Posted in Friends For Life, Stories

Chapter 6; Team Work

The whole march down the Trancy steps, Angel’s teeth were set on edge from Claude rushing to follow her as she hastily buttoned her black coat and tightened the purple pin on her black tie. “Angel! Think about this for a moment!”

“What’s there to think ABOUT?” she asked right back. “Justine is my friend.”

“I understand that, but-”

“I doubt that!” she laughed as she approached the door, securing her white gloves on her hands. “You? Understand friends? That’s a laugh.”

Her gloved hand reached for the doorknob that would lead to the front garden as her father’s eyes widened and his voice got stern. “Angel! If you walk out that door, then-”

“Then what?” she shouted. “You’ll lock me in my room? You’ll restrict my food, water, and fresh air? What could you possibly put me through that I haven’t been through already?”

“I’m coming with you!”

Angel froze, her hand tense on the knob just as it turned and the door cracked open. “…What?” The teen couldn’t believe her ears as she slipped her hand from the door and turned back to look at the spider.

With a sigh, Claude got down on one knee and placed his right hand over his heart as his daughter widened her eyes in disbelief at his bow. “I am a butler, but I won’t be one forever. Most importantly, I’m your father, and always will be.”

The teen smiled as she knelt with him, unfolding his arms and glomping him in a hug. “…Salt into Sugar…Hate into Love…Housemates into Family…That’s what makes a Faustus Demon.” Angel recited as the two just stayed there and hugged each other tightly. For the first time in far too long, they actually openly admitted that they were family, and they cared for one another.

Sadly, the family bonding moment had to end as they left the manner together and made their way to the Phantomhive Estate, where it was awkward, to say the least. It was strange for Angel to see another butler, much less Sebastian Michaelis himself, serve her and her father tea. “…I…hope you like Earl Grey…”

“Thank you.” Angel thanked as she sipped the tea awkwardly and set it down. Claude didn’t touch the small cup on the saucer that steamed from the light brown refreshment inside.

After another awkward silence, Ciel cleared his throat. “I trust you both understand why we sent the letter to you?”

“You sent it to me because I’m Justine’s friend, and have been for months now.” Angel answered.

“I’m here to protect my daughter, that’s all.” Claude stated, earning a glare from Sebastian before the crow quickly recomposed himself and continued to serve the cake to at least the boy master; he offered it to the ‘guests’, but they refused.

More silence passed before the boy Earl sighed in a business tone, regaining the attention of the three demons. “Our target is Aleister Chamber, the Viscount Druitt, he is our kidnapper.”

“What makes you so sure?” Claude asked. “What evidence do you have?”

“The woman who saw Justine last said that she was with the Viscount before she disappeared.” the Phantomhive boy answered. “Also, the room we were told Justine was brought into was filled to the brim with a knockout gas of a very specific kind, one of which I, myself, have fallen victim to before when it was at Aleister’s hand.”

Angel nodded in understanding. “Okay! What’s the plan?”

“Our plan is to actually use you as bait.” Sebastian explained, refilling her tea cup. “While Druitt is distracted by you, the master and I will search the property. All you’d have to do is to not leave your spot, and keep him occupied.”

“Not going to happen!” Claude shouted. “I will NOT allow my daughter to be in the face of danger while-”

“What all do I need to do?” the teen asked, disregarding Claude’s protest.

The spider demon looked at his daughter in slight shock. “Angel, are you sure about this?” he asked. “Risking your safety? For a Michaelis, no less?”

When the teen nodded, Sebastian smiled a little. “Thank you for your cooperation.” he stated with a small bow of his head.

.   .   .

Justine’s head ached horribly. Her throat was dry and sore. Her vision was blocked by a black cloth. Her wrists and ankles were bruised and bleeding. Her bare feet were frozen in the icy water that pooled in the stones. Her back was painfully stiff from leaning against the stone wall for several minutes, hours, possibly days for all she knew, as she sat on the ground. She didn’t know where she was, or how she got there, all she knew was what was already described until she heard a squeak followed by footsteps. “Are you comfortable, my little kitten?”

That voice, she thought. I could’ve sworn I’ve heard it somewhere…right. It was the last voice I heard before I got knocked out. Was he the one who knocked me out? She couldn’t remember. Judging from how calm he sounded, most likely. “You mean I’m not at a five-star hotel? You could’ve fooled me.” she wanted to say, but oddly, all that came out were strange muffled sounds. It might’ve been from whatever was stuffed in her mouth to prevent her jaw from closing.

“I’m glad to hear that you are settled nicely.” he laughed.

What was this guy’s problem? Couldn’t he see that I’m not comfortable? Or even close? The cat demon leaned her head back and exhaled deeply. Dad. she mentally reached out. Get me out of here.

.   .   .

Claude didn’t like the idea when it was being bounced around back at the manner, but now he was looking at his daughter dressed up as live bait. With her long black dress with scattered purple flowers, as well as a flower in her brown hair, it was hard to believe she was the same person who refused to accept the title ‘maid’ simply so she could avoid the dress and apron with the frilly hat. On the carriage ride to their destination, he couldn’t help but ask again. “Angel, are you sure about this?”

To this, the teen gave her father a miniature glare, gesturing to her attire. “If I wasn’t sure, would I be wearing a DRESS right now?” she asked. “Justine is my friend, and friends stay loyal to each other. I have no doubt that if the situations were reversed, she’d do the same for me.”

Sebastian smiled. “Perhaps I misjudged you.” he stated.

Angel re-adjusted the flower in her hair with a smile and chuckle. “Salt into Sugar, Butler into Maiden, Suspicion into Trust, that’s what makes a True Friend.”

Seeing this, the crow demon narrowed his eyes at the girl. “…Like father, like daughter, I suppose.”

As the carriage stopped to indicate that they arrived at the location, Claude couldn’t help but ask yet again as he saw his daughter leave the carriage. “Angel, are you sure you want to do this? You can still turn back now, but once that door opens, there’s not much I can do.”

“Yes dad.” the girl huffed. “I am completely sure I want to do this. For the last time, Justine is my FRIEND! Friends. Stay. Together.”

Hearing this, the spider demon nodded before he started to shrink in the seat, his arms and legs becoming more stick-like as two more pairs of the same stick-like limbs grew from under his arms and out his hips. His eyes getting rounder and glossy black as more sets of eyes developed at his temples, cheeks, and at either side of his nose. At the corners of his lips, pinchers grew out sharply and eventually replaced his human lips altogether. As he only grew smaller, small extensions of hair covered his skin. Angel’s eyes steadily grew wider and her joints locked in place as she saw her father transform into a small spider on the seat. Angel groaned at the small, hairy, eight-legged creature with furrowed brows. Her golden brown eyes widened in slight fear, knowing it was still her father, but still…a spider was right there. Claude looked up at her with his several beady black spider eyes as she extended a stiff hand to her father, on which the eight-legged creature crawled on as quickly as he could. “You just don’t give up, do you?” she asked, the edge in her voice showing her uneasiness, lifting Claude to her shoulder to hide somewhere in the ruffles on the collar of her dress.

“I know how much you don’t like it when I do this, but at least this way, I could help you if you get in trouble.” he stated in worry. “Besides, we’re family. Family. Stays. Together.” he added mockingly

Angel looked over at the exoskeletal creature on her shoulder. If the spider mouth allowed it, he would’ve smirked at the comeback to her excuse for wanting to go through with the plan. Still, he had no way of visually expressing the emotion he voiced for, so she just closed her eyes and tried hard to forget about the eight legs gliding over her shoulder and the sticky web that anchored Claude to her dress before letting a shiver run down her spine, deciding not to look at her father until he would turn back to his human form. One thing she couldn’t decide was if her father would look more or less creepy if she was able to see him in sunlight rather than the moon and dim porch light that only extenuated the glossiness of his black eyes. “…You just do this to freak me out, don’t you?”

Angel shifted her gaze to Sebastian and Ciel sneaking in through a window before knocking on the door. Druitt opened the door and smiled greedily at the girl that stood politely on the doorstep. “Now, what is a butterfly like you doing here so late at night?” he asked, leaning on one foot and clutching his chin in thought.

Angel curtsied politely. “Apologies for the intuition, sir, but I got lost out here while on a stroll with my father.” she stated. “If you may allow me to see a map, or point me in the proper direction of River Thames, I would be ever grateful. That’s where my father and I agreed to meet if we got lost.”

The Viscount smiled. “Now, why would I do that? That would require me assuming you can find your way after I point you in the proper direction. It would be my honor to escort you to the river.” he offered with a low, proper bow.

The teen smiled at the offer. “Thank you, but I don’t want to be a bother.”

“Nonsense!” Druitt smiled as he stood straight, leaving the doorway and making his way out in the darkness. “It’s only 2 miles down the road. With a carriage, we’ll be there in no time!”

As the man continued ahead, Angel turned to Claude on her shoulder, ripping the web he made on the cloth and putting him on the ground, sliding him on the other side of the door, where he crept off the gloved fingers of his daughter and on the cold, reflective tile of the entrance hall. “Help Sebastian and Ciel, and find Justine. I’ll be fine.” The girl pushed the spider in the house before closing the door and following Druitt.

Claude gazed at the door before returning to his human form just as before, but everything growing in the opposite direction. The largest pair of eyes turned into his golden human eyes as the other three pairs turned into whatever was meant to be there. His arms and legs grew back as the two pairs of spider legs in the middle retreated in his abdomen. All the little hairs on his skin retreated back in his pores as his black hair grew back out and his general frame grew larger and taller as he stood upright. Adjusting his glasses, the spider sighed in worry at the shut door, “…Please be careful.”

With the plan going perfectly so far, the three men met in the center of the golden, grand entrance hall. “Sebastian! You look on the second floor. Check the bedrooms, studies, any door you see.” Ciel ordered before turning to Claude. “You search in the servant’s quarters and basement. I’ll look around the first floor.” Both butlers nodded before splitting up.

Sebastian threw open every door in sight, every door opened to an empty room caused his worry to increase dramatically until he was at the point of looking like an insane asylum patient.

Ciel searched for trap doors through the entrance hall, kitchen, library, etc. with no such luck. With every attempt to open a secret door, he got a little more annoyed.

The spider demon looked around in every room in the servant’s quarters before returning to the kitchen to go down to the basement. When he got there, he heard the rattle of chains against concrete and saw a figure in the corner, folded in herself. She faced away from him and her face was covered in her gag and blindfold, but he still had a feeling he knew who she was.

He approached her and knelt next to her. When he touched her shoulder, she started to freak out and squirm, crying and sobbing through the thick fabric between her teeth that tied behind her neck. “It’s alright.” he soothed. “Don’t scream.” When she calmed at the sound of his voice, he gently untied the black blindfold and confirmed who he’d found. Seeing the fearful and sobbing green eyes of a reaper, but the slightly blue hue in them that made her different, he knew this girl was none other than Justine Sutcliff Michaelis.

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