A/n: Last chapter and boy is it a massive one! I hope all of you have enjoyed this series so far and just to forwarn you, there WILL be a sequel going into the details and events of season two, however, it will be based on an alternate ending for this story which will be posted with the sequel. Enjoy!
Chapter Twenty-Nine... "The only perfect love to be found on earth is not sexual love, which is riddled with hostility and insecurity, but the wordless commitment of families, which takes as its model mother-love. This is not to say that fathers have no place, for father-love, with its driving for self-improvement and discipline, is also essential to survival, but that uncorrected father-love, father-love as it were practiced by both parents, is a way to annihilation."-Germaine Greer
"Undertaker? What in blazes are you doing here?" Ciel's words were a deception. They held no heat as one might imagine but instead were soulless and heartless. The grief was too near, too overwhelming. He could not even muster the emotion to truly feel alarmed at the Reaper's presence.
It didn't take a genius to figure out why Undertaker was here. Harry was dead. The baby was dead. Even demons had Cinematic Records that needed collecting. But then why had so many Reapers come for only two souls? There was William T. Spears at his back as well as that dreadful Sutcliff character with a rather absurd pout on "her" face. The enigmatic Ronald Knox and the partners Eric Slingby and Alan Humphries. An aged, elderly Reaper by the name of Lawrence Anderson brought up the rear of the party. Did they fear that Sebastian would resist them taking his mate's soul? Would he? They were flying entirely off of the beaten path now and the Earl couldn't even venture a guess as to what to expect next.
Undertaker and Will approached, the latter giving a disappointed tsk'ing sound.
"His body is in terrible condition. No thanks to that Angel, no doubt." The suited soul collector turned to the silent, brooding demon with a sneer, "Come to finally enjoy your meal, demon?"
Ciel wasn't sure that Sebastian would even answer. He almost seemed as if he hadn't heard the question. His crimson eyes were focused on the blood-soaked body that he had laid out on the stone bench. Harry, as always, was the only thing that he could see. His entire world was laid out cold on that slab.
"No. I've come to bury my mate, Mr. Spears. What business is that of the Dispatch Management Division?"
More like, what business was that of his. Ciel's mind reeled. He wasn't going to devour him? But Ash was dead! Did that mean that there was another out there that was involved in his parent's deaths? Or was it simply a lack of appetite after losing Harry? Either way, it left the boy with a heady sense of disappointment. He just wanted to get it over with. Maybe he would see Harry once he was dead. Probably not. After all, his soul was going to be devoured. There would be no afterlife for him. But what sort of afterlife awaited a demon? Perhaps they would share the same nonexistence together.
The Reaper scoffed and dismissed the question entirely as his associate continued to look over the young demon's corpse analytically.
"But he isn't your mate, is he? You abandoned him. You abandoned your pregnant mate, betrayed him, and so he rejected you in turn."
Sebastian's jawline tensed and his eyes narrowed furiously but he gave no denial, no excuse. There was none to give. He had done exactly that, Ciel thought bitterly. If Sebastian had been there, if he hadn't left, would Harry have died in the first place? There was no point in wondering such things now. Not really. It wouldn't bring Harry back. It wouldn't give the baby back to them. It helped no one and frankly, he was just so tired. For once, the last Phantomhive had been looking forward to his demise. Losing Harry felt like losing his family all over again. Undertaker looked up at last from the body of the man that they had both loved sincerely, his expression pleased and giddy.
"I've seen much worst. This can be repaired without much effort. Then of course there is the matter of the taint. But it will all be in proper order. He has the items with him. Harry went to his and his child's death willingly in order to save the little lord."
And didn't that just sting worst than anything? When Ciel's parents had died, at least he had known that they were murdered because of the work his family did for the Queen. With Harry, the boy knew that the person he had come to see as his closest family had given up his hold on life for him. Harry would have lived if he hadn't gone after him. What did Undertaker mean when he said that "this can be repaired"? A sick feeling shot through his spirit without warning.
"You are not using Harry for one of your little 'experiments'. I'll die before I let you disgrace him in such a way." Ciel hissed furiously, his entire posture stiff and enraged at the perceived threat to his loved one.
He heard Sutcliff sulkily mutter, "If only". Undertaker, however, only released a delighted cackle.
"Oh, no, no, no, baby Phantomhive. We won't be reaping your soul for many years yet, I'm afraid. Our dear Harry made certain of that."
I wasn't going to die? For many years to come...? He said that Harry had made sure of it? What did he-? His sapphire eye caught sight of the second contract mark sitting darkly on the pale, sickly flesh of Harry's forehead. Oh...He didn't. No, it wasn't possible. The demon had been silent on what exactly was worth making another contract with Sebastian for.
It had been him all along. Ciel had been what was worth it.
The realization brought the stinging bite of tears to his eyes. It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair that Harry was the one who was gone now. He deserved to live, to have a family with his baby. And Ciel...Ciel had been entwined in the Underground since birth. He had murdered and manipulated, he had lied and hated, but Harry? Harry was a good person. He didn't deserve any of this. The giggling Reaper slid a hand beneath the heavy locket, observing the clunky jewelry that Harry had refused to remove since it had been gifted to him. His hum was one of approval.
"No time like the present, William. His wounds should be repaired with the change." Undertaker said with a sing song voice, "We've all come out to witness this, so lets get this show on the road, hm?" The silver-haired man lifted a wicked looking skull-crowned scythe in ecstatic preparation.
Sebastian at last moved to make his own thoughts known. Black nailed fingers wrapped around the scythe lizard-quick, his grip holding the weapon fast, unwilling to let it any closer to his deceased love than it already was.
"What are you planning? And I would caution you to not leave anything out because it very well may determine how violent this is about to get, Reaper." His humanity was slipping in his unseen distress, the sound of crow calls echoing all about the little hollow they had taken up residence in.
His threat only seemed to amuse the strange man and disgust his more upright companion. Undertaker leaned forward, completely unbothered by the hold on his precious scythe and whispered to Sebastian as if telling a brilliant secret.
"Our master is about to awaken, butler." He cackled uproariously, "Dear Harry is going to become a Reaper."
"All Reapers began as something else. We have to meet our deaths in order to be reawakened in our Reaper states. Your 'mate'," William spat the word with some disgust as if the very concept offended him, "is not just any Reaper. He is the head of our entire society, the top boss. The Master of Death. So unless you would like to lose your other arm, demon, I advise you to allow us to continue. It will happen either way."
Master of Death? Harry as a Reaper? The idea was absurd, ludicrous even. However... They would have Harry back if the soul collector's words could be trusted. Harry alive again, but in what state would he be? Would he be altered in any way? Would he still feel the same about them? Would his memories be intact? What about the child? These were the things that plagued Malphas's mind in the breath of a moment between when Undertaker spoke and the instant that he released the Death Scythe. The collective did not have long to wait for his word.
Spears took in the admission with barely a glance however... "You must know that we have never before changed one of your ilk, let alone one that began life as a human, wizard or otherwise. Harry Potter is going to be promoted to our highest level of management. He may not be the same person you knew before."
"You don't know what will happen?" Ciel butted in desperately, exasperation and ire written plainly on his delicate features.
Will moved to interject, no doubt in defense of his department's intelligence, but Sebastian cut him off abruptly.
"It doesn't matter. Just do it."
It didn't matter. Nothing mattered when stacked up against having his lover returned to him.
'To us', he reminded himself, glancing down at his distraught master.
"Ohhhhh, I've been waiting years for this!" Undertaker proclaimed joyfully as if the happenings were the most exquisite treat he could have received. That was, at least, until he shoved the long blade of his Death Scythe through Harry's unmoving chest.
It entered through with a horrible squelching sound and continued on until the scythe made a sharp sound on the stone beneath. Ciel experienced a moment of horror, an instance of 'No, no, nothing is happening!' before the small, craggy beach erupted with light. Sebastian let out a his of pain but nonetheless, pulled his young lord beneath him for protection. Just as he had dinner on the holy bridge. Just as Harry had done for his baby. Through the encompassing, brilliant illumination, Ciel witnessed a scene that he doubted many mortals had been privileged enough to experience before. A sight that stole his best away with its implications.
Harry's Cinematic Record was arching grandly from where the scythe jutted out of his body. It was rewinding. Going in reverse, his experiences played out as the film strip wound its way back into his still chest. It was happening. Before his eyes, it was really happening. Harry was coming back to them.
The tears in his bulging belly began to twitch then close, the rip disappearing as he watched on. It was astounding, truly. The light began to slowly dim and fade but Sebastian's hold on me did not waver. The grip was shaky and absolute. At least it was until a horrible rattling sound, only made worst by Ciel's realization that it was Harry's last breath undoing itself, echoed through the air. The butler who had wrapped himself around him so protectively at last began to shift. The beach was dark as night could be and everything was as it should be once more. The evening fell into stiff silence.
"Hello, darling." Undertaker spoke, grinning like a loon and breaking the brittle, abominable quiet that had pervaded the area.
"C-...Ciel." Replied the gravelly voice, wet and thick with the blood that has bubbled up during his death. A cough came to clear disused airways.
Ciel was out of Sebastian's suddenly slack grip as fast as his short, human legs could carry him. Sure enough, laying on the granite seat was Harry, awake, aware and beautifully alive. Emerald eyes were drowsy and groggy but he supposed that dying would do that to anyone.
"Harry! Harry, I'm here, I'm okay! God, I'm so sorry! In so sorry, it's all my fault! " The young Earl cried uncharacteristically and shamelessly, sobbing into a bloody chest and uncaring who saw.
Amazingly, where the scythe has penetrated had left no wound at all. As if the stabbing had never occurred at all. Harry chuckled, a sound that was punctuated by another cough.
"Hush now with that nonsense. It was my decision." The newborn Reaper turned to his smirking friend at his side, grimacing, "What have you done, Undertaker? How am I alive?"
"I've made you a Reaper, dear Harry! The Master of Death to be precise. Oh and my replacement as well. No sense in doing things by halves, after all!" The peculiar man chirped happily, leaning on his beloved Death Scythe. Behind him Will sputtered indignantly, face screwed up with shock
"Yes, yes, do keep up, William."
The ex-demon stared at the couple blankly.
"You made me a Reaper? What am I saying, of course you did." He deadpanned. Harry shook his head in dismay but gave Ciel a reassuring smile. That was when he caught sight of the dark figure standing back away from the bench.
~"You are the closest I will ever come to magic."―Suzanne Finnamore,The Zygote Chronicles
My mind halted like a vehicle running head first into a reinforced brick wall. There he was. The man who had started it all.
My so-called mate. My torment. My beloved. He was watching me keenly from the side, almost as if he were unwilling to gaze on me directly. I could see what it was that he was trying to cover up with that blank mask of his, though. I knew him too well for hiding.
Shame. He felt ashamed. The self-loathing was practically panned on his soul and as angry and as hurt as I felt, I also felt a little sorry for him. Merlin only knew why but I loved that bastard. I did. But I needed to know why. Why did he leave us? Why did he abandon his master, his baby, me? Why?
"Could we have a moment to ourselves, please?" The whispered request spilled out of my lips before I could stop them from coming.
Crimson eyes turned to me fully, surprise flickering through their depths. Surprise. He hadn't thought that I would want to speak to him. He expected some punishment to come, I could tell in the way he imperceptibly steeled himself as he approached where I lay. Ciel looked between the two of us, a wariness that was not wholly unwarranted coloring his one good eye. The little lord nodded at last.
"Very well. We won't be far."
He hauled Undertaker off to the side quickly and Sebastian took up his place. The proud demon knelt on the ground next to me so that we could be at eye level. My body was aching horribly and a rather uncomfortable pressure had formed a knot in my belly where I had been impaled in the battle. Silence reigned. He awaited my censorship as a condemned man approached the noose. What did one say in this sort of situation?
I love you. I hate you. You lied, abandoned, and betrayed. It's not your fault. It is your fault. I still love you and you don't deserve it.
"You left us." My words were almost indiscernible they were so soft. Quickly though, desperation and that same fear that had become a constant companion overtook me. The hold I had on my fragile, hard won control was slipping, "You left us, you left us, you left!" My voice rose in pitch, eyes widening as, for just a moment, I was reliving the terror I had felt in those days without him. As I realized that he would never knew that we had a son. As my life slipped away and all of those moments we would never have again danced in the back of my head.
Two hands gripped my arms tightly, drawing me back to myself though they could not erase the tears that had pooled in my unnaturally emerald, yellow flecked eyes.
"I know. I know and I'm...so sorry. This was no one's fault but my own. I was a self-serving ass, a member of the lowest life form, scum. Lower than scum." He gracefully ignored Will's muttering of 'He's right about that'. Sebastian's slitted crimson eyes bore into mine like the sincerity there could burn away every doubt in my heart. I wished it could. I wished that I could go back to him with no doubts but...the place where our bond once was lay cold and empty inside of me. What if we went back to how things were and this happened all over again? I was going to need more than just an apology.
"Why did you leave? I need to know why, Malphas."
His gaze did not leave mine. It was as if he were inviting me to read within his mind every truth and falsity that lay within. Sebastian wanted my trust again.
"Please understand, Harry, when my young master went back on our contract, I was so angry. Angry at him for violating every aesthetic that I had as a demon. Angry at you for trapping me into a contract that stuck me with him for a very long immortal life. Trapped into turning and caring for someone who would not uphold their end of a bargain. It was infuriating, shameful. I blamed you for loving him, for making that contract to spare him, for getting me to agree to turn him. In truth, I had only myself to blame. It was a century of your hatred of me for stealing you from your home world, all over again. I was angry at you and my master, but it was ultimately my decision to agree to the contracts in the first place. I returned when he became the master I knew once more but the damage had been done. I had only myself to blame in the end and now...Now this is on my shoulders too." His words were apologetic and strained like he were holding back the urge to touch me, to hold me as he hadn't been able to in days past. Perhaps he believed that he didn't deserve such a privilege any longer. I wasn't sure that he was incorrect but I found myself wanting to believe his words.
I wanted to trust him.
I wanted us to be happy again, all of us.
I wanted to forgive him.
Sure, maybe it was all going too fast. Maybe I was being too easy on him. Hell, perhaps I would regret it tomorrow but for now, I simply nodded.
"That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard but...I suppose I can see your side of things. Make no mistake, this does not mean you are off the hook by any stretch of the imagination. You can expect to be celibate for the next few decades, and that's just me getting started."
My reward was the tiniest of smiles.
"I think I can handle that." He whispered fondly, leaning his forehead against my hand with the crushing weight of relief laying on his once tense shoulders.
The pressure in my abdomen returned full force, this time bringing with it an aching seizing of my muscles. A pained sound of alarm drew the attention of not only the bemused onlookers but my returned mate as well.
"Harry?" Ciel called, rejoining my side cautiously, watching my hand fly to my front.
I gave a dismayed grimace, eyes widening as what I was experiencing finally came crashing down on my consciousness. My hand flew to Sebastian's where it lay on my wrist still, squeezing the appendage in a thrilled sort of anxiety.
"Sebastian? I...I think I'm in labor." I gasped out as another contraction gripped hold.
Before he could so much as gape in astonishment, Undertaker had shoved him out of the way, dragging the bemused Lawrence Anderson along with him by the back of the collar.
"No worries, my darling, we came prepared! I work on corpses, he makes spectacles. I think between the two of us, Pops and I can have got this covered!" The giggling Reaper laughed, prodding at my oversized belly with a long, dark nailed finger.
My expression must have been as alarmed as I felt because the aged man, gently removed Undertaker from his person with a sigh and bowed to me. A strand of his platinum hair escaped the confines of its carefully combed-back coif.
"Please have no fear, Director. I assure you that I was very experienced in these matters as a human and I am still just as capable today. Allow me to assist in bringing your little one into this world." Came the stoic, brusk voice.
I gave him a nod of assent but my teeth gnawed at the flesh of my lower lip nervously. The question on my tongue was too horrible. I almost didn't want to know the answer.
"My baby died before I did. Will...will he be born alive?" Would I be giving birth to the body of my child? Was this my newly resurrected body's way of rejecting the dead fetus inside of me? I was far too far along for the child to be reabsorbed back into my body. The only option was to give birth, alive or...otherwise.
Anderson gave a miniscule, comforting smile, an expression that nearly looked foreign on his face.
"Please do not let yourself be alarmed." Well, that certainly didn't held me feel any better, "Resurrection itself can be somewhat traumatic for a soul. It's why it isn't often done. To make matters worst, you've just experienced an entire species change and we are uncertain if your child will be born as a Demon, a Reaper or as something in between. All of these are compounded, to say nothing of the fact that you are several weeks away from full term, and we simply have no way of knowing if your child will survive the birthing process currently. We are only Grim Reapers, Director. Omniscience is not our department."
Sebastian was tense and uncomfortably silent at my side. I couldn't blame him. We may have to watch our baby die all over again and if he made it, there was no telling what exactly the baby would be. Would we be dealing with an infant Demon, a baby Reaper or something completely new? There was only one way to find out.
'Please, please, let him live. Just let my baby live. I don't care what he is, just let him live.' I begged for the second time in the last few hours.
Another contraction seized me and I hissed, tears suddenly springing to my eyes.
"Grell," I gasped, addressing the sulking Reaper for the first time. The red-head turned to me with a pout, "I need you to go back to Ciel's and my hotel room and get my baby bag."
I packed just in case I went into labor and now, come hell or high water, I wanted that bag at my side. The shark-toothed expression frowned as the irritating ex-butler scoffed, shooting a sneer in my direction.
"What do I look like, your delivery girl? Have one of your little admirers go get the bloody thing if you want it so badly. Why should I have to do it?" He groused, folding his arms over his chest like a slighted child. Unfortunately for him, the next contraction hit and my patience was far past expended.
"Go get the damned bag NOW, Sutcliff!" I shrieked, sweat pooling on my forehead while I shouted at the abominable creature through the pain. William delivered a swift swing of his hedge clippers to the back of the ginger head and Grell took off, mumbling to "herself" the entire way.
Sebastian knelt down once more at my head, running a gentle hand through my filthy hair. I was blood soaked, in labor, sweaty and fresh from death and yet he still looked down at me as if I were precious.
"Harry...You said 'he'. We have a son?" I couldn't help but laugh through the tears despite the floodgates pouring down my dirty, pale face, "How long have you known now?"
"I found out...the morning you left." A choked sob forced its way from my chest when his eyes dulled just the slightest bit at my words. I wouldn't admit it but I was so scared, terrified that this was all just a dream. That I was asleep or dead, that Sebastian wasn't really here and my child was still gone from this world. The hand in my hair ran a loving thumb over the edge of the contract mark on my forehead, tracing the edge contemplatively.
"You're beautiful, you know. I want to remember you forever just like this. The most beautiful thing I've ever seen." The demon whispered and for some reason, his eyes looked sad. It was then that I noticed something absent.
The contract mark did not react. It's master was touching it directly and I felt nothing. It was dead. The mark was dead and I was freed from it's effect. Was it my death or the change from Demon to Reaper that had done it? Did it matter? I was free! Free from the power of orders, free of a master! In fact, if Undertaker was to be believed, I was a master in my own right now. No one would control me again.
"I look terrible."
"You are exquisite, Harry Potter."
How strange...Sebastian never called me by my full human name. He felt almost distant, even though he sat right next to me. Perhaps I had just gotten so use to having him beneath my skin, within my mind but no...I didn't think so. He was struggling internally with something and it was beyond me what could be causing this silent distress in him.
"Samael." I corrected with a wince of pain, gripping my round belly and cursing the pain of child birth, "Call me Samael, Sebastian." His face remained stoic but it was in his crimson orbs that I could see the surprise. Did he think that I would reject everything up until now just because I wasn't a demon anymore? Clearly the man didn't know me as well as he thought he did. I gave him an admonishing smile, "You really think I'd leave you like that? Leave our family just because of one broken contract? Okay and maybe a bit of species changing? Please, Malphas, it's like you hardly know me at all."
My blessed reward was a kiss that I had been pining for since the morning that I had first awoken without him.
The labor was long and rough though to his credit, Lawrence Anderson was a very capable physician. Six hours later, Sebastian and I got our first look at the five pound, four ounce little boy that we had made. And, dear Merlin, he was breathing. He was breathing and he was okay and we were all going to get to go home together. To use Sebastian's words, he was the most beautiful thing that I had ever seen. Ciel peered over my exhausted body anxiously, reaching out a hand to brush it against five tiny toes that scrunched up in response. His sapphire colored eye was wide with awe.
Undertaker stood at the Earl's side, waving about the small skeleton plush toy that had been retrieved from the baby bag Grell had eventually returned with.
"So what did you decide to name my little godson, Harry? Hamlet? Monty? Megatron Shenanigans?" The Reaper apparently cracked himself up because his laughter was a force that could not be contained. Sebastian grimaced, clearly trying to perish the thought, much to my amusement.
I paid him no mind and instead stroked tender, shaking fingers over the small head of sparse, feather soft black hair. He lay sleeping in my arms, so tiny and fragile that I feared he would break right there in my hands. He weighed no more than a kitten and his heart pumped away like a little bird beneath my hand. He was a demon, just like his father, though Anderson said not to be surprised at all if he developed distinctly Reaper tendencies or abilities as he grew. After all, I was a Reaper and he had shared my body when I had undergone the change. For now though, it was inconsequential. We were okay. We were all going to be okay.
"Caelum." I revealed, drawing the butler's attention back to me and his child, "His name is Caelum. It means 'heavens', just like his big brother, Ciel."
The Earl in question perked up at the news, a bright grin spreading over his face.
"Big brother? Really?"
"Of course! You are just as much his family as we are. We're all a family now, Ciel. All four of us." No matter how much making up Sebastian had to do for the next few decades or so. He wasn't getting off that easily.
"Em, yes, well now that the child is well and everything is taken care of on that front, there is the matter of your new status as the Master of Death, Director." William spoke up, adjusting his spectacles in a nearly nervous fashion. His hand fluttered to his tie for the briefest of moments before he collected himself and straightened. Undertaker hummed with some amusement next to me as I passed Sebastian his son to hold for the first time. The look on the Demon's face when his child was given to him was worth everything. He looked...enlightened. As if every good thing that could have ever existed in the world was now wrapped into one precious package in his arms.
"Why do you call me that? Director?"
To the suited man's dismay it was actually Undertaker who answered, ruffling my long hair humorously.
"Because that's what your are, darling! You're the Master of Death, the big boss. You are now the Director of the Grim Reaper Dispatch Society. And since I'm an old dog to the game, I've decided to give up my scythe for good. Who better to give my precious one to than you? After all, you've entrusted your first born to me. Seems like a fair trade." The man gave a long suffering sigh, stroking his beloved Death Scythe one last time before handing it over to me.
Well...What was I suppose to say to that? It was touching, in an odd sort of way. I beamed at my peculiar friend, accepting his gift gratefully.
"Thank you." I whispered with all sincerity. Will cleared his throat, drawing our attention back to him once more. Sebastian sneered from my side only to quickly return to his fascination with our son's tiny fingers, "I think I'm entitled to a maternity leave, wouldn't you agree Mr. Spears? After all, I just gave birth. My newborn is a demon and Ciel is soon to be turned himself. They will need me until they can care for themselves. I would say...fifty years, give or take?"
Sebastian nodded in agreement. Undertaker cackled. William just looked horrified.
"Now, now, William! Don't take it so hard! We haven't had a Director all this time and we've been doing just fine." Ronald Knox exclaimed with a grin, clapping his colleague on the shoulder, "Harry seems like a stand up guy, yeah? I'm sure he won't leave you in the lurch entirely."
The stoic man looked to me hopefully but I just shrugged. Whatever they wanted, as long as we could wrap this up quickly. I was exhausted. Dying, coming back from the dead, giving birth. I had had a very trying day and my partner seemed to take note of my weariness and dropping shoulders.
"It will give you ample time to train Harry to take on his new position, though, Mr. Spears. And he may still do paperwork at Phantomhive Manor. Fifty years is plenty of time to learn the ins and outs of the job, wouldn't you agree?"
William looked like the last thing he wanted to do was concede the point to Sebastian but it was a good idea. I would be able to stay home with my family until the boys could care for themselves. Even as a human, I could remember many new mothers quitting work until their children were school aged. This would be no different.
Good, it was settled then. I couldn't get my children home fast enough.
~ "A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It knows no law, no pity. It dares all things and crushes down remorselessly all that stands in its path."-Agatha Christie
"Daddy! Daddy!" Caelum's little baby lisp shouted through the upstairs corridor of the manor, the sound heading straight for our bedroom.
Sebastian groaned, lifting himself up from where he had been "entertaining" me on his knees. Thoroughly. I heaved a sigh, shooting him an apologetic grin. I had just enough time to rearrange my bathrobe before our youngest son burst into the room, quite literally. Emerald eyes beamed and bouncing, loose black curls sprung around his face, completely unrepentant when they fell back in place as the child pushed them back with a small hand. Caelum bound into Sebastian's arms, all giggles escalating into shrieks of delight when his father spun him around playfully. Ciel approached slowly from the corridor and shot the two of us a knowing smirk as he took in my rumpled, hastily tied robe.
Cheeky thing. Ever since he figured out the specifics of the sexual relationship between Sebastian and I, he acted as if he knew everything about it. An eternal teenager, what had I been thinking?
"Hello, my little Prince. How might I help you this fine midnight?" My mate asked Caelum, playful seriousness written on his face.
"Daddy, you know! You know!" The child demanded, practically jumping up and down.
Sebastian and I shared an amused, knowing glance.
"Yes, you are absolutely right. I do believe someone turns four today. But first thing is first. Breakfast and then bath time, little Prince."
My son was passed over to my waiting embrace and small, baby arms wrapped lovingly about my neck. Yes, dying had been so worth it. There wasn't a single day that I had not believed so. Through terrible twos that involved the burning down of an entire wing of the manor and that one time that he had brought home a rather gruesome spirit like some sort of blood soaked, demented puppy. The day that Ciel had insisted on going out hunting on his own and had been lost for two days before we found him. The terrifying night when a rogue Reaper had attacked my family and had needed to be destroyed. All of these experiences and more had made every instance precious and undefinable. Everything I had ever had to give up was worth so little in comparison. I grinned and beckoned Ciel over, already pulling a spare soul from the sheath in my wrist. It had taken years but I had finally gotten Will to approve the taking of souls, only enough to get by, and only for my children. Sebastian was an adult and could take care of himself. No matter how much the stoic Reaper deplored the butler-turned-father, I think that Caelum was steadily growing on him. After all, who could resist such an adorable face and brilliant smile? I couldn't, that was for sure.
"Open up, love. Breakfast time."
The excited clapping of tiny hands was my reward.
It was all worth it.
A/n: Finished at last! Wow, this chapter took days to write!