Disclaimer: I don't own; you don't sue. Can't we all just get along~?
Summary: The lesson of History: to learn from the mistakes of the past. The lesson of Literature: to never commit those mistakes in the first place. Sebastian/Ciel.
Author's Note: So. I was bored and decided to look up name meanings because I'm an odd little Neko-chan like that. Seeing as how I adore Sebastian, I decided to look up Sebastian first. The results were 'man from Sebaste'--not too interesting, I agree. The other meaning for Sebastian was 'venerable,' which can mean any of the following: commanding respect because of great age or impressive dignity; a title for someone proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church to have attained the first degree of sanctity or of an Anglican archdeacon; hallowed by religious, historic, or other lofty associations...... and my favorite: extremely old or obsolete. -cracks up- There's also stories about an old Roman soldier who become a saint after he was martyred for his faith--obviously, his name was Sebastian. Obviously, these interpretations intrigued me, so I went searching for 'Ciel,' whose name means 'sky' in French, as well as from Heaven or Heavenly. Tie all of those meanings together and then add in a dash of The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus (by Christopher Marlowe) and the idea that literature in early times was supposed to both instruct and entertain... well. This idea came about.
--- On a side note, The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus is totally my favorite non-Modern play, and I will freely admit that I'm geeking out all over the place in this. -attempts to look innocent and not at all like an English major nerd- If you haven't yet read the play and are a fan of Kuroshitsuji, definitely check it out. You'll probably see lots of similarities~~
FAUSTUS: Come, I think hell's a fable.
MEPHASTOPHILIS: Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.
It was bright that day.
The sun shone down, glittering fiercely through the open windows of Ciel's tastefully decorated study. As the day wore on, the room became more and more stuffy and the light that much more uncompromising as he beat down upon the back of the boy's neck. The light reflected off the various silver writing instruments that littered the boy's desk and, finally frustrated with trying to concentrate and not being able to from the sharp glare, young lord Phantomhive finally gave up, gathered his books together, and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon curled up under a tree near the rose garden. It was the first breath of June and the roses were still blooming, filling the air with their heady scent.
As he made his way through the echoing halls of the mansion, Ciel lightly tapped one book against his thigh and ignored the goings-on of his staff: they all were as they always were, which was to say not doing their jobs and causing more disasters for Sebastian to sort out. It amused him, watching Sebastian sort through the various mishaps with his cool aplomb; the boy sometimes wondered if there was anything that would eventually faze the butler--already knowing the answer to that much pondered upon musing, Ciel still couldn't help himself. And thus, he watched and laughed behind dryly amused eyes.
Ciel was ever curious to see if there was anything that could cause Sebastian to lose his stoic expression, his cruelly amused smile.
(Perhaps that was the reason why he didn't fire his staff, as incompetent as they were.)
The boy snorted at that particular thought and slipped out the back entrance, knowing that no one would stop to question where he was going--no matter his age and what others saw in him when they met him, he was the master here and he would do as he wished. The wooden heels of his shoes gave a soft 'tap tap tap' with every step--the quiet sounds didn't echo far, instead quickly swallowed up in the oppressive heat of the day. It was humid, too, and Ciel tugged off his tie and opened a few buttons of his shirt to help ease the feeling of being smothered. Perhaps, despite the irritation of his study, he should have stayed inside... but no: a light breeze soon enough whispered through the gardens, causing the flowers to bow low, and the cloying scent of his roses reached Ciel. Breathing deep, the boy's stride lengthened.
This would do well enough.
It was bright that day--but shadows stretched out with greedy, clinging fingers as sunset neared.
Ciel was napping beneath one of the garden's trees, hidden from casual view with his legs tucked up near his chest, the books that he was supposed to be studying scattered about his drowsing body. Milton, Petrach, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Marlowe: today had been a day that was supposed to be focused upon the great works of literature from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, just as yesterday had been a review of important events in the 11th century. But the heat from this day had beckoned for a nap and, though he fought hard, Ciel had been unable to resist the soft call in the end.
The boy slept and he dreamed of his and his butler's first meeting as the cry of 'I'll burn my books!' echoed in his ears.
It hurt and Ciel couldn't ever remember hurting this much--could barely remember much at all aside from a woman's scream that went on and on and on. It hurt, and he didn't understand why a sudden surge for the need for revenge coiled its way through his body, fingertips curling in tight towards his palms as he raged at the darkness of it, of anything and everything, not being fair!
'You can change that,' a voice whispered out from the void, deep and dark and promising. 'You can change that with my help, should you wish it. A contract between you and I, and I can help you attain any number of things. Should you wish it.'
A second chance, the ability to change the future--it was already too late to change the past. But... though he could not change the past, perhaps he could avenge it.
If God would not deal out Justice, then he would do it himself.
"I wish it," Ciel whispered, though his voice did not waver.
The voice chuckled at the boy's words and, painfully, Ciel turned his head to the side to search for the owner of that bemused voice. His gaze met that of a raven: larger than any he had ever seen before, light from an unseen source glimmered off its deadly beak and feathers. 'Once one has rejected God, that person will never be allowed entrance into Heaven,' the demon--for that was what it was--cautioned.
Oh, it hurt.
Ciel's reply, however, was as steady as ever: "If I had believed in God, would I have summoned you? Form the contract!"
The demon laughed and laughed and laughed, and there was a burning in his right eye as his world went dark once again.
"My lord, if you would return to your study, I have your tea and an Apple Nut Dessert awaiting your enjoyment."
The words stirred Ciel from his slumber, and he slowly opened his eyes to look up at Sebastian through the sunlight-haloed leaves of the tree above him. Squinting at the light, the young master reached up to shade his gaze from the intense light, frowning up at the other hovering over him. "I would rather have it out here," the boy said after a moment's pause, awareness lifting up from its previous befuddled state.
Ciel yawned absently and reached up to cover it delicately, not about to be chided by Sebastian for poor manners.
In answer to that, the butler just raised an elegant eyebrow, expression as cooly bemused as ever. "If you wish, I can easily bring everything out here." He bowed then, head inclining the amount as required by Society, and made as if to leave.
Pushing himself up on an elbow, Ciel had other ideas. "Wait."
Sebastian stopped immediately at the quiet order, turning his head to the side to look back at his master, eyebrow once more quirking. It was the eyebrow, though, and the cruel, cold amusement that perpetually slid through the demon's eyes that caused the young Phantomhive to frown, thoughts and memories and questions molding and growing and brushing against one another until Ciel felt both confused and helpless--and that made him angry.
"Why do demons warn others before enacting their contract?" the boy asked, his question not so much a query as a demand for the other to answer.
Sebastian's smile deepened slightly, the ends of his mouth curling up in a sly, feline smile. "What prompted this inquiry, my lord?"
Wordlessly, Ciel reached down and showed Sebastian the leather-bound copy of Marlowe's work. It also didn't need to be said that the demon, too, had warned the boy before forming the contract that the young lord now carried in his right eye.
"Hmph," that same demon answered, amusement growing. "My lord, you shouldn't believe everything that you read." Easily sidestepping away from answering the boy's question, Ciel's eyes narrowed slightly before he reached up to tug off the patch that covered his eye; letting lashes raise, the lord's gaze was determined as he stared at the butler's retreating back. He wanted an answer and Sebastian mocked him for it--and so Ciel ordered it from him.
This time, the glance that Sebastian gave Ciel was not quite as amused, not quite as indulgent as before. He stared at the boy, eyebrows raised, and waited. The boy did not give him long to wait as he repeated: "Tell me."
The butler once more inclined his head, palm pressed to where his heart should have been.
"Yes, my lord."
It billowed out from the butler, surrounding the garden and blocking the bright light from the sun. Soon enough, it surrounded both demon and boy, encasing them and reminding Ciel all too thoroughly of the time that he and the other had first met. 'The other'--because Ciel never, ever forgot what Sebastian truly was.
"You, my lord," came the whispering chuckle from the darkness; almost idly, lashes seemed to lift as a pair of glowing, blood-red eyes lit the nighttime-deep that surrounded them both, "and countless others before you were warned so that you would be aware of what it would mean to form a contract with me and my kin. Being denied Heaven forevermore--your soul became stained the moment we formed our contract."
The laugh came again, and Sebastian's voice distorted to the point of sounding exactly as he had that very first time, before he had adopted his human guise. Ciel had ordered him to speak and, with such a command, the demand was unable to disobey his master. He could, however, finally show the full consequences of their agreement: "I do as you wish for your lifetime, watching as your soul grows darker and darker until finally our contract ends. You have me here, as I am now, for only a number of human years; I have you for eternity."
Ciel could hear his heart thudding quickly in his ears, his breathing rough and shuddering in his chest. Still, despite the fear that--for once--he was unable to hide, the streak of arrogance and rebellion that had originally called Sebastian to him resurfaced. Chin tilting up, knowing the harm that the prayer to Sebastian's namesake saint would cause, the boy spoke the words defiantly as he annunciated each: "Dear Commander at the Roman Emperor's court, you chose to be a soldier of Christ and dared to spread faith in the King of Kings---for which you were condemned to die. Your body, however, proved athletically strong and the executing arrows extremely weak. So another means to kill you was chosen and you gave your life to the Lord--"
The boy's mouth burned as Sebastian silenced him with a snarl that rumbled low in his throat, the demon's mouth bruising against Ciel's. The other, dark presence buried his fingers roughly in his 'master's' hair, keeping the boy still as he plundered and took what he wanted; with delicate force, the demon's tongue slipped between Ciel's lips that had parted in a surprised gasp: tracing the edges of the boy's teeth, the other deepened the kiss further. In this, the demon demanded control and he had no intention of relinquishing it.
It had been bright that day, but the brilliant reds and golds of sunset soon enough faded to the deep blue of night.
It was late that night before Ciel finally managed to find solace in sleep.
MEPHASTOPHILIS: Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think'st thou that I, who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells
In being deprived of everlasting bliss?
O Faustus, leave these frivolous demands,
Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.