Author's Note: Thought I'd turn some anger into creative energy.
Warnings: NOT INTENDED TO OFFEND. Intended to make you giggle. Or at least make you crack a tiny smile. Or, if nothing else, make you roll your eyes and think "LET IT GO ALREADY," if you've been following my journal at all. XD;
Let's see, what else? Lots of OOCness, I'm sure. Crack. (And I mean that, this time. This is utter ridiculousness.) Mild-SebaxCiel-ness. (As in, even I'm not sure if anything is really going on between them, but Sebastian seems to be having fun insinuating that there is. XD;;;) Severe damage done to the Fourth Wall. But as this is not meant to be taken seriously, I shouldn't think any of that would matter all that much…
Oh. I suppose I should also warn you that this (a) was written late at night, (b) while I was sick, (c) and thus, will probably not be funny to anyone besides myself. But that's a risk I'm willing to take, when posting this. X3
Dedication: For everyone who has listened to—and agreed with—my whining about season two. Also, for those who enjoy this, even if they're excited about season two. Also also, Amanuensis1-san, as I sort of borrowed a line from her brilliant fanfic "His Butler, Belated." (WHICH, IF YOU HAVEN'T READ, YOU SHOULD TOTALLY GO READ NAOOOOO~~~! You won't be missing much; it's certainly better than this drivel. XD;)
~A Prologue to Season Two~
The world turned black.
"Well then, Young Master... open your eyes."
And then, rather suddenly, lit back up again.
Eyes still clamped shut, white fists clenched atop rough granite, Ciel Phantomhive hesitated at the sound of the demon's lilting voice. Open his eyes? Why? Admittedly, he didn't know much about these things, but he could think of no reason why he should have to meet his butler's garnet gaze as his soul was taken from him. (The prospect of watching Sebastian eat made Ciel feel slightly queasy...) So, rather than respond, the coal-haired earl simply sat in silence for another minute: tense, waiting, feeling increasingly stupider and stupider…
"Young Master," Sebastian tried again, his casual tone thick with amusement as a cool, slender finger poked at Ciel's left cheek. "Is there something in particular that you are trying to avoid seeing?"
The child faltered a moment longer. But he had never been known for his patience.
"No…there isn't…" Ciel grudgingly admitted, all while further jamming his pallid lids shut. Now he was certain he looked ridiculous… but what did it matter, anyway? There was no one around to see him but the starving demon. And Sebastian was surely hungry enough not to put much stock on ambiance, nor the squinty-eyed appearance of his meal. Wasn't he?
Maybe he wasn't, seeing as how Ciel didn't feel very… well, dead.
"Then why not open your eyes?" the butler was debating, apparently oblivious to his master's internal reasoning. "I should think that it would be fairly difficult to see, as you are…"
The boy felt his wavering frustration peak. "And why, exactly, should I need to see?" he snapped, crossing his legs and arms and affecting a highly regal pose on the rough stone bench. "You're about to eat my soul, aren't you? I'm about to die. I see no reason for opening my eyes."
The other's response was a hum of patronizing recognition; the familiar sound made Ciel's covered eyes tick with annoyance. "Ah," Sebastian intoned. "I understand. You are using the physical to mentally prepare. In that case, I regret to inform the Young Master that human eyelids do not stay shut after a body has died. So you are doing a very poor impression of a corpse."
That was it. The last straw. Mismatched eyes snapped furiously open, darting upward to pierce the servant's smirking face with a copyrighted glare. "It wasn't meant to be an 'impression,' you nitwit," Ciel informed icily, drumming cold fingers against the fine fabric of his tuxedo jacket. "Unless you are that out-of-practice when it comes to eating. Are you having trouble remembering how to use your mouth?"
The smirk became a leer; Sebastian dipped forward into a cordial bow. "Hardly, Young Master. You know I practice using it every day."
Ciel chose not to acknowledge the intended entandre. Nor how well he'd set that up for Sebastian.
"Then what's the problem?" the boy demanded, nose scrunching in exasperation. "Why did you lean in and—" The count's bewildered expression hardened into something pink and accusatory; a thought seemed to have crossed his mind. "…wait. If you didn't do that to steal my soul, then… did you just kiss me?"
Like his master had glossed over his not-so-subtle sexual reference, Sebastian chose to ignore the earl's preceding question. "In any case, Young Master," he announced instead, "the point is that you and your soul are both still intact. So now it is time to go."
"'Go?'" Ciel echoed blankly, grabbing at his butler's sleeve when he tried to turn away. "What do you mean, 'go?' Where are we supposed to go to? I mean, I'm dead."
It was Sebastian's turn to look faintly surprised. "No, you're not."
"Yes, I am," the child argued obstinately, looking downright furious that his servant had the gall to act so condescending when Ciel knew for a fact that he had kicked the metaphorical bucket. After all, he had been there when it had happened… "I must be. I mean, the Undertaker said I was about to die, didn't he? And he's a shinigami. He should know all about those sorts of things."
"But didn't I say that it wasn't your time, yet?" Sebastian rebutted, sighing as if he found this whole conversation hopelessly dull. He probably did. And it didn't help that he was still tired from fighting the angel, and conducting the first barge-ride, and carrying his master through the brush of the island… "I told you, Young Master: I do not lie."
"Yes, but…" Ciel seemed to be struggling with this revelation. Funny, the demon had thought the child might be a bit happier about his continued existence… "But that doesn't make any sense. I mean, what about my body?"
"What about it?" Sebastian sounded very weary, now.
"I was shot, wasn't I?" The young Earl reminded, looking faintly put-out when he realized that he was the only one who seemed to remember these rather pertinent details. "I was shot in the chest. Then I was tossed around a bit, dropped about a hundred feet, had my Cinematic Record play, drowned, and was carted here, to the Isle of the Dead. Doesn't that make me at least a little deceased?"
The demon arched a thin eyebrow, cocking his head as he surveyed his small charge. "I don't see why you would think that," he finally droned. "That is to say, you are fine now, correct? I don't see any holes in you… none that weren't there before the bullet, anyway."
"But isn't that because of where we currently are?" Ciel refuted, positively insatiable in the self-assured notion of his own demise. "Isn't that because we're on the Isle of the Dead? And things don't follow the rules of reality, here?"
A second brow shot up; Sebastian appeared to be holding in laughter, now. "Whatever would give you that idea?" he inquired incredulously, shaking his head at how adorably imaginative his naive young master could be. Kids these days…
Ciel's porcelain cheeks became a lovely match for his butler's scarlet eyes. "I just thought…" The count cleared his throat, forcing a smidgen more authority into his voice. "I simply assumed that we'd entered some sort of alternate dimension, that's all. It made sense, seeing as how my wounds have all healed, and how I regained consciousness after having been shot and drowned, and how… and…"
"…and?" Sebastian prompted, intrigued by his master's unexpected—and very obvious— discomfiture.
"And how my clothes had been changed," the child finished, having to fight to keep his apathetic façade in place. "I mean, you couldn't have done that, could you? Not one handed, anywa—"
The rest of the count's response fell short as he recognized the grin on Sebastian's face.
"…you can't be serious."
The black-clad servant knelt in a mockery of reverence. "As a servant of Phantomhive, what would I do if I couldn't properly undress my master one-handed?"
"You couldn't put a ring on my finger, but you managed strip me to my skivvies?!" Ciel snapped, face on fire as he bolted to his feet, radiating near-palpable waves of pre-pubescent embarrassment. "What the hell, Sebastian?!"
"I fail to see why you are so surprised, Young Master," Sebastian returned gleefully, positively oozing self-satisfaction. "I've had much more practice undressing you than I've had helping you put on your jewelry."
But the child was no longer listening. Instead, he was concentrating all of his energies on not looking at the smug expression creeping onto his servant's face. Simultaneously, he was trying to drive conscious thought away from the strange ache he felt radiating from his rear; it was probably due to how long he'd been sitting on this uncomfortable granite bench. Yes, that had to be it...
"…so you don't want my soul," Ciel flatly summarized, easing himself back onto his previously-abandoned stone seat. The coolness of the rough surface served as a wonderful soothing agent; he barely noticed the pain anymore. Which was good, since he did not want to think about it.
Sebastian responded to this announcement with an air of innocent surprise. "Pardon?" he pressed politely. "And why would you think that?"
The Earl's head was beginning to hurt. "Because you said—!"
"I do want your soul, Young Master. Oh, I very much do," the demon assured, interrupting Ciel's irritated tirade with a long-lipped smile. The curve of his mouth was accentuated by coy flashes of sharp white canines. "But not yet. I've since realized it is too soon for you—you did not taste quite ripe enough."
"Oh, well, that makes se —"
Again, Ciel paused. Again, a strange expression overcame his round face. And again, it turned abruptly from paste-white to startled fuchsia. "Wait—" he gawked, staring wide-eyed at his still-scraping servant. "You've already tasted my soul?!"
Sebastian glanced up long enough to offer his master a tolerant beam. "But of course," he returned coolly, entirely unfazed. "You blacked out, didn't you? If only for a little while. That was because I ate you—just for a moment!— and thus discovered that you haven't quite aged as expected. Nothing to do but to allow you a few more years of life…"
For a full minute, the pair simply stared at one another.
"…are you comparing souls to wine?" Ciel then drawled, gracing his slave with the flattest of stares.
The demon shrugged off his contractor's skepticism. "It's an unsophisticated analogy, but it works."
"So you're saying," the child coldly paraphrased, rubbing his temples as if in some strange attempt to massage this insanity into his brain, where he might make some sense of it, "that you sucked out my soul, chewed on it for a bit, decided it wasn't worth eating yet, and then… then threw it back up?"
Neither said anything for a moment: the butler was too busy looking privately ashamed of his table manners, while the master was preoccupied with his own growing disgust.
"You regurgitated my soul?" Ciel said again—with more force, this time—after having given Sebastian ample time to deny his previous claim. "You puked up my soul?! Like— like one of your precious cat's hairballs?!"
"You don't have to look so disgusted," Sebastian muttered, sounding faintly miffed as his master suffered a mini-conniption. "Do you know how much of your vomit I've endured over the years?"
"You vomited up my soul, Sebastian! I can't exactly wash that out!" The boy shivered with revulsion, regarding his own body with extreme distaste. "What, does this make you anorexic, or something?" he demanded, sounding as if he'd reached the brink of hysteria. "Or bulimic? Or…" A brief pause. "…is that why I feel so unusually slimy?"
"I assure you, the Young Master has always been 'slimy,'" the demon retorted dryly, finally unfurling from his crouch of a bow. Exhaling softly and readjusting his bangs, he eventually reached out a hand for Ciel, wordlessly offering to help him to his feet.
The small count regarded the hand with noted concern. "…and where are you planning to take me?" he inquired sardonically, still looking rather agitated about the whole not-being-dead thing. He really was a strange human; most would have been thrilled to realize they'd been spared. So much for gratitude… "Now that our little vacation on the Isle of the Not-Quite-Dead is over, I mean. Are we off to the moon?"
"Sarcasm is not an attractive quality in a nobleman, Young Master," Sebastian returned curtly. "Of course I am taking you back to the manor."
Unsurprisingly (at this point), the demon's answer did not please Ciel; he continued to refuse his butler's hand. "And what, pray tell, am I supposed to do when we return?" the earl demanded dourly, acting every bit the child he was. "The queen is dead. And even if she wasn't, I have already renounced my title and position as Guard Dog, meaning no more mysteries. My revenge, too, is complete, as all those that I hated have passed on. Surely you don't expect me to just sit around and… and do paperwork for Phantom Company all day long!"
Sebastian blinked; he hadn't thought of that. Though he had to admit, now that he had, the prospect of returning to Earth did sound fairly boring… Maybe he— his stomach growled— But no, he had a contract with Square Enix to think about. If he didn't do as they commanded, that meant no more anime, no more merchandise, no more photos spreads or livejournal communities dedicated to his greatness…
And a demon cannot live on souls alone, as they say.
(Not that his precious young master should have to suffer the knowledge of their little show's existence. No no, those royalties were his to spend—er, to worry about… )
He shook his head, attempting to reassure his charge with a cheerful smile. (It didn't go over well. He wasn't quite sure where Ciel had learned that particular gesture, but he would have to make sure the boy never saw fit to try and use it in lieu of a polite response again. Unfortunately, they were rather pressed for time, right now; a gentle rebuke would have to do…
"Ow—! Just because you lost a hand, doesn't mean you need to go and break mine—!")
"Do not worry, Young Master," Sebastian all but purred, grabbing hold of the reluctant Ciel's chastised hand and yanking him to his feet. ("Son of a—!") "I am sure that there are still plenty of zany adventures to be had. Once we return home, some sort of plot point is certain to find us… as will the servants, which will mean more long-running gags about their stupidity… and there will be pedophiliac undertones, homosexual references, and fanservice galore… Lady Elizabeth will have more chances to wreck havoc on you and your house… and I will get to say my catch-phrase a couple thousand more times. Does that not sound like delightful fun?"
Beside him, the small Earl had visibly wilted, looking sicker than he had when he'd first figured out the truth behind his upchucked-soul. "Oh God…" he groaned, hiding his face behind his palms. "Can't you please just eat me?"
"Be patient, Young Master. I will soon, I'm sure. In NC-17 rated fanfiction, if nothing else. Ah, see? More vomit. I told you, I get the brunt end of this deal…"
"...sometimes I really hate you, you know that?"
Another chipper grin. "I wouldn't have it any other way, my lord."
And with that, the motley pair trudged off to the shore and the boat, narrowly avoiding countless other plot-holes as they made their way towards season two.
"Just out of curiosity," Ciel called over the ripple of the river-water, only half-paying attention to his ceaselessly re-playing (and very, very damp) Cinematic Record, "when will you eat my soul? I thought our Contract stated that you'd be entitled to it when I finished my revenge. But now my revenge is completed, and I'm still here…"
"Oh," Sebastian shrugged flippantly, also only half-paying attention (as he had to concentrate fairly hard to pole the barge one-handed; it was more difficult than it appeared), "I suppose once our ratings have dropped sufficiently, I'll be given the green-light…"
"Yes, I thought as—what?" A double take; a succession of blinks. "Ratings?" Ciel repeated the word as if it were some sort of foreign concept. Which (Sebastian realized belatedly) it was, to him. "What are you talking about?"
"Hm?" the demon returned innocently, offering a closed-eyed smile. "What was that, Young Master? I apologize, I can't hear you over the creaking of the boat."
The small count scowled, suddenly suspicious. "I just heard you say something about 'ratings.' Have you been trying to sell the rights to my story to television companies again?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Young Master. I don't recall saying anything like that."
"I distinctly heard you—!"
"There must still be salt water in your ears, Young Master," the butler pronounced over Ciel's escalating insistence, humming pleasantly (not to mention loudly) when the earl began throwing around declarations like "I order you to tell the truth" and "is that where you've been getting the money for all those new pocket watches?!" and "Sebastian! If you're going to pretend you can't hear me, at least do it to a tune other than 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat?' That has got to be the most overplayed— alright, now you're just mocking me; 'London Bridge' is no better! Seba—Sebastian! Fine! Two can play at this game, just like chess! There are other ways to make you talk…"
At this, Ciel sucked in a deep breath; Sebastian knew what was coming before it began. He winced, tried to reach out and cover his master's mouth, but remembered at the last second that he only had one hand. Which he was using to (no pun intended ) row, row, row the boat. Shi— "Young Master, ple—!"
"I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves! Everybody's nerves! Everybody's nerves—!"
Sullen of expression and pouty of face, Sebastian returned to the mute task of working the oar. Perhaps a season two wasn't such a good idea… nothing was worth this torture.