It was one of those times again.

When Ciel found himself wandering off alone, without anyone beside him.

The winter had set upon the English countryside with a fearsome vengeance, blanketing the world in a pristine white coating of snowflakes, sparkling in what little sunlight there was. His birthday was nearing, and Ciel Phantomhive was dreading it. His heart felt heavy, but he always pushed past it, setting upon his work, distracting himself, not allowing weakness to show through.

He pulled his heavy coat a little tighter around himself as the wind blew straight through him to his bones. His teeth were chattering- he had been standing still too long.

Ciel had walked a fair distance from his manor, just out into the woods in his property. Dead branches poked up out of the snow, lined with white, and trees towered above him. Snow blew from the tops of their branches, a light dust that was ever falling, gleaming and bright.

The young Earl sniffled- he had been out long enough to get a runny nose. But he kept walking, keeping himself warm.

A little while later he broke through the woods- and there was just a vast hilly expanse of perfectly white snow. No animal tracks, nothing.

And then he heard footsteps.

"Bocchan, you have wandered off quite far without warning," Sebastian said in his velvety smooth voice that broke through the silence cleanly. He draped another coat about the boy's shoulders and pulled his hood up.

"I knew that you would follow me eventually," Ciel said, unperturbed by this.

Sebastian's red eyes looked out upon the snow.

"What brings you out here, if I may ask?"

"Nothing that concerns you," the boy replied without missing a beat, but he knew that even by that answer, Sebastian already knew the answer. The demon always did. Crimson eyes continued to trace the horizon.

"I have prepared hot chocolate for your return," he said.

"I do not wish to go back just yet," Ciel said, continuing on his way out into the white expanse. His butler said nothing. He knew that this time of year was precarious, some days Ciel snapped and bickered, and he knew that Ciel needed to have these moments alone, brooding over the past, the ghost of it evident in his sky blue eyes. So he stayed silent, following behind, a tall shadow.

They walked further, into the nothingness and cold oblivion, and finally Ciel stopped. But before he could speak, Sebastian bent into a shallow bow, offering him a single white rose.

Ciel stared at it for a moment.

"Sebastian, where did you…?" he asked suspiciously as he took it. Why had Sebastian offered him a rose?

But the butler only offered one of his secretive, amused smiles.

"For the Young Master," he said, "Now, may I suggest we return home? The others became quite worried when you could not be found."

xxx

Once Ciel had a cup of hot chocolate in his hands and a woolen blanket draped about his thin shoulders in the sitting room, he carefully traced the petals of the rose with his pale fingers.

"Why did you give this to me?" he asked, looking up at Sebastian, who was bringing in a tray laden with small sweets to choose from.

The demon placed them on the table, sat down beside him and leaned down to give him a slow, simple kiss. He pulled back and gave that secretive smile.

"Because white roses are Bocchan's favorite, are they not?" he asked.

Ciel looked back down to the white petals, pulling the blanket closer as he sniffled, deciding that this rose was different somehow- it was not just a rose, it was a rose that Sebastian had given to him in the dead of winter. Where it came from he didn't know- but maybe… that was alright.

Because games got boring if you knew all the answers.


A/N: Goodness, it's been a while since I've managed to drag myself out of my lazy state of oh-my-goodness-it's-finally-summer-and-it's-way-too-hot-outside mindset and write something. I caught my Ciel-muse unawares after the latest chapter of Kuroshitsuji came out. Bwahahahahaha. Poor thing got kidnapped again. Also, I wrote this little oneshot really, really late last night for a friend who assisted me in capturing my Ciel-muse, so if you happen to find a mistake, please let me know :D Anyway, thank you very much for reading, and I do hope that you enjoyed it. Reviews are loved!