A Black Butler/Kuroshitsuji Fanfiction
First Part of the "Kokoro Kiseki" series
The first miracle was that you had met.
And the second miracle was the time you and he spent together.
The dining room was terribly crowded with passengers from all over England, chatting and laughing outrageously, and each table rang with the unpleasant babbles of drunkenness and senselessness. They were having the time of their life as they screamed their enthusiasm, laughing shrilly as if it were forced. You frowned silently as you stirred at your drink with a gloved hand, blinking up at the pure white ceiling, not knowing quite where you were.
But of course you knew where you were—you were a first-class passenger of the Campania, a fine ship that was filled with rooms that stretched vastly across the ship, with hundreds of men and women crowded aboard, singing with joy at the privilege of being able to board this fine vessel. Its fine majesty was further witnessed by the ship’s gargantuan size, its fine white metal surface and its complex engines that ran the entire ship. The few select who had been allowed to ride this beautiful ship marveled at it, praising each immaculate detail, the greatness of its manufacturer.
… However, you weren’t particularly pleased with the arrangements.
You had no desire to be aboard a ship like this when you could be at home, in your silent little house, free from all the hustle and bustle. Because really, who would like to be on the Campania in a time where they most despised the circumstances they had been dragged into? In your case, it was to be headed to France to be wedded to their particularly noisy and flamboyant husband, a no-good, empty-witted man who had nothing but money and cotton to fill up his head?
You took an angry sip of champagne, cursing your parents’ attempts to marry you to this idiot. “Damn you, you cursed dog,” you uttered in reference to your to-be husband. And you hardly even knew him until your parents had announced your arranged marriage months ago. You didn’t know him, nor had you made an effort to become familiar with him in the past half a year, but you already hated him, now that the both of you were sharing a room on the ship and due to be married in several—
“Hey there, Miss.” You gave a start as a handsome youth, a man of about twenty or so, sat down across from your seat at the round table. “Anyone sittin’ here?”
He appeared so… naturally and calm that you were shocked at his words. Had this blonde man just taken the seat that your future husband—who was supposed to be there, but was across the room and drinking himself to death—and casually just sat there, smiling as if he belonged with you?
“U-Um… of course,” you muttered quickly, taking another hasty sip of champagne and putting the glass down. “P-Please. He isn’t going to come sit, so…”
“Oh?” The guy raised his eyebrows dashingly. Perched on top of his wavy, unruly blonde-brown hair was a bowler hat that looked rather nice on him, accompanied by a matching suit and jacket of black. His tie was loose and his shirt unbuttoned at the top, but no one in their drunken state would stop to chide at him. “Got a boyfriend, miss?”
Was it just you, or did he seem rather opposed at the thought…?
“Er—no…” Your champagne glass trembled in your hand as you murmured, “I have to marry him… three weeks… damned arrangement.”
The blonde let out a smooth laugh, and to your surprise, it sounded exactly the way he looked—charming and attractive. “Not so happy with the wedding, eh?” In fact, it seemed to him as if you were extremely frustrated. “Sounds like you need a break from your life.”
“That would be pleasing.” Whoever this man was, he was pleasant to talk to. Finally, someone who understood your troubles. “Although my parents would object. They think my rightful place is… as a wife, married to some business man of high stature. Why—” Your voice was shaky and angry as you stated: “I’d rather kiss a commoner before I marry that bastard.”
Really. You hated your future husband, from what you knew of him, his fake smile and false, high laughs. His gleaming white teeth were distracting and annoying, and his expensive suit, which had cost him a good 300 pounds, only made his façade seem faker than ever. His only ambition to marry you, you suspected, was because of your money and status… and both your families’ attempts to keep a pure-blood line of Englishmen and nobles running. The fact that, with a toothy, false smile, he’d bought you a fluffy, puffed-up ball gown that had possibly reduced his wealth by a good fraction for you to wear on the ship, the one you were donning this moment, mattered little to you. You at least wanted a man who was honest with you and actually cared for you, even this intelligent-looking young man would—
“A-Ah!” You let out a soft yelp as the unknown man placed his hands on yours, his green eyes on you every moment as he inquired: “Tell me… what do you like to read? Plays? Shakespeare?”
Boy, he sure seemed to be emphasizing on the Shakespeare part. “Y-Yes… I read Shakespeare…”
He had a sly smile on his slim, pale face that you rather liked; it was something of an angel’s sweet, endearing face compared to the large, worthless, goofy grin on your husband’s face. He gave your gloved hand a squeeze in his, across which a black leather glove stretched, and recited:
“If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this,
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.”
You knew that line—your mother had made you read Romeo and Juliet over and over, in the hopes that you would suddenly become inspired to seek a love that you did not wish for—a love that was no use to you, that was as good as dead.
“G-Good pilgrim…” You uttered, shocked by his sudden play of words,
“You do wrong your hand t-too much,
Which m-mannerly devotion shows in th-this,
For saints have hands that p-pilgrims’ hands do touch,
A-And p-palm to palm i-is holy palmers’ kiss…”
You stammered the lines that your parents had forced you to memorise, knowing that one day you would be standing in front of your soon-to-be husband, reciting them unsmilingly.
And yet, the place you were first truly speaking them was not before your future husband…
“Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?” The smile on the stranger’s face had turned to a playful smirk, and you found yourself powerless, gazing into his handsomely structured face, his glinting eyes, and staring at the silky, partly-combed hair…
“A-Ay, pilgrim… lips th-that they must use… i-in prayer…” You hardly dared to believe it. Here you were, speaking these now suddenly meaningful words to a complete stranger, while your husband roared with loud laughter from the other side of the dining room. Who had said that you were allowed only to say these lines to that damned man? Why not this kinder, more understanding person that you’d already grown fond of…?
“O’ then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.”
You had to admit, this youth made quite the Romeo. He was only some years older than you and you were playing the role of—wait… the role of his…
Even as you were trying desperately to interpret these words to yourself, you heard yourself say: “Saints do not move, though grant for prayer’s sake” without a single stutter in the words.
“Then… move not while my prayer’s effect I take.”
You suddenly found yourself engulfed by a strange, bodily warmth, a heat that did not belong to yourself—a gloved hand was placed on the back of your neck, and the boy leaned in closer to you, his lips clasped over yours. The fingers of his free right hand intertwined with yours, and you gave no resistance—you were completely frozen in shock against his warm lips.
Let lips do what hands do.
You were sure that Romeo hadn’t kissed Juliet in this manner, or he might have crushed her accidentally. But who cared? This man—this stranger—had you against him in a jaw-locking kiss, and you couldn’t care any less—you liked it.
When he drew away at last, leaving both of you breathless, you decided that you couldn’t wait any longer.
“W-What is your name?”
He gave you that same smile—a look of cleverness and coy. He raised a finger to his lips as he grinned, saying: “That’s a secret…”
You found his hand on your shoulder as he winked at you. “But I suppose I owe you for that one. It’s Ronald.”
“Ronald?” You gasped breathlessly. Ronald… that name… I’ll keep in inside my mind always… even at my wedding. You stifled a giggle as you imagined what your parents would say if you were standing at the altar, thinking not of your husband but a stranger you’d kissed on the Campania.
“Ronald. Ronald Knox.” He smiled at you again, then swung his jacket over his shoulder as he stood from where he had been lying atop of you, playing with a strand of hair wrapped around his finger. “Well…” He looked hesitant, but nevertheless, he said: “I gotta go… Sorry, Miss… What’s your name?”
“__________... y-you really must be off now?” He had to go? Now, of all times? Hell, this man—Ronald Knox—had kissed you so hard you were burning red in the face now, and you weren’t about to let him run off without seeing him one last time. “C-Can I see you again?”
“Oh, sure, hun.” He gave you a strange look that made you unsure. It looked like a rather forced smile. “That is… considering one of us isn’t dead by the time we meet.”
“Wh-What do you mean by that?” You looked at him with wide eyes, curious of what your Romeo was talking about—but he took your hand, kissed it, and grinned at you.
“Good night, good night. Parting is such a sweet sorrow,
That I shall say ‘good night; till it be morrow.”
He broke off from his verse, hesitated, and added hastily, “And I’ll see you one last time if I can.”
“Y-Yes…” You fixed him with a sudden glare. “You’d better. I’ll be sure you do.”
He let out that ringing, charming laugh again. “Oh, dear Juliet, you know I can’t make promises. But I’ll tell you now—I’ll do my best. Even if it means quoting Shakespeare for you for an eternity… why not?”
But as he turned to leave, he knew exactly why not. Why he couldn’t see you again. What it meant to him that you were on the list of cinematic records to collect…
The wreckage of the Campania loomed dangerously, its rear now angling downwards as it prepared to slowly sink deep into the pit of an ocean, the dark waters masking its outline as it began to submerge.
The only thoughts in your mind were not those of your dead husband, but the mysterious Ronald Knox.
You gazed up, horror-struck by the sight of the sinking ship, when your mind came back to him.
“Oh, Ronald… why…?” You buried your face in your hands, ignoring the biting cold that dug into your bare arms—you’d been woken up abruptly by a servant, who had been calling to you that the ship had been hit by an icecap, and you’d dashed out in only your corset and undergarments, looking much like the strange, dead creatures that had been stalking around outside your room. Then they’d tried to load you onto a boat, but before they could push anyone else on with you, the ropes had snapped and fallen away, leaving you to plunge through the air and into the ocean. It was a miracle you’d managed to keep the boat upright, and now you were soaking wet, cold, and only thinking of him.
He’d showed up out of the blue and made you fall in love with him.
You regretted meeting Ronald—now he was gone, and who knows where? Maybe he was going down with the ship at this moment, or perhaps he was already gone into the water, deep below the murky surface of the ocean… Your stomach clenched, and you turned your face up towards the sky and away from the water you’d been staring at.
“Ronald… where are you?”
“Right ‘ere, __________.” You turned your head so quickly that you cricked your neck—there he was, behind you, on the tiny little escape boat with a lawn mower over his shoulder.
“Ro-Ronald?” You gaped at him, your eyes wide once more as you reached out to touch him, to make sure he was real and not just an apparition. “Wh-What the… how did you…?”
“__________.” He fixed you with a solemn stare, one that you weren’t familiar with. Really, that expression looked wrong on his face… “I wanted to come see you one last time… like I promised.”
“I can’t stay here, __________.” He wiped his left cheek with his hand, seemingly pushing his hair out of his face, but in the almost complete darkness you could see the few tears that streaked his face. “I don’t belong in the world of humans. Listen to me. I’ll tell you one thing—I’ll live on infinitely. No matter what, I can’t be allowed to stay by your side. My world would never let me… But I want you to know. My heart belongs to you, love. Just… know that… my heart…”
Mysterious… heart… heart… mysterious
Mysterious… heart… heart… infinite
“… Ron… this doesn’t make any sense… It’s too hard for me to understand!”
“It’s not supposed to. I’m sorry I can’t tell you any more than this. The only thing my… uh… senpai says I’m allowed to tell you… is… c’mon, I don’t want to say it. I’ll just show you instead.”
Warm lips embraced you once more, and you shivered against him… what did he mean? What was he concealing from you, and why couldn’t he stay any longer? You had questions, so many questions, but… his lips were pressed against yours, and you couldn’t speak…
“I love you, __________.”
And suddenly there was only the cold air against your shaking body, and you turned wildly, searching for where he had gone, but you already knew it was useless.
He had gone, like Romeo asleep in the tombs beside his Juliet.
You died that night, hurling yourself into the deathly cold ocean.
There was nothing left to live for now that you had lost any ambition for marriage.
Especially now that the mysterious man known as Ronald Knox had gone.
So quickly he had come into your life and instantly disappeared.
He had stolen your heart, your ‘kokoro’.
But he gave you to the key to his miracle.
By dying, both of your ‘kokoro’ were united in the next life as reapers.
And so ends the tragedy of a reaper and a human.
... And, as he had promised, he quoted Shakespeare for you for all of eternity.