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The (Hair) Ties That Bind

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The morning dawned far too early in the Phantomhive household, earlier even than the sunrise itself. The sky outside not yet touched by even the orange-pink light of the dawn. It was October and the sun wouldn’t rise for a good few hours yet, Mey Rin realised with a sigh as she set about preparing herself for the day, or rather, trying to. It was quite hard to do such things without glasses, not because she couldn’t see without them but because of quite the opposite, every tiny detail was far too in focus, it gave her a headache in such a small room. But given her status, she could hardly request a larger one, it wouldn’t be right and she would so hate to inconvenience anyone. Besides, occasionally this over abundance of vision could have its perks.

It did mean that she could spot a red velvet ribbon in the furthest corner of her room; one that most certainly didn’t belong to her for she couldn’t dream of owning something so lovely. Tossed aside and forgotten about from the night before.

Visions of long, silky, smooth dark hair framing her face and bright green eyes that seemed almost unnatural and luminous in the dark; a shy voice whispering sweet nothings to her while gentle, far more capable than she’d expected, hands ran across her body, flashed across her mind. Her cheeks flushed hot and pink.

The flustered maid hurried across the room and gingerly picked the accessory up between her fingers, holding it at arm’s length to get a good and proper look at it. It was fairly simple, as far as ribbons went, nothing too outstanding or special about it. Just an ordinary velvet ribbon really. Only it wasn’t. When it caught the candle light the dull red tones turned vibrant; a deep blood colour and suddenly it was beautiful. Sort of like Grelle, Mey Rin mused.

She hadn’t been much to look at either at first, just someone who would sometimes be there in the background. Not important to Mey Rin’s daily routine and when she was, it was because she was making a nuisance of herself and giving the poor maid even more work. But once she’d stayed those weeks and made herself known, the maid had to admit to being slightly blown away by what she’d found.

The brown-eyed girl sighed wistfully before a slightly wicked grin appeared on her face. She hadn’t done her hair yet, no she hadn’t. And she had here such a lovely red ribbon. It would be a shame to let it go to waste and stay on her bedside table until such a time that Grelle might want it. She wondered what the butler would think of her new accessory...

It wasn’t until breakfast time that she got any sort of an answer to that question, the dismayed sounds of woe luring her into the dining room like a curious moth to flame. Exasperated, incomprehensible words sounded from the room, getting clearer and clearer as she approached.

Peering owlishly around the edge of the door she gazed into the room, immediately joined by Finnian and Baldroy, both of whom were equally interested. Though why Baldroy was out here rather than helping with the breakfast she had no idea. (That was a lie, in her mind keeping Baldroy away from food at all costs was a rather good idea, Mr Sebastian was right sensible to be the one making breakfast today.)

Inside the room the Burnett butler was frantically trying to clean up the latest mess she’d made, her long hair cascading around her face like a waterfall, unrestrained by its usual ribbon. Clearly, Grelle was unused to maintaining such a hairstyle while she worked, she kept blowing strands out of her face as she cleaned or attempting futily to push it behind her ears. Mey Rin’s heart pounded in her chest at the sight of her, beating as though she’d just been running a marathon. Above her she heard Bard snicker, whether at Grelle or at her reaction the maid wasn’t too certain, regardless she scowled. Then she elbowed him in the chest, which only made him laugh harder.

“Shush Baldroy.” She hissed. “Mister Sebastian won’t like it if he knows we’re spying instead of working, no he won’t.”

“No, indeed he won’t Mey Rin.” Came the voice, smooth as the finest of silks, of the red eyed butler.

The trio started, falling out of the doorway like a triad of dominoes, one on top of the other. Sebastian pinched his brow and closed his eyes, letting out a long sigh that clearly displayed what he thought of the Phantomhive three. They were imbeciles with not an ounce of brain between them and a single narrow-eyed glower from the man was enough to send all four of the unruly servants scrambling for the door, leaving butler and master alone.

The boys went their separate ways, Baldroy shooting a knowing, amused wink at Mey Rin, who flushed again and then pretended she’d not seen it. He could be a right horrible tease sometimes and she was certain he knew it too.

Next to her, Grelle sighed, blowing a hair out of her face before turning to Mey Rin with a nervous sort of agony on her face. And the maid could hazard a guess that she knew why that was. The loss of her hair ribbon was obviously playing on the genteel woman’s mind something awful. Mey Rin almost felt bad for having the article of clothing in question upon her person. Almost.

The butler tugged nervously at her hair, playing with the ends of it and biting her lip in a manner so sweet that it made Mey Rin wish she was far braver than she actually was. Made her want to drag the other woman down to her height right there and now and kiss away all of the worries; pluck them from her soul by way of her mouth and their entwined tongues. Pin her against a wall and…And damn what the young Master or Mister Sebastian would have to say should they come out here. She refrained. Somehow. Though her cheeks were burning brighter than a candle flame; it must’ve been fairly noticeable for Grelle stopped dead in her tracks to stare at her, green eyes blinking behind the round frames of her glasses.

This only made Mey Rin flush all the more. Such open concern on that face, and all for her! She’d never had someone care for her that way before, no she hadn’t. It was all new and a bit confusing but Grelle was looking at her so kindly and sweetly that she almost felt that her heart was going to burst from it all. Her hands twisted around the fabric of her dress as the two women stood, an almost awkward silence settling around them before Grelle made a quiet noise of distress, hair falling into her face once more.

“Oh bother…why can’t it just stay put?” She fretted, beginning to run a hand through her hair before stopping dead and swiftly pulling her fingers free again, as though had she continued to trail through it, something terrible might have happened.

“You look awful distressed miss Grelle, yes you do.” Mey Rin informed her, all wide eyed innocence as though she hadn’t a clue what was bothering the dark haired butler. “Is there something the matter?”

Grelle gave her a look that on anyone else’s face she might’ve called a glare, but as it was Grelle everything was just a bit too soft. She looked as though she was squinting in sunlight more than she did actually attempting to be in any way annoyed at the other woman. She opened her mouth to speak, then closed it again with a snap. This time she was most definitely scowling.

“Yes. There is rather…I’ve…oh dear…you see I’ve lost my ribbon. You know…the red one I wear in my hair… my mistress will be terribly angry with me if I’ve lost it.” She fretted.
“And you see I was so worried I had. But now I see all of that was for naught…”

“Oh?” Mey Rin asked fighting back a grin. So she’d been found out already had she?

“Yes. Oh you…how could you?” Grelle asked in anguish, flailing dramatically for a moment before composing herself. Her voice dropped an octave, making a shiver run down Mey Rin’s spine. “You’re such a wicked girl Mey Rin. Stealing ribbons from me when you have your own…I ought to tell Sebastian about the fact he has a thief in his house…”

It was strange Mey Rin thought, in these private moments, when it was just the two of them. Grelle seemed entirely different to how she usually was. Though the red haired maid couldn’t say that she minded at all, even if Grelle had somehow managed to back her against the wall, one hand coming to rest up by her cheek.
“Or I could simply steal from the thief. Take what’s mine…it’d only be right after all…” The gentle butler practically purred, suddenly not seeming quite so soft. In fact quite the opposite, the Burnett butler turning almost dangerous and seductive in that moment.

Mey Rin could feel her knees growing weak as Grelle reached up, trailing her hand across her cheek gently, white gloves barely even touching her skin as the butler leaned in. The maid’s heart stopped. Grelle’s lips were mere inches away from her own and she could feel her breath on her face. She longed to close the gap but her limbs seemed entirely out of her own control, not cooperating at all, she could only stare as Grelle loomed closer, and closer until…
She pulled away entirely, red ribbon in her hands and calmly tied it back into her own hair, pulling it back into its usual neat queue. Humming with satisfaction Grelle turned to Mey Rin again, her own cheeks flushing as she seemed to realise what she’d just done.

Sensing an apology coming, the maid almost let out a sigh and, having regained some control over herself, wobbled her way over to the butler, tripped over her own feet and found herself colliding with Grelle’s chest. The butler’s arms came up to circle her waist and steady her automatically. There was a moment, brown eyes meeting green before someone moved. One, or perhaps both, leaning in until their lips were pressed together in the softest of kisses. If this was Grelle’s response to it, Mey Rin thought happily, perhaps she ought to steal her ribbon more often.