A/N: I have wanted to write a story for this pairing since I first started reading the Black Butler manga. It is so pretty, I can't get enough of it! I did watch the anime but I hated it. It was so much darker than the manga and the end made me cry and creeped me out at the same time so I like to pretend it doesn't exist so a sincere apology to those of you who like the anime! Anyway, this was meant to be a lot darker but I apparently can't write like that and it ended up a lot more fluffy than it was supposed to be. It is probably also OOC but I tried my best to keep Ciel and his gorgeous demon in character. I realize that there is nothing sweet or fluffy about their relationship but, eh. This story is not beta'd so I apologize for any mistakes!

Warning: MATURE SEXUAL CONTENT. Slash sex, CielxSebastian. The lemon is not as involved as I usually write them but it's still very mature. If you don't like that kind of thing, the back button is only at the top of the page!

Broken Sunrises

The bitter wind cut through the brightly lit cemetery, searing right through his elegantly cut coat and freezing his skin. By now, having been standing in its furious gale for some time, he was beyond shivering, though he wouldn't have if he could. Such a weakness was not one lightly shown. Perhaps, he thought not for the first time, he had to seem so strong because in reality, he was the farthest thing from it. There was no strength in his slender arms or long, slim legs. There was no courage in his black heart; there was no hope in his mismatched gaze. He was held together by duty and the inescapable chains of his name. Earl Phantomhive. That was all he was and that was all he was ever going to be. In his soul, he was nothing more than what the world, what England, what his Queen needed him to be.

Ciel frowned and watched the cold wind idly twirl a few rotting leaves across the browned grass. Sometimes he felt like those leaves, adrift in a fate that he had no control over. Once, that might have bothered him, once when his mind and soul were more alive but he could not find where that life had gone. There was nothing but cold, empty numbness, reminding him every moment of the day of who he was and what his life had become. The happiness that he had once known, so very long ago, was a memory he could barely recall anymore. That, too, had been buried under the weight of responsibility. He could no sooner access it than he could bring the dead back to life and he knew it was better that way. Hope was one expense he could no longer afford to pay. Especially on this day.

The anniversary of the day that Elizabeth was killed.

A movement off to his right caught his attention and he spotted his butler walking towards him, hair caught in the stiff breeze and looking as perfect and as impeccable as always. He swallowed bitterness and turned back to the white marble grave marker that bore his late fiancé's name. Time and the constantly changing weather had already begun to mark the smooth surface, even though it had only been three years. Three years to the day since they had laid the girl's cold body in the ground and his heart had been as dead then as it was now.

It wasn't like he had been in love with her because he hadn't been. At the age of fourteen, love had been a hard thing for him to grasp. He knew he could feel it, had felt some kind of form of it before but the girl had inspired nothing in him but faint traces of affection. Still, she had been a warm presence in his life, always barging in and making everything a little brighter, if just for a while. Though he could never imagine, even now, having developed any kind of passion for the girl, he had no wish for her to be gone from his life. Not like this.

And it had all been his fault. It was always his fault. Just when he thought that maybe, just maybe, there could be a glimmer of happiness in his life, someone who could take the edge from his constant loneliness, there was always some greater force waiting to take it away. Though it had not been his own hand that had actively felled the killing stroke, the girl's death still stained his hands. He was so tainted he could no longer smell the stench of his own corruption.

That day he had been doing his job, like the good, faithful little dog he was, chained and collared to every whim of his Queen, just as his butler was to him. Another murderer was running amok on the streets of London and he had been called in because no one had ever seen anything so horrible since Jack the Ripper. Only this time, instead of prostitutes, it had been young woman of nobility. The killer had been exceedingly cunning, slipping through all the traps he set and no doubt laughing the entire time. It had stung Ciel's pride, the knowledge that some twisted freak was escaping him time and again. So what had he done? Why, he had used his own cunning, thinking there was no way the killer could not take his bait and, consequently, get caught.

And he had. Taken the bait, that is.

He gritted his teeth as his single eye traced over and over the familiar name on the stone until it was surely etched on the back of his retinas. The worst part about the whole thing was that he hadn't even told Lizzy why he had wanted her to meet him at his town home, pretending it was just a social call. Perhaps, if she had known at least a little bit of his designs then she would not have strayed from his property that night. Even with Sebastian, Lau and Agni all present, somehow she had managed to slip away. Why, he still didn't know but the fact remained that the killer had gotten to her first, leaving her broken and still in the dark mirror of her own blood. He could remember thinking as he stared down at her still face how upset she would be if she could see the way the blood was ruining her dress, drying on the ribbons and stiffening the lace.

There had been no grief in the thought, just an aching, pitiful guilt. After all, it was due to his own plans the girl had been in town anyway. If only he had told her. In the end, Sebastian had ripped the bastard apart when he had gone for Ciel but not before the boy was nearly killed himself. Again, through his own carelessness. More than just his pride had been wounded that day and he knew enough now never to make a mistake like that again.

"Did you come here to fetch me?" his voice was deep and cold, very much like the winter air, breath a plume of mist before his eyes. He wondered that he still had enough body heat to be able to see his words. There was a shift of material from behind him and he felt a flash of annoyance. The butler had been ordered to stay with the carriage, just like every other year. Why he thought he could break a command now was infuriating.

"Only to inquire if young master is cold," the smooth baritone used to make his teeth stand on edge but it had become so familiar he barely even flinched at the ever present smirk he could hear within it. At the mention of being cold, he shivered a little and hunched his shoulders against winter blasts, burying his dripping nose into the soft fabric of his high collar. That was not why Sebastian had disobeyed an order but he didn't feel like calling him on it. Instead he leaned down and placed the huge bundle of flowers held together by an abundance of pink ribbon that he had been holding beside the grave. They were the most expensive white lilies he could buy and he knew that if Lizzy could see them, she would squeal with glee. But he did not do that for any memory of her. He did it to appease his own conscience.

When he turned around and started to make for his carriage that was waiting just over the small hill, he didn't even look at the demon standing patiently behind him.

"I was leaving anyway," and gritted his teeth when he could feel the other man's smirk. Most of the time he forgot to begrudge Sebastian's presence for he was really the last constant left he had in his life but times such as these made being with him nearly unbearable. To the demon, this was just another human weakness. If there was anything the young Earl hated more, it was being made to feel less than what he was, "And I know you don't care if I'm cold. As long as my soul doesn't freeze, right?" his words rang of bitterness because it had finally come to the point where he almost wished the demon would take his soul. Sometimes he wondered why he already hadn't. Sebastian followed behind, expressionless as always.

"If you wish, young master," he missed how this time, the smirk was strangely absent.

What no one seemed to realize was that orders could be given without having to say a single word.

The only way Sebastian would disregard one order was by being given another, contradictory one. No, the young master had not actually asked for his presence, or said anything at all, really. But it was still there, calling to him in a clear voice, much more pure than anything the young man might say aloud.

Ciel might not have realized it, but his heart had figured out how to speak when his mind remained stubborn and closed off. And the demon could hear what it was saying, screaming, crying even if the boy's pale face remained a perfect mimicry of a marble statue. He had heard it clear across the cemetery, whispering softly as the seal on his hand pulled gently. It was not the first time, happening with increasing frequency as the Earl grew. He supposed that as a boy, his desires had been simple, heart coinciding with his thoughts but something had changed him and he didn't seem to realize that his human heart was no longer in sync with the rest of him.

Which was more than a little irritating because getting two different sets of orders was rather confusing, even for himself. Not to say that he couldn't do it because he could. After all, he was one hell of a butler but the boy had always been a handful at the best of times. He was confident enough to say that he had never met anyone quite like him and even after seven years, the moody, dark haired noble continued to fascinate him. Not that he would ever admit as much to Ciel; just the thought of the smug, satisfied look that would slither onto the pretty features was enough to make him growl to himself. It was hard enough to keep track of where he stood in the game they played without giving himself away. Strange was the realization that he wasn't even sure he wanted to see the boy lose anymore. After all, he had lost so much already. And that thought was a parody in itself. When did he start caring what it was his master had lost? So long as he saved his soul for his demon to devour, Sebastian shouldn't care less. But the game was starting to become personal and he wasn't sure if he couldn't not care.

The ruby gaze flickered to the slim figure that strode in front of him by exactly three steps and couldn't help a slight curling of his lips. By his standards, the Lord of the Phantomhive name was still very, very young but there was no doubt that Ciel, somewhere along the line, had turned into a man. Of course Sebastian had noticed this already. His observation skills were sharper than any human's could be; how could he not have noticed the boy putting on height or his voice sliding down, octave by octave, to become deep and smooth, like ribbons of velvet? He was still quite slender, something he supposed would never change and his eyes were still almost too big for his face, making him pretty rather than handsome. But there was a striking appeal there that not even a demon could ignore. He snorted to himself as he walked, barely giving the biting wind a second thought. Who was he trying to fool? It was because he was a demon that he couldn't ignore it.

And under all of that, the fickle human heart still bled.

It was a passing thought that made Sebastian wonder what he could do to make it stop, even if it was only for a little peace. The only time it seemed to ease was when he was standing at Ciel's shoulder and wasn't that the strangest thing of all? Still, he doubted that the boy would even let him in as that would be admitting to a weakness. And Ciel Phantomhive was anything but weak. That, he had found out the hard way. Perhaps that was why he was so drawn to the human boy. After all, it had been he that had approached the broken Earl in the first place.

The butler shook his dark head and slipped on his ever-present smirk as they neared the carriage, wondering if spending so much time bound to a human had made him soft. He wondered because as he opened the dark, enameled door to let the young man into the carriage, he found he couldn't ignore the way that single visible eye slid over him for the briefest of moments, as icy and as closed off as ever. He wondered because he could feel the way the seal on his hand heated just a bit and something eased in the back of his mind.

Silly, foolish demon, thinking he would allow himself to feel such unnecessary, fragile emotions. Even so, the fact remained they were still there, lodged like a shiny piece of mirrored glass in his cranium and he did not know how to pull it free.

"Make it fast, Sebastian. I'm craving a cup of hot cocoa," he kept his voice bland, staring at the scenery that flew by the window and didn't glace over to see what kind of condescension was burning in the ruby gaze this time. He didn't want to see because it was tiring and made him feel even colder than the winter air outside which in turn made him cave into self loathing for even allowing himself to be affected by it.

"I thought you said you weren't cold, young master," the other man's voice held mocking laughter and he turned his head enough to glare as hard as he possibly could at the demon sitting across from him, wishing his gaze was hard enough to split that smiling face in two.

"Shut up," he hissed, the blue of his eye flashing dangerously, "When did I say anything about being cold?" and though his voice was hard, it sounded more like he was trying to pick a fight rather than telling off his butler; which might have been the case if he wasn't well aware that Sebastian wouldn't take the bait. The man was many things but he never openly allowed himself an argument. Oh, he would certainly be drawn into a disagreement or whatever it was they did but he never fought the conventional way. His tactics were always sneaky and underhanded and Ciel supposed he shouldn't really expect too much from a demon. When Sebastian shrugged easily, face bland, he realized with a suffocating flash of irritation that he did indeed wish for a fight, the need tingling just under the surface of his skin and he hated it.

So burying the urge to lash out, the Earl gritted his teeth and turned his attention back out the window again. It never did any good to get angry at the dark haired butler, though that usually didn't stop him anyway. He ignored the way the other's presence pressed on him from the other side of the carriage and watched the bleak, weary streets pass by.

He actually hated London in the winter. The cold seemed like a living thing, oozing into the smallest of openings in buildings and clothing alike, bitterness seeping up from the gray cobblestones to beset upon the unwary. Too many ghosts lingered behind the façade of stone and brick, watching the living with sad, hollow eyes and he could see them standing in the background, in the alleyways, in the dark spaces of the city were the living tended to avoid. People passed them by, unable to see or feel them, attributing the chill to the bite of the season rather than the pain of those who had already passed. Sometimes, when he permitted himself, he wondered if any of those ghosts would wear the faces of the victims he had avenged and who he was supposed to have saved. He wondered if any of the thousands of names he had memorized over the past couple of years belonged to them.

Then he pushed that thought away and looked through the silvery images he knew were conjured by his own consciousness because he already saw them enough in his nightmares.

By the time they made it back to his townhouse, the weak winter sun had been swallowed up by steely gray clouds that hung heavy and swollen like a thick blanket over the city. It would probably snow before the day was out and he scowled at the thought because he had no wish to stay stuck in this god-forsaken city any longer than he needed to. The wheels of the carriage rumbled to a halt before the house and he looked across the space for the first time since they left the cemetery, single visible eye flickering over his butler's face.

Sebastian was not an easy person to read, probably because he wasn't actually a person but Ciel had become used to figuring out what he might be thinking by the expression in his ruby colored eyes. But now they were flat and quiet, giving absolutely no clue to what might be whirling through his mind. It was actually rather disturbing and he had to look away before he was caught in that gaze, a fear that was rather recent and one he couldn't figure out. There used to be a time when he didn't really give a shit what the demon thought about him because he couldn't change Sebastian and he couldn't tell him to leave. He needed the man to survive; it was a weakness that he both hated and recognized as a truth. But lately, he found himself unable to look him in the eye, his own thoughts confusing and consuming in their lack of solidity. So to cover up his sudden discomfort, he jerked his chin to the door and leveled it with a sharp glare.

"Are you going to open it or are we going to sit here all day?" his deep voice was sharp and usually the older man would respond to it with a smirk and a polite reply that had cutting steel underneath it. This time, however, the butler nodded shortly and simply leaned over to twist the handle, opening the door to let in all the cold, cutting air. That he didn't say anything at all was strange and Ciel couldn't help but give him a quick, searching glace. Sebastian met it after he stepped from the carriage and waited by the door, the deep crimson of his eyes calm and implacable as always. The Earl frowned and ignored the slender, gloved hand offered to him as aid, slipping gracefully from the carriage and sweeping past the butler without looking at him again.

Still, he could feel it as he moved through the frozen air, breath hot and misting before his face. Something was slowly changing within him and he had no idea what it was.

Sebastian had felt it sitting in the carriage, the weight of the air between him and the Earl, so heavy that he didn't know how the young man was even breathing. Maybe Ciel couldn't feel it but for him he thought he could almost touch the ton of stone blocks pressing down his chest. He could see from where he sat the loneliness and confusion swirling in the wide blue gaze and it mirrored his own emotions so well he wondered if they were sharing them somehow. It was the first time he felt something like that so strongly and he didn't know how to feel about the fact that his master seemed to be suffering similarly.

One thing was for sure, he thought as he held the carriage door open for the young Earl and tried not to study the pretty face as Ciel stepped into the winter air; there was something going on in a way that went much deeper than master and his butler, between human and his demon and he didn't have a name for it. Sebastian stared at the slender back as the dark haired man walked to the door of the house, knowing it was much stronger than it looked and wondered if this change was going to be disastrous. There was a sharp, hungry need burning in his chest that had nothing to do with his hunger for human souls and it had no name. Or at least not one that he could identify.

As he slipped past his young Lord and opened the front door, once again trying to keep his eyes away from Ciel's beautiful, remote features, he wondered why he wasn't fighting this change more.

More than that, he wondered why he didn't want to.

The knock at the door to his private study didn't surprise him any more than it swinging open a moment later without his response did. He didn't even turn to look because the clock had just chimed two and there was only one person who walked into his private rooms without asking for permission to enter. The knock was simply a courtesy; one of the few he was given by his butler. It was always the same with Sebastian. There was a strict schedule to be followed and if it was deviated from, there were always consequences. When he was younger, Ciel would mess with it just to piss the demon off but he learned that Sebastian's retaliation was never fun to suffer through so now he just let the man do what needed to be done. Besides, now that he was a little older, he hoped that he grew out of those childish games. Especially since the older man's scorn was the worst punishment of all.

Snow fell down from the iron sky in thick, lacy puffs, floating through the sky like they had all the time in the world to reach their final destination upon the ground. He watched them quietly, ignoring the mound of letters and company paperwork waiting for him upon the desk behind him, opting for the comfortable window seat even though the cold air seeped around the edges of the panes. The rich curtains and the pile of cushions and tasseled pillows practically obscured him from view and he was almost inclined to ignore his butler's presence when the man pushed the tea cart into the room, the fine china rattling faintly in the heavy silence.

"My Lord, your tea is ready," the warm scent wafted over to him from his hiding spot and his sigh misted the cold glass in front of him. On days like this he wished he didn't have to drag himself out of bed or could just sit in the library and read all day. His body always felt weak and he was disinterested in the world when the weather was bad but there were certain responsibilities that came with the name of Phantomhive and he couldn't let even one day go by when he shirked them for his own interests. It was a weakness he could not indulge and one luxury he couldn't afford. Not all of the money in the world could give him back time.

"Let me guess," he addressed the window as he spoke, staring through his pale reflection at the streets outside his house which were slowly becoming white and ghostly, "Darjeeling today," it was usually Darjeeling in the afternoon because it was one of his favorite flavors but he had been doing this with the demon for years and he felt like something would come screeching to a halt if he stopped. There was a soft chuckle from where the butler stopped the cart by his desk and he finally turned on his perch to watch as Sebastian put the perfect amount of sugar and cream into the delicate cup. His single eye caught on the graceful hands that were encased in soft white silk and he found himself wishing Sebastian would at least take the stupid things off when they were in private. For some reason he thought they made the dark haired man look stuffy and his impulse to yank them off was infuriating.

"Very good, young Master, as always," the demon's eyes gleamed in the dull, silvery light coming in through the window Ciel sat in front of and he felt a flash of resentment so strong it nearly choked him. Sebastian only spoke in that light tone of voice when he was mocking the younger man and he knew it was useless to say anything because the demon would only deny what he was doing with that stupid tilt of his head that he did and the curling smirk that looked like he had just pulled off a great prank. It was almost like Sebastian needed to do those things to keep himself from getting bored. The thought made the young Earl's skin prickle uncomfortably but it wasn't with the normal anger or dislike. There was something else there, something that had been growing inside of him like a great shadow that had no name and wouldn't reveal its true face to him no matter how he tried to see through it. All he knew was that he wanted the barbed insults and quicksilver games to stop. He just didn't know what should take their place.

Slowly, he eased himself from the window seat, brushing off his dark, woolen trousers that kept him warm in any kind of weather and listened to the way his heels struck against the marbled floor as he approached the cart beside the heavy oak desk. Sebastian stood back, his arms hanging loosely at his sides and his face cool and expressionless as he watched the dark haired Earl. Those ruby eyes were flat for the moment, polite and distant but he could feel them on him as he lifted the steaming mug and pressed the thin rim to his lips.

He couldn't fathom it, what was different all of a sudden. The black haired butler hadn't changed; as a demon, he was immortal and thus his appearance wouldn't change no matter how many years he spent in Ciel's service. Yet it was almost like he did look different in a way that the Earl couldn't put a finger on. He studied the other man as he sipped the hot tea, the liquid warming him as it slid down his throat. It was perfect, as always but that wasn't what held his attention. The pale features across from him were the same as they had always been, remote and starkly beautiful in a way even he couldn't ignore. The dark hair was just a little longer, maybe, in the front but the straight nose, high cheek bones and curling lips looked like they always had. Sebastian had not changed his uniform much in the past years, still prim and black and Ciel had to think back as he wondered if he had ever seen the man dressed in anything else. There had been variations but he didn't think he ever had seen the demon dressed differently. So he couldn't even blame the perceived change on the clothes. But there was something and the more he pondered it, the more he was desperate to identify it.

Finally he slid his gaze away to the pile of papers he needed to address on his desk, unable to keep staring and wishing he could hear the demon's thoughts. It was better if he didn't start treading down that path because he understood it would only lead to failure. Instead he swallowed his tea quicker than normal, barely tasting it enough to savor it and then cleared his throat that had been left a little thick from the hot liquid.

"What is my schedule for tomorrow?" he asked like he had been meaning to since the beginning and gave in, sitting at his desk and frowning at the stacks in front of him. It was something he could concentrate on without running himself ragged in useless circles. Sebastian didn't indicate that he had noticed the younger man's staring, only inclining his head and peering from behind his bangs. It was a gesture that Ciel had learned to ignore about a year ago when he had first noticed how appealing it was for the sake of his sanity.

"You have the morning free as it is Saturday, though I do suggest you practice your fencing and the violin in that spare time. You have been neglecting both," the words brought the Earl's gaze swinging around so that he pinned the demon with his single piercing eye. Usually he would be able to hear the condemnation in the butler's voice when he chided the younger man for neglecting something but lately the tone had been oddly absent. Still it chafed and he glared fiercely.

"I'm not a child anymore, Sebastian," he snapped, the deep growl of his voice only proving his words true. Something flashed in the crimson gaze and this time when the dark head inclined it was in a mocking bow. For some reason, though, he almost thought that the man had done it to hide an emotion that he didn't want Ciel to see.

"No, young Master. You certainly are not," and he couldn't interpret the tone of voice the demon used as he straightened, his face so smooth and cool that he could almost be convinced he was imagining things. And he might have been if that ever present smirk the man usually wore hadn't been mysteriously absent. Yet before he could think more about it, the demon was speaking, "In the afternoon is the ball Marchioness Middleford is having at her manor," Ciel paused in reaching for the pile of letters on his desk and gave a whole body twitch. He recalled immediately the day he had received that invitation, which had been followed by the woman herself later that very day, demanding that he show up since he was the guest of honor. How could he have said no, since it was Elizabeth's mother? The young Earl had always had trouble saying no to her even when her daughter was alive. How could he do so now? Still, when she said "guest of honor" she meant she was throwing the ball with the sole purpose of him finding another fiancé. She still missed her daughter but in the past year or two, the over bearing woman had taken a keen interest in Ciel and his future. However, the thought of attending a party in which he would be the sole focus and surrounded by too many twittering females that eyed him like he was a piece of meat made his stomach twist with dread and bile race up the back of his throat. It was something he didn't want to do so much that he was nearly sick every time he thought about it.

And it was tomorrow.

The Earl didn't realize he was staring without blinking at the chair on the other side of his desk until a slender hand curled around his shoulder and his butler was leaning down next to him, his red eyes holding a shocking amount of genuine concern.

"Are you alright, young Master?" he was asking, removing the tea cup from the edge of the desk in a smooth motion while not even taking his attention from the younger man's face for a moment. The touch jolted something in the noble and he shook his head a little wildly, wondering why the hand resting on his shoulder felt so warm and comfortable. He blinked for a moment and took a breath.

"Do I really have to go?" and his was a mere thread, filled with unwilling resignation while a dull ache pounded in his temples. Sebastian's chuckle was dark and flooded over him like black waters. It was oddly comforting even though the man seemed to be taking pleasure out of his distress but the hand didn't move away. The demon was standing so closely at his elbow that he could feel his heat radiating through their clothes, making him feel uncomfortably warm. They had been closer to each other on many occasions but he couldn't think why this time he would want it to be so. Usually he didn't even think about it but lately…well, if he was honest with himself, he didn't even know what to think about the butler anymore.

"What is it you object more to," Sebastian's voice was velvet and Ciel squirmed a little in his seat before he caught himself and made himself stop, "The fact that it's a party and you will be the guest of honor or the woman who is hosting it?" sometimes, when the older man said things that cut to the very essence of his being, he was filled with resentment over the fact that the one who knew him best was one day going to devour his soul as a meal. But not today. Today he was almost grateful for the demon's perception. He jumped when the hand on his shoulder was joined by fingertips pressing against his temple. It startled him so much, in fact, that it took him a moment to realize Sebastian had taken his glove off, "Or is it something else? Does the thought of having to pick another fiancé scare you?" he snorted and swatted at the older man's hands but even if he had stopped touching the Earl, the butler didn't move away.

"Don't be ridiculous. Why would something like that scare me?" but there was a fine trembling in his deep voice and he turned his head away while squeezing his eyes shut when he realized the demon would have picked up on that weakness immediately. There was a pressing silence and then the gloved hand curled under his chin, forcing his head to turn and tip back so he was looking straight into the ruby gaze. Sebastian's face was wiped clean of any evidence of emotion but his eyes glowed softly in the gloom.

"Could it be that you no longer wish for a future? Do you not want a wife and an heir who will carry on your name?" the questions cut at him and he didn't know how to answer. It used to be what he wanted. At least, he had thought so. But as more time went by and the older he got, the more he wondered. Perhaps it would be better if he didn't pass his name on and all the responsibility that went along with it. Times were changing and he didn't think the Phantomhive name would continue to hold the weight that it did now for much longer. Yet even if it did, he still didn't think that was what he wanted. When he tried to peer into his future, there was only one person by his side, a man who stood wreathed in shadows and whose eyes shone like wet blood. Now the demon stood over him, intense and demanding and his throat closed as a little bit of truth slowly revealed itself to him.

As long as Sebastian remained true and by his side, he didn't need anyone else.

The revelation frightened him and he could feel his heart skip and turn over in his chest as confusion slithered through his mind like a slimy scaled serpent. With a sharp breath he hoped would sound like an expression of exasperation, he jerked his chin free and glared up at the other man with all of the fire he could muster. It made the butler's eyes flicker as he straightened.

"Don't you have something else that needs to be done?" and he turned back to his desk, deliberately reaching for his paperwork. Yet even though he pretended to have coldly dismissed his demon and was now concentrating on the documents in front of him, he was hyper aware of Sebastian's graceful bow and the path he took back out of the room, taking the cart with him. Only when he silently shut the door did Ciel gasp and slump over his desk, head in his hands.


Sebastian frowned deeply as he leaned against the closed door of the Earl's study, listening to the young man's loud, desperate sounding gasp and a rustle as if he had moved restlessly. He did, in fact, have other things he was supposed to be doing and he had spent more time with Ciel than normal but he remained where he was for a moment, listening to his master on the other side of the door.

It was rare when the younger man expressed anything other than anger and a steadfast aloof strength that had always fascinated him but there was something in their most recent interaction that had scared the Earl bad enough he hadn't been able to hide it. The problem was the demon wasn't what it was that had frightened him like that. For a young man of seventeen, Ciel had seen so much more of life than most people did in their entire lifetime so he didn't scare easily. Of course, a lot of that had to do with Sebastian's presence by his side but if he knew what was good for him, he would be at least wary of the demon he had chained to him. Not the Earl. Sebastian had to admit that it was an admirable trait in a human. The termination of their contract meant that he would be devouring the younger man's soul; even he knew how terrifying that prospect could be. Somehow Ciel always defied expectations.

This fear, though, had been different. Dread had rolled off the dark haired youth like thick shadows and it had started when he had mentioned the ball. Even for Ciel that was an odd reaction. The butler knew he didn't like parties and had avoided going to any if he could but there was something off about the way he had reacted to this one. And then he had twitched like he had been stung when Sebastian had touched him. That was what confused him the most. It wasn't like he had never done anything like that before; he was touching the Earl all the time. As the butler, it was part of the job. Yet when he had curled his hand under the strong chin and turned the dark head until the wide blue eye was staring up at him, he had seen such surging emotions in its depths that he still couldn't even begin to untangle them. The top most had been fear or despair or something equally dark and then there had been confusion but there had been others too that he couldn't begin to understand. Still, it had been more than the younger man usually showed, which made him think he hadn't meant for the butler to see any of it.

What he found even more disturbing was his own reaction to the whole thing. Though he was a demon and didn't need to express the full range of emotions that humans did, it didn't mean he didn't have them. He could feel surprise and disgust and a medley of others tempered with darker things that humans couldn't understand. But lust…that was the same no matter how one looked at it, whether it be for material possessions or more carnal things. Lust he could feel like a sharp knife ripping through his guts and twisting his insides like hemp rope. For a demon such as himself, lust was one of the hardest things to control. Usually he had a handle on his desire and there were few things in this petty human world he would want enough that he allowed himself to feel it strongly enough that it would effect him so he would have to acknowledge it.

Today, he had.

Ciel had leaned his head back to look up at him and when he had beheld the burning, swirling vulnerability in his deep blue eye, the want and desire had gripped him so harshly he almost didn't notice when the younger man pulled away a moment later with a sharp dismissal. His vision had clouded and his heartbeat sped up until he was nearly choking on his pulse and he wanted. It was a disturbing revelation to say the least, realizing he desired the young Earl in more ways than just for the contract etched into his hand.

A loud clattering echoed down the corridor just then, drawing him from his thoughts before he could ponder what he wanted to do about it. His head turned in the direction of the crash that was followed closely by a female's voice wailing in distress. He frowned, wondering which china set had just been reduced to smithereens and pushed the burning thoughts for his young Master to the back of his mind where he could pull them out again when he had less pressing matters to attend to.

One thing he knew for sure, though. This thing between them was shifting and changing and he knew now that he wanted to see where it would lead.

Light glinted off the long mirror, its flat surface made three dimensional by the images being reflected in it, turning the room around and making it look like it belonged to an alternate dimension that was the exact opposite of this one. Ciel frowned, a line appearing between his slender brows and his foot tapped against the carpeted floor of his changing room. The dark fall of his hair that normally fell into his face was slicked neatly back and his single visible eye gleamed in the golden light of the afternoon sunlight. He could feel the man standing behind him, waiting silently and no doubt biting back some sarcastic comment. Finally he let out an exasperated huff and crossed his arms over his chest.

"I look ridiculous," he snarled, tugging again at his earlobe so that he wouldn't pull at his clothes and cause the other man to scold him. The action made the diamond in his ear shine and he winced. The jewel was much flashier than the small stud of onyx he usually wore, its cut large and fashionably square. The earring, however, wasn't the worst of it by far and he continued to frown deeply as Sebastian stepped up behind him, his crimson gaze shadowy in the mirror, considering him closely. In his hands he held the last piece of his outfit and Ciel cringed to see it.

"What about this is ridiculous, Sir?" the demon's voice was calm as he responded, giving nothing away as usual, "It is made from the finest materials imported from France and the style is the most popular this winter," then a sly smile curled on his lips and the Earl jerked his eyes away from it lest he get caught up by it, "Perhaps it is the color you object to?" the question made Ciel curl his lip and glare menacingly at his reflection. The outfit he that he was wearing was made up entirely of cool creams, icy blues and the palest of whites, making his long frame look as if it was draped in all the colors of a blizzard; which he supposed was the idea. It still didn't mean he had to like it, "My Lord, the theme for this ball is Winter Solstice and as the guest of honor, you must look the part," and he gave the younger man a smile that was a hundred percent faked.

The Earl took a deep breath and looked at himself again, trying to see it objectively. The first layer was a silk shirt that slid against his pale skin like a warm caress and was of a light cream, lighter than his own complexion that peeked out from under the snug vest and held in place by a thin necktie. The vest was a blue so light it looked like the sky on a clear winter day with small silver buttons marching down his chest and abdomen, set with tiny diamonds that matched the one in his ear and which was cut to exaggerate his narrow waist. The tie matched the vest, knotted snuggly to his neck and the material of both shimmered like small flakes of snow had been woven into the fabric. His trousers were long and clung comfortably, ensuring that he would be able to dance as much as he liked with ease. Not that he planned to, of course, but that was beside the point. They were also made of the softest wool money could buy, carded several times more than normal before it was spun into thread which would ensure he would remain warm in the cold, brisk winter temperatures without the uncomfortable scratchiness. The only dark article of clothing he did wear were the knee high boots made from the softest black leather, laced tightly to the very top and highlighting the line of his claves. They were elevated in the back by an inch but he hardly needed the aid anymore; he had become quite tall during his growth spurts. With the white jacket that had the silken cream collar and cuffs and pale blue lapels, he definitely looked the part for this party.

Well, if that part was an idiot encased in ice, that is. It might have looked good on someone else but he felt distinctly uncomfortable in it. Oh, he was used to rich clothing but usually he wore black or dark blues or deep, jeweled greens; nothing to ever draw the kind of attention that this ensemble would. That didn't mean it didn't look good on him, of course, he just didn't like it. Normally his skin looked like ivory against the dark palette he usually wore but now it was darker than the fabric, looking like warm honey in the golden light spilling into the room while his hair was like the darkest ink brushing against his jacket collar. The clear blue of his eye was intense and rich as the darkness of his eyelashes were highlighted by all the light material. It was even further exaggerated by the fancy eye patch his butler had practically forced him to put on, ignoring every one of Ciel's protests.

Maybe it was that he hated so much. Really, he would have been just fine with the back silk one he typically wore but that was not to be. This one was tied around the back of his head with an abundance of silver and blue ribbon that cascaded down his back in shimmering waves while the patch itself was embroidered with pale thread in the shape of a curling dragon and studded with more tiny diamonds. More jewels hung in staggered, swooping loops from the bottom upon fine, silver chains, brushing against the bridge of his nose and his cheekbones. It gave the entire thing a dramatic effect, making him feel like he was showing off the extent of his coffers as the wealth practically dripped from him. He supposed he should be grateful there was no lace.

"Sebastian," he started, his deep voice flat from exasperation while he refrained from rubbing his temples with difficulty, "I don't care. I look like an idiot! If I had known it was white, I would have told you that under absolutely no circumstances am I wearing something like this! Is there nothing I could wear that is a little more…toned down?" The demon bared his teeth in a sharp smile that held less humor than a snarl and something gleamed in his eyes. Ciel watched the handsome features closely, wondering what that could have meant.

"You have nothing else in your closets that will go with the theme, young Master and if you had come to pick the outfit up with me instead of sleeping in late this morning, we might have been able to get something last minute more fitting to your tastes," the smooth baritone was soft but held a hint of reprimand that made his pride sting and he was just about to snap back in a fit of rage when Sebastian did something that shocked him. He drew in a small, audible breath and his faced closed off, his eyes flickering away, as if he was trying to avoid the truth that the Earl knew was trying to claw its way up the back of his throat. His hesitation dissipated whatever the younger man was about to say and he watched his butler as the other man stepped closer to him, holding out the gaudy jacket, his curled lips curiously flat, "You look very handsome, young Master…" If that had been it, he would have just huffed and ignored it. If it hadn't been uttered in a strange, breathless tone that he had never heard the demon use before and if the red eyes hadn't blaze briefly when he spoke, the Earl wouldn't have thought anything of it. Yet as Sebastian helped him shrug into the last piece of his outfit, a gloved hand brushed against the nape of his neck, lingering and questioning so that he couldn't even pretend it had been an accident. Not that he would have; Sebastian never did anything by accident.

Not only that but it was the second time the older man had touched him in two days outside the duty as the Earl's butler strictly dictated. It sent spiraling shivers coursing through him and he caught his breath, his eye flying up to meet the demon's in the mirror's reflection. Sebastian, however, kept his eyes on his hands as he smoothed the jacket down, tugging at the long tails that hung to the middle of the younger man's thighs and Ciel didn't know what it could mean. It wasn't a challenge like he might have suspected because when the butler did that, his eyes were always focused on the one whom he challenged, defiant and confident but he couldn't begin to think what else it could be. A stray touch meant more coming from the demon than it would have anyone else but then why had he done it? To see the younger man's reaction?

Actually, as soon as he thought that, he realized that must have been the case but since Ciel had done nothing except freeze, he couldn't say what he might have given away. The spot tingled and distracted him as the butler moved around him and blocked the view of the mirror, his fingers neatly doing up the buttons on the Earl's jacket. In that moment, he got a chance to study the pale features without being obvious about it. They were of a height now that he was wearing shoes and it allowed him to see so much more than he used to as a child. The dark eyelashes that he had always thought were excessively long were lowered over the ruby gaze but he could tell there was something there that Sebastian didn't want him to see. For some reason, that annoyed him because usually, his butler didn't need to hide anything. After all, he couldn't tell a lie.

It was a split second decision, the thing he did next but he didn't give himself time to think about it. Just before the demon pulled his hands away from the very last glittering button, the Earl reached out and grasped the man's chin in a strange parody of the day before, forcing him to look up and meet his single eye. At first the familiar features remained still, like a pool of water on a still day. But as he flicked his gaze back and forth between the ruby eyes, he found something in their depths that stole his breath and defied everything he thought he knew about his demon.


It was strong and burning and made him tremble from the intensity. It threatened to draw him in and the strange thing about it was that he wasn't sure if he didn't want that to happen anymore. Their relationship had always been a strong bond of master and servant with darker undertones that even he didn't understand sometimes but it had only ever been that. In the past couple of months it had been slowly morphing, turning into something he couldn't name but he didn't know what. Now, though, he didn't know how he hadn't noticed; he was drawn to his demon of a butler and in Sebastian's eyes was the same desire mirrored in himself.

Ciel realized he wasn't breathing and drew in a breath that sounded sharp even to his own ears but before he could open his mouth and say something, the butler parted his lips and stepped smoothly away, the desire in his eyes effectively smothered. Even so, the younger man's eyes were drawn to the curved lips and how they shone damp and red in the light.

"We should go, young Master," the demon's voice was as smooth and cool as always and Ciel found himself disappointed that there was no outward sign the man had been affected, "We are already running later than expected and will have to hurry if we wish to make it on time," as he spoke, he reached out and picked up a long, leather overcoat which was lined with the softest, silver fur and a long, white walking stick that was topped with a glittering, faceted diamond. The items would complete his outfit but he could no longer feel a single drop of disgust like he knew he should have. He was instead debating whether he should call the demon out on his obvious dissembling, wondering what Sebastian would say if he brought up desire. The next moment he decided against it and simply took the items from the butler, single eye never once leaving the handsome features.

"Fine," and he swept to the door, the jewel clutched in his hand cool and hard. He had just come to the doorway of his dressing room when he recalled something that made him pause and glance at the dark haired demon behind him, "Since I am going to this ball looking like this, then it is only fair that you dress to match, don't you think?" and he registered Sebastian's surprise with a small smirk. At least something could still ruffle the bastard, he thought.

"But my Lord, we are supposed to be at the party in less than a half an hour. How would you propose I go about finding something else to wear?" it was an odd request, even from him but ever since he had thought about it just the other day, his desire to see the demon in something other than his usual attire had gripped him with a single minded fascination. Now he just lifted one shoulder, registering annoyance and outrage on his butler's face. He didn't care and he knew for Sebastian, the demand also wouldn't present a problem.

"You are the butler for the Phantomhive household, are you not?" he mocked, using words that the butler himself had used on many occasions, "I'm sure you can figure it out," and then he turned and strode from the room. He could practically feel the older man's frustration flapping around him like the shadows of great bats and he smiled to himself with an eagerness he hadn't felt in a long time, the fire for the game ignited within him like a furnace.

"Yes, young Master," he heard Sebastian growl behind him and he felt a shiver of anticipation. For some reason, though he had not won a single contest against the demon the entire time the contract between them existed, he felt a twisting confidence in his gut that said he was going to win this time…

The Marchioness's manor as they pulled up the long, paved drive in their coach was resplendent, shimmering with strategically placed lights that lit up the pale architecture and made it look like some palace carved from ice floes. Every window shone with bright light, even the ones in the private wings of the house, welcoming and alluring. There were already a line of carriages lining the drive but despite their late departure, Sebastian was pleased to note that they had gotten to the party nearly on time. As the guest of honor, Ciel was supposed to enter after everyone else had arrived and he could see only one or two silhouettes scurrying up the wide staircase that lead into the manor. The butler nodded to himself and glanced at the Earl just as their carriage pulled to a halt.

Only to find the single blue eye trained on him, the depths nearly black in the gloom of the coach.

An involuntary wave of heat scorched his veins, like they had been ever since the younger man had touched him in the dressing room. Or, rather, ever since he had boldly brushed his hand against Ciel's neck. Why he had done that he couldn't say because it had drawn the young man's attention in a way that he wished hadn't but it was too late now. Ever since then, the burn of molten desire washed over him every time he caught that single possessive gaze that threatened to tear him apart from the inside.

It had been all he could do while he was standing with the Earl in his private dressing rooms not to throw the younger man to the floor and take him, his desire nearly overwhelming his good sense several times. Ciel really had no idea how good he looked, the paleness of his clothing turning his skin a soft, light bronze and his dark hair blazing. The clothes were formfitting, the lightness of them only enhancing his slender build and while Sebastian was well acquainted with his body, he had never allowed himself to think of how good he looked, with his long legs and narrow hips. Now he couldn't stop thinking about it, or about the way the trousers had clung to his perfect buttocks or how it would be to unlace those boots while staring into the single eye that was more intense than a bright summer sky. The demon in him wanted it, wanted to possess the boy, to own him like no one else ever would, to see him at his most open and take pleasure from it instead of enacting pain.

And then he would think about how Ciel would look without the outfit, flushed and begging on the rich, expensive satin of his sheets and the demon was instantly hard.

There had been a moment, when the young Earl had snatched his chin and forced him to look into his eye when he had nearly thrown caution to the wind and snatched the man by his elbows to throw him against the mirror. He wanted to break it, watch as the clear glass cracked under the force of his desire and hear the way Ciel unraveled as he was fucked against it. The younger man had seen as much too, if his gasp had been anything to go by and then the moment had passed, leaving him feeling strangely weak, as if he had just fought off a thousand supernatural foes. He didn't know which was worse, being forced to fight off his lust or that it was for his Master.

Now he just opened the door to the coach, barely even feeling the biting freeze of the winter night air and waiting for the Earl to exit the coach after him. They hadn't said two words to each other since Ciel's demand that he wear something other than his normal outfit tonight and he hoped to keep it that way but as he shut the door, the younger man paused and eyed him for what felt like the twentieth time in an hour.

"When I said matching, that wasn't what I had in mind," his voice, the one thing Sebastian had never denied was absolutely stunning about the noble, was sharp and as cool as the air around them. The butler smirked and fell into step beside his Lord as the carriage pulled away, faintly amused.

"My apologies, Sir, but I don't have the ability to read minds. It is the best I could do under the time constraints," his response was smooth but he felt another flush of heat when he felt that single eye raking over him again. At least he was not the only one affected, though he knew it would have been better if he was. Knowing Ciel harbored the same attraction would only make this harder and he knew the final result was inevitable. Still, he tried not to think about it as they were ushered into the Middleford Manor by servants dressed in shimmering white uniforms to the main ballroom.

He knew what he looked like, of course, which was one of the reasons he had done it. If he couldn't stop this desire for his Lord then he would make sure Ciel wouldn't be able to keep his eyes off the demon either. The outfit he had managed at the last minute was as different than Ciel's as night was from day, matching only in its contrast. The pants were a deep, rich velvet of the darkest black that hugged his form everywhere it mattered, leaving very little to the imagination, while black boots of soft, tooled leather stopped at mid-thigh and turned down in neat cuffs. They made his legs look even longer than usual and outlined his calves just as the Earl's did. His jacket too was black but it was different from the kind he usually wore, with crisscrossing lacing on both sides so that it hugged him from chest all the way to his waist. The vest under it was a startling white against the darkness of his clothes and beneath that was a silk shirt of such startling red it looked like blood. It was that which made his eyes flare brightly and his complexion seem even paler than normal and he privately congratulated himself for a job well done.

It seemed Ciel couldn't keep his eyes off of his butler.

Sebastian lifted the corner of his mouth in a gloating smile just as the blue eye met his own gaze and the doors for the ballroom were pushed open, a voice announcing the Earl of Phantomhive. It was ironic that Ciel would be looking at his demon while entering a party where he was supposed to be meeting his next fiancé. It lasted one single moment, the air between them bright and hot and Sebastian drank it in.

Then the younger man was looking away, into a crowd that watched them with wide eyes and bated breath, looking every inch the powerful noble that he was.

And it was then that Sebastian felt his first stab of jealousy.

Ciel wanted to scream.

He wanted to snarl at the new crowd of twittering young women in their flouncing, puffy gowns surrounding him to go fuck off and then lock himself within the manor where no one could reach him until his butler came and rescued him, sweeping him back home. He hated even more that he wanted Sebastian to swoop in and save him, feeling like a petulant child who landed himself in another mess. Ciel was seventeen and a man and he couldn't keep expecting the demon to take him away from something that was uncomfortable and more than a little bit painful. No doubt the bastard would probably just think it was funny and turn away until he was commanded to do something.

Entering that ballroom with the sound of his name ringing clearly through the crowd of young, eligible noble women and their parents had nearly made him cringe, especially seeing the way they all looked at him like he was something to eat and they were all starving lions. They had all stood in awe, of course, because now that he was nearly the same height as his butler, they made a formidable looking pair and they were drawn to him like frivolous little moths attracted to a strong flame, giggling behind their hands and trying to draw him into conversation. He had been here for all of about an hour and he was ready to sneak away.

If only the Marchioness didn't scare the crap out of him. The blond woman was watching him from a few feet away, her icy blue eyes critical and measuring, no doubt assessing which of the young ladies who stood around him now would make a perfect match and he knew he had no chance of slipping away under that watchful gaze. With a silent sigh of defeat, he tried to listen to what the five women that were circled around him now were talking about but he was lost at the words "saffron" and "stitching". Did they honestly think they would gain his attention by talking about clothes? Ciel frowned and took a sip from the delicate wine glass he clutched like a lifeline in his hand, eyes roaming the crowd as older couples swept over the huge, marbled dance floor and their daughters shot covert glances filled with longing in his direction.

Bile climbed up the back his throat and he swallowed it with some difficulty. Had Elizabeth been like this? He couldn't recall but he didn't remember ever wanting to tear his hair out in frustrated boredom whenever he was with her. Oh, she had never been a fascinating person but he had never felt such sharp dislike for her as he did for these girls. They were all daughters of the wealthy family of England, whether of noble blood or from families that had toiled to gain the wealth they possessed and each one was of marriageable age. Every dress was of the finest silks and their hair gleamed, pinned back in great, curling swirls and their manners fine. Each girl no doubt had a traditional education, similar to his own and could read and speak several different languages. But when he looked at them, into their shining faces and bright eyes enhanced by black kohl and mascara, he felt absolutely nothing.

Only when his eyes traveled across the glittering room and settled on the tall figure dressed in black did a spark snap to life within him. He could have denied it, could have pretended and picked from any one of the well bred beauties that filled the hall, watching and waiting to see if his single eye would fall upon them. Any one of them would have willingly given their hand for a dance and probably for the promise of much more, as well. They could give him a family, a future, something else to live for other than the darkness that festered in his heart. The one he chose could have replaced Elizabeth and have helped him fulfill his duty to his name and the tradition of his family.

But he finally understood that wasn't what he wanted.

Sebastian stood at the edge of the dance floor, his eyes gleaming softly in the riotous light that filled the hall, a polite smile on his face as he outshone every single person present. The outfit he had chosen might have matched Ciel's in its contrast, but he looked ten times better than the young Earl could ever hope to look in his own attire, the richness of the velvet making the butler's skin glow like ivory while giving his black hair a bluish tint. It fit him so well it was almost obscene and more than once he had observed some of the bolder guests eyeing the way his pants and jacket clung to him, showing off his long legs and lean torso. He knew why the demon had done it; in following a direct order, he knew how to work it to his advantage while still being obedient. Most of the time it made the younger man practically snarl in annoyance but now…

Now he wanted to drag his butler away to someplace more private and keep him all for himself.

The ruby eyes flickered to him and he frowned before looking away, confused and tense. This was not the time or place for him to be distracted by someone who was not only male but not even human A brunette that was a little more daring than the rest placed a hand on him arm then, snatching away his attention but he could feel his butler's eyes on him, watching silently past the heads of the other guests as if they were the only two people in the room. The girl said something coy and vaguely prying and he answered just as vaguely, dredging up a tiny smile that made the entire circle around him burst into twittering giggles that sounded like birds chattering on a spring morning and made his teeth clench together.

"Lord Phantomhive, you're such a tease," the girl chastised him lightly, her dark eyes sparkling as if it was a fine game and he couldn't help but compare it to the one he played with his demon. When it fell horribly short, he sighed silently and glanced across the room again only to find his butler engaged in a conversation with a young woman with shimmering blond hair and a man who looked like her brother, both of them clearly smitten with the dark haired demon. Sebastian wore a polite smile on his lips that Ciel wanted to bite off and he was listening to the girl talk enigmatically with a slight tilt to his head that meat he wasn't entirely bored with what she was saying. They were brave souls, to have approached the butler like that. Usually people left Sebastian alone and the Earl thought it was because even though they didn't know what the butler was, it seemed it was a human's built in survival instinct that kept them away. Yet these two who watched his demon with wide, hungry eyes and drank in every word he said clearly overrode their innate instincts and had garnered his attention.

Something sharp stabbed Ciel in the gut then, burning and flaring brightly like a rod of liquid light until he was shocked that other's couldn't see it twisting in his belly.

Jealously was an ugly thing and he didn't know how to cope with it now because he had never had the occasion to feel it before. The brunette still standing beside him, her gloved hand still resting on his arm was laughing softly at something one of the other girls said but all of that had ceased to matter. His single blue eye was trained on the black haired butler as he said something to the boy that made the blonde blush before holding out his hand to the girl, clearly asking her to dance to the waltz that had just begun. The feeling continued to gnaw and chew on his insides as Sebastian twirled the girl onto the dance floor and bow gracefully, clearly amusing himself with his new game.

Ciel watched and remembered the way dancing with the demon had felt. Then he had been embarrassed and furious that his dancing lessons had to come from another man but now he felt the ghost of the touch at his hip and those long fingers cupping his own palm and he hated that girl. The crimson eyes were still mild and faintly amused, another good indication that Sebastian was bored but that didn't stop the Earl from resenting the small hand clasped in his or the way the blond girl followed the steps so gracefully, she looked as if she could be floating. Even after years of lessons Ciel could never hope to be so graceful on his feet and he hated the way she seemed to fit with the demon's dark beauty so naturally they could have been made for each other. Well, that is if Sebastian was only human. The fact that he wasn't was the only thing that was keeping the Earl from storming onto the dance floor and making a fool out of himself. Not to mention his aunt would have his head if he made a scene at her party.

So he grit his teeth and tried not to glare as his butler danced with the pretty blond girl. Still, he caught the way the crimson eyes flickered to him when they passed his side of the room and in them there was a challenge, the expression familiar and goading.

Sebastian wanted him to react.

For the first time since their little game had begun, Ciel realized that maybe what he wanted and what the demon wanted were exactly the same thing and both could win at the end. He watched the way the older man moved, his legs long and his hair falling across his face and he knew that the butler was his and would never belong to anyone else. At least, not while his soul was intact. The girl he shared the dance with didn't matter because the last dance belonged to Ciel and he was the only one who would know Sebastian the way he did. As surely as the contract was etched onto his right eye, the demon was his.

The music flowed elegantly through the room, turning like a wheel that directed the movements of all the resplendent couples upon the dance floor and in the middle of them all, outshining everyone, was his demon of a butler. Ciel turned to the girls beside him, whom he had completely forgotten in his fascination with watching Sebastian and bowed politely.

"Thank you for gracing me with your company," he purred, grateful when the brunette's hand finally fell away, "please excuse me," they all made soft, disappointed noises but he extracted himself from their clutches, able to breathe a little easier when he was free of their cloying perfume and grasping eyes. Others followed him but he kept his stride purposeful, unwilling to stop unless he and be caught up again. Luckily, he had not been introduced to most of the people here and they wouldn't approach him unless someone who had already made his acquaintance was with them. It was an archaic tradition but one he was grateful for when he slipped from the hall through one of the lesser doors and into the softly lit gardens.

There he sucked in a breath of sharp, icy air and expelled it with a huff. The Marchioness would be angry when she realized he was gone but at the moment he could care less. Did she really think that he would play along with this and pick a future wife from one of those sheep? The only reason he had been willing to wed Elizabeth was because she had been picked by his parents and they had been betrothed since before he understood what that meant. There was no way he could do that again, not like this, not now.

Not after knowing what he did regarding his butler.

Slowly he wandered the frozen paths, the chill seeping through his fine clothes and making him shiver. It was better than the heavy, perfumed heat of the ballroom, though and he continued to walk, eye studying the barren flowerbeds that were shadowed in the wintery night and dusted with a layer of snow. Even now, though, not a twig or fallen leaf was out of place, groomed to excellence and he smiled slightly thinking about his own gardens back home. Despite all the time and practice Finny put into his job, a gardener he was not. Yet the Earl would rather him than the army of gardeners that his aunt surely had on her staff.

It was strange to think how in that great house, his motley crew of servants were less people who worked for him and more family. Though they were just a few, the three rescued servants, the retired butler, the demon and himself, they were more family than his real family could be. He had given them a home and they had given him themselves in return and he would not trade that for twenty cooks who didn't burn the meat or gardeners who didn't destroy the property or maids who didn't break all the china in the house.

Just like he wouldn't trade Sebastian for a possible fiancé.

Of course he knew that if he were to pick a girl that the butler wouldn't leave. But something would be lost and he wanted that something more than he could remember wanting anything in a long time. He was swinging his walking stick idly so that the jewel flashed in the light spilling onto the grounds flashed with suppressed light and was considering making his way back to the ball because he had almost lost feeling in his fingers when he heard voices coming from one of the patios around a corner of the house. Both voices were male and oddly hushed and he was going to leave them be because he wasn't one to pry when he realized he was well acquainted with one of the voices. It curled around him and sunk beneath his skin and that stabbing feeling was back, the rod of light burning a hole through his abdomen.

"It would be best to do it out here, since I do not wish to offend anyone inside who might have more delicate sensibilities," Sebastian's voice pulled at him and Ciel found himself walking silently towards the corner that blocked his sight, keeping to the shadows of the high, barren rose bushes that clung to the side of the house in hopes that the demon would not bother picking one shadow out from another. The Earl didn't even know what he was doing out here, since he had been content to continue dancing with the blond girl when he had stepped outside, "But that matters not. You can still hear the music from here, right?" he was using that soothing tone that he did when he was talking to an unsuspecting victim, all velvety sugar and gilded charm and Ciel hated when he did that.

When he finally peered around the corner, crouching so that his light outfit wouldn't give him away, he saw his butler standing with the boy he had been talking with right before he asked the blond girl to dance, one of his hands already curled around the young man's waist. The twisting jealousy flamed and Ciel nearly choked on it, fury rising like bitter vomit in the back of his throat. The boy's face was turned away from him so he couldn't see his expression but he had no doubt it was wide and open, showing all of his weak, human emotions to the crimson eyed demon. He had one hand pressed to the butler's chest, flat like he wasn't sure if he wanted to drag the man closer or push him away. All the while, his head was screaming for him to interfere because that was where he should have been standing and not that pretentious little twerp.

"It's not fair that Celia gets to dance with all the handsome men and I cannot because I'm a boy," his voice was a gentle tenor that could have been pleasant if it didn't hold a shrill hint of a whine but the dark haired butler didn't even bat an eyelash. He simply picked up the boy's hand pressed against the front of his jacket and maneuvered them so that they were in the right position to dance, a soft polonaise filtering out from the house.

"But they cannot stop us if we are out here," Sebastian's eyes were still mild and there wasn't a hint of desire in them, like Ciel might have suspected. But the boy seemed to buy his words, melting into him and allowing the taller man to lead him around the stone patio. They danced with their bodies closer together than was strictly necessary and the Earl was mesmerized by how different it was to see the hard, slender body of a boy in the butler's arms rather than the soft figure of a girl. He had thought he would have been more jealous of the girl but now the emotion had become a ravaging tiger within his chest and he could feel himself trembling with the effort of holding back. He wanted to leap out of his hiding place and strike that boy with the pretty face and the soft blond hair clinging to the dark haired demon and then push Sebastian into the shadows to mark him, make him Ciel's. But he watched, instead, fingernails biting into the skin of his palms and resentment coating the back of his tongue with bitterness.

And then the boy said something in such a low voice that he could not hear the words and he was leaning up, his intention clear in the tilt of his head and the way his hands clung to the taller man.

Ciel didn't remember standing abruptly or striding out into the open, fury building within him like a fire that had escaped its hearth. The need to destroy the boy who was about to steal a kiss from what belonged to the Earl was so strong it was a wonder he managed to find his voice at all through the clamoring of emotions within him.

"Sebastian," his voice was a sharp hiss that snapped through the frozen air like a whip and the ruby eyes met his in a blaze of triumph that only added to his anger. The blond yelped and skittered away like a frightened mouse, his eyes wide as they took in the Earl behind him. Ciel glared hard at him, realizing the boy was probably his own age despite the fact that he was shorter but at the moment he felt his power blazing around him like a mantel, making the blond pale considerably, "Get away from here," he growled, not even looking at the shorter boy anymore because a small smirk had lifted the corner of the demon's lips, fueling the roaring beast twisting and snarling inside of him. They stared at one another, the gloom of the night hiding the details of the older man's features but he could see well enough that this entire thing had been planned. Why, he couldn't say but he intended to force it out of Sebastian if he needed to. The sound of running feet on gravel faded away and he was left alone facing his demon with the rage of jealousy in his chest and desire in his heart.

"I was not going to eat his soul, sir," the butler said softly, still smiling his slow, secret smile and Ciel once again had the urge to used his lips and teeth to wipe it off. The desire, however, no longer confused him or made him hesitate and want to push it away or deny it. The burn in his chest was too strong for him to do that now and he knew it was no use hiding it any longer. He would act on it because he knew he would explode if he didn't.

"That doesn't matter," he snapped, making a sharp motion with his hand that the crimson eyes watched warily and he took a quick step closer, feeling the heat Sebastian gave off as if he was a small sun waiting to suck the Earl into his warmth. If only there were other things beside body temperature that was warm about the demon, "You still came out here with that twit and were about to do god knows what to him!" he didn't mention the fact that the blond would have been more than willing because the fact made him slightly queasy. Sebastian's smile only grew and his eyes blazed like two beacons in the shadows, burning them away until his gaze seemed to try and swallow the younger man.

"If you're worried about him, I hardly think he would have objected. If I had asked, he would have laid himself out on the freezing ground completely naked and let me—"

Ciel snapped.

The images of Sebastian doing just what he said to the blond boy flickered in his mind and he hated them because they were about to obliterate him. With a growl, he surged forward and snatched the front of the demon's jacket, crushing the soft velvet under his fingers as he invaded the other man's space, his breath ghosting over the pale skin and the red glow of the ruby eyes taking up the entirety of his vision.

"You can't touch anyone else. You can't look at anyone else. You belong to me, Sebastian, do you understand?" the air around them crackled but he barely noticed because he was so close that he could smell the older man and it was intoxicating. He wanted to drink it in until he could taste it on the back of his tongue, until he was high from it and it made him dizzy now as it invaded his senses. The curved lips that he had found himself admiring on more than one occasion parted in a full-fledged smile but somehow it wasn't mocking or cruel like Sebastian's smiles usually were. This one was merely curious and triumphant all at once and he decided he liked this smile a lot better.

"If I didn't know better, I would say you were jealous," but his velvety voice was deep and filled with heat that blazed through the younger man like fire and Ciel realized then just how close they were. A scant half an inch of cold air separated them. So he closed it, molding his body around Sebastian's warmth and sinking his hands into the black hair. Then he looked into the fierce ruby eyes that burned so bright they nearly lit up the air around them with dancing red flames and gave into the desire that coiled so tightly within his gut.

"I am," he breathed and closed the rest of the distance to kiss his demon.

Sebastian would have been lying if he said that the sole reason for dragging that simpering blond boy out here wasn't for Ciel to see it. And since he couldn't lie, he had to say his sneaky little plan had worked quite well.

Seeing the Earl standing on the other side of the patio, blazing like a fallen star and staring at him like he would claw the heavens down in his jealous rage had ignited something within him that he hadn't been sure he was even capable of. Once, he would have been positive he wasn't but as it roiled and surged through his blood, he understood at once what it meant. Yes, he desired the younger man, the heat of it so sharp that he didn't know how it wasn't eating through his very skin and turning the air around him into bright, shimmering flames. But there was more to it than that. Not affection or, dare he say it, love, because those were purely human emotions but it was surely deeper than just the need for sex.

It was possession, pure and binding, in a way he had never known before. Ciel belonged to him more securely than the contract dictated but he belonged to the young man just as much. They were chains that he would have thought he would chafe at but when there was such promise blazing in that single visible blue eye and such rage pouring off of the Earl at the very idea that Sebastian might touch another, he realized he was more free than he ever would have realized.

And then Ciel, who he thought would never admit to a weakness such as jealousy, did that very thing and pressed his body close so he could kiss the demon and Sebastian just couldn't hold back any longer. He had tried, he really did but he was hardly a saint and he wanted the boy so badly it was a wonder he had held out this long.

With a growl of satisfaction caught in his throat, he snatched the slender frame to his own and kissed the Earl back.

Yes, yes, this is right a small voice in the back of his mind chanted as strong arms wound around his waist and crushed him against the older man's chest, stealing his breath and sending a little thrill through him. That was secondary, however, to the feel of the demon's lips sliding and parting under his own, the warm pressure going straight to his head and making him dizzy. Their breath mingled as they hungrily devoured each other's lips, the soft skin and firm return of his passion fascinating him and making him want more and more and more. He tried to trace every last curve and contour of the butler's lips with his own, the shape of them endlessly wonderful and he knew he could kiss them forever and never get bored of it.

They didn't use anything but lips at first, keeping their mouths closed but that was more than thrilling enough, especially when Sebastian tipped his head to the side and sucked insistently at his bottom lip. The suction shot straight to the pool of lust coiling in his gut and he uttered a soft whimper that he would later deny as anything less than a moan. His cane had been lost somewhere in the shadows of the patio, having clattered from his hand when he sunk his fingers into the older man's delightfully soft hair and he shivered with the way the demon's hands were sliding over his spine, one traveling upwards to the back of his neck so that Sebastian could maneuver his head as he wished and the other down over the swell of his buttocks, making him gasp and jerk slightly.

The ruby eyes bore into him when he was finally forced to tear away for air, gasping slightly and the older man's curved smirk was warm and hungry. He looked at the Earl who clutched at his hair and Ciel had never seen that gaze so encompassing nor so full.

"Is this you giving your permission for me to devour you?" the butler whispered and the younger man shuddered, closing his eyes against the shock of arousal those words induced. There was nothing at the moment he wanted more and he nodded, his movements slow, as if he had been drugged. Sebastian didn't chuckle, though, like he thought he would and when he opened his eye, he found the man watching him closely, his lips that Ciel was so completely enamored with looking red and deliciously wet, "You do realize you could be agreeing to something else entirely, right?" and the demon was frowning as if he was truly upset but that couldn't be right because they had both agreed to the terms of the contract. He blinked his single visible eye and sighed, leaning forward to press his forehead against the soft velvet covering a broad shoulder.

"You mean my soul," he said softly and wondered if he was disappointed. He certainly wasn't scared but if Sebastian decided to end the contract tonight, he just hoped he would be given a few minutes of pleasure. But the older man shifted slightly and tightened his hold on the Earl, as if the thought of taking away his soul was suddenly not so appealing.

"Not yet, young Master. Your soul belongs to me in more ways than one and for now that's enough," the words took a moment to settle in his mind and when he did, his eye widened and he lifted his head to stare wildly at the demon. Sebastian looked away as if he had said something embarrassing but nothing about this conversation could be mistaken for soft or romantic. Still, he found his heart pounding furiously in his chest and he couldn't find his breath again because it was something he had never thought to get from the demon.

The next moment he was devouring Sebastian's lips, his long moan breaking the frozen night as their lips parted at the same time and his tongue slid into the butler's hot mouth. It was so much better this time, especially when the older man drew in a sharp breath as he rolled his tongue against slick gums and the ridges at the top of the demon's mouth. Desire flooded him, burning like a furnace in his belly and he realized through the cloudy haze that had settled over his mind that he was hard, his erection pressing into the other man's thigh. It was only made worse when Sebastian made a low noise that turned his blood into fire and made his toes curl in his boots before gripping one of the Earl's cheeks and curling his fingers so they slid suggestively between his thighs.

The sound he made as he pulled away for air was something like a strangled moan, which was lapped up when Sebastian only jerked him back once more, licking and nipping at his lips and teeth in a way that made him shiver. The scrape of teeth against his own lips and tongue was strangely erotic and he tried to press closer, seeking more of those smaller, enticing touches. When the demon once again slanted his mouth over the Earl's, he let him take whatever he wanted, eyes nearly rolling back into his skull as places were touched in his mouth that sent shocking waves of need straight to his cock. And when Sebastian shifted, moving his thigh tantalizingly against the younger man's groin, the hard curve of the butler's erection ground against his hip. It felt so good that he couldn't even think straight and he didn't give a shit what kinds of sounds he was making. As long as the demon's tongue kept curling around his own and his cock stayed pressed suggestively against him, he didn't care if the sky fell down around his ears.

It was just as he thought that, hands beginning to wander over the older man's back and the hand between his legs reaching up to cup his testicles though the material of his pants when a familiar voice cut through his haze of desire, dousing it like a bucket of icy water.

"Well, this certainly clears everything up," Ciel ripped away from his butler, face burning so fiercely it stung and his heart in his throat as he whipped around to face Marchioness Middleford. The severe blond woman was standing several feet outside the door, her face shadowed as she watched the two men on the patio. The Earl had no idea how long she had been standing there but all she needed to see was the last few seconds because there was no mistaking the way their lips had been melded together or what Sebastian's hand had been doing curled between his thighs. Mortified and more than a little scared for his life, he straightened his jacket and swallowed a few times, wondering how he could explain this away. Then the demon stepped up behind him, his chest solid against Ciel's back and he realized he didn't want to have to explain it away.

"A-aunt…" he stammered anyway but the woman held up her hand, the command sharp and instant. He couldn't see her face so he couldn't know for sure what she was thinking but he was positive she could only be upset by what she had seen. He was just glad he was no longer hard because that would only make it that much worse. Still, he was hyper aware of the hand that was resting gently on his hip and the warm breath that ghosted over the nape of his neck, keeping him warm from the air that he suddenly realized was bitter and cold.

"Though I admit to being somewhat disappointed that my party was a completely waste of time," her voice was as cold as it ever was and sharp, making Ciel wince but the next words she spoke were completely unexpected, "I must say that's I'm hardly surprised. As a matter of fact, I would have been more shocked if this hadn't happened," and then he realized, with a jolt of pure disbelief, that she almost sounded relieved.

"…What!" his voice came out as an undignified bark and Sebastian breathed a small laugh into his hair. For a moment he thought about elbowing the man for being so smug but he was still in a state of shock. Frances Middleford tipped her head to the side, clearly considering them and then sighed, her breath rising like a silver plume in the darkness.

"It is obvious to everyone who knows you that the relationship you have with your butler is not simply that of master and servant. That you have not come to this conclusion sooner is actually a bit of a surprise," Ciel would have sputtered but that would have required he pick his jaw off the ground. Never had he done anything so undignified but the fact that his aunt was not only condoning his attraction to his male butler but encouraging it warranted the shocked action. Before he could think of anything to say and then assemble them onto his lips that still tasted like Sebastian, his aunt had turned her attention to the demon still pressed possessively against the Earl, "I expect you to remain loyal and if you hurt my nephew, I will cut off your balls and serve them to my dogs," Sebastian let Ciel go so that he could sweep the older woman an elaborate bow, his eyes shining in the darkness while the younger man tried not to sputter over the vulgar proclamation.

"Of course, my Lady. I have no intentions of hurting him," and the Earl watched him in wonder because he knew that the demon could not utter a single lie. The Marchioness gave a sharp nod as the butler resumed his spot pressed against the younger man's back and Ciel found himself involuntarily relaxing into him.

"Good. Then it would be ever so kind of you, Ciel, to announce to my guests why there will be no ladies chosen tonight to be your betrothed," there was ice in her tone and he refrained from groaning only just as he watched her turn and sweep back into the house. Only when they were alone did Sebastian wrap his arms completely around the younger man's waist and chuckle darkly into his ear.

"That woman scares even me sometimes," he said softly and unfurled his tongue to lick and tease Ciel's earlobe, making him shiver as teeth scraped softly against his earring. The shock was starting to dissipate and he blinked a few times, slowly digesting everything that had been said. Then he turned his head and eyed the older man who was still nipping and sucking a line of wet heat along his jaw.

"How much do you like your balls?" his voice came out flat but the older man snorted a laugh against his skin, arms momentarily tightening around him. It was meant as a joke but there was doubt under it because while Sebastian couldn't lie, he also had very creative ways to get around a promise.

"I am actually quite attached to them, thank you very much and I have every intention of keeping that promise," warm lips pressed soft, sucking kisses over the pale column of his neck and Ciel sighed as he tipped his head to the side, giving the man better access. A hum of pleasure vibrated over his skin and he shivered when he realized that the butler was still hard, his erection pressing hotly against the younger man's buttocks, "And you should be too, sir," the words were whispered and one hand that had been splayed over his chest slipped lower, dragging a moan from his throat as he thought about what it would feel like when it finally reached the place he most wanted it to be. The desire was starting to spiral back, especially with the way the demon was slowly mapping out the contours of his neck and he bucked his hips, wanting the man to move faster…

"Some time tonight, Ciel," he nearly leaped out of his skin at the sound of his aunt's voice coming from where she stood waiting in the doorway and then huffed in frustration when Sebastian chuckled, pressed one last lingering kiss to his shoulder before stepping away. Instantly the cold came rushing back and he shivered at the loss of the demon's blazing heat as he pulled his clothes and hair back into order, ignoring the watchful eyes of the Marchioness. Just as he was about to step back inside, Sebastian held out the cane that he had dropped, bowing slightly and his eyes smoldering with the fire of promise. Mouth dry, he reached out and took it while using his other hand to curl around the other man's cheek.

"Are you with me, my Butler?" his deep voice was soft but Sebastian heard him anyway. He straightened from his bow and caught the younger man's wrist so that he could press a quick kiss into his palm. Their gazes held the entire time, making the Earl feel like he was drowning in a storm of crimson.

"Always, my Lord,"

Ciel didn't even flinch when he stepped up in front of the glittering, transparent crowd of the party, his beautiful face cold and remote, the blue of his eye glittering like unforgiving ice. He looked every inch the powerful Earl that he was and Sebastian wanted him so much it coated the back of his tongue like honey. He could still taste the younger man, a mixture of strength and sunlight and he realized that he should have expected Ciel to taste as such. Yet what made him want to burst out laughing as he watched the faces of all the eager young woman, hoping the handsome Earl Phantomhive would call out their name was that he had chosen none of them. The one he had chosen stood quietly beside him, ruby eyes blazing with triumph.

And as he looked at the young man, his chin held high and his lips still red from the earlier assault on them, he felt a sluggish surge of contentment because Ciel now belonged to him completely.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," the deep voice was strong, filled with ice and iron and the arousal that never really died flared up within the demon at the sound, "Thank you all for coming here tonight, on behalf of myself and Marchioness Middleford. I know that you are all expecting me to announce the name of the young woman whom I have chosen to take as my betrothed," there was a soft, excited twitter that circulated around the room and Sebastian nearly snickered out loud at their foolishness, "However, I am afraid that I will be doing no such thing tonight. There is no use pretending and I do not wish to deceive you all, who have been gracious guests," as soon as he had said the however, faces fell all around the hall and by the time he was forced to stop speaking, there was a low rumble of disbelief and outrage, parents and shunned daughters alike giving voice to their misgivings. More than one young lady burst into tears and the demon drank it in, relishing it because he was the one they had all been turned down for.

And then Ciel did something he didn't expect.

He turned to his butler and held out his hand, his single visible eye sparkling with more mirth than he had ever seen the younger man exhibit. The gesture brought silence slamming down over the room so thoroughly that he thought for a moment they had been teleported back to the dark patio but then he caught the Marchioness hiding a smile behind her hand off in the corner and he realized everyone had just held their breaths because what Ciel was doing just wasn't done.

"Shall we?" and what else could Sebastian do but bow once again as sign of his acceptance? Sharp gasps filled the hall as he straightened but the only person he cared to look at was the Earl.

"Lead on, young Master," he answered in a low voice and the corner of Ciel's lips curled in a small smile before he was sweeping through the crowd of guests that parted for them in such a hurry they nearly fell over themselves in their haste. Though, Sebastian mused as he followed the young man from the ballroom, such pleasure curling within him he thought he would burst with it, they might have scurried away because they had caught sight of his face.

He knew the light was glinting off his teeth and his eyes were glowing but he continued to grin long after they stepped out of the manor doors and out into the cold, clear night.

They didn't talk for long moments after the carriage lurched into motion, the sound the of the wheels clattering on the stone ground muffled slightly by the thick wood that the vehicle was constructed of and the gentle rhythm of the horse's hooves soothing and familiar. Yet even if they didn't speak, he could still feel the demon's heavy presence across from him, wreathed in shadow and undeniably pleased. Even though his heart still pounded and his head felt light from the spectacle he had provided at the party, he couldn't help but smile his own pleased smile that was hidden by the cover of darkness.

Tonight everything had changed and instead of feeling ashamed and uneasy like he thought he would, he felt free.

There were still shackles and responsibilities that tied him down but for some reason, this single decision had eased the burden on his mind. Correct or not, he had made it and there was no turning back on it now. Not having to worry about binding a woman to himself just so he could carry on his duty to his family name came as a relief. He hadn't realized it was something that he was so concerned about, but ever since Lizzy's death, he supposed it would be something that would weigh upon him. It wasn't as if he had wanted the first betrothal in the first place but he had also not wanted for his family to be taken from him and his life to be ended in a ritual sacrifice when he was twelve. Ciel snuck a glance at his butler sitting calmly across from him, the ruby eyes watching the invisible landscape flickering by as if he had no other concerns but preparations he had to make when he got home for tomorrow. But the gaze gave him away, blazing through the gloom of the carriage.

Maybe, the Earl thought as he looked through his own window past his ghostly reflection, it was time he got what he wanted for a change, instead of remaining the person everyone else expected him to be.

"Young Master," Sebastian's voice cut through the silence like a sharp knife, smooth and insistent, "Why did you do that back there? I do not require that kind of thing and it was foolish of you to tarnish your reputation thusly," Once, all Ciel would have heard the solid firmness of the man's tone but now he could hear the undercurrents, could almost feel them as if the bond between them was projecting the demon's true feelings at him. For the first time that night, his right eye gave a small throb of warmth, the butler's desire pulsing steadily all around them.

"I did not do it for you," he answered, twirling the diamond-topped walking stick in his hands while keeping his gazed fixed determinedly on the invisible landscape, "I did it for me and there was no use hiding away from it. It is what I need," he shifted at those words, their double meaning causing Sebastian move sharply, his clothing rustling in the quiet of the carriage, "And none of those people are really important enough to sully my name. Besides, Phantomhive was never a clean, untarnished name. It is powerful and that is enough," more and more lights began to shimmer outside of the windows and he realized they would be in London soon. He wished he could go back to the manor but there was business he needed to take care of during the week in the city and it was easier this way. Already he could see the glow the lights from the city cast upon the sky, a great hulking presence that lurked around the bend that couldn't bear the darkness and so always had to eat away at it. The older man had gone very still, his breathing soft and when Ciel finally turned his head, he could see pale shadows flickering across his face, barely illuminating but falling onto his features so they seemed to glow without any external aid.

"Respect, I have learned, is important to maintaining the leash of power. How can you do that if people stop respecting you for choosing your butler over a wife…sir?" the honorific was an afterthought but not from insolence, he realized, but because Sebastian was thrumming with energy that prickled along Ciel's skin and heated the air in the coach so that it was almost hard to breathe. Yet even that excited him, the very thought that the lowering of the demon's control could make him feel like this heating his blood and making it begin pooling in his groin. He was quiet for a long moment, watching as the city pulled into view while trying to ignore the way his butler was looking at him because he was afraid that if he did, he wouldn't be able to stay in his seat.

"Then you'll just have to help me regain their…respect, won't you, Sebastian?" as he spoke the demon's name, he deliberately made it into a deep, rumbling purr, one that the older man reacted to instantly. With a low, snarling growl, Sebastian was across the roomy cabin in a single second, his eyes blazing as he straddled the young Earl's lap. Ciel sucked in a surprised breath, even though he should have suspected the man would give in to his lust that had been burning and flaring hotly in his eyes for the past couple of hours. The heat of Sebastian's palms pressing into his shoulders was possessive as was the way his knees hugged the Earl's legs, like he would only let him go once he had been devoured.

"Whatever you wish, young Master," he whispered into Ciel's ear before descending upon the younger man with lips and teeth and tongue. He decided that, yes, this had been the right course of action, especially when the demon's tongue swirled across the top of his mouth and his weight pressed him into the seat, hot and solid and demanding. Even if Sebastian claimed he did not need such an open show of affection, he still radiated triumph as he kissed the young Earl.

And, he mused as he curled his arms around the slim waist and pulled the older man closer, it wasn't such a terrible thing to want to make his demon happy…

Lust, Sebastian noted, was a lot like hunger. Well, it was a hunger of a sort, but not like what human's felt for food. It was the kind of hunger that was similar to his aching need for souls. It was deep and rich and when it flared to life within him, he had little control over it. Usually he could keep both locked within him so the need didn't show in his eyes and alert the humans to what he really was. But Ciel was different. Ciel had seen him, had accepted him and now wanted him despite what he was. Or maybe because of it.

And Sebastian wanted him.

He wanted him like he had never wanted anything ever before, the burning lust even outweighing his other hunger, making him forget all about it because there was nothing like the way Ciel's lips slid against his own and the way his sweet tongue battled, twisting and delightfully defiant as his mouth was devoured. There had been other times when the carnal hunger had gripped him, when he wanted someone so bad, he thought he would die if he couldn't have it but never had anything been as intense as this. Because he was a demon, the baser instincts were always more pure than they were in a human. Humans allowed their brains and other mundane, everyday worries get in the way of such things but demons didn't worry about that kind of thing. And though they had better control over it, when that control slipped, there was nothing to do but sate the flames or allow themselves to be consumed.

The carriage, unfortunately, rolled to a stop before he could even work his hands into the younger man's pants and grip the hard length he felt every time he rocked his hips and he ripped his lips away from Ciel's with a low, frustrated growl when the hired coachman knocked politely on the ceiling. The Earl huffed a soft laugh as the demon reluctantly extracted himself from their tangled embrace, his single visible eye dark and wide in the light that spilled onto the street from the huge brick townhouse.

"I would never have guessed you were impatient," his wonderfully deep voice was a little rough and it was all Sebastian could do not to throw himself at the younger man again. He hated feeling so out of control but he knew the prickling, unforgiving desire wouldn't ease its grip until he had sated it. So he settled for throwing a harsh glare in the Earl's direction and tossed the door open in hopes the sharp, biting winter air would ease the blaze a little bit. The younger man followed him out, his hair once again falling into his eyes and tangling with the decorative patch he wore. On impulse, he reached out as Ciel walked past and with a sharp tug, ripped it off the pretty face.

Ciel gasped and whirled around, staring at him in shock and the pentacle blazed with blue light in the wintry courtyard. It pulsed with the heavy beat of the demon's heart and he realized the younger man could probably feel his desire through their connection. The sight of it made his mouth water and his breath come short. This boy, this beautiful creature was his, marked and bound and the only thing that made it better was that the Earl had chosen it of his own free will. When he reached out his free hand, the eye patch dangling from the other, it was shaking a bit as it swept over the thin eyelid, momentarily hiding the proof of their contract from sight.

"How can you expect me to be patient now?" he breathed, hot breath misting in the cold air and he watched as Ciel's eyes darkened, his lips once again red and swollen curling upwards at the corner in such a way that it made him want to see what it could taste like.

"Well then, what are you waiting for?" and he swept towards the house, his stride long and purposeful. The invitation in his deep voice was cast around the demon like a net made of light and he followed as if he was being pulled on a leash, the hardness between his legs only throbbing even more as he watched Ciel's straight, confident form, outlined in the light spilling from the porch and making walking a bit of a challenge. What are you waiting for… the words rang in his mind like they were a gong struck with a golden hammer, making his blood thrum and he felt so alive, power and need surging through him. This was the inevitable end and he should have known it in the beginning but he had other motives then. Now he risked being bound so tightly to his master that he wondered if, in the very end, he would be able to let go.

Then he looked up into Ciel's mismatched eyes just as they reached the door and he pushed that thought to the far recesses of his mind. That final day would come eventually but not for a very long time.

Soma's golden eyes sparkled as Agni opened the door to admit them, the dark haired prince latching onto Ciel as soon as they were through the door and into the warm foyer. The pair had left to travel Europe two years ago but had returned shortly thereafter because Soma claimed to miss the Earl's company and had actually become quite attached to London. They had opened several curry restaurants after that and though they could easily have afforded their own town home, Ciel had never officially kicked them out and Sebastian could see that the boys were actually fond of one another despite their constant bickering. Now, though, the sight of the dark haired prince's arms wound around the younger man's neck stung like bitter acid and it was all Sebastian could do not to snarl. Instead he took Ciel's jacket with outward calm and draped it over his arm.

"…have fun at the party?" Soma's voice was high with excitement, his golden eyes bright as they looked up at the younger man whom he hung off of, "I wish you would let me come to one of them. I promise to behave myself but they sound like so much fun! Why can't I ever go?" Sebastian gritted his teeth at the whining note the boy's voice had taken on but he waited calmly, wrestling with the low burn still pulsing through his gut. It had been amusing when everyone realized Ciel would be much taller than Soma. The prince wasn't all that tall and it was a sore point that, at twenty one, he would never have a chance to surpass the Earl. What he lacked in height, however, he made up with in looks. Even Sebastian had to admit the young man was stunning, with his dark skin and hair and his bright, golden eyes.

Then he looked at Ciel and his mouth dried. Sadly for Soma, he would never measure up to the Earl's stark, cold beauty.

Now the younger man crossed his arms, his right eye obscured by his hair as he frowned at the former prince. The frown looked so much like a pout with his lips still all red from Sebastian's ministrations, the demon had to look away or risk shaming himself. In doing so, he missed the way Agni, standing quietly in the corner, caught the gesture and smiled behind his hand.

"You don't go because you aren't invited," Ciel was answering Soma with sharp annoyance in his voice, "No invitation, no party," it was a perfectly cold dismissal and Soma pulled away from the younger man with a huff, his arms crossed now as well in a perfect pout and the demon felt another surge of impatience that he was forced to stifle. This was taking much too long.

"Oh, please. If you wanted to take me, you could. You're just being mean!" the Earl growled at the older boy, his single visible eye flashing in exasperation. Sebastian told himself the expression wasn't sexy and looked over at the white haired man still watching quietly from the corner, hoping Agni picked up on his silent message. He did.

"My prince, I'm sure Ciel is tired. Why don't you speak with him in the morning?" the gentle voice caught Soma's attention just like it always did. The boy might be a fireball of enthusiasm but ever since he had figured out that Agni loved him as more than just a servant loves his master, he had actually toned down. Now the older man's voice acted like an automatic soothing blanket and the former prince dropped his arms to his sides and stepped away from the Earl.

"Fine. But next time, I want to go to one of those parties," Ciel just rolled his eyes and then flicked his gaze over his shoulder before starting up the stairs, the look pulling at the demon's midsection like it was connected by steel rope. With a polite bow and soft goodnight to the other two men, he ignored Agni's knowing expression and followed his master up the wide, sweeping staircase. It didn't matter what the other butler had figured out; after all, he had been accepted into Soma's bed with minimum conflict and only had human matters to concern him. As the demon eyed the tantalizing view in front of him while following Ciel up the steps, he knew their own problems were much darker than anyone could ever imagine.

He doubted at this point the Earl cared very much.

Especially when he was snatched as soon as they were in Ciel's private rooms and pressed roughly against the closed door with a very warm and hard Earl holding him in place.

When Sebastian had thought about what it might be like to be with the young Earl, he had never really thought much about actually kissing him. It was something humans did but demons didn't need and he had instead fantasized about marking the smooth expanse of pale skin and finding every last place on the younger man's slender body that would make him moan and gasp. It had only ever been about the sex, the end product because to him, that was all that really mattered. So, as he tipped his head to the side and groaned softly at the hot, slick feel of Ciel's tongue stroking liquid fire along his own, he found he liked being proven wrong in this case. The more they did it, the more he wanted and as long as the Earl's lips, tongue and, oh, yes his teeth continued to assault the older man's mouth, he decided that this was just as good.

Hands wandered over his shoulders and chest, stroking the soft velvet and he shivered in anticipation. It felt good to be touched but he knew it would feel even better when there wasn't clothes separating them. Ciel seemed to be thinking the same thing because he was fumbling inelegantly with the buttons on the demon's jacket, tugging at the sleeves and making impatient noises in his throat that vibrated against Sebastian's lips. He might have mocked the boy for his clumsiness but he was too busy sucking on the younger man's tongue, savoring the taste flooding his mouth before forcing his way past the line of straight teeth to find more of it. The door was a presence of reality at his back, biting uncomfortably at his shoulder blades, the one last check he had against the swiftly rising tide of lust within him, filling the air around them like an almost tangible presence. Then the Earl snarled against his lips and in a display of strength that Ciel didn't normally show, ripped the demon's jacket open, buttons pinging in every which direction before attaching his lips to the older man's neck.

"I can feel you," Ciel rasped between his assault on Sebastian's pale skin, hands still trying to find a way underneath the demon's clothes, "I can feel it…all around me…Sebastian…" the name rolled off the younger man's tongue in a low, desperate purr that set the butler on fire. Without a thought, he returned the favor by tearing the fine clothing off the Earl, relishing in the way the expensive fabric gave under his hands and the diamond studded buttons joined his own in the darkened corners of the room. Every bit of pale, satiny skin was bared he had to mark with his fingers and his lips, leaving a littering of red marks on Ciel that would undoubtedly darken to a deep purple by morning. Collar bones, shoulders, chest, tasting salty and rich under his tongue were slowly revealed, too slowly for his taste but the small needy sounds the Earl was making, and trying to pretend he wasn't, were worth every moment, flaring the glowing fire within the demon even hotter. And when he was done, he took hold of the younger man's shoulders and propelled him towards his bed while continuing to worry the elegant line of the boy's neck.

Ciel's bed was a massive thing with thick, draping canopies and dark, silk sheets that nearly took up most of the left side of the room and the younger man looked delicious spread out upon it, his pale skin looking like moonlight against the rich color of the bed. Though Sebastian had seen the Earl in varying stages of undress before, less so when he got older, it had never been like this. The demon took a breathless moment, standing at the edge of the bed in only his pants and just looked at the younger man. He was slender with lean muscle softening some of the angles from riding and fencing and looked surprisingly graceful, the line of his arms and legs elegant. The pink nipples were round and hard with arousal and the arch of his neck dusted with a soft flush. Sebastian found himself hungrily admiring the flat slope of the pale abdomen, the line of hair dark against the pale skin and the sharp ridges of the Earl's hips were made to be bitten. And from the midst of the think, black curls was a startlingly delicious erection, the very sight of it making his moth water. He wanted it so much, he was practically panting and he just couldn't hold back anymore when Ciel met his eyes, the pentacle throbbing in the dim city light falling in through the window and shifted his legs apart in a silent invitation.

"Sometime tonight," the younger man whispered with a small smirk but his voice trembled and his smirk was more of a smile and he looked stunning. It took him all of about a half a second to yank the last of his clothing off and crawl on top of the Earl who was now staring at him with wide eyes and parted lips, his hunger bright and twining with Sebastian's through their contract so that his hand tingled and burned. He kissed him hard, teeth breaking through the younger man's bottom lip but Ciel merely wrapped his arms around the demon and moaned, kissing him back just as eagerly. For a moment, that was all that existed; their naked skin already slick with sweat pressed together and their mouths fused together trying to take as much as they could from one another while not realizing they were giving back at the same time. He absently rolled the dusky nipples under his fingertips, earning himself a sharp gasp and an arch of Ciel's back that pressed their hard, throbbing erections together and sent pleasure cascading through his body. With it the last scrap of his control was burned away.

"I hope you are ready, young Master," he hissed down at the younger man, rising above the Earl as need and anticipation crashed through him to the point of pain, meeting the mismatched blue eyes that were dark and blown out with desire. He could feel the way Ciel was trying to wrap his lovely legs around the demon's waist, encouraging Sebastian to take him but the older man gave a sharp growl and ignored them.

Instead he knelt above Ciel, straddled his hips and slammed himself down on the younger man's erection with a rush of satisfied bliss.

For perfectly obvious reasons, at least to him, he had assumed that his demon was going to top. Truth be told, Ciel had kind of hoped that would be the case and had made sure there was no question about what he wanted. So when Sebastian snarled in such a way that made the Earl go from hard to so hard he thought he would die before he reached his release and impaled himself on his cock, he had been more than a little surprised. He didn't have time, however, to feel disappointed.

The tight heat that encompassed him nearly blinded him and he gripped the demon's pale thighs, riding through the waves of pleasure that were so intense, he didn't know how he was going to last. When he finally managed to open his eyes and focus past how incredible it felt to be sheathed inside of the dark haired butler, he found Sebastian sitting astride him like some conquering angel, his eyes so bright they danced like fire in the dim room and his beauty unparalleled. The dark head was thrown back, the line of his throat bared as a long, low moan of absolute ecstasy filled the room. Ciel couldn't tear his eyes away, even when the older man finally looked back down and not a trace of humanity could be seen in his gaze. Every single curve of his body was thrumming with it and it passed through their connection so he could practically taste the sharpness of the demon's arousal.

Then Sebastian shifted his weight and the young Earl was lost.

He hadn't thought that it could feel like this, the gripping, silky heat that turned his insides into a furnace, pleasure tingling along his legs and coiling in his belly until he didn't think he could hold it. For long, tortuous moments Sebastian stayed still, as if relishing the feeling of being filled and at first Ciel was grateful for it because he didn't want it to end too soon, which he knew it would if he didn't get a chance to get himself under control. But then the need to move, to feel those hot walls squeezing around his throbbing cock in a frenzy of blissful friction became too much. The younger man bucked his hips sharply, gasping at the feel of forcing himself deeper into the demon and scored red lines down Sebastian's thighs with his nails.

"God-damn it, S-Sebastian! Move!" he didn't even recognize his own voice and he should have been embarrassed at the amount of desperation that could be heard in it but it ceased to matter a second later when the butler grinned sharply and lifted himself up off of Ciel's erection. Friction was so much better and he moaned as he watched the other man's muscles flexing, eyes rolling back into his skull when Sebastian dropped back down again.

"Better, sir?" how he managed to sound so unaffected, Ciel didn't know but he could hardly glare like he wanted to when the butler repeated the motion, this time a little bit faster. He knew the older man was more turned on than he let on because his cock, hard and long and pressing against his abdomen, dripped pearly fluid down the shaft and taught scrotum, easing the way a little bit when he took the younger man in again and again. Breathless and feeling his orgasm rushing at him as if from a great distance, he gripped the narrow hips and the next time Sebastian slammed himself into Ciel's lap, he snapped his hips upward, nearly howling at the burst of pleasure and the way the older man tightened around him.

The pace they set was hard and fast, heat curling and roiling in his gut and yet he still couldn't stop watching Sebastian. The black in his eyes had turned into blown out slits and when he parted his lips, breathing now fast and unsteady, his teeth were too sharp to be human. The sounds he made were low, growling moans, building with the pressure and those weren't quite human either. When Ciel tossed his head, the pleasure starting to deepen as they continued to move together, he caught sight of the older man's fingers, curled into the sheets on either side of the younger man's hips, and they were tipped with sharp claws, ripping long rends into the silk. Somehow, though, the reminders that Sebastian was indeed not human spurred on his arousal and he had to close his eyes against the flood. He wanted it to continue forever, with him pushing his cock deep into his butler every time the older man descended upon him, wrapped in the hot, velvety feel of the other man but he didn't think he could hold back much longer.

A few moments later, he opened his eyes, unable to look away from the demon for much longer and was undone by the sight of Sebastian. If there was any doubt of what the butler was, there was none now. His skin glowed like ivory caught in silvery moonlight and his eyes heavy-lidded and like hot coals, burning with pleasure while his lips parted to reveal curved teeth. Shadows coalesced around him and rose like wings over his shoulders; he was so buried in pleasure that he was losing track of his human form. It caused the pleasure to crash down upon the Earl like a towering wave and he threw his head back with a cry he barely heard as the world disappeared behind the pulsing roar of his orgasm that seemed to go on forever.

Slowly, he came back to himself, heart pounding and throat feeling dry, shivering with the aftershocks. For a moment he concentrated on drawing air back into his lungs that felt like they had seized up during his release. Then Sebastian shifted on his lap, sending shiveres through him as his too-sensitive cock was clenched hard in the demon's heat and he pried his eyelids apart to see the man leaning over him, hands planted in the pillows on either side of Ciel's head.

"Young Master…" the words came out as a plea, his lips no longer smiling as he strove towards his own end. Wincing as the demon continued to ride him, he wrapped one arm around the strong back and reached down with the other to wrap his fingers around Sebastian's cock with a small smile.

"Come," he said it like a command even though it wasn't really and gave the thick erection one hard stroke. It was hot and wet and apparently all that Sebastian needed because he tensed, eyes flaring hotly before he dropped his forehead against Ciel's, snarling as he covered the noble's hand and stomach with his come, hips bucking desperately. Fabric tore beside the younger man's head and if he had not come just moments before, the feeling of the demon riding out his orgasm on top of him would have done him in. As it was he felt his spent cock twitch in pathetic interest. He moved his hand until the older man's release subsided and then shifted, locking his leg around the demon's hip and flipping them over so that he was the one on top.

The crimson eyes were deep and warm with satisfaction when they slid open again and Sebastian looked like just a man again, sweaty and ruffled and completely sated. Ciel arranged them so that he could lie on top of the butler without crushing him and rested his chin upon the strong chest, relishing the feel of the hard body relaxed and accommodating underneath him. They were quiet for long moments, the heartbeat under his hands as he absently smoothed his palms over the warm skin slowly calming and the sticky liquid between them dripping onto the ripped sheets. Something hummed in his veins now that lust no longer burned through him, curling lazily through his limbs and making them feel heavy. It felt like wonder and happiness and the regret he thought he would feel at taking his demon to bed was curiously absent.

"You look like you have a question, sir," Sebastian's voice was soft, muted and he lacked his normal half smile he usually wore when he addressed the younger man. It was strange seeing him looking so serious, so intense and turning it upon the Earl, so different from the normal condescension or calm mask that gave nothing away. Ciel blushed hotly and lowered his gaze for a moment, watching as one of his long fingers circled around and around one of the butler's nipples but never actually touched it.

"I wish you would not call me sir or master when we are like this," he murmured instead, cheeks feeling hot. Though after what they had done, he didn't know why that would be. There was a heavy pause and he looked back up to see the red eyes thoughtfully fixed upon his face.

"Very well, Ma—Ciel," the name sounded strange in the demon's voice but it made him shiver anyway, "Your question?" he bit his lip for a moment, not even pausing to think that he might be showing uncertainty. After all they had willingly shown one another, it didn't matter anymore. He knew they would still play their game of veiled insults and petty victories but there was something else added to the mix that required no pretenses, barbed exchanges or hidden agendas. He didn't understand it entirely but he doubted Sebastian did either so he didn't think on it any more.

"Is it…is it always like this? This…this intense?" his voice wobbled on the last word but for once the older man didn't tease him about it. Instead his lips that Ciel was thinking about kissing again turned down slightly and his eyes shuttered for such a long time he thought Sebastian wasn't going to answer him. Just when he opened his mouth to negate the question, feeling foolish and entirely too young, the crimson gaze was locked on him again, studying his face as if the demon had never seen it before.

"No," he whispered, "no, it's not," and the Earl wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. Slender hands now back to their usual shape slid up his back, tracing the line of his spine and then back down to knead and slip between his buttocks. The touch made him shiver, the heat of desire curling back through him again, quickening when Sebastian once more hooked his legs around him and executed a move that left Ciel stretched out on his stomach with the demon pressed against his back. Sebastian's cock, already half hard and sliding against his thighs made his own swell again with interest and dragged a low hum from his throat.

"Again," he breathed into the cradle of his arms, shivering as the warm hands, once again tipped with claws ran lightly over his skin. Lust snapped through their bond again, bright and thrumming through his blood. Sebastian kissed along the nape of his neck and over his shoulders, this time marking with teeth as well as lips until Ciel was breathless and so hard, he couldn't keep his hips from grinding his erection against the soft sheets.

"Yes, Ciel," the older man whispered in his ear, the sound of his name acting like a stimulant before he moved down the Earl's prone body, sliding his lips over the elegant curve of his back before stopping at the younger man's buttocks. It was less urgent than the first time but just as intense, especially when Sebastian pried the round mounds apart and licked him from testicles to anus, making him scream and clutch desperately at the sheets.

And when the demon finally, finally entered him after what felt like hours of torturous teasing, it was so good, he let the world fall away into darkness, his second orgasm washed over him like a silent storm…

The sheets were cool under his back as he stared at the ceiling, his lust finally simmering quietly in the background rather than trying to tear his mind apart, pondering the patterns the shadows made on the walls. A warm body was curled around him so tightly it would be impossible to move away unless the other person allowed it but he wondered at the strange desire that was making him stay put without even trying. There were several things he needed to do tonight to ensure tomorrow's day went smoothly and yet he couldn't quite bring himself to make Ciel loosen his hold and slip from the warm bed.

What he had told the younger man before was true; he had never had sex before that felt quite like that. It was a fire that only got stronger the more they touched and claimed one another until Ciel passed out, having come twice with Sebastian inside of him. The sheets around them would have to be thrown out, torn by the demon's claws but he hadn't really wanted to do the same to the younger man's beautifully flawless skin. It had been intense, so much so he had lost himself to it every time and even now he had to take a few deep breaths to push it back. He didn't know what it meant because he could hardly have feelings for the Earl. Demons couldn't feel love. They could, however, feel attachment and possession and he realized that he had come to need Ciel as much as the noble needed him. It was a sobering thought and made him wonder about the consequences. He had always been proud, never fully giving in to the chains that were anchored by the pentacle in the younger man's right eye like some of his kind sometimes did. But now…

The clamoring of Ciel's heart, before so at odds with his mind, was a quite, contented buzz at the back of the demon's mind and Sebastian wasn't sure he had any defiance was more, he didn't know if he wanted it back either. The realization made him so uneasy, he attempted to throw off Ciel's surprisingly strong grip but it only stirred the young Earl from his doze and made him tighten his arms around the demon's waist.

"Stay here," he murmured, lips brushing against the demon's shoulder and Sebastian sighed even as he shivered at the silky feel of the light caress. Ciel's eyes were deep and dark in the shadows of the room, watching him from under heavy lids. He had never seen the Earl look like this, so unguarded and calm, features still like a mirrored pool rather than just blank from the hiding of emotions like it usually was. He had to look away because he didn't think the younger man would want him to see it.

"You know I do not sleep, young M—Ciel," it must have been the use of the Earl's first name that made him hum quietly, a deep, rich sound that resounded through the demon's bones like a gong being struck. The blue, mismatched eyes slid closed again and a warm sigh ghosted over his skin.

"That's okay. Just don't leave," it wasn't a command but a request yet, oddly enough, Sebastian decided to take it as an order. He reached for the covers and dragged it over them and then turned into Ciel's embrace, eyes remaining on the young Earl's face the entire night as he slept.

"Do you ever try the desserts you make, Sebastian?" the long dining table was lit with several shining candelabras, gleaming richly in the flickering light while more burned in a line of sconces along the walls. The room wasn't as extensive or as rich as the one back at his manor but he liked it better because he didn't feel quite so lonely sitting there by himself. Usually when he was in town Soma sat with him, regaling him with stories or nagging at him about something stupid. Tonight, though, the former prince and his butler had gone out and probably wouldn't be back until late. Ciel didn't care where they went, but he did care the duration of their absence since he had been wondering just how sturdy the rich table was and wanted the opportunity to test it. It had been several days since the ball and they had fallen so quickly into a comfortable routine it was almost like they had been like this for years instead of days. The demon standing at his elbow shifted slightly and the Earl smirked because that meant the question had surprised him.

"No, young Master, I have no need to. Why, is it not satisfactory?" his voice was so formal that it sounded almost snobby and Ciel bit back a grin. Sebastian only sounded like that when he was offended. He took another forkful of the sinfully rich chocolate cake that dripped warm caramel from its center when broken into. It was quite delicious, one of his favorites but he didn't normally compliment his butler on his cooking because, well, it was expected of him to be the best, after all.

"Of course not. It's a shame, though, that you haven't ever tried them. They are really quite remarkable," again Sebastian shifted in a soft rustle of cloth and had they had guests, he would have been reprimanded for it. Of course, the demon wouldn't have done that in front of anyone else so Ciel didn't comment on it. Instead he savored the marvel that was his dessert and listened to the demon's soft breathing. He waited until he was sure the demon was thinking of something else before he spoke again, "Sebastian, lean in for a moment," it was an odd request but the man did it without question, completely unsuspecting when Ciel grabbed the back of his neck and pressed their lips together.

Sebastian made a soft sound in the back of his throat but before he could react, the younger man had forced his way into his mouth and deposited the mouthful of chocolate and caramel onto the demon's tongue. He pulled away after a few swift licks to the older man's lip and was about to smirk at the look of surprise in the ruby eyes while the demon chewed when the dining room door slammed open and Soma bounded into the room. He stopped short at the sight of the Earl and his butler and Ciel felt himself flushing when the demon stood back up again. It was no use trying to hide just what they were doing, though and he waited for the former prince's outburst. Instead, though, he burst out laughing and pulled out a chair beside where the young noble sat, plopping into it.

"It took you two long enough," he giggled and Ciel stared at him in shock, the taste of Sebastian and his dessert lingering on his lips. What surprised him even more was the soft snort behind him and when he turned around to look at this butler, the red eyes were glowing like two jewels and his lips were curled in a small, secret smile. Thankfully, Soma was distracted by Agni's entrance so he didn't see Ciel's return smile or the way his single visible eye darkened as he chattered at the white haired man. They may not get to test the integrity of the table tonight but the fact that they could anytime they wanted burned within him like a blazing sun, desire once again thrumming through their connection.

Perhaps it had taken a long time but now that they had figured it out, their bond was stronger and more solid than ever.

And Ciel smiled a true smile for the first time in a long while.

What he and Sebastian had was far from perfect nor in any way normal but even for all that, he realized he could find happiness within it. It wasn't love but it was his and that was all he needed.


Oh, how I adore this pairing. SO PRETTY! I would love to know what you all think! Feedback is much loved!