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laughter at christmastide

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'it's so dark...'

 

'Wait, where's Sebastian...?'

 

 

Aster mumbled groggily, sleepily opening his mismatched eyes. Tiredly rubbing the sleep from his eyes, the child stretched for a moment before sitting up and taking a look around the room- his room. "What..? When I fell asleep last night, I know for a fact it wasn't here! Sebastian, where are you?"

As quick as light itself, there Sebastian suddenly was at his side with a soft smile on his face. "Yes, Aster? Are you feeling alright? Do you need some medicine?" The butler asked, speeding around him at lightening-quick speed, quickly checking the boy if he felt sick if he was hungry if something hurt-

 

"Father, I'm completely alright, I promise you! What's all this? Your acting like Aunt Ann whenever I needed to clear my throat!" The boy said with a tired laugh, just as Sebastian sat next to the child with a semi-embarrassed, slightly-concerned smile. 

"I apologize...I can't help it- ever since you got sick on the train several months ago, I can't help but be worried for you!"

"But that was forever ago, and it was because I got food poisoning by that horrible man on the train- you remember. The man we had to catch? He killed his victims by food poisoning and somehow got it. And I wouldn't have, but you were just soooo insistent in checking out the rest of the train!" Aster replied, getting up out of his bed. 

"Must you rub every single one of my mistakes in?"

"Must you always slip up?"

 

The two stared at each other for a moment, both having seriously-annoyed looks on their faces until they both couldn't take it anymore and burst into a fit of laughter, unable to continue to keep up their act of annoyance anymore.

"Now, may I ask you asked for me...? You didn't particularly sound frightened, but confused. Was it because of last night? After we were all together, singing Christmas carols around the piano, you went off to talk with Mey for a while after everyone dispersed. She and Snake put you to bed after you fell asleep mid-conversation!"

"Wait, I did?! Oh god, that's embarrassing!" The teen replied, looking a bit perplexed. "But, I don't even remember being tired, even in the slightest!"

"Well, I suppose it happens to the best of us," Sebastian said with a chuckle, causing Aster to give the demon an irritated look. "What?"

"The best of us?! Sebastian, you don't even bloody sleep, you git!" 

 

"And, sir?" Sebastian said, placing a light hand on his hip with a small snigger. 

"God, your annoying."

"The feeling is mutual, Aster."

 

Upon hearing Sebastian's last little remark, the boy whipped around and shot him a look of pure exasperation. "Oh my God, why are you like this?!"

"Only for you, Sir~."

"It's Aster, you miserable demon!"

"Okay, Sir~."

 

The boy shook his head in annoyance, before heading to his closet and pointing at it. "Go and get me some clothes, you addle pate!"

Sebastian grinned, letting out a fake, given-up sigh before retreating into the boy's closet and picking out a few, rather-festive items which included: Aster's usual suit, tights, and heeled boots save for his black felt patch as it was already by his amber nightstand. 

 

Coming back from the closet, all the articles of clothing in his arms, the man would set them down on the bed. "Today, for breakfast, Bard and I plan to make several dishes, like pancakes, eggs, and the like. Sadly, they won't be ready for a bit because you woke up so early. Would you care for some tea, Aster?"

"Whatever, sure," Aster replied with a heavy huff, putting his arms out so the demon could start his daily task of getting him ready for the day. "How long until breakfast, anyhow? I doubt anyone's in a rush to get up today, considering it's Christmas."

"Well, you'd be surprised! Everyone, not counting Tanaka were going mad over what was to happen today, you promising them a celebration as a family, of course. And at precisely 7:30 AM. Not before, and not after - exactly then."

"Just me? If I remember correctly, we both talked and agreed upon it together!"  The child replied, raising a navy blue eyebrow as his father slipped on a button-up onto the older teen, and buttoned it up in less than a second. 

"Well, fine. Together!" Sebastian replied with a soft smile, his ruby-red beginning to shone in the up-coming light, that was starting to peer through the curtained windows barely. "Now, arms up!"

 

It wasn't long before the demon had gotten him dressed, and his boots on. Finishing up tying the final glossy-white ribbon on Aster's charcoal-black boot, he helped the boy get up, and they both started to head to the door. 

"So, I assume you have everything we agreed upon for today, ready to go?"

"But of course, my dear boy. What kind of butler and father would I be if I didn't? After all, we spent so much time coming up with it all; why let it all go to waste? It seems like a delightful time, and I'm sure that everyone shall have a wonderful time!" Sebastian assured the teen, his usual smile stretched across his thin lips. 

"Do you think it'll be...? I'm new at planning events like these for us all to do, so I wasn't quite sure if I was going about it in the right way..."

"Trust me, you were. I'm very proud of you, you know!"

 

"You always say that, Sebastian," Aster replied with a chuckle, walking with him down the hall. "Do you mean it, or are you just saying that because you're my dad?" 

"Both - that, and not to mention that I'm your forever-loyal butler, as well!" Sebastian said with a familiar grin, as the two turned the corner.

 

"Tch, of course. Am I surprised that's your answer?"

"Merry Christmas, sir~."

"Ugh...Merry Christmas, you horrid creature-"

 


 

"Okay, so who's going first?" Mey asked, a bright smile on her face, her eyes practically aglow with excitement as the rest of the Phantomhive family sat around her, everyone as equally as thrilled to partake in the ritual of present-opening. "I'll bring you all your presents. Yes, I will!" 

She got up from her seat, and walked over to the tree, grabbing a few colorfully-packaged presents each, looking at each name, and carefully setting each gift down, next to their respective owner. "How's about we go youngest to oldest? After all, I think it's only fair! I don't any kid should ever have to wait for a bunch'a crusty old people to open their gifts first-"

"Hey, are you callin' me crusty?!" Bard asked, trying his best to hide his currently-faint smile under a mask of offense and irritation.

"You said it, Bard. Not me!" Mey said with a giggle, going back to the tree and getting some more of the carefully-wrapped gifts, and continuing to set them down before going back for yet another trip. 

 

"Bard's not even the oldest! Tanaka is!" Finny said with a grin, trying his absolute best to stifle his laughter but failing horribly. "Stop being so mean, Mey!"

"Bard? Tanaka? The oldest? Please, you've got the wrong people. Sebastian is bloody ancient! He's like a thousand years old, and I bet he met a ton of mummies or something!" Aster smirked, joining the conversation. "The only reason why he can keep up so well is that he's half automaton!"

"Aster..." Sebastian mouthed, giving the child a very annoyed look. 

"You're just saying that because he's your pa'!" Bard said with a laugh, giving Sebastian a sort of 'Kids, am I right?' look. 

 

"Mhm-hmmm~ sure I am. Maybe it's because-"

"Aster, stop being rude to your father!"

 

"Ughhh, fiiiine~ I suppose I'll have to," The boy said with a soft smirk, just as Mey finally finished passing out every gift. "I have a question though, did any of you get each other serious gifts? I know for a fact that last year, Bard and Sebastian only gave each other things like moldy ham and crusty boogers-"

"That's disgusting! Are you serious, Smile? Asks Emily, " Snake asked the younger boy, clearly shocked that anyone would do that to someone they loved. "That's horrible! Why would you ever do that? Asks Emily again."

 

"It's what he deserves for being such an irritation- you tell him simple things, that one should easily be able to get done, but no, Mister Baldroy can't be bothered to do them the way that I tell him to...Which we all know is the correct way, but he's on his high-horse, so of course, he won't listen to me." Sebastian replied, giving the chef a sly grin, earning a roll of the eyes and a laugh from the younger man.

"Whatever you say, Sebastian. You're just mad because you can't get cookin' done as fast as I can~."

"Oh shut up, you blundering idiot. That's not the reason, and you know it is!"

 

"Baldroy! Sebastian! I demand you both stop fighting this instant! You're setting a horrible example for the children!" Tanaka suddenly spoke up, looking up from the book he had been reading. "Their both right there, you know!" The older man said with a sigh, gesturing to both Finny and Aster, who were currently sitting on the floor, surrounded by their mountain of presents.

"Ah...I'm afraid I didn't quite think about that when I called Bard an idiot, which it is, by the way-"

"HEY!"

"Sebastian, stop insulting him!"

 

"Fine...But only for now." Sebastian agreed with a devilish wink to Bard, only to get the most prominent annoyed look from the chef.

 

"Now, are we all done the fighting? I got a new dress for Christmas, and if I have to wait any longer, I might explode!" Mey Rin asked, giving a look to Sebastian and Bard, who looked like they were in the middle of silently promising to fight each other later - seriously. Bard looked like he was thirty seconds away from punching Sebastian in the face, and Sebastian looked like he was about to kick the younger man in the shins.

"I sure hope so. Are you, boys?" Tanaka asked with a knowing look, raising a silver-grey eyebrow as he put down his leather-bound book, onto the cinnamon-brown end table next to him. 

 

"Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine......."

 


 

"Isn't this the coolest? I never had this many presents before!" Finny grinned as he, Snake, and Aster sat around the new board game that Finny had gotten for Christmas, from Tanaka. "We should play this right now. After all, I think it's going to be a bit before Sebastian and Bard come in..."

"What are they even doing? As soon as we finished presents, they both grabbed their coats and ran at the door. They looked like they were about to duke it out permanently, or something! - Says Wilde." Snake said, looking over to the frosted window nearby- a giant mound of beautiful crystalline snow hitting the glass with a loud THUD. "Oh, dear..."

"Oh, dear, is right. I feel pity for Bard. He doesn't stand a chance against Sebastian, no matter how many stones he puts in those snowballs of his." Aster stated, rather matter-of-factly. "He could construct the biggest, iciest snowball on the entire planet with the enormous rock, right in the middle, and he would still get his bloody arse kicked-"

 

"Aster, language!"

"Sorry, Gramps..." Aster mumbled quietly, trying his best not to smile as Snake and Finny started to laugh. 

 

"Since when did Black become the best snowball creator? I thought that out of all the things he likes to do, snowballs defiantly wasn't one of them. Asks Wordsworth."

"Well, I guess there's a lot of things that we don't know about him-"

 

"Like how we found out that he knew how to have fun?" Mey asked with a giggle, joining the conversation as she came into the room, wearing her new gorgeous, sparkly-red dress. "What do you guys think? Isn't it the perfect thing?" 

"I know right, and you look beautiful, Mey! I think it suits you very well!" Finny said with a smile, beckoning her to come and sit down with them. 

"You do- it took a long time to find you what I thought was one that you'd like, especially because I did it without Elizabeth's help!" Aster said with a soft chuckle, taking the time to stretch after sitting on the rug-covered floor for so long. 

 

"Well, you did an amazing job, yes you did! I would have to say that this is my favorite gift I received this year, yes it was!"

"What, my gift wasn't your favorite?" 

"Finny, you gave her a dead bird-"

"It was taxidermy! I thought it was cute!"

"Taxidermy isn't a thing you should give to ladies, says Emily-"

 

"Oh my God- did Bard just scream?!"

 


"Everyone, gather round! I'm about to read to you all some Christmas stories. I use to do this for Aster way back when, and I thought to myself, why not do that with you all? He enjoyed it immensely, as did his parents," Tanaka announced, a bright smile on his face, waving the rest of the Phantomhive family - who were either playing games, eating dessert, or just merely talking amongst each other - over. 

Slowly, but inevitably, everyone excitedly finished what they were doing (or if they had food, they just brought it with them) and sat down around the older man, who was already in his usual mahogany, forest-green felt chair. 

"Is everyone ready? I can wait if someone has to go and get something quickly-"

 

"One moment!" Finny said, getting up in a flash, and running to his room and picking up the snow-white bear he had received as one of his gifts for that he had gotten from Snake for Christmas, and rushing back, returning a few minutes later. "Back~!" The boy announced in a sing-song voice, immediately taking his usual seat next to Aster. "I'm ready, can we start now?"

Earning a laugh from Tanaka and the rest of the family, the older man laughed, opening the old, leather-bound book.

 

"Now, I'm sure no one else has any has anything else they have to do?"

 


 

"Sebastian...? Did you have a good day today...?" Aster asked a soft smile on his lips as the older being tucked a frosted-white rabbit into the boy's arms - a rabbit that had been handsewn by Sebastian as his Christmas present to him, that year. 

Smiling warmly, Sebastian nodded, securely tucking the small teen's covers around him and making sure that he was comfortable. "Thanks to your careful planning, I do think that I had a rather splendid time tonight. I hope that you did, as well? I know Christmas has never been your favorite holiday, nor has it ever really been. Well, easy for you, because of what happened four years ago...And for putting this on for us all, I'm most proud of you, my dear child."

 

The boy giggled quietly, taking another look at the rabbit in his arms, running his fingers through its soft fluff. "I tried my best, you know? And it makes me very happy to know that you did. Even with all the passive-aggressive snowball fights and prank wars you had with Bard...Will you two ever stop bullying each other?"

"Your asking for a miracle, Aster."

"Tch, tch~ you're just saying that because even despite your butler 'aesthetics,' you like playing childish pranks-"

"And what if I do?"

"Then, you're a baby."

 

"Oh, that hurts. However, shall I get over that hot burn you just delivered?" Sebastian asked with a laugh, before going over to the windows, and closing the curtains in one fell swoop. "Now, I trust you haven't taken those bandages off your hand yet? That hot chocolate was hot as hell, and I'm honestly quite surprised that you didn't sustain any horrible injuries!" 

"Yes, I promise I did! Now, can you read me a story? You promised that you would - after all, you made me go to bed tons earlier than everyone else, which by the way, isn't fair! I don't have anything to do tomorrow! Also, why didn't you make Finny go to bed, too? He's a kid too!"

"Well, first of all, you are much younger than Finny, and second of all, you barely got any sleep yesterday as it is! You insisted on finishing that gingerbread house with Mey, Finny, and Snake, which you all easily could have waited to do today, so you all stayed up until very late last night!" The demon said, before pulling a book out of his suitcoat. "And for your information, I did."

 

"Well, whatever...And at least your good for something."

 

"We've known each other for four years, been through literally everything together, and I'm just now FINALLY good for something?!"