Disclaimer: No.

Author's Note/Dedication: A very belated (but very affectionate) happy birthday to the insanely talented Salome Sensei! I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoy your work. :D

Warnings: I tried some new stylistic things, so this might read a little differently than my previous work. Otherwise, you need only worry about shouta, suggestiveness, and catching a shout-out to our dear Sensei's "Discipline" series. 3 (Oh. And in my head, this is part of the "Hide and Seek" saga. You don't really have to read any of the other stories, though, to get it. :3)

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Secrets

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There are no secrets.

No secrets. No smoke (sans the kitchen), no mirrors (besides the literal), no guises (except that of his own). The Phantomhive House is a paradox, in this way— full of bright darkness, sad happiness, and an angelic demon.

But that is a secret. A well-kept secret. Though the basic facts are paraded (I am a devil of a butler), despite daily demonstrations of supernatural skills (order from chaos, bullets from body, flowers from bulbs), regardless of obviously inhuman charms, knowledge, strength, conviction… All this, and a secret he remains. The irony of his existence! For, while Sebastian is a secret that no-one tries to hide, nobody ever suspects him for what he truly is. He does not lie, and yet he is in a perpetual state of doing so— wearing the skin of a beautiful, obsequious, dutiful butler.

And a dutiful butler must always keep watch over his charge, correct?

It is midnight. Twelve o' four, to be precise— the dusky corners have only-just-swallowed the final, melancholy toll of the grandfather clock; even still, in an onyx-swathed breast pocket, tinny cogs whirl and spin and ticktickticktick, rapid yet rhythmic. Regular in a way that the human pulse is not. He silently compares the two, masking a wily smile that yearns to break free; he can feel the expression physically writhing beneath his calm exterior, like an ocean's deadly riptide. Like maggots in the grave.

Outside, the empty grounds echo the whistled wuthering of the moor. Skeletal trees dance in the winter forest, their frost-tipped limbs trilling like ethereal chimes. High above, clouds of wispy fog hide a pregnant December orb; far below, clouds of composure hide the crescent moon of Sebastian's toothy leer. And through long sheets of ice-clear glass, frozen starlight cuts dagger-sharp outlines: emaciated branches become like withered puppets, metal gridirons crucify the ghosts on the wall, and the devil's stock-still silhouette is made into modern art, silent and decorative. For now, he is an ebony statue. A red-eyed obelisk. The only moving body exists beyond the closed mahogany door that he so patiently guards.

And yes, that body moves. He can hear each tell-tale indicator, from the smallest squeak of invisible ligaments to the sonorous groan of the aged bed frame. Crisp linens rustle, followed by wrinkled nightclothes. Soft puffs of hot breath waft over thick pages of parted parchment, the yellowed paper crinkling in the heated moistness of each heady exhale. Shallow, wanton… the novel's spine cracking as five knuckles creak, curve, curl, fingers fisting 'round a shaft of throbbing vessels, tautened skin.

One hand pumps, the other hand stifles— trying to muffle telling whimpers, to mute indicative gasps. Right verses left, pleasure verses shame, good verses evil. How funny, that even now (after innocence has been replaced by Contract; parents by monsters; Bibles by porn) the arrogant earl attempts to hide his grunts, his hisses, the very sound of his breathing. His palm conceals his mouth, as if that might help conceal his secret joys.

But there are no secrets— no unknowns, no salacious mysteries. Sebastian knows what sorts of stories his master reads, where he hides the hefty tome, what chapters push his pubescent curiosities over the metaphorical edge. Flowery paragraphs that sweeten the scandalous with coats of verbal sugar—eloquent dialogue of loquacious wit, soon marred by choppy demands of more, please, yes, there. Knights and squires and swords of all kinds… the little boy's interests are so entirely base and wholly indecent that they make the demon swell with (desire) pride.

Such corruption should be rewarded.

And as the butler's fingers fall—not for the first time— upon the polished handle of the intricately carved barrier, he wonders (also not for the first time) how long it will be until the other servants realize the realities of the midnight hour: what lives and moans and begs for more, please, yes, there behind their master's starlit door.

For in this House, there are no secrets.

Only truths that have yet to be shared.

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"But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

~Matthew 6:3

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