Hey, another fanfic from Elf Asato! Imagine that… Anyway, this lovely series does not belong to me; instead our beloved Yuki Kaori has that honor. And I’ll admit that I don’t exactly know what brought me to write this – maybe it was lack of sleep…mm, probably.
Potential warnings: Total and inexplicable senseless fluff. And I don’t pretend to know what the timeline for this is. Make up something. It’s just totally mindless and freestanding slash, of the delectable Riff/Cain variety…
It’s doubtful you will ever read anything this absurd again, by the way.
By Elf Asato
It had been a single, pristine slip of paper that started it all. Cain had wanted to meet his butler and friend without the all the interruption of business, family, and a little sister; the only time that seemed possible was late at night when the rest of the world slept. And so Cain had simply just slipped him a note discreetly, with only a brief message between the two. The note had instructed Riff to meet him in the study at midnight.
When midnight came, they met, and to Riff’s surprise, Cain really had nothing of particular importance to say to him. The meeting was simply arranged so they could communicate with each other without external obstruction. And so that night they shed their designated roles in society and conversed about all sorts of topics they hadn’t before until the wee hours of the morning.
Well Cain liked it so much that about a week later, he instructed Riff to meet him again. Riff came, their societal roles were shed, and they talked like old friends of equal standing – which Cain thought of them to begin with, but Riff obviously had much more difficulty in that. Nearly every week they met in private in the after hours and simply talked. They always had plenty of things to say to one another.
Rigid social structures made it difficult to act as the close and warm comrades they were to each other during the daytime – the maids began to talk one day when one of them listened in on master and servant casually conversing – so they began meeting each other a few times a week. Staying up late was taxing on each of their reserves, so they decided that they would simply have their session directly after Riff readied his master for bed.
That was indefinitely convenient for each of them, but with Cain’s room came a lulling atmosphere, similar to having way too many drinks, minus the sickness and whatnot… The two found themselves talking about things they would not normally say to one another, for whatever fear. However, they began to learn more and more things, which was absolutely fascinating since they were both under the impression that they knew near everything there was to know about the other. Both Riff and Cain loved to dwell on the minute details of the other’s interests.
However, there came a night when Cain chose not to dwell on a detail and instead focused on a larger picture. It had been something he’d thought about and perhaps known for years…but for whatever reason he simply kept quiet, enjoying what they already had.
As it turned out, that very same night Riff had something he wanted to tell Cain – a very same something he had thoughts and feelings about for years but kept silent for many reasons, Cain’s age and his personal thought that the whole thing was simply quite bizarre were just two.
In that lulling atmosphere of Cain’s room, though, something made both of them reveal their innermost secrets. Riff told Cain that he loved him; Cain told Riff that he secretly preferred a sherry over a chardonnay, but it was really just a front and he later revealed that he had the exact same feelings as well.
Well, as time went on, Riff proved to have excellent self-control, being rather tempted to do things as he dressed and undressed his master, and Cain proved to have an excellent sense of when Riff’s self-control waned, further enabling them to do such things in the comfort of his room. Cain also proved to be quite an adventurous lover, by Riff’s standards, and one day decided that they would take their things to another room of the house, where the chance of getting caught was greater.
With that decision, Cain wrote Riff another note on a small slip of paper, mimicking the first initial note almost exactly: the time and room of choice, no other information given. The particular day that Cain decided to do this was a rather hectic one for the household staff, and dangerous in general to pull off. See, it was the day that there would be overnight company. A new friend of Merry’s and her parents were staying, along with Uncle Neil, Aunt Katina, and somehow or another, Oscar had even managed to worm his way in.
Waiting for an opportune time, Cain had carried the note around until he happened to meet Riff briefly in the drawing room. So as not to arouse much suspicion, he simply slipped the note into the steward’s hands, gave a knowing smile, and went off to further entertain company. From even just a quick glance at the note, Riff knew exactly what Cain’s thoughts were.
So he discarded the note in a jacket pocket, committing it to memory first, and went on with his daily business. However, what he had not realized was that when he pulled a handkerchief from his pocket later on in the day to console Miss Merryweather, the note fell out without his notice.
The young Hargreaves daughter had been particularly upset after Oscar’s ritual teasing when Aunt Katina scolded her for lack of propriety and may or may not have, depending on if you were Cain, mentioned a few things about the girl’s hazardous upbringing and the effect felt upon the family. So after being consoled by the ever-gentle Riff, who had made a promise with her to not tell Cain, she felt considerably better…however, a single and white slip of paper that had not been near her before caught her interest.
Glancing at it, she thought she understood it to be a message from Riff, to meet her in the study at half past midnight. That was awfully late for a young girl such as herself to stay up, but she was determined to follow instructions and meet the steward. And so she decided to stick it on the silk ribbon of one of her many stuffed animals for safekeeping.
What she failed to realize, though, was that the stuffed animal – a bear, to be exact – was the same one she would give to her friend’s parents later on in the day upon receiving news that she had somehow or another caught a cold and wouldn’t be able to spend much time with her.
The parents of this little girl, very nice people who happened to be friends of Uncle Neil, took notice of a small slip of paper between the bear and its silk ribbon. Like good and curious parents, they read it and gave both the note and the bear to their daughter. The small family had figured that Merryweather, obviously upset at not being able to spend much time with her friend, wanted to meet with her secretly without anyone telling them that they couldn’t. The parents of this little girl – Abigail was her name – were kind and sympathetic people and decided to let their daughter meet her friend, but only if they were able to supervise the meeting.
Abigail was thrilled at this and touched that her new friend would be so kind as to give her one of her possessions. Sticking the note back in the bear, she felt guilty, though, that she might contaminate the bear with her cold, so when Oscar, making his rounds, came to check up on her and keep the little girl company, she gave him instructions to thank Merryweather for the bear, but to also tell her that she didn’t want to contaminate it. Oscar fully intended to comply, and as he went off in search of Merry, he noticed the slip of paper between the bear and its silk collar.
Taking the note and reading it, he surmised that the two girls were planning a secret meeting. Falling into his fantasized role as Merry’s defender, he vowed to attend as well to protect the two girls from diseases and whatever harm may befall them. However, he was not able to return the bear to Merryweather as planned. Instead he came across Riff attempting to calm down a few kitchen maids in distress. As cliché as it was, a soup being prepared for dinner was spoiled because everyone decided to add a little something to it.
Riff, while trying to attend to the matter of the soup, had many other maids behind him, clamoring for his assistance in various minor crises within the household. Oscar saw this and, the Good Samaritan he was, decided to help by attending to the soup matter himself. His only request, though, was for Riff to deliver the bear back to Merry. Relieved at a chance to escape the disgruntled staff, the servant agreed to the request. On his way to deliver the bear, though, he noticed a slip of paper on it.
Out of curiosity he read it and considerably blanched.
His immediate thought was not what it should have been, thinking that the note somehow got around by mistake and that everybody and their dog would be there. Instead he interpreted it as that Cain was about to pull him into something very and undoubtedly kinky.
Riff’s mind was not where it ought to have been at that moment.
He delivered the bear all right, but kept the note, lest someone might chance to be in the study at half past midnight and see quite a taboo. With various crises around the house and numerous disgruntled maids, however, Riff was hardly in the right frame of mind to put another thought forth about it, except for the occasional anxiety attack from the supposed threesome. For this reason, as soon as he received the note back, he carelessly put it on the tea tray he was carrying to the master’s aunt and uncle.
Harried by an aggressive maid, he hardly had time to notice Neil and Katina’s sudden interest in the stealth communication, what in preparation for the night’s big meal in all… The two elderly Hargreaves, however, more excited about the note than the tea, took it as a secret message from their nephew, perhaps wishing to share with them something deeply private and meaningful for once in the safety of the dark hours.
And so within a few hours, the various staff members were able to pull the grand meal together without much incident. Throughout much of the meal, however, though everyone talked with geniality, and irritation, depending on the topic, but they all tried hard to conceal their natural eagerness for hours to pass, and half past midnight to finally come.
The hours after having dinner were spent in a group – minus poor Abigail and the occasional nice person who went up to see her – attempting social activity of sorts. Merry and Oscar were rather hyperactive for most of the company’s tastes, but it was all taken in with good fun, especially Cain, who knew that at half past midnight, he’d be having some good fun of his own. Riff, however, was rather jittery, his mind still not in the right place. As the minutes progressed he required more short breaks for his strained nerves, obsessively worrying over the tiniest of details in what he thought would be a brief, but action-packed tryst between Oscar, his master, and himself.
Abigail’s parents, spending one half of the time at her bedside and the other half in company, worried over whether or not their daughter was up to such a secret meeting with her playmate. Their little girl showed definite signs of improvement, however, and before the night was over, they were at ease and confident that she would be alright. On the other hand, Neil and Katina were quite content to keep to each other, occasionally reprimanding Cain for whatever reason from time to time, debating on what it was that their nephew so wished to discuss with them.
When the time came and all were officially sent to their respective bedchambers – Cain’s orders, of course – everyone obeyed, but no one actually slept. They were all too anxious and ready to meet in the study at half past midnight.
Midnight came, and Riff and Cain, habitually early for such ‘secret’ meetings, arrived at the study. Cain was all too eager to proceed with what they had planned, but Riff voiced his concerns about the arrangement with Oscar.
Upon hearing this, Cain proclaimed that he was obviously daft and began to touch him in places that seemed to render thinking silly and unnecessary. Consequentially, Riff responded, and soon enough neither one really cared where the steward had gotten such an absurd idea in the first place. At around half past midnight, Cain made the declaration that clothes were useless and they were immediately discarded afterwards.
Elsewhere, the rest of the company was just rousing from their assigned quarters, making their way to the study for the rendezvous, each taking a different path to get there. At fate would have it, though, they all arrived at the closed door of the study at the same time. Obviously, nearly everyone was very perplexed and they quietly tried to get their stories straight with each other.
Based on Merryweather, Katina, and Neil’s encounter with Riff, though, they came to the general consensus that Cain obviously had something very important to tell them; something so important that they would be ordered to meet at half past midnight for. With eagerness and curiosity, they opened the doors to the study, and lo and behold the sight unto them…
Due to Cain’s declaration of the uselessness of clothes at such a time, the two of them were both stark naked, but fortunately there was a big desk in front of them, shielding them from something that really could have turned out to be more embarrassing than it was. And even more fortunately for them, they were not actively engaged in doing things, although had the party waited any longer, they would have seen a very hot and sweaty something.
However, the majority of the party failed to appreciate this extreme fortunateness.
Neil was, as always, very outraged and demanded an explanation for everything. He was the only one who had regained his sense, though; everyone else was purely shocked.
And so Cain offered the only explanation he had.
It was Naked Day.
With a little persuasion, Naked Day simply became known as one of the earl’s many eccentricities, like the poison obsession and family curse. And while it was said that Cain’s pseudo-holiday was never attempted in public again, there was much speculation of its private practice…
And so Naked Day lived on.
No really – I needed sleep when I wrote this…
Written: January 2004