It was cloudy, grey day in December, a week before Christmas and there was absolutely nothing for Aster Phantomhive to do that day. He had done all the work that he had to do for the day, ate lunch and played with Finny until Mey needed help with her chores. He had gone to Bard, to see if he could play ball or cards for a bit, but he was busy.
So was Tanaka, and so was Snake.
Letting out a dejected sigh, the earl raced down to the library to see if Sebastian had any free time, to play something, anything - a game, perhaps? - But of course...As he expected, he was just as busy, if not more.
'Of course, just my bloody luck' The boy thought miserable, his arms crossed as Sebastian apologized, dusting the last of the bookshelves before putting the few stray books that were left out by the over family members, back into their respective places on the shelf.
"I'm greatly sorry, Aster, but there's just so much to do before Christmas next week!" The butler said, soon looking up from his work after putting yet another book away. "After I finish up what I need to do, I promise I will. Just give me a few more hours, alright? Then I promise that I'll be ready for you."
"A few more hours? Sebastian, that will take forever! No one else has time to play with me, and I hate it!" Aster complained, crossing his arms with a roll of his mismatched eyes.
"Well, everyone has things to do, sir- I mean Aster. We all have our jobs, as do you. You just happened to complete all your work for today- that, and you're never interested in assisting us with decorating for any holiday, Christmas especially." Sebastian replied, grabbing his dusting and continuing work on a few of the end tables.
"Hmph..." The child mumbled softly, looking away from the demon. "It's not my bloody fault I don't. Christmas has never been a good holiday for me! After what happened...I just can't go about with Christmas, as nothing happened..."
"I understand what you mean, and I'm not asking you to ignore what happened...No one is. We all respect you for your decision if you don't want to, but not every Christmas is going to be the same as then, and you know that!"
The teen nodded, letting out a soft sigh as he tucked a loose strand of a longer strand of his hair behind his ear. "I...I know. It's just hard sometimes...I always, in the back of my mind I think something bad is going to happen."
"I understand completely, and your fears are valid Aster," Sebastian said, finally finishing all of the work he needed to do in the library for a while. "Now, I must continue on with my work. If you need anything, I'm heading downstairs to straighten up some things, and then join the others in setting up the Christmas decorations. If you'd like to help, you're very, very much welcome to join us, alright?"
Aster nodded, and waved goodbye to the butler as he left, before making his way to the window For a while, he stood there, watching the rain pour down onto the grounds below.
He sighed, soon finding himself walking out the door, and to his usual spot as a child, and taking a seat on the window's ledge, looking back out to the rainy world before him. As an (even) little(r) boy, this wear he spent a lot of his time, when he couldn't go outside, and join his big brother and Elizabeth outside.
It was painful, always having to sit there and watch them play while he had to be all alone...On some of the nicest days of the year, he would always manage to have a cough or be sick, so he always had to stay inside and be miserable while they all had fun and played.
'It wasn't fair', the teen thought as rested his chin atop his knuckled hand, setting his elbow atop his knee.' Well, most of my life hasn't and that's just how it's been. How lucky am I, huh?'
It felt like a million years, as he sat there, waiting for Sebastian to finish and finally show up to spend time with him...And looking at the clock every thirty seconds wasn't helping, either. Has an hour always felt this long? 'Maybe, I should go help them...It would help pass the time-'
'Helping them put Christmas decorations..?'
'You know, for the holiday you bloody hate?'
'Am I going insane, or something? God, waiting this long and not going to bed on time for the past few nights really must be getting to me, huh?' The child thought, before shaking his head and turning his attention back to the window. 'I wonder what it was like when Lizzy and Ciel got to go outside when it was snowing...Whenever it did, Mother and Father were always too scared to let me play outside so I was always stuck indoors, coloring pictures of Christmas trees or something...'
For Aster, even when he was little, Christmases were...Unhappy.
Yes, he got what he put on his list, had a wonderful meal and got to see the family that he usually didn't see, and had good fun with the other kids in his family...But he was still left out of a plethora of the activities due to...His health.
Every time something seemed really fun to do, one of the adults would either get his hopes up to the point he was 1,000% sure that he was going to do it, and he was practically overflowing to the excitement, only to find out at the last moment that he couldn't because it would be "too stressful for him", or just flat-out tell him no.
Oh, how he hated that.
'Why wouldn't they both just stay inside for a bit, to play with me? They had all the time in the world...'
After all, it was only fair. Ciel got to see Lizzy all the time and play with her as much as he liked, while for Aster, his playtimes with Lizzy were very few and far between.
Oh, how he longed to be among the snowbanks, hand in hand with Ciel and Lizzy, building a snowman!
At least he had someone, though, For as long as he remembered, even if Lizzy and Ciel were too busy to play with him, at least Lizzy's big brother, Edward, was always up and ready to play with him!
While Lizzy and Ciel were out and about, Edward had always been the first one to get up and approach him, offering to play a game - and of course, they always played chess! - Edward never won though, but that never (thankfully) stopped him from playing with the younger twin.
Aster smiled wistfully, remembering the time when he felt like crying because one afternoon, Aunt Francis and Uncle Alexis had told him that he couldn't play with his big brother and Lizzy outside, due to it being too strenuous for him, so he had to stay inside.
Almost immediately after they had told him that, there Edward came running, a bright smile on his face, and cards in his hand, asking him to play for a while, to which he excitedly agreed, taking the older boy's outstretched hand, and headed to his room with him, to play. And for the rest of the day, there he spent it in Edward's room, playing a ton of games (and winning most of them) and they ate biscuits until their stomachs ached!
'God, I wish Edward and I still had that relationship...If I came back as me, then we could of...Oh, for the love of all things bad, did that blasted brother of mine always pick such stupid and worthless fights with him? He knew we were friends! The more and more time Edward and I spent together, and more and more fights Ciel and he seemed to get into...'
He scoffed softly to himself, shaking his head as he thought of the memory, sticking it like a sore thumb. 'After that, Ciel had the audacity to forbid me to ever play with Edward again...To which I promptly ignored. I mean, seriously! Why give up my only playmate that wasn't you? What are you, jealous...? I barely had any friends, only him and Ciel...I don't even know if I could even COUNT Lizzy as a friend. We played sometimes, of course, and talked...But were we...Truly?' He wondered, suddenly feeling very hurt.
Aster sat there for what felt like forever, before finally shaking his head, snapping himself out of his trance. A bit dazed as well as confused, the boy looked around the empty hallway, before carefully swinging his legs back over the ledge, and getting to his feet, before glancing at a nearby clock. "Bloody hell, how long was I here for...?" He wondered allowed with a sigh and starting his way down the hall, getting closer and closer to the main staircase to hear... laughter?
Not just any kind of laughter, but happy, honest-to-God joyful laughter!
The boy made it to the top of the staircase and shyly looked down, only to come face to face with an entranceway that looked completely transformed from how it usually did...A breathtaking winter wonderland, mixed with the Christmas aesthetics that you read about in almost every Christmas tale...
It looked stunning.
'How did they even manage to do this? I know for a fact this wasn't here this morning...' Aster thought, an unknowing smile taking form on his lips as he looked around the room, almost as if he were in trance, lost in the beauty of the room.
It looked like way back when he was just a little boy (or should I say, even littler haha), but it had a sense of magic that even those Christmases never seemed to have. It was obvious, that unlike the decorations hung up by the former Phantomhive servants, these decorations...They seemed like they were full of love.
Like they had an actual personality,
Like they actually meant something...
The boy reached over to the nearby railing smiling softly as he felt the fluffy-Esque, silvery tinsel beneath his fingers, snowflakes dotting the silvery thing, clearly placed with care. Looking over to the nearby doors (that had a see-through, glass window on them), it looked like the glass was frosted over with frost and snow!
'How did they do that...?'
It looked wonderful!
"My lord, we're just about to start decorating the Christmas tree!" A voice, his uncle Bard, called from another room. "Would ya like to help? After all, I think it's only righ' you get to put the star on the tree this year- Finny's gotten too many chances!"
The boy smiled to himself, finding himself smiling as he started his walk down the stairs. 'Perhaps...This Christmas will be different...'
"I'll be there in a moment, Uncle Bard!"