Disclaimer: I own nothing but my ideas.

Author's Note: LJ user kagenohi requested that I return to this universe for a while, and I was only too happy to oblige. (Especially since 's "Goodbyemyheart" drew me some spectacular fanart for "KakuRenBo!") X3

Explanations (with many thanks to the series "Tactics," haha): Like "KakuRenBo," the title "Kagome Kagome" comes from a Japanese game. In the "Kagome" game, one child crouches in the center of a ring (made by their peers), and closes their eyes. Then, the other children walk around— much like in Ring-Around-the-Rosy— chanting the quoted song. (For your convenience, and because I love it so much, I've used the "English dub" version of the song, ala the "Tactics" anime.) When the song is over, the child in the center has to guess who is behind him or her. This game, like Ring-Around-the-Rosy, contains a 'darkness' beneath the surface of the innocent words; unlike Ring-Around-the-Rosy, there is no "one answer" as to its true meaning. Some say it's about a prostitute trying to escape the Red Light District and being captured with her lover; some say it's about a prisoner being lead off to his death; some say it's about a miscarriage or stillbirth. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. In addition to all of this, it's also said that the game can be used to find children with latent spiritual powers— after all, you'd practically have to be psychic to win. XD; As for the word "kagome" itself, it refers to a type of basket weaving pattern, which is fabled to (ironically) have the power to magically exorcize evil spirits. Got all that? Good. Because I'm about to stuff even more significance into the song, "Kuro"-style. ;3

Warnings: Part of the "Hide and Seek" saga. ("Contracts," "KakuRenBo," and "L'Homme aux gants blancs.") I highly suggest that you read "Contracts" and "KakuRenBo" before attempting this piece, as it relates directly to them. Also—as is the nature of this saga— daddy issues. And—as with most of my "Kuro" pieces, haha— beware the shouta.


Kagome, Kagome



Crouch, little bird, inside your cage…


Well now. Aren't you a very small master?

The child awoke to the sound of the whisper—the sinful hiss of velvet tongue over silken lips. It resonated, despite its closeness… wavering in volume as if echoing from the depths of a cave. From the bottom of the ocean. From the crevasses of his mind. Warm breath licked the shell of his ear, like the invisible tendrils of heat that wafted from the dying fireplace—fading, but still present. Still watching. In the grated hearth, embers glowed like demons' eyes; vigilant scarlet coals illuminated the filth of residing humanity. But their otherworldly light was not enough to keep the overwhelming darkness at bay… in the midnight corners, shadows crept. Lengthened. Contorted. Beckoned: skeletal silhouettes of yonder trees, waving and taunting as the west wind chuckled, soft and low…

Do you wish to form a contract with me?

The proposition lingered, swirled, and curled about his head, as if a ribbon of poisonous smoke. It was as ethereal as such a misty coil: unseen, but thick and cloying, scented of sweet rot and white rose. Fetid and scrumptious. Accentuated by the lustiest of purrs: the kind of husky words that made the stomach twist and knot with pleasure. With promise— a chain of letters and syllables that were pulled, pulled, pulled from an invisible throat, like the scarves of a corrupted sorcerer's magic trick, looped and lassoed around the ignorant fool in the audience. The beginnings of bindings, of gags and shackles… The tail end of the question (the kerchief of crimson lace) caught on a lilt and a giggle, deep in the back of that indiscernible toothed chasm, bouncing off of the frosted walls like so many reverberating footsteps: tip-tap, tip-tap, the song of needle-thin heels upon blood-stained concrete. Fingertips ghosted over the clammy curve of the boy's cheek, coal-tipped talons deceptively gentle. Comforting. Almost understanding

My name…?

His eye burned. Seared. Scorched. But not as if it was aflame. No, he knew the sensations of the brand— the feel of melting flesh, the crackling of muscle. The sound of sinews snapping, even as hair roasted and oily skin bubbled and frothed like the brew of England's witches. He knew the pain of the inferno. And this… this was far worse. It was as if living, beating, breathing pieces of himself were being ripped from his constricted heart, from his tattered soul; like a molten knife of crystal was gouging out the course of his life (the blade reflecting and warping his predestined path) as it transcribed a distorted map onto his cornea— pushing in, deeper and deeper, until the razor was tearing through his socket, his skull, his brain… until his insides were as scrambled and broken as his outsides. And all the while, the fires within his husked torso grew hotter, grew higher, as if Hell itself were using his chest as a furnace. And oh, it hurt hurt hurt hurthurthurthurthurthurtHURT—!

My name is…

"Young master."

His leaking eyes snapped open—wide as dinner plates, searching frantically. The tightly-wound threads in his Jack-in-the-Box spine ruptured in an instant; with a musical screech of bedsprings and muffled shrieks, he bolted violently upright, hands leaping to his attendant's throat, chest heaving with the effort to breathe.

The demon before him merely blinked.

"My lord, strangle me if you will. However, it will accomplish nothing."

The voice was cool. Calm. Familiar. And it cut through the phantom pain and gripping fear like the sun through storm clouds: pockets of light, of reason, gradually elucidated the black-molasses trap of the child's nocturnal horror. The glazed glare cleared, the glassy sheen faded, and dilated pupils narrowed to focus upon the beautiful face of his perpetually-acerbic butler.

"Sebastian," he breathed, acknowledging, shoulders slumping as the heavy burden of terror fell from its brittle perch. Even still, his raised, tense hands continued to quaver… extended like the wings of a newborn butterfly: wide and willing and weak, unable to move. Expressionless, the subservient devil set aside his flickering candelabra, and gingerly peeled away the weird necklace of tiny fingers.

"Another night terror, I see," Sebastian hummed to himself, easing his anxiety-ridden master back under the warmth of his covers. Despite the goose-feather comfort, the ten-year-old could not seem to stop his quaking; the whole mattress shook, as if in some outlandish representation of his rattled nerves. He simply could not relax: in lieu of having a throat to wring, his fingers had found and curled around clumps of bedding. From each open pore, he oozed lakes of buttery perspiration. His already-pale skin had become the color of fine ash. The demon sighed—irritation and pity equally discernable in the exhalation— and straightened beside his sickly master, considering. "I suppose it's only natural, though," he conceded, musingly tapping the bone of his jaw. "It's only been a month since That Day."

The significant date caught the patient's drifting attentions; the boy snarled, casting his butler a glower from behind the half-drawn curtain of his sheets. "I'd rather you didn't mention that… occasion, if at all possible," he commanded, forcibly choking down the wobbles of fright that clung to his order.

Sebastian arched an eyebrow, tilted his head. In the gloom of the room, his glossy hair shone like some kind of rare ebony… as if doused in shades of gray, just as his lily-white face had been. Monochrome suited him marvelously, however: it exemplified the jewel-bright splendor of his eyes. And now, those eyes were gleaming like a hungry crow's on a winter night…

"But my lord," the demon wheedled, sliding—almost lambently— across the sleek coverlet of his master's bed, settling beside his shuddering form, "to Forget is to Forgive. Surely you do not want to forget That Day, do you? Surely you do not want to forgive the despicable creatures who did this to you."

A scoff. "Hmph. Don't be thick," the child chastised, curling away from the polar warmth of his companion's far-too-close body. The butler's aura was potent, indeed—sucking all contentment from the stagnant air. "Of course I'm not forgetting, or forgiving. I simply don't want to talk about it right now. Not when it will just…"

Silence. Notable and telling, in spite of the little one's attempted 'bravery.' A slippery smile swept across thin lips, sickle-smooth and strangely sultry.

"Ah," Sebastian then murmured, reaching out to run fabric-swathed fingers through the boy's sweat-matted locks. "I understand. The nightmares will return, won't they? My apologies, young master. One tends to overlook such details when they have no need of sleep."

The noble grunted in reply, turning away from the disdainfully tender expression that had come to reside upon the other's countenance. Instead, he rested his pinking face against the round of his raised knees; feeling the jutted knob of the cushioned joint against his cheek was exceptionally soothing, at this point… "Whatever."

"Oh no, not 'whatever,' young master," Sebastian corrected, curling a finger beneath his master's chin and forcibly tilting it upward. The boy was blushing quite noticeably, now: his tears had all evaporated in the wake of the rosy heat. Still, remnants remained— sticky salt clung to the pastel textile of the habitually-pristine kid gloves, imperceptible to human eyes… But there was only one human in the house. "I simply couldn't bear the thought of failing to atone for my blunder. So how about this: I shall apply a charm to keep the bad dreams away."

"…a charm." The unforeseen offer made the ten-year-old pause, staring suspiciously up at his butler. "What sort of charm, demon?" he demanded, cautious. One could never be too sure, when dealing with devils. Even now, his right eye tingled and pulsed, as if in reminder…

Sebastian chortled, long lashes lowering in evident amusement. "Never fear," he soothed, leaning closer to his master with a rustle of finely ironed cloth—so near that the child could smell roses again, fully flowered and sickeningly-sweet, like some kind of squalid aphrodisiac. His flesh prickled and stung with embarrassment. "I learned this trick from my father; it shant harm you."

Qualms remained. But they were accentuated, now, by morbid curiosity: inquires so obvious that the butler didn't bother waiting for the actual question. There was no point in stalling; he could already see the words forming on those chapped, pursing lips…

"Yes, demons have fathers," he answered, the declaration as soft as the candle wax that dripped and dropped and drizzled from the melting ivory tapers. The fingers beneath the boy's chin blossomed outward; the gloved hand trailed, tickled, and touched, smoothing up and down even as it tugged and towed oh-so-gingerly forward… "And mothers, as well. But what does that matter? It is none of your concern. In fact, at present, your only concern should be getting some sleep…"

A final dip downward; a smiling mouth brushed against startled, parted lips.

"…and so I offer you this kiss goodnight, young master, to keep the nightmares at bay."


When, oh, when will he get out?


"You look a great deal like my father, you know."

The half-read newspaper was lowered with a crackle and a swish, and the thirteen-year-old master instead tried to read his servant's expression. But Sebastian, as always, remained masterfully deadpanned, pouring his contractor's tea without so much as a miniscule tic to give his feelings away.

"Do I, now?" the demon returned instead, monotonous and indifferent, as he readjusted the Wedgewood teacup atop its floral saucer. He then added two lumps of sugar, a spot of milk, and bowed the drink over to his charge, who accepted it with a nod of thanks. The vine-like wisps of steam that unfurled from the auburn liquid reached up, up, up, as if trying to merge with the autumn sunlight that poured down through the high-windowed library. The topaz tints of late afternoon made the cherry wood panels glimmer like aged rubies; the golden beams warmed the leather spines of the collected books till the whole room smelled of aged parchment. "How interesting."

"You don't sound interested," the teenager retorted in a pout, watching his mordant butler from over the rim of his teacup. His nose wiggled; the refreshment smelt faintly of jasmine and tiger lily, and somehow complimented the array of garden-esque scents that wafted from his servant.

"Would you like me to sound interested?" Sebastian droned, clearly bored. He had busied himself by rearranging the tower of biscuits he'd prepared in the kitchens; once each cookie had been organized according to its size and icing-color, he offered the tray to the boy. "Or would you rather I sound touched? Startled? What emotion would most please you, my lord?"

The adolescent scowled, pushing away the proffered sweeties as if in protest. "I care not for what emotion—I'd just like to see something genuine from you," he explained, face twisting. He directed his newly-formed grimace out the widely-paned windows.

"And why, pray tell?"

"I am curious," the nobleman shrugged. Apathy returned. His irritation was short lived: Sebastian's brow furrowed noticeably as his charge reached out, snagged the nearest cookie, and dunked it in his drink. Such horrible manners must soon be eradicated. "You are always so straight-faced, blank… I've begun to wonder if you feel anything at all."

Without warning, the butler's lips twitched. Tightened. Curved into a hard smile, as unexpected and sharp as an unsheathed dagger. "…I assure you, young master, that I feel," Sebastian murmured carefully, lowering himself onto an adjacent chair. One leg looped over the other; he leaned back, darkly amused, as his fingers laced over his stomach. And in that instant, the child couldn't help but appreciate how horribly regal he looked upon his makeshift throne— like a god, a puppetmaster, a king. He exuded a royal grace that his contractor aspired to (would one day) emulate. He, too, would achieve the same level of perfection… "In fact, I feel a great deal."

"…do you." The boy mulled over this assertion, twining a silver-gray lock of hair around and around a pale finger. "Do you feel as humans do?" he then asked, setting aside his barely-touched tea and the soggy half of a biscuit. He was far hungrier for answers than he was for conventional foodstuffs. "You said once that you had parents. Do you miss them, as I miss mine? Do you think of them often?"

Sebastian froze. Already-frigid eyes became as cold as arctic glaciers; he kissed the tips of his steepled fingers, staring silently at his small master for a full five minutes. Unmoving. Unblinking. Any other child—man—would have physically shrunken away from the intensity of such a vehement stare, but no… His charge met the force of the gaze head-on, waiting patiently for the verbal response he was certain would come.

And come it did.

"What a funny little lord you are," the butler eventually muttered, making an amused noise that—had it come from the mouth of any other being—would have been described as a 'snort.' "Asking such silly questions of me. But because you have bothered to ask, I will answer; I have nothing to hide from my contractor."

The demon stood with a roll of the hips, a swish of onyx swallowtails. The ebony of the fabric matched, mixed, and melded with the lengthening shadows on the ground; with his back against the vivid dusk sky, Sebastian was little more than a looming silhouette.

"I do, indeed, think of my parents from time to time," he confessed, offering his master a viciously angelic sort of sneer. (Such a contradiction of beauty and cruelty he could be—as if the simultaneous product of Heaven and Hell. And perhaps he was…?) "In fact, there will never be a day when I stop thinking of them. And do you know why, my lord…?"

There was a taunt in the air. It hung, tempting and dangerous, between the bounded pair.

The child blinked—slowly, powerfully, the fluttering motion full of significance and realization. "…to Forget is to Forgive," he quietly repeated, hardly having to think as the well-worn mantra tumbled from his mouth. As always, the phrase made his chest twinge: remembering words and vows and garnet scarves that had bounded themselves around his heart, forming an icy chain of hatred and vengeance—a seal of an inverted star upon his retina. Without realizing it, a single hand had latched upon the ascot he wore over his breast; his fingers clamped around the frothy geyser of lace, squeezing desperately, as if that might quell the growing ache.

His inner turmoil did not go unnoticed. But then, neither were his misgivings addressed with comfort… Instead, Sebastian purred his approval, eyes flashing in the smoldering sunset. "Very good," he praised, his white smile widening, widening, widening as the darkness around him grew: cloth became shade and skin morphed to shadow as the sinking sun pulsed vibrantly, glinting off of sharpened teeth. "What a smart child my young master is…"

A sunbeam refracted off of the mirror-smooth surface of the cupped tea on the side table; the reflected ray of ruby-yellow bounced into the boy's observant eye. He cursed, he wriggled back… The explosion of light temporarily blinded him. Hazy, dancing dots of color clouded his vision, multiplying when he earnestly scrubbed at the injury. But when the curtain slowly lifted, when the darkness finally vanished, his butler had disappeared.

The boy was left with nothing but a whisper.

"Bedtime is nigh, my lord… I will return to kiss you goodnight."


Up before the light of dawn…


It started, as it often did, with a goodnight kiss.

"Ah… Seba…!" The fifteen-year-old's voice, already ravaged by the fluting and fluxion of puberty, snagged on a high note of pleasured bliss; tears leaked from his jammed eyes as he tossed his moonstone head, gnawing on his lower lip to keep from keening aloud. From between his spread knees, Sebastian hummed in amusement… the vibrations of the deep-throated laughter nearly sent the boy over the edge.

"My goodness. You certainly are lively, aren't you? Down here, I mean," the devil chuckled, pulling back with a loud, wet slurp. A strand of connective, crystalline saliva snapped; against his better judgment, the teen heard himself whimper, mourning the loss of that wicked heat. But his wanton shaking must have pleased his butler (though he was personally appalled with himself), for the creature was smirking quite fiendishly… and when the child choked on a second groan, he was rewarded by the devil's pumping fist. (For his mouth was now busy with words, words, words—inane and insane but they seemed to make sense to him.) "No wonder you've been plagued by so many wet dreams…"

The noble bit down on the inside of his cheek, fisting his quilt as he willed himself not to buck… thrust… oh, oh, OH dear, that wasn't very dignified, now, was it, my lord?

"It appears as if my bedtime charms have been working a little too well. Wouldn't you agree?" Sebastian leered again—slithering up the child's supple body and wrapping his free hand around the exposed neck of alabaster. Years of training had taught the teen not to resist this embrace… like a wounded, trusting animal, he allowed the five spidery digits to wind around the damp expanse of his throat. Beneath the devil's naked fingertips, the boy's jugular pulsed in time with the throbbing veins on his manhood; Sebastian squeezed both in tandem, savoring the muffled hitch-gasp-moan that escaped those parted lips. "All of these goodnight kisses have certainly kept the nightmares away. Unfortunately, they have resulted in something nearly as annoying…"

Below him, his young master mewled, shameless and desperate. His tangled locks shifted, his porcelain skin flushed. Fragile and exposed and oh-so-needy… Sebastian could snap his spine in two, if he wanted, and the child would be too steeped up on adrenaline and pheromones to care. In fact, at this point, the feel of breaking bone would probably be all that it took to—

The nobleman arched, spasmed, and thrashed against the hands that pinned him, gagging on a half-swallowed scream. Euphoria. Threads of white exploded outward, clinging like strands of spider silk to Sebastian's possessive hand. The demon regarded the beginnings of this web with a small degree of disgust, of disappointment.

"My my. Finished already?"

Sated and half-comatose, his tiny lord panted—rib cage rising, falling, rising, falling beneath a paper-thin chest of bone and bruises. His half-lidded eyes, decorated by quivering coal fringe, darted back and forth behind the glassy sheen of gratification brought about by orgasm. Splayed beside him on the mattress, the muscles lax and watery, his empty hands continued to tremble, as if stardust were shooting through his veins.

"Fa… ther…? Is… that you…?"


Sebastian removed himself with a faint bow, dabbing the ejaculate from his fingers with the clean tip of a handkerchief. His momentary pleasure flat-lined, his face returned to its usual mask of bitterness… his nose scrunched in repulsion, lip curled back in annoyance. And all the while, he pointedly avoided the sight of his pretty, satisfied master—the familiar, blissful blush upon the adolescent's heady cheeks was enough to make him sick.

"…well, then," the butler murmured after a minute, tugging his gloves back into place. His teenaged lord watched those fingers from the comfortable island of his mattress, red-faced and pleased but still interested in what other errant delights those immoral digits could invoke… But such tricks would not be performed tonight, he knew. Never that night… "If you'll excuse me, young master. Sweet dreams."


Crane and turtle slipped and fell…


"Come, young master—I'll kiss you goodnight."

The eighteen-year-old gentleman blanched visibly, knees wobbling in the darkness of the bedroom… And all the while, Sebastian smiled, smiled, smiled, his angled eyeteeth dripping rubies as his stilettos click-clacked against the hardwood floor. In his clawed grasp, a still-beating heart thudded dully; the demon brought the thrumming organ to his open mouth, and bit into its warm wetness as if it were a scarlet apple. It oozed life: a chalice-worth of burgundy wine… He then allowed the treat to roll from his long, white fingers, falling with a squish upon the gory ground— as if some sort of sick homage to Eve's favored fruit.

"…that's it, then…?" His contractor's hoarse query vibrated, pulsating with poorly-veiled dread, even as he stood— stock-still— facing his inevitable End. His answer was a lissome nod. And then the silken shadows shifted, and the demon was gliding forward: feral and feline in his second-skin of ebony leather, graceful and winsome in his sharp-toed boots. Around the devil's delicate shoulders, crow feathers danced in self-made winds; upon his ears, twin stars of cobalt twinkled in the moonlight. He was as terrifyingly beautiful as he had been That Day… That Day when this had all began. That Day that had lead to… to this.

Sebastian grinned, tilting forward with a flourish of fingers—a mock-bow, contemptuous and energized. "Your vengeance is complete, my lord. As our contract dictates. And now…"

A single hand lifted, reached, beckoned… skeletal, like the trees beyond the window. Impatient, it waved the condemned soul forward, onward, and the spirit's shell did as was commanded: with a set of trilled steps, he stood before his hungry butler, pasty-green but confident, even as his insides turned to lead—water— air.

And all the while, the devil's eyes glistened, ravenous. Eager. With a languid undulation, he straightened from his sycophantic stoop, gaze never straying from his presented supper. "So tasty…" he whispered, the velvety tip of his claret tongue darting out to sweep a voracious path over the expanse of his upper lip. "I should thank you for rejecting God, young master. I would have been deprived of quite the feast..." As if in emphasis, Sebastian bent closer still, swallowing an appreciative breath; a nibbled diamond of bleeding maroon appeared upon the startled boy's temple—a sampling of a delectable appetizer.

The once-master swallowed, bowels becoming gelatinous as the lacquered nails of the demon brushed admiringly against his cheek. The embrace reminded him… "Instead of thanking me," the young man wavered, the words shaky with fear as he clenched his sweaty fists. "Will you… will you answer me one last question, before I die?"

Sebastian paused, startled. With an inquisitive frown, he tipped his meal's fear-frosted chin. "…a question?" he soon echoed, unusually interested in this peculiar request. As the gears in his mind twirled, his petal-pink lips widened, and the scythe-sharp curve of his smile returned. "Hm. Well, I've said it before: you are a silly master. But I suppose that one more question wouldn't hurt… in lieu of 'final words,' anyway." The vice-like grip around the teen's pretty face loosened a fraction, until it was more of a caress than a choke… and the devil dipped low, nose brushing nose as if in cruel foreplay. "Pray, young master, what mystery of the universe might you like me to clarify for you, moments before your own demise?"

The words hurt—as intended. More terrible than the demon's touch, without doubt, was the prospect of his demise. His death. In one minute, perhaps two— maybe seconds, if even that. 'Memento mori,' as others had said; he remembered, had always born it in mind, and had known this day was coming from the very, very start. But still, his love of life had kept him from asking… he had been frightened of how the demon might react, if he mentioned… but he was safe now, in some bizarre way: death was unavoidable, and so there was no reason to hesitate any longer. Sucking down a single, calming breath, the boy regained temporary composure: his eyes met the luminous orbs of the monster before him, and he spoke the words that had puzzled him for eight long years:

"Why did you lie to me?"

Sebastian started. "…lie?" His head cocked in legitimate confusion, brow puckering in whetted distaste. (And really, how ironic that he should finally get to see a genuine emotion on that inhumane face…) "I do not lie, my lord. I have never lied."

"Yes, you did," the boy returned, insistent. He could feel those jagged fingers tightening around the crown of his head, as if threatening to crush it… but still, he pressed onward, adamant. "You lied to me on the day that we met. You told me that your name was 'Sebastian'—but even then I knew that wasn't true."

A beat. Shocked staccato, like a jarred cord in a preplanned symphony. But the unanticipated note of bewilderment had birthed an unusually captivating harmony…

"Oh? Verily?" Sebastian was truly fascinated, it seemed: grinning, and giggling, and bristling with all manner of impressed amusement. How wonderful that, even now—after so long a time!—the boy could still surprise him. Truly, he had chosen his master well… "And how could you tell?"

The teenaged noble frowned, as if surprised by the demon's sudden stupidity. "That Day… You hesitated before answering when I asked you for your name," he explained, albeit rather wryly, and even he was startled by the sheer audacity that he managed to express when conversing with this starving devil. "You had to think about it. No one has to think about their name. It's their name."

Sebastian arched a single eyebrow, faintly incredulous. Perhaps not the most eloquent of explanations, but the child got his point across…


"So tell me, then," the boy pressed on, arranging his face into a facade of stubborn resolve. And hmmm, that expression, too, was the demon's handiwork, if ever he saw it… How delicious. Though the spice of intrigue was, perhaps, diluted by the sour inquiry that was soon to follow— "If 'Sebastian' is not your true name, then why did you ask me to call you that?"

Silence. It lingered between the intertwined pair, wrapping around them like threads or strings or wires— cutting into whatever amity they might have still shared. It spoke of absolutely nothing…

But it was enough to answer his question.

"…to Forget is to Forgive, correct?" the contractor slowly whispered, an odd sort of sympathy in his soft, unyielding tone. "A methodology taught by a master, I should think." His lashes flickered knowingly, his pupils pointedly narrowed. And to Sebastian, it was evident that he'd connected the metaphorical dots long ago; wholly remarkable, considering his stature as a mortal peon. How much else had he figured out…?

Well, it hardly mattered, in the end. But the intelligence expressed by this delicious morsel made the demon grin, all the same—a different kind of grin, inexplicably affectionate for all of its coldness. "Precisely, young master," he breathed in reply, the words almost congratulatory as he leisurely lowered lazy lids, nostrils flaring with black humor. "You have learned your lessons well."

The gentleman considered this compliment for a moment, contemplating what the devil's philosophy had cost him. In the quiet aftermath of his gruesome revenge, it seemed so high a price… But it was too late for waffling, at this point. He had chosen his path, and must follow it 'til the end. "…in that case," he thus murmured, silvery hair lustrous in the opalescent star-glow, "might you be so kind as to tell me your real name?" A teasing smirk tugged on the corners of his mouth, as if stolen from the devil's now-flabbergasted face. "So that I can remember it forever," he explained patiently, resolute. "Contract or no, consuming my spirit is something I doubt I can ever forgive."

"…I see." The butler chortled, unfazed by the acrimonious hatred radiating from the glare of his soon-to-be-ex-tamer. In fact, he met the stare with one of his own: enchanted eyes as blue as sapphires, as azure skies, as the deep, deep ocean… sucking out one's soul as it stole their breath, drowned them in the dark, frozen depths of eternity. And as he tilted his master's chin once more, leaning in for a final kiss, he whispered into the boy's waiting ear:

"My name is Ciel, young master."



who is behind you?


"Do you know why demons hunger for souls, little one?"

The battered girl, barely more than seven, stared up, up, up at the lovely young man who lounged in her window frame, his needle-sharp heels piercing holes in the decorative ledge. He smiled gently, like an avenging angel, as his lithesome body slinked slowly forward, feet finding the floor with a metallic click.

She offered no answer. Not that he had expected her to— her captor had stolen her sweet soprano voice long ago, leaving her evermore mute. Poor baby songbird: wings clipped, beak broken, trapped in a cage… But all the same, she leaned forward, attentive, as if basking in the creeping shadow's strangeness: hair like mercury and skin like porcelain, cerulean eyes flaring incandescent indigo. His clothing was midnight itself.

The looming devil grinned. "It is because we lack souls of our own," he informed in a hush, crouching before her rusted shackles with a purr of folsom regret. "Ours were consumed long ago, and now we ache to fill the hole. We hunger for it." A spidery hand clasped the front of his leather-clad chest, catching on the stray down of feathers. And he keened like some kind of wounded puppy, playing on her egocentric sympathies…

The bloodied blonde's green eyes widened, glistened, and filled with faux camaraderie. Some childish form of understanding. But oh, one that young could never truly comprehend… In years to come, she would look back on this moment, and her chest would flame with regret. With realization. With horror.

Already, he longed for that (regret, heartache, loneliness) pain—like a salve on his own.

She would never forget...

"And so I will feed your hunger for vengeance, my dear, if you, in return, consent to fill my hunger."

I will never forget…

His voice, full of cantarella laughter, slipped into her tiny ears like Claudius' poison. And she, unaware of its deadly affects, allowed the promises to pour: soothing and sweet, like the sugared candies she'd once been allowed in the arms of her deceased parents… rotting her teeth and churning her stomach, making her sick with longing and anger and desire and oh, I don't care who, I don't care how—somebody save me!

I will never forgive…

Ciel smiled. Knelt. Kissed the back of her extended, reaching, straining hand…


"Do you wish to form a contract with me?"


Can you tell?