disclaimers: I do not own.

warnings/ratings: T+, for dark themes and vague sexual scenes.

(Note: Especially in the Victorian era, symbolism in flowers was important. A list of the flowers I've used and their meanings can be found below.)

A/N: I've got a few more Kuroshitsuji fics finished and waiting to be put up soon, as well as two or three other KH ones later on. I've just felt...somewhat apprehensive to put anything up anymore. I'm not sure why, hah.

So, I subscribed to this daily word e-mail, because I'm a lame-o nerd like that. But it's a good thing—this came about in one day (oh my god, it's been MONTHS since I wrote something in one day xD), and it all stemmed from a word I got in said daily e-mail, that gave a burst of...sudden inspiration.

a shifting series of phantasms, illusions, or deceptive appearances; fantastic imagery as represented in art.


It was on the morning of January 14, 1890, that his eye began to bleed.

Little red pearls, swelling on his lashes and leaving a trail as they slid down his cheek. Splattering, blooming, sanguine drops like tiny roses where they burst on the white comforter, staining the blue arabesques and fleur-de-lis threaded into the Egyptian cotton. The cup of tea waiting for his master's hands rattled where he held it in his own, and that wasn't entirely proper butler etiquette, but he didn't care because the hunger and the excitement coursing through his boiling blood with every pump of his human heart were not those of a butler's, either. After all, at the core, he was not a butler. He licked his lips, and worried for his master.

The frail hands, delicate as little birds, were white with fear and trembled on their way to his face; and with the lavender and white of his right eye clouding a pale red, the young master turned to his butler with despair pinching up his face. His eyes—both good and bloody—were shot through with panic so sharp it was undeniably feral, and Sebastian shuddered in delight and then in guilt, because his little master cried something in desperation, but he was so impatient and enrapt that he didn't hear what it was that the boy gasped.

The skies above London cried, with just as much fervor and heartbreak as the little blonde in the first pew, all donned in black—jet rings and lace and cashmere, hair not in two curly tails but falling in limp tresses about her shoulders, because that was the way her fiancé liked it, he'd said. And she cried and her mother sat rigid-backed, cap low and dark veil across her eyes, holding the bouquet of lilies, acacia, and zinnia her daughter had neglected in her grief. And outside the chapel, the plumed horses stomped in the cold.

The men in the pub on the cobblestone corner spilled good beer when they offered up cheers, because the black sheep, the black spider, the untouchable, the damned Phantomhives were finally, finally phantomed, and Scotland Yard rejoiced with another round on Randall.

Indians were in attendance of the funeral, which was a gossip and a half for the people the cortège passed along the street, or the dirty faces peeking in through the broad chapel doors. Within, the blonde girl cried and kissed her fiancé's eyes, and while she stood at the side of the casket and petted his dark hair, trying not to let her nose run and drip down onto his peaceful face and the flowers framing it, the few others in attendance whispered not about how dreadful it was that he should die at such a young age, because most everyone had been awaiting his demise, anyway, and why should a nobleman's family be untouched by the tragedy of young death? The biggest fall the hardest, some said, and the blonde girl's mother clutched the bouquet with white knuckles, mouth set in silent rage.

But the most delicious of the scandalous, righteous whispers, respect honestly intended but never achieved, was the matter of the butler.

I could have sworn the two were inseparable, they were that close.

Left him alone, didn't even come—

You know what they say about a man and his right hand.

The Lady told me that he wouldn't admit it, but he cherished the fellow.

But—if that's so—

Where on earth is he?

"Morning glory."

Ciel touched the flower with a dainty finger, breaking a bead of dew and moving his fingertip off the petal before the water slid into it.


"That's right."

There was no light, but somehow he could see. By some nocturnal glow, like moonlight—like his eyesight had evolved. And in the silence, the vast, vast, endless and chilling silence, it was as if somewhere, music was flowing—as if the wind had been replaced by it. Ciel's lips moved on a silent breath and he peered at the flowers, searching for the name of the piece. Beethoven. The soul-stirring grief of his String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, the fifth movement. And it was like an unreal echo, there when he thought about it and gone when his mind moved on.

"And this is?"


"Marigold," Ciel corrected, gingerly stroking the velvet sunburst of petals on the flower he'd named. His footsteps echoed slightly, sturdy soles on flat stone; sounds and light and, God, everything was unnatural here, but he tried not to think of it that way. ...Peaceful was a better word, perhaps.

"Why is the basil next to the acanthus?" he asked, and although it was a soft question below his breath, his voice was terse and tired, exhausted from the frustration in the back of his soul, burning in anger because he hadn't expected this.

Sebastian smiled where he sat at the table prepared for tea, one leg hooked over the other and fingers laced idly on his lap, waiting with patient amusement, like the Hatter watching the cake labeled EAT ME wander about the room. "Hatred, and heavenly garden. What's the flower for irony, young master?"

Ciel turned slightly and cast the young man behind him a curt glance, disdainful and grave, mouth bitten into a thin line. He was silent for a moment, distracted briefly in his attempt to decipher Sebastian's pretty smile, and then he drew in a breath and said, "There isn't one, Sebastian."

No longer the movements of Op. 131—now, somewhere, softly, the air molecules were buzzing and colliding as they played Op. 27, No. 2, Quasi una fantasia.

The flowers grew in great bushes, explosions of petals and waxy leaves, all around the stone clearing upon which he stood. Encircled it, nearly. A heavenly garden of hatred. There was no light, and there was no wind, and it didn't even feel like there was what he could call a sky above his head. Just an eternal stretch of misty nothingness. This world felt foggy and wet, like the morning of a good storm just after the rain stopped falling. Smelled like it—like rain and water and dirt, and something a bit rancid, hidden underneath. Whatever preternatural light filled their little garden faded into rolling tendrils of a haze of darkness just a little ways away. It was placid, but quite obviously damned. Held an atmosphere almost superstitious, like the Bridge of Sighs, but heavier—a little garden suspended between two circles of hell. And it was beautiful, and it was unreal, and it was chilly and dark and macabre and every now and again there was a dripping noise, or a scritching sound, or a rustling outside the flowers, and Ciel bristled and stared into the darkness and waited for a glimpse of some unearthly, hellish creature, crawling around in wait like a hound of the devil himself—but there was never anything. Just brief, vague signs of life outside their garden that flitted away into silence as soon as it was apparent he'd noticed them.

He liked it.

"Please, come sit down," Sebastian murmured. Ciel lingered at the flowers a while longer, then slowly turned and made his way up the stacked stone, footsteps slicing through the silence. It really was gorgeous, a dream of a landscaping design. He offered Sebastian a weary smile as he made it to the top of the lonely court, passing through Egyptian portals with ivy and vines growing gracefully through the metal ribbons. He eased down into the iron-wrought chair Sebastian had already pulled out for him; it was cold against his thighs, his back, even through his clothes—freezing where his shorts ended and it was just the thin cotton of his socks to protect his legs.

"There are more flowers," Sebastian whispered.

Ciel's gaze flickered up to the tablescape, and he recoiled gently, though the surprise on his face was muted. His lashes fluttered in a few gentle blinks and he relaxed into the chair, folding his hands on his lap. The seat was high; his toes barely dusted the cobbles.

And, indeed, curled and settled around the little tower of sweets were a number of new flowers he was confident hadn't been there a moment before. Lavender, lily, daisy, holly, nightshade. Little vines and leaves threaded around the silver tiers. Poppies, rhododendron, thistles, willow sprigs, witch-hazel. And in the middle of the table, around the tea, roses. Reds, blacks, blues, whites.

At Sebastian's plate, a coriander.

On his own, a narcissus.

Ciel leaned forward, elbows to the tablecloth and ankles hooking. He pressed his mouth to laced fingers, rings cold against his skin, and peered at the narcissus before him. The flowers in the middle of the table. The little bloom of coriander on Sebastian's plate. His brow knotted and below his palms, his chin dimpled as he struggled to keep his face straight, and his throat burned raw and tight. But through his obstinacy, a single tear slipped out from the corner of his eye, pure reaction, springing forth from something deep down he was trying to stifle. He thumbed it away quickly and motioned to the roses and the tea. His heirloom ring slid off the tip of his thumb, always too big for a finger as thin as his; it hit the table, clinked against his plate and fell still near his napkin. He licked lips that were suddenly quite chapped, distracted again, distrait between his current thoughts and the sudden weight in his chest, and the way Sebastian looked sitting there across the table from him. Young and handsome and sophisticated. Not like a butler, but like a veritable gentleman, someone he would like to get to know. Black suit, bronze waistcoat; coat draped over the back of his chair, and a little black brooch shaped like a bird, no bigger than the matching nail of his smallest finger. The chain of his pocket watch, a smooth line arcing down his side. The way he'd rolled his sleeves to his elbows, always casual, but somehow making such nonchalance so refined with his air of mixed humility and importance, his healthy-humored charm and mystery.

Ciel cleared his throat, motioning again to hide the quiver in his fingertips.

"Will you pour us the tea, Sebastian?"

He took two lumps and after a few sips, he was laughing at Sebastian's quips and riddles, and Sebastian found that alright. He stirred sugar-crystal pus into his own tea, tapped the spoon dry and laid it down on his napkin. "Scone?" he offered. His young master shook his head. "Cake?" No, another shake of the head. "Tart?"

His young master nodded and held out his plate, and Sebastian picked the biggest apple and cheese danish he could find, glanced at the spider skittering away from his fingertip to hide behind the bile-drizzled scones, then back at his master, to whom he offered a bright smile as he slid the tart neatly onto the little white dish he held forth, placed it just to the left of a small crack in the china.

He watched him eat, black-tipped thumbs to his lips and lashes lowered on ruddy eyes. His hair fell from behind one ear and he ignored it; the smell of the spices and secrets in the tea was comforting on his nose and the worm-filled sweets looked delicious on the platters. For a moment he was lost in the feeling of homecoming, and then his soul shuddered in hunger and he took a sip of tea to calm it.

His little master looked beautiful, sitting across from him in the pale light. A smile tugged at his lips and Sebastian let it grow, hiding it behind his teacup as he cast his eyes away—then cut them back over to observe the little delicacy picking at his tart.

Pale, pale skin, and his lusciously smooth hair, too far into his eyes to be socially acceptable. His tiny blue earrings gleamed in the light, and his exquisite lashes were lowered as he lifted his tea to his lips. Perfect pink lips, and slender neck with the bruises spreading like a disease up behind his ears. Rotting. Already rotting, from the inside out. Sebastian's smile spread further but his eyes softened, sadly. No, not—because of that—because— Well, it was always hard to end a good meal, a good game, a good companionship.

His master caught on and glanced up, lashes fluttering and eyes flickering, and the look on his face was startled and imploring and flattered all at once. But then the openness fell from it and he reined the honesty back in, replacing it with his usual solemnity; he shifted about, and just like his earrings, the silver buttons down his damp front picked up on the ghost light and glinted along the ridges of the Phantomhive crest, little sparks here and there on his black velvet suit. A small silver skull as a brooch about his ribboned neck, a braid of silver chain along his pockets, bands of gold and silver, jet and sapphire on his tiny fingers. And he returned Sebastian's stare with one of his own, a sullen stare—almost bored, but more defeated. The profundity in his gaze was heavy, and Sebastian set his tea back down.

His little master's right eye had turned black since it last bled, rotting from the very epicenter of the death spreading through his body like a plague. The contract had ruptured, eventually hemorrhaging into his brain. His other eye was the same dark, cobalt blue as it always was, grave but not lamenting in this dim lighting. His eyelids were gray, the skin around his lashes purple like the bruises on his neck.

"You're beautiful," Sebastian murmured.

His master's pale cheeks flushed weakly, but still filled with a light color all the same, and his eyes shot back down to the tabletop where he picked at the corner of his tart again. He was still for a moment, then picked up his spoon and turned it round and round, conspicuously looking for his reflection in the silver. Sebastian smiled dryly, waiting for the boy to recoil and cry out in disgust—but he knew he wouldn't, because just as he had for the past four years, and especially here, his little master would only see what he believed he'd see.

The boy lay the spoon down again, gently, sleeves whispering on his bony wrists, and he smiled a thin, nervous smile across the table at Sebastian. "As you are, too, I suppose," he whispered in return, and uttered a shamed laugh at his hardly characteristic honesty.

Sebastian's smile broadened.

"Don't laugh at me," Ciel insisted, and thought to himself that he could have sounded a bit more authoritative. Instead, he smiled weakly, brow knotting in helplessness. It wasn't as if pride really mattered in this void—or pocket—or chasm—or dimension—this place between existences. "But I...want it."

In the silence, the sound of the music had returned, and it was soft on his ears and heavy on his heart. His smile softened, faded a bit, and Sebastian pressed kisses to his eyelids when he let his lashes fall shut.

"There's a magic about sorrow," Sebastian whispered along his forehead, and his breath trailed after his voice just as his right hand trailed up Ciel's leg, from ankle to inner thigh, knuckles dusting up naked skin. Stained velvet and fine cotton lay neatly folded on the iron-wrought chair he'd abandoned, rings and other little things in a pile on the corner of the table, near the narcissus and the flowers at the base of the serving platters, beside a napkin thrown down in haste. And across from those, Sebastian's clothing had been set aside in much the same fashion, suitcoat still draped on the back of the chair.

"What's that?" Ciel whispered, arching his spine to the touch. The stones were cold against his back, uncomfortable where his bones jutted awkwardly against them. He'd expected them to feel slick and grimy with some unseen moss or mildew, but they were actually dry. Cool, but dry. His toes curled, brushing along them. He shivered.

"Sorrow and misery are agony, but for some reason, humans crave it." Strands of dark hair tickled his nose and Ciel wrinkled it, turning his pinched frown away, into Sebastian's chest. He smelled sweet, a familiar scent, one he'd been breathing for four years. His arms wound up and around Sebastian's neck, draping upon his shoulders, pulling him closer yet as he considered this statement, found it true enough. The sound of bare skin brushing bare skin was all there was for a moment, a touch of noses and then a breath against a forehead as Sebastian settled down next to him on the ground. His body was smooth and unyielding, a comforting something to press up against in the nothingness around their little garden.

Ciel relaxed, and the music that replaced the wind resonated in his bones. Somewhere outside their garden, like the music in the air, came the sound of bubbling water—flowing, trickling, soothing and unnerving all at once. He closed his eyes, breathing a sigh out against Sebastian's chest as a black-tipped finger slid into him and began to explore. His toenails scraped against the stone and he shifted, trying to get more comfortable.

Two fingers, and then three, and Sebastian grunted when Ciel dug his nails into his side and uttered a groan against his naked chest.

The flowers were dying.

Petals were falling and pooling about the black roots of the bushes, and a string of spittle stretched from Sebastian's tongue to his little master's, and he smiled because he could taste his semen in the boy's mouth.

It smelled the same, regardless of how much affection was involved. Like desperation and infection, and sin.

Once an earl but in the end just a fragile boy crumpled nearly prostrate on the ground, fists between his knees, his young master craned upwards, searching for another kiss. His eyes begged, one rotten and one blue, pretty little brow knotted above them. Broken blood vessels and other love marks had been left in blooming clusters amidst the bruises on his neck, and Sebastian smiled a proud smile at this, nearly wriggled around in childish glee—childish, human, so unlike the self-control he'd practiced adamantly the last few years-as his master continued to crawl forward against him. Pawing, clutching, grasping. Panting. His perfect fingernails were dirty, the tips of his fingers bloody where he'd begged Sebastian to nibble, and the gashes along his chest, leftover from a day long ago, were not completely healed yet, puckered scar skin still bright red and raw amongst the spreading death. Unbeknownst to the boy, one of them had torn open again when he'd moved too sharply, and blood bubbled at the mouth of the old wound but was not enough of a flow to spill over. Similar ruddy stains smeared down his thighs from where the sex had been too much for him already.

"You are so beautiful," Sebastian whispered again, and welcomed him in for another hungry kiss.

His little master made it to his lap and straddled, hugged him tight about the neck, shaking and gasping like a child apologizing after a tantrum, and Sebastian noticed the way his knees and ankles were red from scraping against the stone. He ran a hand through his dark hair, smiled at him and pressed kisses to his cheeks as his little master groaned in frustration and tried to land a kiss on his mouth. Sebastian chuckled, before finally falling still and letting the little mouth smash into his in a ravenous kiss, passionate and wet with teeth grazing and lips smacking. And tongue, oh tongue. And the feel of his cold, wanting body, supple little thighs to his bare hips and the sweet smell of death.

Sebastian rolled his body upward, felt the friction of flesh against proffered flesh, shuddered at the sounds it brought forth from his normally so reserved master—and then he couldn't help it, and he took him again, this time for greediness. Took him like it was the first time, like it should have been had he been the one with the opportunity to snatch his young master's nubile holiness away.

And taking his little body a second time was just as delicious.

"Your hand is bleeding." Ciel pointed, pulling the dead poppy from his hair where Sebastian had tucked it behind his ear, like a fool.

Sebastian glanced down at his knuckles, turned his left hand around and frowned at it. A rivulet of blood snaked down towards his middle finger, hit the knuckle and forked off to the creases on either side of it. "It is," he agreed.

"Omnes feriunt, ultima necat." Ciel uttered a hissing sigh, shifting around on the stones. His entire body ached—from the inside out, it seemed, as though he were ill. His fingertips pulsed, his buttocks throbbed. Every scrape felt alive with raw nerves. He felt tired, both feverish and clammy at once, sick and weak; Sebastian sat behind him, something to lean back against, his perfect chin atop his head. Ciel fingered the dead poppy for a moment, carefully, dried blood flaking on his knuckles, then tossed the flower to the side.

"'All the hours wound, the last one kills'," Sebastian whispered in translation, and his chin moved against Ciel's head. He nosed down lower, breath hot and wet against his ear. "How frightfully fitting."

Ciel rolled his head around, peering up at the devil-thing above him. From some angles, Sebastian looked like his father. From others, he was just himself, and he was a face that Ciel had grown familiar with over the years, one he'd come to...cherish. And now it was the last he'd ever see. Not Lizzy, not his parents, not his own, but this devil-thing's. Not even this devil-thing's true face, but that of his butler's. And perhaps that was selfish, but he figured that if Sebastian wanted to show him his true face before the end, he would.

Sebastian peered at him, grim and offhanded at the same time, dark brown strands of hair falling just out of his eyes to let them meet his master's, and a shiver exploded at the base of Ciel's spine but he managed to suppress it, left it tingling at his tailbone, churning in his stomach. There was just something so fascinating about Sebastian, every now and again—just a look on his face that knocked every word out of Ciel's mouth and every thought off its coherent track, and left him gawking in confusion, in surprise, in admiration. Because those angles and curves of his face were just too perfect, and his lips so thin and pink—and his pretty long lashes and his big, lively eyes, as wildly expressive as a cat's, the color of

clotted blood

polished cherrywood. He was the epitome of...something, something Ciel couldn't quite place his finger on, but it was flawless and gorgeous and frightening all at once and Sebastian embodied it. Like a demigod, but that was blasphemous. Youth and sin and unattainable perfection all in one. Something so raw that it was unreal, intangible to everyone but him—maybe, maybe it was intangible to him, too—and that was delightful. Mysteries, boundless mysteries in those


profound eyes, and all his. And it was in a moment comfortable and familiar like this that his Dorian Gray butler surprised him by glancing at him humbly and striking him somewhere deep, dumbfounding him so severely that he didn't really even care that he was gawking—and now, especially, what did it matter anymore? And he wanted to touch that perfection, just to prove to himself that it was real and his alone, and—

Sebastian opened his mouth, drew in a breath to speak—but Ciel moved a finger up and pressed the tip of it to the devil-thing's lips, so sensuous, and only naturally. Sebastian blinked a few times, and a brief innocence passed over his face in another one of those rare moments Ciel loved so. He smiled, a warmth billowing up in the pit of his chest, and trailed his fingertips down the angle of Sebastian's face, touch lingering on his chin.

Sebastian craned down to press a gentle kiss to his forehead and his skin prickled with a weak shiver; Ciel blinked a bit, squinting up at him.

"Don't tell me when," he whispered. "I want to be surprised."

Sebastian nodded.

"And I want it to be...extravagant."

Sebastian nodded again, lips dusting Ciel's forehead.

"Something you can tell your demon friends about."

Sebastian blinked, startled; he peered down at the boy settled against him in frank incredulity, then grinned, a cat-eyed, innocuous little grin, and chuckled into his hair. Ciel shivered, but a small smile played across his lips, lashes lowered on a turbid eye.

The sounds of activity outside their heavenly garden of hatred and the supposed haze of nothingness it faded into it had changed. No longer were they whispers or brief, vague signs of life; now there sounded a howl, followed by a whisper—incoherent, but quite near. Ciel glanced over his shoulder, searching the mist of shadows around the edges of the stacked-stone court, searching for something, anything—and he noticed for the first time what looked like little specs of light, lost in the air. Like firebugs, flitting around, but perhaps not as intelligent. A sudden eeriness wracked his frame, accompanied by a thought pierced with clarity: Ghost-things. They were ghost-things, ghost-thoughts, pieces of people who'd died, floating around ignorantly and stupidly like seeds of a dandelion in the summer. And soon, part of him would be one of those ghost-thoughts. Or, maybe—perhaps he'd be one of those ghost-things howling and screaming in the distance, lost somewhere in the fog of darkness outside their little garden.

Imagery like that of a child's fairy tale sprung up in his mind, of ghost-things trundling about outside the garden, chained or broken or dim-witted, silhouettes wandering around with tasks to do or eternities to waste, opening their mouths but unable to produce anything from their vocal chords but ghost-noises, which broke the rules of sound and depth and breath, anyway, and all around them in the darkness flitted ghost-thoughts, and he was about to become one of those things, lost forever.

But it became childish and inconceivable suddenly, and, calmly enough, Ciel stifled the images and scolded himself for getting so unnerved, turned around, peeked up at Sebastian through strands of dark hair. But— "Sebastian," he whispered, licking dry lips. He put on a meek smile at Sebastian's imploring glance, pressing closer in hopes of finding and sharing body heat. "Not that it's really pertinent, but—what will happen to me afterwards?"

Sebastian shifted slightly, regarded him from the corner of his eye as if slightly affronted by such a question. "...Nothing, young master." He nodded, and a few pebbles ground beneath his palm as he leaned back upon it. "Eternally. Souls that are eaten are gone forever. Unless, of course, God decides to intervene. But that does not happen often."

"What do you mean, 'gone'—?"

"You will never be conscious again. It will be the end."

Ciel peered at him for a moment, eyes blank and distanced as his mind moved around this idea. A shadow passed over him once the depth of it sank in, and he pressed his mouth into a thin line, glancing back at Sebastian; a cloud seemed to have darkened his face in turn, but it was a different kind of solemnity. Plaintive, but somehow unaffected, somehow at peace.

"What do you wish would happen?"

A petal fell to the stone beneath. Sebastian chuckled dryly. He moved; Ciel watched, as if bored, as Sebastian walked two fingertips up the slant of his thigh, tip-toeing around the cut of his hip, parading up his side as if scaling a mountain. And as he did so, he whispered, "...After this little interment of yours? To have you dance along on chains I hold fast in my grip, as my perfect little thing, all through my home with me."

There was a silence in which an uncomfortable but profound sensation was palpable as it passed from demon to child. Ciel stared at the fingertips that halted just under his clavicle, splayed in the narrow, fragile place where the skin stretched tight over his breastbone. Black nails, startlingly ebony in juxtaposition with his white skin. He shuddered, closing his eyes tight and carefully maintaining his pointed nonchalance against the expression of horror and desire that wanted to take its place, because the image that such a statement painted across his mind was mortifying—arousing—in many unique ways. Roles reversed, and the sex and the demands for eternity. Would it really be Sebastian, or was the devil-thing behind those ruddy eyes imagining himself—herself—itself with a pet to shame and abuse and adore until the end of time, all emotional connection nullified?

After the tension sizzled off the end of his fingertips, Ciel scoffed softly, cleared his throat; he glanced at Sebastian through his lashes and husked, "...Too bad."

"...Perhaps, could I tell you something, my lord?"

Their little garden had fallen silent for a while, just the brush of petals against stone and the noises of ghost-things in the distance, gentle breath and a comfortable blanket of quiet shared between them. Ciel turned slightly, peering up at Sebastian through his lashes. Sebastian returned the stare, mahogany eyes hard and intense, flashing with a reminder of just what he was. Inhuman, and incapable of feeling human things, like rue or faith or purity. Ciel felt a vague weight, a sudden sadness at that, heavy in his chest— He shrugged, wriggled his body around, turned to sit with his shoulder against Sebastian's chest and his ear to his collarbone, cuddled up as if awaiting a bedtime story. He sat curled against him, naked body to naked body, and peered at his raw knees with hooded eyes and felt the cobbles dig into his buttocks.

"You have been dead all along."

Ciel's eyes rolled open fully and he bristled—his stomach churned, flipped, sank out of pure reaction. He gazed at the flowers, brow slowly furrowing; a chill snaked down his spine and he fidgeted, then regretted it as his back ached in response.

To have you dance along on chains I hold fast in my grip, as my perfect little thing, all through my home with me.


He licked his lips, glancing up at Sebastian with sharp uncertainty bleeding into his eyes. "...I don't understand."

Sebastian smiled, saccharine, as if he were speaking of something light and sunny—a business meeting, or a picnic. "You were dead when I found you—I think you remember that quite well. I brought you back to life, but I am not God. No power is that perfect. I cannot create, but only cheat at life. You promised me your soul, not your body, so you were never truly alive, you see. It was only a matter of time until your little self rejected the contract before it was fulfilled."


"After that day, you were never again an actual human being, but, rather, a body with its demise put on hold due to supernatural means."

A petal fell from a marigold and fluttered to the ground, and Ciel watched it, lips parted and raw from the kissing and gnawing. He stared at the flowers, hand trembling from the urge to slap Sebastian. And he thought about this, about how horrid it was, and how hard it was to believe except that here he was, in a heavenly garden of hatred somewhere in hell, prematurely, and it was funny to wonder if God would intervene. It was only a matter of time until your little self rejected the contract before it was fulfilled. How true, how convenient. He kicked at the flowers, but all he managed to do was scrape his heel against the stone.

He winced, took a slow breath, let it out long and slow and wilted with the exhalation.

"Oh," he whispered in reply.

The light with no source had dimmed. The music of the silence had dissipated, like the breath of death had passed over it and extinguished the sound.

There were echoes, creaks and groans, rumbles, drops, croaks, sighs. Ghost-things and ghost-sounds and ghost-thoughts. Ciel wondered if maybe the shroud of darkness around their little tea party wasn't exactly nothingness like he'd figured before, but was instead some kind of haze, keeping him from seeing the inhuman monsters and spirits because he wasn't yet a part of them—a fog between their heavenly garden of hatred and a hellish world where there was nothing but fire and torture and grotesque, demented ideas. Sebastian's home. The idea wasn't really frightening anymore, so much as it was simply serene and quiet. Peaceful, but unholy. Dreamlike.

He wanted to ask just where in Dante's Inferno they were lying, in which level his sad little soul would rot in digestion forever—the circles of lust, gluttony, greed and prodigality, wrath and sullenness—or perhaps those of violence, blasphemy, sodomy—fraud, corruption, sorcery—but Sebastian caught his mouth in another kiss and he thought maybe there wasn't a circle he fit into, for as many sins as his soul was guilty of. Ciel relaxed, shooing these notions away; he fell back into a supporting hand, splayed warm and strong at the base of his spine, and his fingers trailed down from Sebastian's shoulders, trembling and weak where they lay against his skin. Blissfully smooth skin.

And Sebastian's kisses were soft, gentle on his bruised lips, and Ciel liked that thoughtfulness. Slow kisses, kind kisses, wet, warm, sensual kisses, and he ran his palms up to cup Sebastian's silky cheeks, returning the kisses to his best ability.

"You never said my name," Ciel whispered when Sebastian broke away and nosed against his forehead, shutting his eyes and just reveling in what it was like to lay with someone, sensations that were overwhelming him in such a way that couldn't possibly be simply of the moment.

"I did not need to."

"I would have liked it. ...I might have, rather."

Sebastian's smile was obvious against his cheek, lashes tickling his brow. "My apologies, young master."

"Say my name. I permit it just this once."

"...Yes, young master."

"Why don't you eat, already?"

"You want to be surprised."

"I'll die of suspense bef—" His breath was a brisk gasp as Sebastian interrupted him with another deep kiss, and Ciel smiled first, amused, then tipped his head into Sebastian's other hand and kissed him back. Something so adult, so improper. He liked it. His hands moved to Sebastian's neck, draping there comfortably.

Sebastian's tongue nudged at his lips, at his teeth, and Ciel parted his jaws; Sebastian's tongue twisted about in his mouth for a moment, before he shook his head away and pressed instead into a wet, close-lipped kiss. But it wasn't long before Sebastian's tongue prodded at his mouth again, and after a brief consideration, Ciel allowed it through a second time. Pushed it back, kissed him on the corner of his mouth. But Sebastian pried through his closed mouth once more, and plundered the corners of it with his tongue, savored the startled grunt and the shiver and the moan of frustration that was truly more of stubborn submission.

Ciel arched his back, brow knotting; he trembled, locked in place, frightened at first by the length and the power of Sebastian's tongue, but after a moment his tongue twitched along, and he craned upwards, trying to slither his own way into Sebastian's mouth. The tip of his tongue grazed a sharp, elongated tooth, and he shivered again, stinging heels dragging against the stone another time.

They broke away with a hiss of breath and rolling chests, and their eyes met in a moment of transcension. Ciel's good eye was filled with passion—ardor, trust, hallowing—and was yet somehow serene. A little pearl of a tear gathered at the corner of his lashes and sat there, clearly quite unnoticed. His raw lips hung open gently, as if he wanted to smile but could only stare.

The demon's brow furrowed in sudden confusion—if only for a moment—because—

No, demons knew not what true love was, after all. Nor did they feel regret.

One of Ciel's quivering little hands moved around to gingerly touch Sebastian's cheek, and the demon dipped down into another amorous kiss, fully reciprocated by the boy on the other end.

Drew back for a breath and met that passionate, passionate stare once more.

Opened his mouth wide and unhinged his jaw with a sickening barrage of pops, and in something akin to a kiss from a loving rictus, he sank his teeth into the flesh around his little master's mouth.

The sound of his jaws puncturing skin was followed by a grunt and a short gasp, and then something of a sigh into the demon's maw. Blood trickled down from the hollow of Ciel's cheek, fell from his chin to his shoulder and continued on its way down—rolling slow, slow. More ribbons of red followed, bubbling over from where teeth had torn skin.

Just before a bead of blood fell and burst on the ground next to his thigh, a little white hand sagged lower and lower, then dropped limp to the smooth stone—and the clammy slap of skin against the cold ground was the last human echo at the tea party.

'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.'

Mors certa,



A/N: List of flowers and meanings.

acacia - immortality of soul/secret love; acanthus - heavenly garden; basil - hatred; coriander - lust; daisy - innocence; holly - foresight; ivy - fidelity; lavender - distrust; lily - purity/eternal life; marigold - sorrow; morning glory - affection; narcissus - egotism; nightshade - secrets; poppy - eternal sleep/oblivion; rhododendron - danger; white rose - reverence/innocence; black rose - death/farewell; blue rose - unattainable/impossible; red rose - passion; thistle - defiance; weeping willow - mourning; willow - forsaken love; witch-hazel - a spell; zinnia - thoughts of absent friends.

Mors certa: "death is certain".