An update from the dead! I can't go on ffnet while at school, so I have to wait until the holiday breaks. Here are the fics that I did in the fall!
All characters (c) Toboso Yana
"Sebastian, we have to talk."
The butler, who was idly polishing the office's bookshelf, stopped with the amusement of the mildly interested. He was not one incapable of multitasking, but this sounded like the beginnings of a discussion in which his charge would undoubtedly demand his full, unyielding attention. "What is it, young Master?"
Ciel Phantomhive tapped his copy of the London Gazette twice against the desk in front of him. "You're causing too much trouble for me again."
At the sight of the newspaper, a clandestine gleam, like a sprinkle of paprika on a bland dish, appeared in the other's eye. It was gone as suddenly as it had appeared, and the butler laid down his cloth gently.
"Why," Sebastian began, looking wounded, "I would never even dream of doing anything that would cause an inconvenience to the young Master."
"You were in America last week," Ciel stated.
"As per the young Master's orders."
"As per my orders," Ciel agreed, "however as my servant you should know better than to act on your own. I had merely instructed you to visit a trading acquaintance of mine overseas, and nothing more."
The nobleman heaved a sigh and stretched, feeling the taught muscles in his back protest against the cold hardness of his armchair. He slipped a finger under his eye patch and rubbed tiredly. The seal had long since faded, leaving the iris milky and sightless in its wake. "I'm getting too old for this, Sebastian."
If Sebastian had been a normal human, he would have sympathized. But alas he was otherwise, to the young Phantomhive's dismay. He didn't need to openly address the cause for his master's anger; they both knew that he took full responsibility (and without a modicum of contriteness either). "Come now, young Master," he cajoled, his voice like tinkling chimes in the wind of a graveyard, "Even someone like myself gets bored on occasion."
"Then find less asinine ways of spending your time!" Ciel snapped. He dangled the front page of the Gazette out in front of him. "Do you know how difficult it is to meet with the Parliament and pretend not to know anything?"
"As the King's main advisor I'm surprised you can keep a straight face," Sebastian agreed. "Though I would have thought your distaste would come from the actions themselves rather than the aftermath."
He paused, an insidious smile turning up the corner of his eyes. "Then again, I know the young Master very well."
With a scowl, Ciel rose lithely and approached his window. An English morning was blooming on the other side of the glass panes, and Ciel drew the blinds to block out the incessant noises of budding springtime. They did not suit his mood.
"Just because the contract has expired doesn't mean you can run around doing as you please, Sebastian," he began. "I still haven't forgiven you for a few years ago, in Naples." Sebastian grinned.
"That volcano was set to erupt regardless, young Master," Sebastian pointed out, "I just thought it could use a little catalyst. The lava was extraordinary this time around."
"I see," Ciel replied laconically. "And what about the year before, during our sojourn in St. Petersburg?"
"I was hungry. You rarely let me dine, young Master."
"There's a reason they're calling it Bloody Sunday now!"
The lines of Ciel's face relaxed as he calmed himself, but at the same time they seemed to deepen dreadfully. "I know life here can seem rather... insipid at times, but try to curb your malignant cravings somewhat," he sighed. The Earl watched a gray squirrel gambol across a tree branch from his window with a troglodytic eye. Its tail was high and bushy, like the foxscarves noblewoman sometimes wore at parties.
"I'm getting too old for this, Sebastian," he repeated, more to himself than to his servant. He turned toward his butler, hands laced in front of him. "We're often mistaken for brothers now."
"A common misconception," Sebastian noted, nodding. "We do share a similar physiognomy."
Ciel's expression twisted once more with the folds of annoyance. "Do you really think I want to be mistaken for the one who started that?" he inquired brusquely, gesturing to the newspaper over on his desk. The sunlight streaming in through the sash windows fell on the Gazette's inky title, illuminating the words Tragedy at Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in America.
"It's funny how I had an easier time keeping you in line when I was twelve," he muttered. His humor, unused often, came out bitter-sounding.
Sebastian gathered his polishing cloth and resumed cleaning once more. "Children are often in better command of monsters than adults are," he said, "since they still believe."
It was a few hours after the Americans had atomized Nagasaki that Ciel Phantomhive suddenly regained vision in his right eye.
He was aware of a sudden blackness in his line of sight, and used his gold-tipped cane to hobble over to the bathroom to see what could be causing it. Upon removing his patch, Ciel saw that a pentagonal seal had etched itself over the faded blue iris.
"What's that bloody demon up to now?" he muttered, unaware that he had spoken aloud. His voice was that of a metal cheese-grater that had been left out in the rain for a few months: rusty and old.
And then Sebastian was at his side. "You called, young Master?" The hands that fell by the butler's thighs were gloveless, and the seals on them were dripping with a thick, dark ichor. How strange.
"Why do you insist on addressing me that way?" Ciel griped, turning away from his reflection. "I am no longer young, nor did I call you, Sebastian."
Sebastian placed a courteous hand over his breast. "Oh but you did, young Master," he said. "It's about time, too."
"The Shinigami are going positively mad over in Japan. You could call it one big reaping orgy, of the sorts," the butler continued, with a wit that was almost human-like. This was met with a blink—after all, it was quite a rare display of humor from the likes of him.
That pale face, still unchanged after six decades, contorted into an expression of the most longing excitement, yet at the same time was able to convey the deepest remorse. Ciel had never seen anything like it on a human visage, and listened carefully as his servant said, "As much as I'd like to join in on the fun, there is more important business to attend here."
Ciel plucked a wispy white fringe away from his brow. His eye pulsed dimly, and he understood. With a nod, he turned toward his contractor.
"I've been waiting for you."
A hand, sans liver spots, that was strong and muscular flexed itself in front of his face.
"I had forgotten what it was like to have smooth skin," Ciel commented. "I daren't say I'm over twenty."
"Just past the acne stage," Sebastian agreed absently.
"Why am I here, Sebastian? Like this?" A tongue ran greasily over elongated incisors, testing their shape and serration. Other than that and the irises, there wasn't much of an outward visible change.
Sebastian looked amusedly thoughtful, as one usually does when asking a question that he already knows the answer to. "Tell me young Master," he began, "why do you think demons eat the souls of others?"
Ciel put a hand over his torso, clenching the skin there lightly. No heartbeat, no life, no answer.
"Because they don't have one themselves," was Sebastian's reply. "It was eaten by their demon contractor when they were once human."
"Why didn't you tell me that I would become one? You conveniently left that out when discussing out contract, I see."
"Are you dissatisfied, young Master?" Sebastian paused, a slight frown creasing his brow. "Oh, pardon me. Since we're equals now, I am no longer obligated to call you that."
Ciel seemed to contemplate. "It's fine," he said. "So now what?"
"Are you hungry?"
Ciel thought for a minute. "Yes."
"Then let's dine until we can't possibly dine any more," Sebastian decided. And as he spoke, his form began to shift until it became something else. Ciel found that he could do the same, and together the two denizens of the underworld flew behind the moon where no light shone at all.
A small boy lay on a bed that didn't belong to him, hardly aware of where he was. The sheets were too white, and the walls too stark. This blinding room wasn't his home. It was too nice to be his home--he was in an actual bed, for starters. Not a filthy mat.
These people must have money, they boy thought. Maybe that's why they got better after having the Swine Flu instead of dying from it, like he was. But the boy really didn't want to die. Heck, he was only eight. And, unlike all of the superhero movies he'd seen, there would be no last-minute hero to rush in and rescue him from a burning grave. No caped savior, no protectors of justice who flew around saving unfortunate children such as himself, no hovering angels. No one--
With a sluggish surprise, the boy turned a bleary gaze toward the window, where something stood.
"You don't want to die, do you?"
What a nice voice. Peculiar accent too--English, perhaps, but with a touch of something else more antiquated. The small boy shook his head, too thirsty to speak.
"I didn't think so," the voice replied. After a minute the thing in the window leaned in, smiling pleasantly. "How about we make a deal?"
And the boy held out his hand.
(A/N: The numbers indicate how many years in the future it is. The first part is in 1911 (Bloody Sunday occurred in 1905, Vesuvius in 1906). The second is in 1945. ).