Warnings: BOYXBOY YAOI. Not really shota, since I made Ciel eighteen. Unfortunately the yaoi is more hinted at than explicit, but Kuroshitsuji is all hints and teases…
Disclaimer: Nope, don't own them. I'd love to, though, so if anyone ever hears that the manga-ka is selling them/raffling them off/throwing them out/getting rid of them/raffling off spare parts/giving away their used clothes/etc, let me know! (I call dibs on Sebastian…)
NOTE: This is a SEQUEL to 'A Conversation at Midnight' and 'A Thief at Morning'. You probably want to read them in order for this to make sense.
A Question at Midday
Papers were shuffled. Important documents were studied with a bored, unfeeling sapphire eye.
Ciel set the papers aside with a sigh, the now eighteen-year-old lord leaning back in his plush office chair. He turned his gaze towards the door, which had started opening at his sigh. As expected, his butler stood in the doorway with a small silver tray of snacks and hot tea.
Sebastian smiled at Ciel's brief nod, the acknowledgement a clear invitation for the demon to advance and lay whichever one of the snacks Ciel desired and the soothing tea before his master. The young lord, for his part, turned back to look at the documents in his hands though he wasn't actually reading the words printed in black ink on the crisp white pages. His attention was far more focused on the steady sound of footsteps approaching his desk, long practice enabling him to control the slight rush of heat as his mind focused on who was approaching him rather than the papers he held.
The papers he had meant little to him anyway, though he was certain the same documents meant quite a bit to someone else. The memory of irritatingly loud squeals of delight and an annoying insistence on 'cuteness' making him scowl before once again setting the papers down.
His butler had reached the desk and was already placing the steaming cup of tea in front of him. It was only midday, so there was no need to bother his tastebuds with coffee. No matter how skilled Sebastian was, coffee would never taste as wonderful as tea.
"Today we have a Japanese green tea with hibiscus root and chamomile added, served in the forest green Wedgwood cups young master so favors." Sebastian's voice tickled something in Ciel's ear, though the demon stood on the other side of the desk. When the cup and saucer was set firmly on the desk, Sebastian lowered the silver tray with two different choices of snack for the Earl to choose from. Ciel moved his eyes from his butler's face to the options, listening absently as the demon explained what the options were.
"My lord has a choice of a strawberry sundae with fresh vanilla frozen custard and whipped cream or a chocolate cake with fudge icing." A single white-gloved hand motioned to each piece as it was mentioned.
Sebastian plucked the glass bowl from the tray and set it carefully to the side of the official documents Ciel had been looking over moments before. The lord found his gaze straying from the treat to the hand carrying it up the arm and neck to finally rest on the lips of his servant. His dreams hadn't faded in the least, though by now he was much more used to their effects and even managed to enjoy the daydreams he occasionally found himself indulging in. Those soft lips still haunted his thoughts, along with that snow-white skin and those hellfire eyes-
Ciel pulled himself out of his musings with a great act of will. He seriously doubted that the demon was unaware of his dreams, but there was no reason to confirm Sebastian's knowledge if any bit of uncertainty remained. Staring too long at lips that caressed him nightly when his imagination was allowed to run unchecked would be an easy way to get caught.
Sebastian's hand paused before releasing the ice cream creation, crimson eyes landing on the papers the Earl had been studying before he had come in with the young man's daily snack.
He raised his head, catching his master's eyes.
"Is the young master thinking about his wedding tomorrow, rather than doing his work?" Sebastian asked, voice perhaps a slight bit colder than usual. The query caused a scowl to form on the lord's face.
"It's none of your business, Sebastian." Ciel snapped, scowling down at the copy of the wedding invitation Elizabeth had insisted be covered with flowers and butterflies because those things were 'cute'. Letters of congratulations had already arrived; many sent with regret that those invited could not attend the wedding of Earl Phantomhive and his soon-to-be Lady. Ciel couldn't have cared less.
A single black eyebrow raised as Sebastian straightened up, a grin with a subtle hint of mockery on his face.
"Oh? My apologies then, bocchan." With a slight bow, he turned to leave. Ciel's voice stopped him before he had even taken two steps.
"You haven't been dismissed yet."
The demon seemed to sigh, but before Ciel could call him on it Sebastian turned back around and bowed again, long bangs shadowing his face.
"My apologies once more, my lord." The butler didn't raise his head. Ciel's scowl deepened, unused to and disliking the distance that seemed to have formed between them when Elizabeth started getting anxious about their wedding and insisted plans be made so the 'blessed event' could occur sooner rather than later. The date and the wedding itself hadn't mattered to Ciel - for him, it was just another hassle to deal with, but the Earl despised the rift that seemed to have formed between himself and his butler. Sebastian still followed his orders and still anticipated his every need as a good butler should, but there was less warmth in the demon's manner when he did.
For some reason, that stung.
Ciel opened his mouth to demand answers, but nothing came out. Sebastian was still a perfect butler, so he shouldn't have reason to complain, but how could he ask the demon's reason for suddenly withdrawing most of the affection Ciel had only recognized once he had lost it? The taller of the pair still stood with his head bowed, awaiting his master's order.
"The strawberries are overripe and rotting," the Earl claimed, pushing the uneaten sundae towards his servant. "Make me a new one."
Sebastian straightened, a knowing look in his eyes, as if he knew exactly what Ciel really wanted to ask.
"Of course, bocchan." The demon stepped forward, gently lifting the strawberry sundae from the desk and setting it back on the silver tray with the slice of cake. "Is there anything else you require?"
The butler's eyes met those of his master. Ciel looked away first, unable to take the stare.
"Do you dislike working here?" he demanded, not turning back to see his butler's reaction. He was fairly certain that Sebastian had already known what he was going to ask. "You're contracted to me. Don't forget that."
Ciel reached up to touch the eyepatch covering the proof of their contract. The action gave him some comfort. As long as he was the holder of the contract, Sebastian had to stay with him and follow his orders. The demon couldn't simply leave to find other work, as a human could.
Sebastian was his.
"I would never forget our contract, bocchan. Are my services not satisfactory?" Sebastian's inquiry was almost mocking, since both master and servant knew that Sebastian's skills were more than simply 'satisfactory'.
"Do you dislike Elizabeth?" Ciel demanded, turning to face his butler. If this had all started when Elizabeth started planning their wedding and started making plans to move in to the Phantomhive manor, then maybe it was the blonde woman's fault Sebastian had started distancing himself from Ciel. There was a pause of several seconds, an answer in itself, then the demon's voice sounded.
"Lady Elizabeth is my master's bride and will be his wife as of tomorrow. Starting then, she will be the lady of the house I serve." The reply was carefully neutral, though anyone familiar enough with Sebastian would hear the distaste in his tone. Ciel was familiar enough. "What would make you think I dislike her, bocchan?"
The young lord turned completely around in his chair, facing the window rather than his butler.
"Your manners have been lacking as of late," he replied lowly, knowing the demon's ears would pick up on the sound and that Sebastian would hear what Ciel actually meant. "Work on that."
There was a sharp, near-silent intake of breath behind him. Ciel allowed himself a small smirk - it was rare that he caught his butler off guard and he secretly enjoyed every instant. The smirk faded as the lord waited for some sort of response or acknowledgement from his butler.
He got it.
"Yes, my lord." The whisper came right in his ear, almost husky. The Earl jumped, eyes widening in surprise at the sudden, unexpected proximity of his butler. He instinctively turned towards the demon, only realizing that Sebastian had spun his chair as well when Ciel stopped suddenly and the taller of the pair had pinned him in place. Sebastian's hands were pressing the plush leather cover of the chair just above the Earl's shoulders while one knee rested between Ciel's left leg and the arm rest of the chair. Sebastian leaned close, glowing red meeting his master's shocked expression.
The human swallowed thickly, unable to look away as the demon's face neared. Sebastian stopped only inches away from his master's face. The last time Sebastian had been this close had been before Elizabeth had begun making her plans. It felt like it had been years since he had been close enough to feel the other man's body heat, even if in fact it had only been a few weeks.
"I will make sure I work on my 'manners', as you put it," the demon continued, voice still husky. "Is this a good start, bocchan?"
Ciel nodded, eye never losing contact with Sebastian's. He could feel his heart pounding, breathing shallowly and he ever so slightly began to lean forward-
The taller of the pair drew back, standing in front of the Earl's chair rather than pinning the slate-haired man down. Disappointed, Ciel relaxed back into the plush covering, a scowl returning to his face.
"Better," he conceded, then turned back to the paperwork on his desk. "You're dismissed. Return soon with my sundae and use fresh strawberries this time."
Sebastian bowed slightly and moved around the desk, picking up the tray he had placed there before moving to pin his master to his chair. He walked to the door of Ciel's office, then turned back to face the Earl. Ciel, for his part, pretended to be deeply absorbed in reading over the wedding paperwork once more.
"Young master," he began, not waiting for the Earl to look up before continuing. "Lady Elizabeth may borrow you for this lifetime, but she ultimately can not have you." With an enigmatic smile, Sebastian turned towards the door and opened it.
"You are mine, do not forget," the demon said, then left. The door shut quietly behind him, leaving a very confused but strangely elated Ciel behind.
Unable to concentrate, he threw the papers down onto his desk.
He could never and would never forget that his soul was Sebastian's, not when questions of what would happen to him once he died were ever present in his mind. Propriety expected him to marry Elizabeth, so he would marry her, but he would never forget to whom he truly belonged.
'"Some souls are kept for carnal pleasure, bocchan. If a human is appealing to a demon, then the demon may keep it to satisfy his desires. Whether or not the human wants it does not matter."'
Ciel put a hand to his chest, Sebastian's voice echoing inside his head.
He would never forget.
A/N: That's the third in the series! I hope you all enjoyed it and please review! Especially if you want to add this to your Favorites list, please review.
The next one is called 'An Interlude at Midafternoon'.