Please remember that when they mention 'reader', they are referring to you
The darkest hour approached and you were still awake--tossing and turning uncomfortably because of how cold the basement was. Knowing it was useless to try and sleep, you decided to stand up and get ready for work.
Another maid worked alongside you, Mey-rin, but she was still asleep—everyone was still asleep, including the young master you treasure so well. He picked you up from the gutters and gave you a shelter in return to you serving him. It has already been 3 months since you arrived at the manor. Although you were working as a maid, you two were roughly the same age.
You put on your uniform and hair up in a tight bun. Lighting a lantern, you made your way through the manor.
You dropped by the kitchen and bit on a loaf of bread and drank some water. After that, you mopped and swept the floors, waxed the staircase, dusted the furniture, and arranged the china. By the time you were finished the chores, it was the crack of dawn. Yet, no one would be awake at this time still. There would be another hour until the servants awake. However, the head butler Sebastian Michaelis, wakes up earlier than the rest of them. Sebastian usually wakes up the young master two hours after he does.
You went outside, took a deep breath of the morning air and stretched. You grinned at the scenery—birds singing, luscious greenery and the sun peeking at the horizon. Nothing in the world could replace this scene even if you have seen it countless of times.
“You’re awake awful early,” said a man.
You looked back and saw Sebastian with a smile,
“Mister Michaelis, good morning,” you greeted.
“Good morning, reader.”
“Are you enjoying the scene too?” you asked him as he descended the steps.
He chuckled softly, “I have grown tired of it.”
“Impossible!” you said surprisedly. “How could one grow tired of this?”
He looked at you and smiled, “I have been around for quite a long time. The things you find lovely, I find..Well, normal.”
You raised a brow at him, “How old are you, Mister Michaelis?”
He looked back at the scene, “Let’s just say I’m old enough to be your father.”
You nodded gently as you looked back.
“Were you the one that cleaned up around the manor?” he asked.
“Yes sir. I couldn’t sleep at all, so I decided to clean instead of trying to fall asleep,” you replied.
“Good girl,” praised Sebastian. “However, as servants of the Phantomhive household, the young master values our health. Please get some rest during your break.”
You smiled up at him, “Thank you sir. I will make sure to do so.”
“Now shall we wake up the young master?”
Your eyes widened, “Me? Go to the young master’s room?”
He chuckled again, “You’re right, a mere servant other than the one the young master has chosen should not be allowed in his room. But you see, as a reward of doing everyone else’s chores for quite some time, I’d like to tell the young master of what a good job you’ve done.”
“It’d be an honour, sir!” you bowed while grinning.
You two headed upstairs to Ciel’s room. You pushed the silver cart which carried an aromatic tea and several biscuits and scones.
Sebastian lightly knocked on the door and said,
He opened the door and strode across the room to open and tie the curtains. You entered the room and pushed the cart at the foot of his bed.
“Young master,” he said softly. “It is time to wake up.”
The young master frowned and slowly opened his left eye. His right eye had a medical eye patch. No one seemed to know the answer to why he lost his eye.
He sat up weakly and gazed at you. His eyes looked from Sebastian then to you again.
You bowed, “G-good morning, young master,” you said nervously. “T-today’s tea is D-Darjeeling. We also have scones,” you said as you poured tea into his cup.
Sebastian stood near the curtains by his young master whilst smiling at you. Ciel didn’t say anything.
You brought the tea over to the young master, “I hope this is to your pleasing.”
He sat in front of you with his legs dangling off the side.
“Would you like your scones eaten now or later?”
He let the aroma into his nose and took a sip of it, “I’d like it now,” he said calmly.
You took the plate from the cart and offered him. He put his tea on his bedside table and took one.
“So? Why are you here?” he asked coldly.
Before you had time to panic, Sebastian took over for you, “She has finished all of the chores before the crack of dawn, and I’ve noticed that this has been happening for more than a fortnight. I thought I’d bring her up with me since she has nothing else to do,” he said calmly as he put socks on Ciel.
He looked at you, “Is this true?”
You grabbed the sides of your skirt and nodded frantically.
“I appreciate you doing that, but may I ask why?”
“I-I can’t really sleep since it is far too cold for me down at the basement..Th-though I’m not complaining! P-p-please ignore what I just said right now!” you bowed.
You looked up and saw his shirt being unbuttoned by Sebastian. You quickly turned around as your face became hot.
“Sebastian, how’s the temperature downstairs?” Ciel asked.
“It’s fine for me. However, since she is more petite and young, I guess the temperature the servants and I find fine, may be far too cold for her.”
You turned around, “Not at all! Please don’t mind me!” you said.
Sebastian was now finished dressing him up. He also changed the young master’s eye patch to the black one he usually wears when he goes out.
“Shall we get heavier blankets for you?” Ciel asked as he stood up.
“No! Please young master, don’t bother with a mere servant such as myself,” you said quietly.
“Don’t be so stubborn. It is a gift from me to you.”
“The shelter that you have provided for me is already a gift.”
Ciel glared at you, “What if you get ill? Will you take responsibility for your words just now?”
“I..” you sighed.
“The young master is right, reader. Your hard work is appreciated, but your health is far more important,” said Sebastian with a smile.
You meekly smiled, “Th-thank you.”
You accompanied the young master with Sebastian to the dining area where he ate his breakfast. The other servants were doing what they did—tending the garden, cooking, and cleaning.
Sebastian left the room to get more tea for Ciel. That left you and him alone in a room together.
“Have you had breakfast yet?” he asked.
“Yes,” you answered.
“What did you have?”
You chuckled softly.
He glared at you, “What is it?”
“Oh I’m sorry young master, but you needn’t make small talk with me. I’m content with just standing next to you.”
“No, I insist. I know nothing of you, and it’s weird since you have been here for quite a while.”
“Weird,” you thought.
The young master you knew hated making small talk and is a wallflower.
“How old are you?” he asked as he took a bite of a strawberry from his mille feuille.
“The same age as the young master,” you answered.
He looked at you and raised a brow. You simply smiled.
“How are your fighting skills?” he asked next.
“My fighting skills?”
He took something out of his jacket and threw it swiftly towards your way.
Your eyes widened, but you still managed to grab the dart by the middle.
“Y-young master!” you shouted.
He smirked, “Skilled, just like everyone here.”
You brought the dart back to the table and placed it in front of him.
“Please don’t do that again, young master.”
When Sebastian entered the room, Ciel had already finished his meal.
“What is my schedule for today, Sebastian?”
Sebastian signalled you to clean up the table, and you did what you were told.
“Well, Lady Elizabeth has sent a letter saying that she will come and visit. So I cancelled your morning appointments.”
He glared at his butler, “Why would you cancel without consulting me?”
The butler smiled, “What you had wasn’t all that important. Unless, you’d like to go hunting with the Marchioness, then I’d be happy to call her back.”
Ciel cleared his throat nervously, “Very well then. When will Elizabeth arrive?”
“Um, young master?” you said as you placed his plate and silvers back to the cart. “Who is Lady Elizabeth?”
“Lady Elizabeth is the young master’s cousin and also fiancée,” answered Sebastian.
You dropped the spoon in surprise.
“I-I’m sorry,” you apologized as you picked the silver up from the floor.
Of course you had no chance, you knew it from the start. That you, a simple peasant could have a chance with a noble? It was crystal clear, yet you couldn’t help but feel sad and embarrassed.
You placed the spoon back on the cart and excused yourself whilst pushing it.
“Ah yes, reader?” called the young master.
With tears in your eyes, you wiped them away before turning around.
“What is it, young master?”
“Are you going down to your room afterwards?”
“I’ll come down with you, I need to check the temperature down there,” said Ciel who was standing up.
“Oh no, it’s okay. Please don’t bother yourself.”
“I have the morning off since Elizabeth is coming over.”
You were going to stop him, but he was already walking towards you.
You lit a lantern and made your way downstairs to the servant’s hall. Ciel shivered as the cold air welcomed you both.
“It is pretty chilly down here,” he said.
“I apologize for making you feel discomfort, but please bear with it for a while.”
You two walked alone at the dark hallway. And after walking for a couple of minutes, you two finally reached your room.
You pushed open the dark, wooden door. Ciel squinted as you entered your room.
“I apologize for the mess,” you said embarrassedly.
You went in first to light the wall candles.
“It’s quite alright,” he said. “It’s a bit musty don’t you think?”
You looked around and smelled the air, “It was at first. But I got used to it,” you said smiling.
Ciel walked over to your desk while you were lighting up the candle across the room and opened your drawer. There, he found a white handkerchief with the blue initials, C.P..
He took it out and smirked, “So this is where it was.”
You turned around and your eyes widened, “I-I’ve been meaning to return it to you. B-but—I’m sorry!” you bowed. “I never meant to keep it..I thought you wouldn’t notice if I didn’t give it back..”
He slightly smiled and walked over to you with the piece of cloth. He wiped your forehead and caressed the side of your cheek with it.
You closed your eyes in pain. His touch was mesmerizing, but you knew better than not to think much of it.
He put the handkerchief in your hands, “I want you to keep it.”
You opened your eyes, “R-really?”
He nodded, “I never knew you were so sentimental.”
He gently stroked a lock of your hair and put it behind your ear. You backed away and he suddenly looked confused.
“P-please don’t toy with my feelings!” you said quietly.
“I have grown fond of you, young master…” your eyes began to fill. “Please don’t do things like this to me when you have a fiancée! Or else I might mistake your feelings being the same as mine..” And the tears began to pour.
Ciel took your handkerchief and wiped your tears with them. He closed the gap between you two and hesitantly, held you by the waist.
“I’m happy to hear you say that,” he said.
You looked up and saw that you two were face to face. His face was serious while yours had streak marks of tears and was red.
He embraced you slowly and gently, “I too, have grown fond of you, reader. When I saw you in the streets as the rain hit hard in London, I thought ‘this girl is so plain-looking, but beautiful’. And yes, you may say that I am out of character for saying that. But reader, I can genuinely say that I have never felt this sort of thing for anyone else,” he whispered the words in your ear.
The basement suddenly became hot to both of you. Ciel pulled away and cleared his throat.
“Don’t think for a moment that I am toying with your feelings,” he said with his back turned towards you.
“B-but! What about Lady Elizabeth!”
“What we have isn’t carved in stone,” he said.
He loosened up his collar a bit, “It seems that there is nothing wrong with the temperature down here. I’ll see you later then, reader.”
And with that, he closed the door behind him.