Disclaimer: Owning these characters would certainly be exciting. Unfortunately, I'm not an exciting person.

Author's Note: Long ago, livejournal's Noveltynovelist shared with me his plans for creating an AU Kuroshitsuji fanfic that revolved around Madam Red's… um, "house of ill repute," shall we say. Sebastian would be a transvestite there; Ciel would be Madam Red's charge. And there would be beautiful yaoi. Together, he and I brainstormed about this fic idea for a while—I threw out some plot suggestions, drew some fanart; he made an OST. But here we are, half a year later, and the fic still hasn't been written! And I couldn't just let the plot bunny die— I love it too much!

So here is my infinitely-less-cool, one-shot version of the story. Don't worry, it will hardly resemble the REAL version, if it ever comes out. (Honestly, this is just an excuse for me to play with a specific idea that I had suggested and fallen head-over-heels in love with.)

Warnings: AU. (And thus, a bit OOC in terms of the true canon, but I promise that I have my reasons.) Twisted. Intentionally out-of-order. My first time writing for Grell. Yaoi. Non-con?

PLEASE NOTE: This was originally written to be a one-shot, divided into 19 different subsections. However, as it wound up being 34 pages long, I decided to make each little snippet its own "chapter" for the sake of convenience and easy reading. Still, this fic remains, at its core, a one-shot, and should read as such.

Dedication: For Noveltynovelist, since I'm borrowing this idea from you. (Write the REAL version soon! XD)



"I am in blood

Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,

Returning were as tedious as go o'er."

~William Shakespeare, "Macbeth"


House of Red




He lives in a little red room.

It's only appropriate, Aunt Ann croons when he complains about the hue's garishness— which is often, nowadays. It's only appropriate, she says (over and over and over again), because this is the House of Red. And as she reminds him of this, her scarlet-painted lips quirk upward, and her burgundy-bathed body quivers with laughter, and she looks like a floating face against the vine-imbued wallpaper and the soft curtain of her own ruby hair: the paleness of her powdered flesh set against the garnet in an almost frightening contrast.

He nods, then, in the wake of this repetitiveness—dismissive, as if he can't bring himself to care about her reasoning— and returns to his books.

But Ciel Phantomhive doesn't get the joke. Of course he knows this is the House of Red—Madam Red and Aunt Ann are one in the same. His lavish cage of claret walls and crimson carpet and maroon divans and rosy candelabras lies in the very heart of the city's brothel; he has known that much since he was six. Yet, at the age of thirteen, he has come to the realization that some key fact is missing from this simple explanation… There is a glitter of almost-drunken amusement in the woman's wine-colored eyes, and it becomes all the more apparent when she reminds him of his home. It is a sparkle that Ciel doesn't quite understand, rather like the entandres that the whores wrap up in playful giggles, then leave as gifts outside his bedroom door: wimbling, snickering… a collaboration of medusa's snakes, begging, "young master, come out and play with us," asking if they might join him in the "cherry room."

He doesn't understand.

And he tells his caretaker this, glowering bitterly behind a china teacup.

"Perhaps the young master could be slightly more specific in regards to what he does not comprehend?"

Ciel's scowl becomes more pronounced, as dark as the leather that binds his favorite books. No, darker— as dark as the wood used to craft the small table before him. No… as dark as the young man looming beside him, dressed in a black-leather corset and clinging mesh tights. Yes, the man's existence is like a bruise— a midnight smudge over the blinding red of sunset. And the boy is thankful for the void of color, even while he continues to sneer.

"Don't be cute, Sebastian," Ciel snarls, crossing elegant legs as he continues to sip his tea. Peppermint today, to calm rising nerves. "You're not on the clock, despite what you're still wearing." He eyes the ensemble pointedly, in a vain attempt to degrade his companion.

But Sebastian simply chortles at the crack, flourishing long-nailed fingers as he bows; raven curls fall over a bare porcelain shoulder, straining against the band that holds them in a lofty ponytail. "On the contrary, young master," the transvestite smirks—white teeth even whiter as ebony bangs tickle angled cheeks. "I am not hired to be 'cute.'"

He tilts all the lower, gathering the remnants of tea and tartlets from Ciel's book-laden desk; it brings attention to his needle-thin stilettos, coiling seductively up the length of his long, fair legs. Ciel knows—from long hours of listening by the door—that the boots click-clack, click-clack upon the wooden slats in the hall, like the song of a soothing metronome… but they barely make a whisper as Sebastian glides across the plush flooring of the boy's private suite.

The teenager shoots his personal servant a sidelong glance; admiring eyes caress, and invisible lips pepper airy kisses down the alluring length of the whore's arched back. The growing urge to replace his eyes with his hands and the air with his mouth makes Ciel's stomach twist into a sailor's knot. For some reason (as of yet, another tally on the list of Things He Does Not Fully Understand) the familiar sight of Sebastian's body has begun to steal his breath (his shame) away… With mounting skill, the boy manages to hide the hungry flick of his tongue with a lilting smirk, resting the curve of his chin against the knuckles of his right hand. "Oh?" he then teases, leaning a bit harder on his crooked arm. "So what are you hired for, then, 'Sebas-chan?'"

Sebastian purses pink-glossed lips, clock-spring lashes lowering in distaste. "Is that one of the things you 'don't understand,' young master?" he inquires coolly, spinning away with a twirl of his lengthy extensions. Ciel watches with thinly-veined intrigue as his caretaker carries the laden silver tea tray into the other room, giving the boy a temporary, but magnificent view of Sebastian's exposed upper thighs.

"It's not so much that I don't understand," he curtly corrects when Sebastian returns—of course to find Ciel deeply engrossed in the pages of his book. (Though he does not fail to notice that his charge's cheeks look just slightly more flushed than they had before he'd first turned around.) "It's that I want to know more. And I want you to explain it to me."

Inquiring cobalt eyes swivel upward, piercing and demanding; this display of will is matched only by the obduracy of the other's rose-tea stare. "It is not something you should concern yourself with, young master," Sebastian then intones, resolute. "You have studies to attend to. Don't you want the knowledge necessary to escape this place, and to revive your deceased father's company?"

"No, that's what you want me to do." Ciel snorts, snapping the tome in his lap decidedly shut—the most basic of tantrums. "And you know, I hate hypocrites like you," the boy continues in a drone, revulsion coloring his annoyed drawl. He pushes his study material pointedly away, crossing stubborn arms over his chest. "You tell me to act like an adult, yet you won't answer my questions about being an adult. How am I supposed to be both an adult and a child?"

For a moment, Sebastian seems on the verge of rolling his eyes… but both know it won't happen. He has too much pride, too much class; such displays of annoyance are beneath him. Instead, the prostitute allows the faintest puff of a sigh to escape his pretty lips, then proceeds to kneel before his little master's chair. His folded hands unfurl across the luxurious expanse of the velvet armrest; their sudden proximity to his skin makes the little hairs on the boy's arm stand on end. "The intricacies of my line of work is hardly knowledge that the average adult needs in his repertoire," Sebastian levels, in that low, liquid-silk voice that makes everyone— customers, patrons, Madam Red, the other Ladies (and yes, even Ciel)—lean subconsciously closer, as if pulled in by twining, invisible spider threads. "But…" —and here the child's face lights up, for he knows that he has won— "…if it will make you study harder, I will answer one question."

"Alright, then." Ciel grins like the Cheshire cat—a silent gloat that Sebastian finds unbecoming; he makes a mental note to try and correct his charge of this atrocious behavior— and drums his steepled fingers. And furrows his pallid brow. And generally makes a show of considering possibly queries, but Sebastian is not fooled. He can tell by the clench of the boy's lower jaw that a question is already dancing on the tip of his tongue… has probably been lingering there for a long while, now. And finally, Ciel allows it to fall carefully from its perch. "A few weeks ago… I happened to see the insides of your room."

"Did you." Sebastian does not say anything more, but his gaze shows disapproval for Ciel's sneaking ways. Another bad habit to stamp out…

"You have so many things in there, Sebastian," the child presses on in an almost breathless wonder, morbid curiosity lighting up his azure eyes. "Whips and chains and knives… objects I didn't recognize, or even realized exist. And I know that you use them on your clients—that's why you sometimes come to serve me covered in blood that isn't your own."

The elder of the two looks even more displeased. "Something else you saw while poking about, hm?" he guesses, and is not surprised when Ciel refuses to answer. Not that it matters—Sebastian will never snitch to Madam Red about his charge's escapades outside of the cherry room. Sebastian will never betray his trust… "And I do hope we'll get to your question, at some point."

"My question, then, is this," Ciel decrees, still patently ignoring his servant's annoyance. "Why, exactly, do people come to you to be hurt?" He watches Sebastian's changing expressions with a steady gaze: half-part innocent curiosity, half-part feral interest. "You're a whore, aren't you? What pleasure is there to be gained in pain?"

For a full minute, Sebastian does not respond. He kneels there, face tilted, head cocked, eyes as hard as marbles beneath his stylishly wispy bangs—the very picture of solemnity. Then, slowly, he reaches out a tender hand…

And pinches Ciel's cheek. Hard.

The boy shrieks— jumps— feels his face flame as Sebastian happily mumbles something about kitten paws. "What the hell are you doing—?!" Ciel roars, vainly attempting to collect his thoughts as he rips himself away, so quickly that the transvestite's claws leave thick, magenta welts down the expanse of his pale flesh. A small hand leaps automatically to the throbbing injury, fury radiating from every pore of his body as Sebastian muffles another laugh. "Sebastian! The sheer audacity—!"

"How do you feel, young master?" the prostitute interrupts in a sly coo, resting his chin atop crisscrossed arms. "Does it hurt?"

Ciel is seething visibly, at this point. "Of course it hurts, you twat! How dare you attack me like that?! Know your place! If you ever try to do that to me again, I'll—!"

"How about now?"

"You—" The child blinks, put off by his servant's perpetually cheerful smile. "What? Are you completely stupid…?" But Ciel's question trails off uncertainly as he lowers his palm, bafflement taking hold of his blushing features. He reconsiders. And no, his cheek doesn't hurt anymore. True, he can still feel the ghost of Sebastian's yanking fingers, and the warm pulse of his own rushing blood, and the path that sharp nails had so recently carved along his face… but there is no pain, per say. Just a pleasant tingling, lingering beneath his skin.

Sebastian's grin widens with a flash of canines as Ciel dons an expression of strange realization; the prostitute pushes himself back to his feet, off to gather his master's nighttime apparel. "Pain and pleasure are really one in the same, young master," he says as he wanders about Ciel's quarters, wholly aware that the boy's stare never once leaves him. No, those wide, wondering eyes never, ever leave him… "It all depends on the purpose of said pain, and who inflicts it."

Ciel mulls over this, allowing his fingers to, again, lightly kiss the remnants of Sebastian's lesson. And the more he ponders, the more his cheek—and other, less explored parts of his body—begins to throb. It reminds him of the dreams he sometimes has, the ones that leave his sheets wet and his skin sticky and his throat dry: lips quivering as they repeat the same name over and over and over… And he repeats it now, as well.

"Sebastian?" he whispers, fingers balling into fists as he clenches at his knees. There is embarrassment (desire) in his hoarse voice— the emotion is so consuming that Sebastian can't keep from pausing in his work. In spite of himself, he casts his master a sidelong glance. "If I asked… Would you teach me about other kinds of pain and pleasure? Kinds more… directly related to your line of work?"

His caretaker's shoulders stiffen. Twitching fingers clench in a soft cotton nightshirt, so recently unfolded and ironed for bed.

"…no," Sebastian then breathes, turning to face his charge with an apologetic smile. "I would not, young master."