24th story for the Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler archive! Horrah! ;throws confetti;
Anyway, this fic is a big old present for my dear friend Savannah. She threw me the plot she wanted me to write, and I twisted it all up, and wrote it! Thanks to anyone for reading-- though there can't be much of you fans out there! Those of you who are fans, tell others about the awesome anime-- convert people!
Disclaimer: I do not own Kuroshisuji/Black Butler.
Warnings: OOC Ciel, OOC Sebastian? Maybe? In my opinion, but you guys are reading.
The wine had a unique taste to it… dull, and yet bold. Metallic, harsh, sour, stinging… full of flavor.
Ciel Phantomhive propped his head up on his hands, his dull eyes focused dryly on the glass as he swirled its contents around inside of it, the red wine staining each side temporarily before he let it settle ad brought it to his mouth. Now instead of staining the glass, the red wine stained his pale lips crimson.
Bittersweet… the wine was bittersweet.
Besides the soothing taste, the smooth liquid did wonders to the young boy's mouth, dry and sore from issuing order upon order all day long.
The alcohol sent another burst of warmth through his body the second it hit his stomach. The feeling made him shudder and sink at leisure into his large armchair. He sat alone at his vast dining table, long enough to accommodate forty or more guests and still have space remaining, and stared all the way down it where the other head chair was positioned.
Normally, he wouldn't be this alone. Sebastian was ever at his side, and his 'solitary' dinners were no exception. It always worked that way. Ciel was never really alone. Sebastian was never too far off.
But today, he had gone… ah, where to? Ciel couldn't remember. He didn't really care, either. Resolved to forget, he downed the rest of the glass and poured himself another.
To the market. That was it. Perhaps the rest of Ciel's servants were too incompetent, in Sebastian's yes, at least, to accomplish such a small feat. Or had Ciel had been the one to send him?
Sebastian had always obstinately refused Ciel when he requested a glass of wine with dinner, or to help him sleep. The only time Ciel ever got a glass was during dinners and meetings, when having a glass of water instead of wine would make him look like more of a child than he already looked.
Needless to say, the second Sebastian left, Ciel had gone straight for one of his mansion's nine bars, and plucked the oldest, dustiest bottle of wine he could find from the pantry. If only there was something stronger in this ruddy old mansion.
The fact was, he wasn't there. Perhaps Ciel could go one night without getting into any life threatening situations—perhaps not. Either way, he wasn't worried about his life. He had only the best insurance one could have.
Tonight, his eye patch felt especially tight. On good nights, he could barely feel it. It was as if it weren't there.
On bad nights, the strap dug into his flesh painfully, reminding him of the power he held—and the burden he would inevitably come to bear.
Another sip… another sigh.
Besides the feeling of wariness and abandonment, Ciel always felt something else when Sebastian wasn't around: lightweight.
Or maybe that was the wine.
Ahhh… the image of the dining hall seemed to double and then triple as Ciel swayed back and forth in his chair, the intricate armrests the only thing keeping him from falling out of the chair.
Ciel blinked and things realigned. He pushed away the glass of wine, and instead, pulled the bottle closer, uncorking it with his thumb, and raising it to his mouth.
Suddenly, the bottle had disappeared from his grip.
"Young Master," Sebastian's familiar voice chuckled. "There is a reason I don't allow you wine." His statement was followed by the squeak! of the cork being forced into place.
When had he gotten back?
Ciel blinked up at his faithful demonic butler. Were there two of him just a moment ago?
The young Earl felt two thin, strong arms pushing their way under his body, and lifting him from the chair gently.
Ciel squirmed. "Don't be p… preposterous, Sebastian… I can walk just… fine," he mumbled stubornly.
Sebastian held his grip, taking long, even strides out of the room. "In my Master's best interest, I don't think that very wise." Ciel couldn't focus on his face, but he could hear that Sebastian was smiling.
His butler placed him gently down in his large bedroom, standing him up about a yard in front of his bed. With a groan, Ciel turned and took a step towards it.
"Ah," Sebastian objected, scooping him up before he could accomplish his journey. "Young Master, you wouldn't really want to sully your freshly-cleaned sheets with day clothes, would you?" His eyes softened. "Would you like help changing?"
Ciel spread his arms in response. Sebastian, correctly taking this gesture as a "yes," chuckled quietly and began unbuttoning Ciel's blouse. If it weren't for the sudden drop in temperature, Ciel wouldn't even have realized that he was being undressed.
Sebastian squatted before him with Ciel's silky white pajamas in hand. "Step in," he advised. Ciel put his feet into the openings, and Sebastian dropped his own hands, allowing Ciel to pull up the pants on his own which he did shakily. Once he'd accomplished this, Sebastian pulled the night shirt over his spread arms and buttoned it up slowly, once again concealing Ciel's bare chest.
"Now, Master," Sebastian smiled, "You may rest. I'm also locking all of the bars tomorrow," he chuckled.
Ciel groaned quietly as he slid under the covers of his majestic bed, the blankets swallowing him whole. "Please do just that, Butler," he mumbled, lying flat on his back and pulling the blankets up to his nose.
Sebastian sighed, took his candle-stick from the bedstand, and turned to leave.
The demonic butler turned, the same bemused smile on his face.
Ciel sat up with effort, and untied the criss-crossing straps holding on his eyepatch from behind his head, as he did nightly.
Careful not to catch Sebastian's eye, Ciel looked at his knees and mumbled, "Stay beside me until I fall asleep."
Sebastian sank into a deep bow, saying, "Until the ends of the Earth." When he straightened out, his grin was even bigger than before, if that were possible, with the delicious double-meaning of his statement.
Ciel again sank into his pillows and snuggled into their warmth. Although an hour earlier in the dining hall, he felt he'd faint any second, now he felt more awake than ever. He glanced up at Sebastian, who was smiling down from beside the bed. Ciel turned over to face the opposite wall, eyes still wide open.
The taste of wine was sill in his mouth.
Ciel bit his lip hard, not withdrawing from the action until he felt a dribble of blood trickling down his chin. As he ran a finger up his chin along the trail of blood, stopping the trickle before it stained the white linens, he could hear Sebastian's footsteps heading towards the door. Measuring his time, Ciel brought his blood stained finger to his mouth and tasted the metallic red on his fingers.
Ciel turned over in his bed, back to Sebastian who had just opened the door to escape. He watched patiently as his demonic butler turned and blew his candles out, spreading smoke around the room as well as resounding darkness. Now only the dim light of the waning moon remained peeking through the curtains persistently.
"Butler," Ciel called just as Sebastian was reaching for the door, "I remember saying 'until I fall asleep.'"
Sebastian spun around swiftly and dropped into another low bow. "Forgive me," he said, still face-to-the-floor. "It was obviously mistaken in assuming that your even breaths indicated a slumber." Another smile was in play on his face when he straightened.
Ciel turned on his back, staring at his smooth, ivory ceiling. "Obviously."
The flicker of flame coming to life made Ciel blink as his butler reignited the candlestick.
In a dull silence, he stared at the ceiling. His face felt almost lightweight and naked without his eye patch. Although he knew the burden would still be borne.
The growing of his bed's shadow cast against the wall indicated to Ciel that the light source, Sebastian's candlestick, was being lowered. Without moving his body, he turned his head to face Sebastian, who had placed the candlestick beside him and was lowering himself on his knees to sit beside Ciel's small body in his raised bed.
"Is there anything I can do to help ease the journey to sleep?"
Ah, Sebastian. Always the helpful. He was probably giving less attention to his word phrasing and decisions, expecting that Ciel would forget the whole incident before he woke up from all the wine. Well. Who's to say he was wrong? Ciel already couldn't recount any of his activities from the evening.
Ciel blinked at his butler. There were two of him, still, but the second image was fainter now. They were both… Ciel hiccupped. He didn't know what they were.
His body still turned towards the ceiling, the young Earl turned his head to face the other wall once more, turning away from his butler on his right. He slid the hand closest to Sebastian off of the side of the bed, though, and his small, bare fingers soon wormed their way into his servant's grip.
Just the action made him felt weak and humiliated, even through his drunken haze. He refused to face Sebastian, but also refused to let go of his hand. He faced the ceiling, whereupon several flames' shadows danced merrily.
"When I was younger," he mumbled, and then swallowed, willing away the lump forming in his throat. "My mother would grasp my hand as I fell asleep, to remind me of her presence."
Out of the corner of his eye, Ciel could see Sebastian look down at his hand fatherly.
Unable to bear it anymore, Ciel yanked his hand from Sebastian's grip, finally turning to face his butler.
"I'm not y… young anymore, Sebastian."
Sebastian tipped his head thoughtfully. "Twelve years old, and –"
"Twelve in body, maybe," Ciel clarified, "But older in experience. I'd say—" Ciel hiccupped again. "I'm about… seventy-two in experience. Wouldn't you?"
Sebastian chuckled, and his gloved hand again found Ciel's, wrapping his hand around it. "Seventy-two or seventy-two hundred, we could all use some warm reassurance at times."
"Says the cold, sinister, soul-stealing demon," Ciel pointed out, only causing Sebastian to chuckle again. The warmth from his hand, however, willed Ciel to sigh and let his eyes flutter closed, his heart skipping a beat as Sebastian began rubbing soothing circles into his palm with his gloved thumb.
For a moment, Ciel wanted to stay just like that, and drift to sleep like any normal boy would. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite normal, so this didn't apply to him.
He could only wonder what the warmth of someone lying next to him would feel like. Like the warmth of his mother when he'd had a nightmare and crawled into her bed on stormy nights, or of his father as he snuggled in closer to have a story told to him.
Ah, butlers were for obeying and not asking questions, were they not? And if worse came to worst, he could blame it on the wine.
Ciel pulled his hand free again, but quickly replaced it on the base of Sebastian's forearm, right above his elbow, and pulled hard. Sebastian knew his intentions, but remained planted to the floor, an eyebrow raised questioningly.
"Did you not ask if there was anything you could do to help me sleep?" Ciel snapped.
Not needing to be told twice, Sebastian slid his arm under Ciel's neck, sitting on the bed beside him, on top of the blankets. It was a very intimate position, with Ciel's head using Sebastian's broad chest as a pillow, and yet, between the two of them who knew each other outside and in, not awkward… not very awkward, at least, and Ciel was tired. The young Phantomhive offered his servant his hand again, and Sebastian picked up where he left off.
"I used to sleep like this with my mother every night," Ciel murmured into the blankets.
"Young Master, I am not your mother."
Ciel hiccupped. "I would hope not. I don't think my mother would find it very wise to sell one's soul… or anything of the –" another hiccup "— sort."
"Nor are you your mother," Sebastian pointed out.
Ignoring him, Ciel continued, "I don't think my mother would—" This hiccup he used to his advantage, turning over and propping himself up with his hands as if doing a push up, and crawling closer to a bewildered-looking Sebastian. "…Find this very v-virtuous, either."
Sebastian leaned back, as if by doing so he could perhaps force some sense into Ciel. Unfortunately, it had no effect on him. Ciel leaned forward and put his arms on either side of his faithful butler, and before Sebastian could open his mouth to object, the young boy, arguably a child, had pressed his own lips down on the demon's.
When Sebastian remained, frustratingly, unresponsive, Ciel took it upon himself to make something happen. He put his hand around his butler's neck and guided both of them up into a sitting position so that Ciel was on his lap. From there, things could hardly go downhill.
Although Ciel didn't exactly have experience, it didn't take much reasoning to figure out what should be done here. He locked his lips to Sebastian's and moved them to an unheard symphony. Within seconds, it seemed Sebastian could hear it as well, as he responsively moved his own lips in sync.
Abruptly, Ciel could feel the older man's firm hands on his shoulder, breaking off their connection.
"Master. This is hardly—"
"A master and his slave," Ciel slurred, blending each word into the other as if it were all one. "I see no more fit p-… pairing. I d-doubt I'll remember an ounce of this tomorrow," he rambled, and then fixed Sebastian with a look. "And even if I do, I'll never tell you… What's the harm here?"
Sebastian squinted in response, as if trying to figure out what was going on in Ciel's head. Well, good luck to him with that. Ciel didn't even know what was going on in Ciel's head.
"All this time, such a faithful servant," Ciel mused, and with a small finger, he traced his servant's maliciously set jawline. "It's time you got something in return, isn't it?"
"A child," Sebastian repeated quietly, sounding nearly incredulous. Warily, he pressed his lips, of his own accord this time, to Ciel's and then pulled back, as if tasting for something. "And yet, an adult."
This statement was rushed to make time for the more fast-paced and lively kiss that he rewarded Ciel's patience with. His kisses were by far more aggressive, but, after all, he was a demon, wasn't he?
Unlike Ciel, Sebastian wasn't playing for fun; he was playing for a goal. Without breaking their quickly heating kiss, he slid his adolescent master onto his back, so that his head was resting on the down pillow, and gently lowered his legs, as well, onto the bed, pulling up the blanket up to the young boy's chest.
After it finally dawned on Ciel what Sebastian was working at, he forcefully decided he wasn't having that. Just as his butler was about to break the kiss, the young boy wrapped his hands around his neck and pulled him closer. With no other choice, Sebastian straddled the boy, deepening the kiss. He was, after all, but a humble servant, obliged to do whatever his master requested and then some.
Finally, Sebastian withdrew, stirring an upset whimper, very out of character, from Ciel.
"Young Master," Sebastian objected, finally pulling Ciel's arms loose from around his neck. "You need your rest." He pulled off of the bed gracefully, picking up his candlestick and sinking into a bow. As Ciel brought his fingers to his lips, feeling the phantom press of the kiss, Sebastian blew out the candles and strode towards the door.
Sebastian spun around. Ciel turned to look at the ceiling, pressing his fingers to his lips.
"Your lips—they taste like blood."
Sebastian cocked his head and chuckled. "I believe that was the flavor of your blood the both of us were indulging in." He cleared his throat.
"If that's all…?"
Ciel nodded to the ceiling, listening for the familliar clink of the door closing as Sebastian made his well-deserved escape.
No, that wasn't it. His lips didn't taste like blood at all.
They tasted bittersweet.
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