Disclaimer: Nothing here!

Author's Note: Woo-hoo! I (technically) finished a chapter fic. (Is it sad how proud of myself I am right now? Haha.) Just one more servant to acknowledge… Enjoy! X3

PS. Tanaka doesn't get a chapter because he was hired by Ciel's father, not Ciel himself. (Or so I'm assuming, since he seems to have been around at the time of the fire.)

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Finding the Sky

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Ciel's forehead hits his desk with an audible thump, and he serenades the sound with the longest, loudest, most exasperated sigh that Sebastian has ever heard escape those young lips. "…do I even want to know?" the young boy grumbles, lifting his face with as much dignity as he can muster. "The last time you updated me on their activities, Maylene was using shoe polish on the dishware, Finny had accidentally thrown a tree through a window, and Bard was cooking a salad with his flamethrower. I believe the phrase 'ignorance is bliss' was created specifically for situations such as these. Please. For the sake of my sanity, allow me to stay ignorant."

In response, the black-clad butler offers a soft chortle, a slight bow, and a polite smile that does nothing to mask his obvious amusement. "My deepest apologies, young master," he says amiably, "but as the head of this household, it is only right for you to be informed of minor details such as these."

Ciel groans quietly, steepling his fingers atop his desk. He isn't fooled; he knows this is the demon's revenge for his having hired the others in the first place. And, perhaps, for a crack he once made about skinning cats. "Sometimes I don't know why I put up with those three…" the child mutters, leaning back in his gilded chair.

Sebastian's smirk lengthens as he stands, taking his usual place at the boy's left side. "It is because the young master is so kind-hearted, I'm sure, that he welcomed those three so graciously into his home, faults and all."

The young earl levels his servant a cold glare. "You of all people should know that I am not kind," he snaps, laced hands clenching.

A confirmatory hum. "If that is the case, young master, then you are incredibly pathetic," Sebastian decrees in a purr, leaning forward just enough to allow his employer to feel him there: lingering like a silhouette with form and scent and touch. "You see yourself in those three, do you not? Maylene's weakness and loneliness, Finnian's brutal torture, Bard's desire to escape from the memories of his violent past. Deep in your heart, you wanted to save them: save them like you wish someone had saved you…"

As the demon breathes sweetly into his pinking ear, the child's lip trembles; it has soon curled upward in a visible show of fury. With a hiss and a spin, Ciel pierces his butler with a frigid glower. "I need no saving," he snarls, blue eye flashing in stubborn vehemence. The man beside him returns the stare, unbothered and indifferent.

"I am happy to hear you say that," Sebastian returns calmly, as if amused by his master's wrath. But within the next few moments, his soft eyes have narrowed, and his long leer has widened, and he is whispering into the silence of the sunny study: "Because you will never be saved."

Neither speaks for a full minute. But then, there is no need to: nothing has been said that is either untrue or debatable.

A breath. Ciel stands, turns his back to his desk, and walks briskly towards the bay windows. "That's fine," he murmurs as he does so, face deadpan and voice dull. He cannot be, will not be, refuses to be afraid. "I have risen above all of that."

He hears his butler bow again, though the rustle of his fine clothes is almost imperceptible in the hazy hush of the room. "Very true," Sebastian agrees, black humor in his words. "The young master has risen. Not only has he risen above his own hell, but he has freed those three as well: opened the world to them, and shown them the sky. But the young master has no need to see the sky, himself. Not when he is the sky…"

The boy shoots his servant a flat-faced stare. "…is that supposed to be a joke, Sebastian?"

Sebastian chortles softly, straightening with another beguiling grin upon his face. "More of a pun, young master."

"A pun." Ciel shakes his head, disgusted. "Get back to work," he coldly commands, waving a hand as if to shoo away a pesky pet.

"Yes, my lord."

Instantaneous, crisp, and steady footfalls echo, bouncing off the polished wood of the study floor; Ciel keeps his eyes on the sky beyond the paned glass window, his attention diverted until he hears the far doors open. And then—

"Young master."

The boy turns slightly, his gaze catching the butler's— now standing half-in and half-out of the sunlit room. The younger of the two quirks a prompting eyebrow.

"What?"

A pause.

"I am no different than the others, you know," the servant then proclaims, tilting his head in unspoken amusement. "The young master and I are very much alike."

Ciel scowls. "What on earth are you going on about?" he demands, weary impatience coloring his voice.

"When we first met," Sebastian clarifies, beaming in that veiled way of his. "You saw something of yourself in me, didn't you? Just as you did your other servants. After all, we were—and are— both hungry, are we not?"

Thin lips leer; a knotted stomach drops. From across the lengthy study, all but swallowed by shifting shadows, the demon's gaze turns a lusty, ruby red.

"We simply hunger for different things, that's all."

A low and silky chuckle…

The doors close with a silent snap.

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