could get.