Author's Note: This is the ficlet version of What We All Want To See Happen In The Murder Mystery Arc, Regardless of "Possible" (Read: "Inherent") OOCness.
But that title was too long, so I just called it "Security." (And in any case, this isn't nearly as fluffy as I'd first intended it to be… so yea, no OOCness? XD;;;)
Warnings: You might wanna read chapter 41 of the manga before you peruse this piece, otherwise it won't make much sense. (Context-wise, I mean.) Not intended to be SebaCiel-y, but you could interpret it that way, if you wanted.
Dedication: For LJ user daigranon! Happy birthday. :3
He had expected violence.
In fact, he had been anticipating it. There was nothing quite so delicious as the rage of the victimized— the sound of their pounding hearts never failed to whet his appetite; listening to his prey's speeding blood was mentally likened to watching kindle blaze upward and into an inferno: as the crimson liquid raced, the entirety of one's body would begin to burn, thus becoming some parody of a stove. And soon, the devil would be able to smell the resulting anger, like a dish inside an oven, as it bubbled and boiled beneath his quarry's skin. Simmering within, stewing their insides, spicing their soul… And when such wrath was warranted, the culinary pleasures increased tenfold.
Oh yes, he had expected violence. Anticipated it. Even longed for it— for no one threw fits quite like his young master. Cobalt eyes cooling, porcelain skin heating, fingers flailing as he gesticulated and spat out empty threats… It was almost worth bending every order for the delights that were wrought by these titillating shows, but everything in moderation (or so the sages said) and that included pleasure. Or, more to the point, that included "death"… at least, so Sebastian chose to assume. Besides, when he remembered the tantrum that his egocentric little lord had thrown upon discovering his corpse three days prior, he could hardly wait a minute longer to reveal himself— the child's irritation at finding his butler alive (not to mention as smug and cocksure as ever) would almost certainly earn the demon hours of verbal berating. Perhaps even a smack or two, as well.
The very thought sent a shiver up his recently-reassembled spine, and a smirk crawled across his face like a wriggling opal centipede. The curve of his lips matched the dangling slip of the moon, finally peeking through the desiccated storm clouds that floated past the windows; his midnight silhouette cut the gloomy room in two, all while drenching his charge in an ethereal blanket of onyx. And as Sebastian loomed above his master's slumbering form (if one could rightly call such restless tossing "sleep"), he extended five gloved fingers—
Mismatched eyes leapt open, their lids snapping upward as the child jolted upright. In a fitting twist— seeing as he was the head of Funtom Toy Corporation—, the teeny teen had become little more than an over-wound Jack-in-the-Box, waiting for the smallest of stimuli… found in the form of the warmth that radiated from the devil's hovering hand. Unexpected, but enough: the nobleman's body swayed in the wake of his own weight; his mask-like face seemed painted, wholly emotionless. But perhaps that was merely because there was no haze, no uncertainty, nor bewilderment in the boy's silent stare.
And admittedly, the abruptness of this development caught Sebastian off-guard. His own gaze widened, his grin lost its predatory edge… yet, the softer smile that remained looked equally at-home upon his reanimated countenance. Burgundy irises vanished behind the lowered curtains of his ebony lashes; the demon tipped forward into the faintest of subservient bows.
"Young master," he murmured, obsequious and ready for punishment. "I—"
But Sebastian was unable to finish. Indeed, after the passing of a minute, he was unable to recall what he'd wanted to finish. For the young master—as the child so often did— chose that instant to surprise him.
There was no harsh language; not a single word was spoken. There was no rosy skin, nor any other colorization provided by the pallet known as Uncontrollable Agitation. Rather, the boy remained pale, and uncharacteristically calm: precise in his movements, seemingly aware and in cognizant control of each strand of his hair, every mote of dust upon his person. And while two hands did, indeed, come flying at the devil, they did not approach with the intent to harm.
So it was that Sebastian found himself— stock still and blinking in surprise— within the quivering grasp of his contractor's steadfast hold.
For ten long seconds, the demon could only gawk at the crown of that slate-haired head. (How was…? What did…? Why would…?) But then his abdominal muscles began to twitch— tickled by the rhythmic exhalation of his tiny lord's heated breathing—and his mouth quickly followed suit. In the crevasse of his back, he felt two delicate fists tremble and tighten around bunches of dark fabric; in return, Sebastian folded his own arms loosely around the young teen.
For really, what better greeting could a devil ask for? No violence could compare to the amusement of this— the irrationality of humans and their strange emotions. How complex, how ridiculous! No creature was more acutely aware that actions spoke louder than words; with a simple hug, his master had bequeathed onto him an entire encyclopedia of knowledge. (I missed you. I need you. I want you beside me.) Humanity! A joke and an enigma. He knew the child understood the gravity of his position— to the extent that any person could be expected to, that is—, so how could his (brain? heart? soul?) conscious mind allow him to perpetuate such foolishness? To have so blatantly longed for the being that would one day consume him… to then celebrate the devil's return! Only a mortal peon could be quite so stupid, so entirely naive.
Sebastian's enchanted eyes flashed in the star glow, luminous with delight.
"What a silly young master I have," the butler purred, spidery hands slipping soothingly through rumpled gray locks. The buried face jammed itself more intently into the demon's taut stomach; Sebastian could smell the sharp salt of unshed tears. "Did you honestly think that such a pathetic assault would spell my end? How laughable. Have you learned nothing these past three years? I told you— I do not lie. And I have promised to be by your side until the very, very end…"
The boy's skinny arms—still shaking within the silken cocoons of his pajama's white sleeves—constricted an inch or two more, as if an unspoken challenge.
And later, Sebastian knew, his young master would express the virulent anger he'd originally expected. Later, there'd be hissing and spitting and snarling; a kitten's fury, marked by claws and frustration, a manifestation of black fury that would fester like any other infection. Later, the bitterness would worsen: would be exacerbated by self-loathing and exasperation when the boy chose (as he always did) to exile himself— to waste time pouting in the shadows of some corner. Later, his contractor would deny this moment, this embrace… the very idea of himself succumbing to such obvious weakness before his soul-bound servant.
But that would come later.
For now, the entirety of his master's being cried out, teeming with childish whimsies and demands— both wanting and desperately needing physical reassurance. Corporeal comfort. No matter how meaningless, no matter how patronizing.
And as a faithful servant of Phantomhive, Sebastian was only too willing to comply.