The day had started out just like any other typical day at the Phantomhive Manor. The servants were being industrious, except for Baldroy, who had, once again, been banned from the kitchen after trying to blow up the morning bread. He was off sulking somewhere. The dishes were washed to a pristine cleanliness, the laundry well under way, and the garden in a modest state of decorum. All was well as Sebastian surveyed the tea tray he was about to take up to Ciel.
The blissfully peaceful silence was very abruptly shattered by a loud crash. Mey-rin, the housekeeper, screamed in fright.
Sebastian dropped his hands from the tea cart, his eyes raised towards the ceiling as he groaned. "Now what?"
The butter quickly ran to the source of the noise, dearly hoping that the noise was not caused by one of the young master's prized possessions meeting a sad fate. He paused just down the hall from the commotion to smooth his coat and assume his usual manner before turning the corner to stop and stare at the sight before him.
Mey-rin pointed with shaking fingers. "Get it! Get it! Get it!" Mey-rin had somehow managed to climb onto one of the many tall cabinets that lined the wall. She was holding on tight like her life depended on it. There was a sudden flash of light, followed by the sound of a large gun firing, then a lot of smoke. Despite the thick fog coming from the far end of the area, Sebastian was able to dodge what appeared to be a rather large artillery shell sailing past him and through the wall beyond.
"Did I get it?" Slowly, the smoke began to clear enough for Sebastian to see the cook down the hallway with what appeared to be a small canon, another shell ready to load if he'd missed his target.
"What is the meaning of this?" Sebastian asked, hands on his hips. He gave them a rather disapproving glance as he surveyed the damage to hall and decor, including a rather large chandelier that had previously hung from the ceiling but was now on the floor.
"I've got it!" Finny, the gardener, seemed to come out of the woodwork as he crashed through, narrowly missing Sebastian as he charged ahead with one of the bronze busts from the main hallway, which he hurled like a javelin towards the far wall.
"Not at me!" The cook had enough time to yell as he dived the other way, the statue crashing through the wall he'd just been standing next to, leaving a gaping hole to the outside.
The maid peeked from behind her eyelids at the destruction around them. "Is it dead?" Her eyes went wide at the sight of Sebastian standing nearby. He was clearly not in a good mood.
With a bit of an eye twitch, Sebastian maintained his straight posture, his eyebrows rising ever so slightly. "Which one of you would care to inform me of the reason you decided it would be a good idea to remodel the manor?"
Baldroy immediately got to his feet, snapping into a smart salute. "Just responding to a lady in distress!"
Feeling that was all he'd get from the cook, the butler turned to Finnian. "And you? What's your reason?"
Finnian shuffled his feet a moment, looking down. "Well, I heard Mey-rin scream and came to see what was what and..." He trailed off, clearly not willing to tell the rest, so Sebastian turned his gaze to Mey-rin, who was stilling clinging to the cabinet as if her life depended on it.
The butler turned to look the maid squarely in the eyes. "Well? What do you have to say for yourself?"
Mey-rin straightened her glasses with one hand. Color rose in her cheeks as she looked away. "Well, sir... you see... There was this really big animal... and I got scared, I did. So I screamed and they came running and..."
Sebastian held up a hand, covering his face with the other. He didn't need her to narrate the rest to know what had happened next. He let out a resigned sigh. "Please be sure to clean up this mess as soon as possible while I see about finding someone to make repairs."
Rather sheepishly, Mey-rin slid back down to the floor where she smoothed her apron and glared at her companions. "You heard him! Get to it!"
"Why me?" Bard complained.
The maid placed her hands on her hips. "Cuz you was the one with the giant gun! That's why!"
Baldroy lit a cigarette and put it between his lips. "Why not Finny then? He's the one with the giant head smashing the walls."
The gardener almost jumped back in surprise. "But! I was only trying to help!"
Sebastian shook his head as he walked away, checking his pocket watch. The young master would be expecting his tea in precisely three minutes and he had to finish slicing the cake. "Always causing so much trouble," he muttered under his breath, leaving them to it.
Down another hallway, inside the drawing room, Ciel glanced at the clock, counting down to the time he had left for his butler to bring the tea. "One minute thirty seconds."
The door suddenly moved ever so slightly, then moved again, but he did not see the telltale sign of Sebastian carrying a tray, nor that of the tea cart so he leaned forward to see around his desk.
" You have exactly five seconds to identify yourself." He reached for the gun he usually kept in his desk drawer but remembered that he'd asked Sebastian to clean it earlier and that it had yet to be returned. "Crap!"
He glanced around for anything that might be used as a weapon, his attention quickly going back to the door as it opened further and something small and dark nudged around the corner. "Sebastian!"
A sudden blur of movement brought the butler through the door, the small creature scooped up into his arms as he dived into the room, rolling into a crouching position, the animal held up for inspection. "My, what beautiful paws you have," he crooned.
Sebastian gently scratched at the small animal's neck, causing it to purr.
Ciel sneezed violently. "Sebastian! What is that thing?!"
The butler held the cat-like creature by the neck for the earl's inspection. "I believe our little visitor is a panther cub, distant cousin to the cat.
Ciel sneezed again and pulled out a handkerchief just in time. "Get that thing away from me!" he cried as he moved further away.
The butler drew the small cub back to himself, noticing a note attached to a ribbon around the neck. He quickly removed it. "Young master, this panther appears to be a present for you from Miss Elizabeth, in hopes that it will keep you from being too lonely without her company."
Ciel looked at the midnight black cat with incredulous eyes. He was about to say something when someone knocked on the already open door and wheeled in the tea cart.
"Mr. Sebastian! I brought the tea like you said I should!" The maid froze as she saw the creature in the butler's arms. She reached out a shaky finger and pointed at the cub. "It's here! It's here! That's the one! Skunk!"
There was a loud crash from outside the room, followed by smoke, the gardener and the cook. "Where?! Where is it!?" Bard shouted.
Finnian ran across. "It won't escape us this time!"
Ciel stared in wide-eyed shock as the two dashed away to find the nearest weapon.
"This won't end well," Sebastian groaned.