Slight spoilers for the anime?
….Where is Sebastian?
Ciel turned over in his bed. He wasn't sure how long he'd gone without sleep. He would lie down when dark came and get up when it was dawn. His eyes would close with the night, but he didn't sleep. The only things he knew were the sun and the moon.
He'd continued eating on a regular schedule purely out of habit, not because he was ever hungry. It was good that his days were so bland, because the only thing blander could have been the taste of his food. No raspberry tarts, no tea cakes. Just jarred and pickled foods. Just necessity- or presumed necessity- as Ciel wasn't sure he even needed what he ate. But eating made him feel like he was still human, and human (even to a person who spent his days hating them) was a better prospect than being a wandering soul.
Tonight, though, he had gone to bed without supper, and didn't bother changing into his nightclothes. The lace on his coat rubbed raw against his skin as he tossed and turned in bed, and instead of waiting for a sign from the first rays of light, he pushed his bedcovers back and sat up against the headboard. He brushed the hair out of his eyes, only to pull his hand away when he felt something sticky and viscous.
The hand that he had cut on shards of mirror however many nights before had since been wrapped up by Ciel. He'd actually taken great care in doing so, re-wrapping it several times until he achieved a bandage job that Sebastian would have settled for. Since then, though, he had ignored the wound. Looking at the outline of his hand, he realized that part of the bandages had been soaked through with blood and had dried dark, but a wetness was leaking from the other side now. A faint stench was coming from beneath the cloth. Ciel stared at his hand a moment more and turned to look out the window. Another night exactly like the one before glowed back dully at him.
He unwrapped his hand in the dark and placed it in the wash basin. He looked up and caught his reflection in the mirror above the basin. His face looked paler, and his hair had grown longer. Ciel wondered if that was normal for a spirit. He had heard the undertaker mention once that the fingernails continue to grow even on a corpse. Ciel wondered if hair was the same, and if it were, did the rules for a person in purgatory follow those of the natural world? Would his nails and hair continue growing while his body remained the same? The idea was somehow very disconcerting. Ciel had never planned on growing older when he'd made the contract. He hadn't thought of a future, because he had assumed all of it had been taken from him. To think about himself now as a grown man was a feat of imagination he was not capable of, even if he tried…
But his hand was dripping water onto the floor, and it splashed on his stockings. He had forgotten about the wound. He dried his hand on the towel next to the basin, glanced slowly about his room, seeing none of it, and went back to bed, this time changing into his nightclothes before doing so. When Ciel lay down again in his bed, sleep came silently and stealthily, and the dreams started.
Ciel dreamed of cool hands caressing his cheek then brushing over his lips, and a low voice, smooth in his ear. He thought, in the dream that it was his mother's voice.
He woke up to a dull pain in his hand, and a cold sweat over his body. From the dresser drawer by his bed he the portrait of his family. He didn't know when he had put it in there. In the picture his parents looked peaceful and happy. It took him several moments to realize he couldn't remember what his mother's voice sounded like.
The next day, Ciel sat in his office armchair. He gazed, unfocused, at the barren trees surrounding the mansion. Then something caught his eye. It was a carriage- a basic one-horse carriage of low expense. A cab. A reporter or a lesser government official then, he thought. So the great monarchy could exist without its monarch. No matter what happened, government would find a way to survive. As would news hounds.
At once, several things occurred to Ciel as he watched it approach. Since he was the only one of his family left, if he were dead or disconnected to the living world, who did the Phantomhive mansion go to? Surely he had willed it to Elizabeth. Or had he even bothered writing a will? Why would a person with nothing left need a will? Perhaps the government official was investigating any Phantomhive involvement in the fires. But that should have been covered up. Precious few knew of the purpose of the Phantomhives and the death of the queen would have settled that once and for all. What was a dog without its owner?
A dull ache drew Ciel's attention to his hand. Without looking at it, he dressed the wound in its old bandages. Turning his attention fully back to the approaching carriage, he waited for it to stop in front of the house. Waited for this small piece of humanity to approach his purgatory. This small connection to the real, living world. Only, the carriage did not stop. It continued past the estate. Where, Ciel did not know. There was nothing surrounding the estate for miles and miles. But this didn't matter. For some reason, Ciel felt something that had been building up in him disappear. He went back to his bedroom and, against normal routine, laid down in bed and slept.
He dreamt of a hand again. A chilled, smooth hand. It brushed his cheek, and flitted over his lips. The voice seemed different this time, clearer but still far away, and it was dark. In his mind's ear it whispered of rich things. Promises and devotion. Hatred and something cooler. The fingers traced over his face, then moved down his neck. Suddenly they were around his neck, one hand wrapping nearly around it, nails digging into his skin. At once there was pressure, stinging, and a swelling feeling. He could feel the grip tighten, but no tendons or muscles flexing. Ciel coughed but didn't struggle. If this would set it all right, or at least get him out of this hell, there was no reason to struggle. Ciel raised his own hands and gripped those of the attacker softly. At that, they disappeared.
When Ciel woke up, he replaced the chessboard and its pieces. He would be black. He was always black and always would be. He observed the garden from his office. It was dead. Without Finny to simultaneously care for it and destroy it, everything had withered. How long had he been here like this? Did time even flow the same way? Did time even exist? Yes, his hair and face were evidence of that. His hair.
Ciel drew a small knife from his desk drawer. He stood before the window, his dim reflection staring back at him, arm raised to cut. Then he saw it. His father. A perfect replica of his father staring back at him. He immediately thought of the family portrait, his mother and father, and how he could no longer remember their voices. Ciel fell to the floor, bitter, acidic taste filling his mouth.
When he'd recovered, he dragged himself to his chair and closed his eyes.
This time the hands promised other things. They promised danger and fascination. Desire and loss. But so much to gain. They roved over his face, gripped his neck for a split moment, tracing the finger marks from the dream the night before, then flitted downwards. Following the small curves of his shoulders, running down his arms, they flitted across his fingertips, then back to his chest. Each touch barely stayed a moment, but each felt heavier and like more contact than Ciel could remember ever feeling. The hands explored him, burning cool paths into his skin, small spots where he could feel the slightest movement, the barest brush of nails, down to his navel. Then they were on his face again, one brushing over his lips, the other sliding up to his eye. To the contract. No, there was no contract there anymore.
He just wanted it to be there.
Ciel jolted awake in his chair. His hand ached. He ignored it. Looking outside, into the painfully moonlight, he saw his kingdom. His wasted, empty kingdom.
Ciel did not sleep. He wasn't sure for how long, but he watched the sun rise over and over again. Each day the shine was a shallow glare. The minimal sounds of the house- the creaking of the floor, the tiny scrape of his armchair as he sat in it- became muffled and thick. The time between sunrise and sunset began to stretch out.
After some time Ciel went to his study library. He looked at the books blandly. Nothing he hadn't read or was interested in. Politics, religion, business. Then he saw it. Tucked neatly between two of the Funtom Company revenue books was a copy of Elizabeth's favorite fairy tale. Ciel opened up the book and a single sheet of paper fell out. It read, in an obnoxiously large and curling hand (obviously Elizabeth's)
I'm sorry I broke your ring. I really am! I'll get you another one, one even better! And I'll fill it with my love!
Please wait for it!
Ciel stared at the note for what could have been hours. Finally he replaced it and put the book back in the shelf. That night, he decided to sleep.
First he dreamed of Elizabeth and the time she'd broken his heirloom ring. He dreamt of her sad, then smiling face, the way she'd danced so happily, then the slight shock he'd received when Sebastian had produced it for him again, completely in repair. Some things just didn't seem fixable, demon or no. Sebastian.
Then he dreamed of the hands. It started at his lips this time. The fingers lingered there forever, brushing, then parting his lips, never going inside, teasingly tracing the outside. Then they moved down again. Fingers on his chest, sucking the air out. Thumbs smoothing over his hip bones. No, not thumbs, thumb. And there was not two arms, but one. Ciel thought the name in a gasp as painted nails surrounded his throat.
The grip tightened, nails slowly piercing the skin. Ciel could feel warm rivulets trickling down hi neck to his shoulders. He felt a crushing throb. He reached up for the hands, attempting to prise them off of his neck. When that didn't work, he began to panic. He kicked and dug his own nails into the hand. Where had the other hand gone? It was stroking his hair. Ciel screamed voicelessly as he neared unconsciousness. Gathering one last bit of strength, he gasped loudly, only to have lips cover his own. The grip on his neck was impossibly tightening even more, as thing lips pressed harder on his and a cool tongue traced the inside of his mouth.
No. I can't die. I can't die like this.
Blackness seeped at the edge of his mind.
I don't want to die. Sebastian! I don't want to die!
Immediately Ciel shot up in bed. He was panting, and his neck throbbing. He clutched at his chest and his forehead was damp from a chilled sweat. That's when he felt it. Felt him. And everything he should be feeling with the presence- anger, hatred, fear- was nowhere to be found.
A single word and a dark form appeared from the corner of the room, approaching him smoothly, then kneeling on one knee.
"Yes, My Lord."
Ciel gazed at the thing before him. Sebastian wore his normal butler attire. He had both arms, and looked not a bit different otherwise than when he had last leaned over Ciel with the promise of a painful death. Sebastian approached him gracefully. Ciel did not expect the first thing Sebastian would do. He tutted.
"Gone for a short while, and you've managed to injure yourself and not care for it properly. And look at that hair."
"Then I'm…" not dead? Ciel wanted to say. But Sebastian was not one to show your insecurities to. He was supposed to kill Ciel.
"You're not dead, if that is what you are wondering, Young Master."
"However, you've been living as if you were. How was it, being dead?"
Ciel said nothing, as Sebastian unwrapped the stiff bandage on his arm. There were questions. But Ciel wasn't the type to ask so many questions, and Sebastian wasn't the type to answer them. Why stop playing their parts now? One question would be enough.
"…..Finny, Maylene, Bard, and Pluto?"
"As you said, they are very stubborn. Lady Elizabeth is well also."
The world hadn't stopped without him. And why would it?
Ciel watched as Sebastian pulled fresh bandages seemingly out of nowhere. He felt like he should be angry, but he wasn't.
"Ah, so you saw her."
There was silence as Sebastian lightly examined Ciel's hand. Even in his solitary time in the house Ciel he not known silence like this. Now that there was something to fill it- Sebastian to fill it- he realized so incredibly quiet the time had been. He ached for some kind of sound. His life had been full of clumsy maids, horrid cooks, disastrous gardeners, and so much hatred, burning in his ears. Without it, he couldn't have gone on. His reason for living. Nothing had been quiet or peaceful.
"Young Master, this will not do. It is infected."
"You were late."
Sebastian's lips curled into a smile. Or was it a smirk. Did it matter?
"And yet I'm still here."
There. The big question without having to ask it. Sebastian glanced at Ciel's stony face. He retrieved a wash basin and rinsed the wound. Ciel stared at the swollen, miscolored cuts with detached fascination.
"A contract…" Sebastian wrapped the new cloths around Ciel's arm and leaned in close to Ciel's ear, his smooth, cool hair brushing against Ciel's cheek. "…Must be fulfilled."
It took only a second for Ciel's eyes to widen in a mix of understanding and shock. He opened his mouth to let out a sound of horror, but it was quickly covered by a gloved hand. Ciel caught his breath and stared at Sebastian, his look of fear turning to one of disdain and anger.
"Yes, that will not due. I cannot have the Young Master looking so undignified." Ciel's eyes narrowed, but he made no move to remove Sebastian's hand, instead fixing him with a look that would burn anything that was of this world.
"Yes, this is much better. How I've missed this expression." With that, Sebastian twisted the fingers of his other hand into the back of Ciel's hair and pulled him forward into that hand covering his mouth. Sebastian pressed his lips violently against the back of his hand, a slender, slick tongue sneaking through the gaps inbetween his fingers to flick over Ciel's mouth.
"Yes, the taste of Young Master cannot be rivaled by any…"
Just as quickly as it had been done, Sebastian was two paces away, hand on his chest, bowing at the waist. Ciel gazed at him with a flick of anger in his eyes, and also something less fiery.
"What is your bidding, Young Master?"
Ciel stared at Sebastian for a moment longer, then turned his gaze to his surroundings. He looked at his bandaged, thought of the shattered mirror. Of the portrait of his family he had taken down. Of his funeral. This forfeit, this copy of the Phantomhive mansion was no longer his. It never had been. He'd been playing at a child's game, the whole time thinking he made the rules. He had been wrong.
"I will need my best traveling clothes."
Ciel retrieved the portrait of his family and looked at the happy faces of his parents. He no longer had anything to live for in this place. All he had known here was revenge, and the false Phantomhive mansion was merely a means for it. It had outlasted its use. So he would leave. He would live for what he knew best. But this time, instead of dying for it, he would live for it.
Ciel placed the portrait on the night stand, face down.
"We're leaving. For Buckingham Palace."
Sebastian smiled devilishly.
"Yes, My Lord."
ciel gets angry and asked Sebastian why he didn't kill him