Title: When The Stars Bleed
Pairing: Sebastian/Ciel. D'uh. Like I write anything else. XD;
Dedication: for moon_maiden36
Rating: PG...ish? No sex and no language, so I suppose.
Word Count: 3,107
Summary: For we are joined, and always have been. And one day, we will be one.
Author's Notes: I wrote this for moon_maiden36 as part of my drabble meme. Yes, lol. It's not exactly a drabble, but full-length fic. Oh well. Are you complaining, moon_maiden? XD;
Just as a fair warning, the avatar she prompted me to write about was one of Sebastian kneeling in front of Ciel asking him to marry. Yeah. XD
++ When The Stars Bleed ++
+ A Sebastian x Ciel Oneshot +
Ciel Phantomhive was not a romantic. He had never been one, not even as a child much smaller than he was now.
One of the first times he had noticed this had been one night in summer, back when the sweetness of the promises lingering in the night air had been matched only by that of his mother. "It's like you could just reach out your hand and touch the stars," she'd said, her arm stretched up toward the firmament. "You know." His mother took his hand; Ciel found a patch of satin skin below the metal of her jewelry "I named you after the sky because it is endless." A smile then, so gentle it was almost delirious. "Just like my love for you."
Ciel only looked and saw a black monster tied in black strings weeping silvery tears that got caught in the net as droplets. He knew better than to mention it to her; to Ciel, his mother had always breathed in oxygen and exhaled serenity, but he knew that even one drop of his acidic bitterness would be enough to burn it away.
So he kept silent and watched his mother laugh and breathe, until the day she laughed and breathed no more.
Much had changed since then, but Ciel's stance on romanticism never had. Even so, there had always been one single thing that held the power to pierce right through his armor, one thing that, upon seeing, made him ball his hands into fists and snap at Sebastian in an effort to drown out the wail of his own emotions.
Weddings, and by extension, marriage itself.
Long walks illuminated by gentle beams of moonlight, Ciel found boring; red roses, he appreciated for their scent, not for the sentimentalism thrust upon them by insipid love-sick fools; the holy bond of marriage, however, Ciel held deep but grudging respect for.
He didn't quite know why. Perhaps it was because of the peals of his mother's laughter that had fallen from her mouth whenever she had told him of that special day; perhaps it was because his parents' wedding picture was one of the very few pictures that had remained. Sometimes, Ciel would take it out of his drawer at night to let his fingers run across the well-worn cracks; on it, his mother's smile split her face while she she had her arm hooked around his father, whose smile was like looking at the fluorescent lights go on inside the Phantomhive mansion.
Ciel always wanted to remember his father by the way he had looked the day that photo had been taken.
And perhaps this was why a certain uneasiness tangled his stomach into a tight net whenever the topic of his impending marriage to Elizabeth came up. And also why he was currently in his bedroom, getting dressed for bed by Sebastian, and why they were dancing the same routine of playful jabs and underlying tension they had so many times before.
"Young master." Sebastian tilted his head to the side as he smoothed down the front of Ciel's pajamas. "Do forgive me for saying so, but I cannot quite sympathize with your adamant aversion to your upcoming wedding with Lady Elizabeth."
Ciel rolled his eyes. "No, of course you wouldn't, Sebastian." He punched down Sebastian's hands and buttoned up his pajamas himself, face folded into an expression of disgust. "What would you know of human conventions and what they meant, anyway?"
Ciel could tell how much Sebastian was enjoying this, from the twinkle in his eyes, and the way he had his head playfully tilted; Ciel had been able to read his butler's body language since the very first day they had met, and found himself routinely baffled by the fact that every other human seemed to find his butler irresistibly charming when Ciel knew all too well that all Sebastian amounted to was a demon. Albeit one whose spittle was as sweet as a rotten apple, Ciel amended. Reluctantly, Ciel dragged his gaze along his butler's delicately-boned face.
Sebastian reciprocated his stare. "That may be true, young master - however, in my time, I have seen many a young maiden, and in my humble opinion, Lady Elizabeth is quite an acceptable one. Carefree, endearing, very fond of you, at times clumsy but ultimately with good intentions - and hasn't the young master always held a certain... affection for the young lady as well?"
The threat in Ciel's voice needled just below the surface. "My feelings for Lizzie, or for anyone for that matter, aren't yours to judge." He tilted his head, his voice whistling between his teeth. "Or was that in the small print, Sebastian? Of the contract, I mean?"
Sebastian was as subtly insulting as a woman ridiculing another at a fancy dinner party, Ciel thought; face a perfect mask of pleasantry, with only the occasional shadow walking past his eyes to betray the condescension needling beneath the skin of his words. "But young master, protecting your mental as well as physical well-being is my primary duty - and surely ensuring you lead a healthy love life is a matter quite imperative to your overall well-being?"
When Ciel felt his cheeks getting warmer, he drew his face to the side. "Fine, if you want to play it this way: I hereby release you of your imaginary duty to help me with my love life, effective immediately. Thank you very much." He slid his eyes to the side to fix Sebastian with a glare. "And besides, if, hypothetically, I were to judge your performance simply by how much it contributes to my mental well-being, I'm afraid I would have fired you years ago."
Sebastian smiled. "What an unkind way to judge my attempts at bringing you happiness, young master."
Ciel moodily closed his eyes. "I doubt happiness has ever been one of the things you intended for me."
When Ciel felt rather than saw Sebastian come closer, his eyes flew open. Ciel he whipped his face around, ready to snap at his insolent servant - at which point he was rendered speechless by Sebastian's face so close to his. Sebastian's eyes were smoldering, the corners of his mouth quirking; he was saying something to him, whispering almost - but as it often was when Sebastian invaded his space like that, his words flowed like a gentle stream almost beneath his level of comprehension, and Ciel had to struggle to listen to him.
"Is it perhaps because you find your feelings for the young lady to be improper for the seal of marriage to decorate them? Is it that the young master wishes for a more...how should I say..." A shower scuttled down Ciel's spine as he looked into Sebastian's eyes. Sebastian merely smiled as he said, "Intimate relationship?"
When Ciel exhaled, he saw his own breath ghosting across Sebastian's face. His first instinct was to yell at Sebastian, to insist he was wrong, to tell him to go away, but what he said when he did open his mouth was -
And the triumph that spread across Sebastian's face curled Ciel's stomach into a tangle of dread.
"What are you looking so smug for?" He gave Sebastian a look more befitting on an emperor seizing up a measly beggar - or tried to, anyway. "Know your limits."
The mask of pleasantry never slipped. "It was interesting, young master. That is all. Intriguing almost." A flash behind his eyes. "It is obvious that you hold Lady Elizabeth in high regard - yes, indeed, in my estimation, it seems like she would make a reasonable life partner for you. Surely she would be preferable to any of the other young ladies you've made acquaintances with at balls and banquets over the years? Yes, it must be asked - if not Lady Elizabeth, who else do you have in mind, young master?"
"Don't talk about Lizzie like you know her."
"And it appears you are quite protective of her, too." Sebastian smiled, and his eyes wrinkled in that little way that Ciel had always hated. "Do not misunderstand my words, young master, for all I'm saying is that it is quite surprising you would deem your relationship with Lady Elizabeth to be insufficiently intimate."
Ciel bit his lower lip, considering if - wait, why hadn't he told Sebastian to get lost by now, anyway? "It just... it isn't like that between us." Memories of loud squeals rammed into his ears; pink whirlwinds wrapped in unabashed love flashed before his eyes. Ciel frowned and amended, "Well, not on my side, anyway."
It was when Sebastian stopped smiling and opened his eyes again that Ciel suspected that he closed them while he smiled only to hide the fact that his smiles never reached his eyes. "I see, young master." He tilted his head to the side; some of his hair fell against his shoulder, curling against it. To Ciel's eyes, his hair looked as if even it was shrinking away from him. "So, tell me, young master - what kind of bond is it you wish to establish with your future wife?"
"It's just - I just - marriage is supposed to be..." He felt his heart shoot into his cheeks. "It's just supposed to be more meaningful than that."
"Marriage is supposed to be between people sharing an unbreakable bond, isn't it, young master? It's supposed to be only a formality, only a way to express an intimate bond that has been established long beforehand. Isn't that what you wanted to say, young master?"
"If you want to put it that way."
"How delightful; the young master is full of surprises. Talking to you is as if retrieving treasures from a vault. One by one, little by little."
A snort. "I can see how talk like that would work well on ladies you wish to charm." His eyes narrowed. "But not on me. I'm not this sentimental."
"Oh, but wouldn't you agree that this word was a rather apt way to describe your feelings toward marriage, young master?"
Ciel's hand shook with the desire to backhand him. "Just shut up already, Sebastian. I don't need you analyzing me any more than I need your advice in love matters. You are my servant, and that is all."
"I'll have to disagree, young master."
"Don't be ridicul - huh?"
Ciel stared as Sebastian, rather than excuse himself from his chambers with a small nod like he did on most nights, instead dropped to his knees right in front of him. Ciel's thoughts bumped into each other as Sebastian's hands curled around his with a sincere expression on his face; it was almost as if - as if -
"W-What in the world are you doing?" On any other day, he would have been embarrassed by how much like a shriek that had sounded.
"Young master," Sebastian said, shifting his eyes to fuse with Ciel's. His pause was pregnant with meaning.
Ciel's mouth suddenly felt dry, his mind screaming at him to do something, to do anything, to push him away or slap him, but -
"Will you marry me?"
- he didn't get to it in time.
Ciel's mouth opened, then closed again. He tried to say something, realized he couldn't, and instead, caught in the throes of desperation, probed Sebastian's face for the signs of mirth that just had to be there, but somehow managed to dodge his eyes. Sebastian, with the fire in his eyes subdued, his lips thinned into a tight line without his trademark brand of condescension, almost looked as if he -
- meant it?
That thought finally spurred his reaction, and Ciel spluttered an undignified, "What? What?"
Where was that smile when you wanted to see it for once? "Young master." Sebastian's voice betrayed no emotions. "Can you think of any bond stronger than ours? Tied from beginning to the end, I am yours and you are mine; yes, your promised one is me in the end." He leaned, and Ciel's eyes slipped down to his lips; Sebastian's full lips were quirked into a half-smile, and they were coming closer, closer - almost as if -
And that finally did it; the absurdity of the situation crashed down upon Ciel with the force of a hammer. He shoved Sebastian away as hard as he could. Scooting away from Sebastian, his feet kicking against the sheets, he stopped his movements only when he saw Sebastian, who seemed unfazed by his master's reaction, slide his fingers into his breast pocket.
Ciel was unable to do anything other than stare as Sebastian withdrew a navy blue box. When his butler opened it just a crack, the glimmer of a gemstone scissored into Ciel's eyes.
"You-you are... you are serious about this, aren't you?" Ciel shook his head to himself. "I-I can't believe you even went so far as to prepare a ring, Sebastian. What are you thinking?"
"Oh, but it only seemed fitting, young master. Knowing that the question would arise eventually -"
Ciel didn't know whether to slap him, break into fits of laughter, or simply bury his head under the sheets. "You've lost it," he stated. "There is no doubt about it."
Oh, and there it was again. That smile. Sebastian put his finger against his lips in mock-thoughtfulness. "Oh, yes, perhaps it would appear that way to you." His hand dropped. "But may I remind you, young master, that you haven't yet given me a proper reply? Surely after such a courageous act on my part, I do at least deserve an honest answer?"
An array of possibilities laid out in front of Ciel as he looked at the box. Scream? No, he wasn't ten years old anymore. Slap him? Oh, that sounded like a wonderful idea, but he needed something more drastic - because this was an atrocity, and he couldn't allow this to happen, for a variety of reasons.
Most of all, he had to do something so he wouldn't have to dwell on whatever it was that tugged at his heart at the sight of his butler proposing to him.
Ciel was quick when he crawled to the edge of the bed, but even quicker when he swiped the box out of Sebastian's hands with a snort. It landed on the floor with a clatter, shivered a few times against it, and then lay still. Although the sound had been loud, it hadn't been enough to drown out the sound of his own heartbeat.
Ciel panted and looked at Sebastian. Sebastian looked at Ciel. Between them, the tension rose, taking on almost corporeal form as it wrapped itself around Ciel's face. When, after what may have been a second or could just as well have been five minutes, he found the presence of mind to say something, Ciel pressed out, "Leave."
"Young master, I -"
"Leave. And don't you dare ever mention this to me again."
Surprise spilled onto Sebastian's face and dripped down along his fine features. For a moment, one dreadful moment, Ciel almost expected him to refuse, to stay, to keep up this ridiculous charade, but Sebastian was as quick as always to rebound. Ciel breathed a sigh of relief when Sebastian bowed with one hand pressed against his chest and said, "Yes, my Lord."
Ciel didn't look at Sebastian as he got to his feet, and he didn't stop staring at his lap even as Sebastian picked up the box and placed it on the Ciel's bedside table. He didn't shift his gaze even as the door closed behind Sebastian with a soft and carefully measured sound. Once Sebastian was gone, however, Ciel allowed himself to breathe - and the oxygen rushing to his mind sent his thoughts astray, each of them hiding in a different corner of his mind and unwilling to face the others as if they were children playing hide-and-seek.
Sebastian couldn't possibly have meant it, could he? No, this was ludicrous; men could not get married, not in England and not anywhere else in the world as far Ciel was aware of. There was no way for them to legally get married - not that he would ever want to. Why would he? Why would he get married to this creature, this - this monster whose beauty was matched only by its cruelty? Ciel shook his head to himself again, his hands balling into fists.
Ciel laughed then; but unlike the peals of laughter that fallen from his mother's lips like water, his burned his chest.
It was stupid, it truly was. Sebastian had to have done it only to mock him, to gloat, to dangle the chains they were bound with in front of his face. Taunting him, teasing him; wasn't that what the demon was best at?
Ciel knew this even as he wandered over to his bedside table and knew it even when he examined the ring, seeing it gleam beneath the moonlight streaming in from outside.
But somehow he didn't seem to know it anymore when he slipped it onto his ring finger, feeling it slide along his digit.
After Ciel had put the ring back into its casket and climbed back into his bed, one of the last things he remembered before sleep dragged him under its covers was something Sebastian had once told him. Only a few months after they had first met, they had been sitting in the garden, gazing at the stars in silent companionship while the silence hung over them thick and cloying. He had flinched then, when Sebastian had said it and wrapped his cloak around his shoulders to warm him. His eyes had widened, and he had slapped Sebastian's hand away as if it had been just as soaked in poison as his words were.
"Looking at the stars, it feels like you could just stretch out your hand and catch them, doesn't it? I may not be able to do that much, but I will do things you value much more. For we are joined, and always have been. And one day, we will be one." Sebastian tilted his head, amusement dripping from his voice. "Quite romantic. Isn't it, young master?"
The ring had been a perfect fit when Ciel had slid it onto his finger - but of course it would. Would Sebastian ever make mistakes?
The answer was that he wouldn't - but neither would Ciel Phantomhive.
But no, he wasn't a romantic, not really.
Or at the very least, no one would ever know.
Author's Notes: So, I struggled with this. I didn't want to make it too sentimental and fluffy (because fluff and SebaCiel does not go together, IMO), but since the prompt was pretty much a fluff prompt, I, well. Improvised. O.o
And lol, just take a moment to picture Sebasuchan in a wedding dress. ROLFcopter. XD
I had an interesting conversation with my mom after I wrote this:
Mom: So. Have you been writing just now?
Me: Yeah. Kinda.
Her: About what?
Me: Uh... about a demon... who proposes to his... uh, human master?
Her: .... you've always had a darling imagination, child.
Comments are loved.
(And yes... I will write the 3rd chapter of But a Humble Servant! I will. XD)