Disclaimers: I do not own.

Warnings/Ratings: M, for sexual situations and explicit content.

A/N: Giftfic for Casey V. and ShinraiFaith.


There were not many things that could plant a seed of fear in a devil, but there were enough.

Sebastian's eyes flickered over to meet Claude's, cold and meticulous behind his glasses. Claude's lips moved around the sound of his name, and instantly, it was like shackles latched around his ankles and wrists, unseen but certainly tangible, a binding power that sent him to his knees in respect. There was a sudden weight on his soul; its connection to the world through his human body was pulled taut, almost to snapping—and that would not be a good thing.

And there were not many things that could plant a seed of fear in a butler, but the biggest was the fear of failing a master—and Sebastian understood that fear full well, now. Writhing into the back of his mind and gnawing there, alarming and curious all at once. But he could do no more than draw in a little breath and hope that the events about to pan out would not go in that direction, because Ciel was not calling yet, but he had a feeling he would be, and Sebastian could only imagine the burning hate, the disappointment that would knot in his chest should he make it out of there and have his young master's forsaken eyes turn on him in question of where he had been. He dreaded that. He feared it.

Claude's footsteps were sharp on the cellar floors, echoing off the walls, inhospitable. He came to a stop in front of Sebastian, and Sebastian couldn't lift his eyes yet. Instead, he peered at the shine on Claude's shoes—wondered, fleetingly, if Claude would tap out a dance for him—and as his mouth twitched into a faint little smile, Claude crouched down in front of him, drew off his spectacles and met Sebastian's gaze directly.

"Now," he said, fingers laced on one knee and glasses dangling idly from his thumb, and Sebastian wanted to spit at his mockery of a butler's formalities, "my master and your master are going to play a game, and until they are through, you're going to keep me company. Is that alright with you?"

His eyes flashed, and the power that had leaked into Sebastian's body like paralytic poison intensified. It subdued every nerve and muscle, kept his hands trembling at his sides and his head halfway bowed, and he knew that even if he concentrated every last bit of his willpower on moving, it would be of no use, so he didn't waste the breath. Claude seemed to take his silence as an affirmative, and curled into a most cordial smile. And Sebastian felt young again, young and reckless and rash, and he hadn't felt this restriction—this discipline—this display of hierarchy in a long time. He thought about the few battles they'd had, the times he and Claude had sparred like good little imps. And yet those had all been something like a prelude, hadn't they? This was Claude's full power, and with it, beyond his pride, beyond his loyalty, Sebastian was honestly vexed. But there was nothing he could do about it. Claude had spoken his real name, and he'd known from the beginning just what circle of hell the Trancy butler was from.

Even the most lawless of creatures had laws.

The itsy-bitsy spider went up the water spout.

There was a harsh clatter as Ciel hit the side of the table, a cacophony of rattling dishes and silverware, sloshing tea and shifting tablecloth as he jerked backwards—but he was already caught in Alois's fingertips, and they were as clingy as spider webs. A pool of spilled tea began to soak into the red of the tablescape, candles rattling in their gold sticks.

He met Alois's eyes with only one of his own, shot through with shards of carefully maintained panic. And Alois caged him in against the table with palms pressed to either side of his hips, and smiled a smile too soft and kind to fit the moment. And, frantic, Ciel realized that there was absolutely nobody else in the vast dining hall, and even if his voice would echo should he raise it, he was confident nobody would answer the call—and he was also quite certain that, no matter how his fingertips twitched with the urge, if he raised a fist against the blond boy now, it would end badly.

Alois's hips brushed against his, and he was close enough to smell the tea on his sigh, the cloying sweetness of the soaps and lotions he washed with. Ciel's breath caught in his throat; he locked up, trapped between the Earl of Trancy and the table, struggled to maintain his disposition of cool and collected insouciance, because just five minutes ago, they'd been having a relatively civil business discussion over tea and scones, and now the old panic from horrors years past was beginning to set in, instinct shooting into his nerves as his heart leapt up to flutter beneath his throat—

"I'll have you know," Alois murmured, and this close, the skin of his leg was warm against Ciel's thigh; he pressed a gentle fingertip to Ciel's chin, smile saccharine with lashes lowered on indecipherable eyes, "that I always get what I want, and I don't intend on changing that any time soon. That being said, Ciel, I'll remind you that I want you, all for my very own."

His skin crawled from the very touch of the boy's fingertip, and Ciel pushed his hand away. The disgust was apparent on his voice, and he managed to keep an air of disdain, but inside, he was still reeling from the sudden physical contact. He ran his knuckles across his chin, needing to feel as though he'd wiped the touch away. "I'm nobody's but my own, thank you," he replied curtly. Alois shifted closer, and Ciel's tailbone ached where he pressed further back against the table. "Now, please, I'm not sure if anyone cared to alert you of this, in your spoiled little world of free-for-all, but most people enjoy an amount of personal space. So, if you would, Trancy, I'd appreciate it if you stepped back—"

Alois laughed, and Ciel bristled. The sound echoed in the nooks and crannies of the gilded dining hall. "You entertain me," he declared, sounding decidedly more firm. "Now, weren't we talking about a business deal? I think we were. If Funtom Toys is sponsored by the Trancy family... I want you, Ciel, and I'm going to get what I want."

He touched him, then, more deliberately—ran a hand down his side and teased at his hip, playing with the hem of his suitcoat, splaying his fingertips atop his thigh. And Ciel couldn't move, for a moment transported to a dark corner in the underbelly of London where hands always traveled his body and he could do no more than detach himself from reality until it was done, and in that kind of world, in that pit of hell, you did what you had to just to get out alive—

And there was always his revolver, stowed carefully along his tailbone, the one that went with him everywhere now. But there was no way he'd be able to pull that out, aim and cock without Alois noticing somewhere along the way, even amidst a distraction. And why should he have to resort to that when Sebastian would be here any moment? With each thought sent Sebastian's way via preternatural dispatch, a chill snaked down his spine and his eye ached behind the eye patch, and Alois's hand was warm on his leg, and Ciel wanted nothing more than to shake it off, to shove him away and leave this filthy place—but when he'd attempted that before, it had gotten him slammed up against the table.

"You're calling for him, aren't you?"

Ciel stiffened, felt the color drain from his face in surprise. Another chill prickled his skin, this one stunned, and his stomach, leaden with anxiety, knotted below a pounding heart. Alois met his eyes with an honest little frown, and Ciel could have gagged at the insanity of his rapid shifts of emotion. He swallowed on a tightening throat, brow drawing together. Because the little brat, how dare he ask that? Because maybe he wa calling for him, but he was never going to say so, that was ridiculous—

"You are," Alois surmised, sadly. He trailed his fingers up Ciel's thigh, back to his hip. "I'm sorry, he won't be able to come right now. He's a little...preoccupied."

With the word, something flashed through Alois's eyes, and Ciel's hands quivered as the realization shuttled through him. The audacity—the sheer audacity—just the fact that Alois had said that— There was more to this. He'd done something to Sebastian, and that was wrong. Because nobody kept Sebastian from him. And if Sebastian wasn't coming, then how—and what could possibly keep Sebastian preoccupied

No, it had to be a bluff. Ciel's muscles twitched; he pushed the blond boy back, felt the rage twist across his face and before he knew it, he'd slapped him. Alois stumbled back a few steps in shock, gingerly touching his reddening cheek. He stared at his fingertips as if he had rubbed some of the pain off on them, and then looked up at Ciel with an expression of sincere confusion.

"Ciel..." he whimpered, and just as Ciel was realizing that no was the moment to grab his gun, Alois's palm smacked into his face in return, the sound echoing in the long room. His cheek stung, tears sprang to his eyes, the room spun for a moment, and the next thing he knew, Alois had him against the table once more, fingers fisted in the lapels of his suitcoat.

"Oh, that was a bad idea, Ciel," he edged out, and the shadow taking over his face was alarming. Ciel's eyes widened; he felt his breath quicken in pace as the adrenaline surged through his blood, fingertips shaking. "That was a bad, bad idea," Alois repeated, knuckles trembling in his collar, below his throat. "You're lucky I like you." One hand snaked down around Ciel's waist, and Ciel was ashamed of the startled noise that escaped the back of his throat as Alois reached beneath his suitcoat and yanked the gun from his waist, throwing it down the table and letting it clatter into empty dishes. Ciel winced at the racket; it hurt his ears. Called for Sebastian again, out of pure reaction. Alois leveled his bleak frown on him, fingertips lingering at the small of his back. Ciel shrank away at the intensity of his stare, meeting it with a stubborn one of his own. Because this was not a situation he'd expected, and with his gun and his butler unreachable at the moment, with Alois invading the personal space he'd taken such pains to rebuild the last year or two, all his reserves were too shaken and he couldn't grasp a facade stronger than the familiar-tasting panic—

"Now," Alois whispered, locks of blond hair falling into his dark stare, "I suggest you don't anger me any further. You are a guest in my house, after all, and we wouldn't want anything to happen to your dear butler, would we? Don't push your luck any further, Ciel Phantomhive. I'm almost done considering letting you go. Now, this business deal I've proposed..."

Ciel gawked at him, into the frightening depths of his icy eyes. Alois's fingertips dipped into his trousers, just an inch or two, wiggling along his tailbone between his waistband and shirt, then plunged down until his whole hand was in his pants and Ciel's mouth fell open as he searched for the ability to speak. But every word died away in the back of his throat, came out as a choked bit of voice and breath. Sebastian was still not there. He was desperate now; he was still calling, but there was no answer. Usually he could feel the connection of their souls, ringing in his ears as Sebastian drew closer, but he couldn't feel anything now—hadn't wanted to admit it, but he could deny it no longer. He couldn't feel him. Real fear began to set in, ice cold. He didn't want to be left alone again, and he was afraid there might only be one way to deal with the situation at hand. There were no bluffs, and Ciel wasn't stupid. He knew what Alois wanted. He just wasn't well-equipped enough to gather his composure and pretenses back by himself, and his pride trembled in shame because here he was again, demeaning himself. He licked dry lips as Alois peered at him, waiting for acquiescence as if bored already, and his hand was an intimidating presence at the small of his back.

Ciel drew in a breath, tried to assume an air of whatever confidence he could muster. Cleared his throat and hoped Alois could not see through the thin smile he offered, and edged out, "This business deal... What is it that you want, Alois?"

Because sometimes, you did what you had to just to get out alive.

Down came the rain...

"Alumna, et caput mortuum..."

Sebastian uttered a wincing chuckle at that. Caput mortuum. A worthless item. Oh, how easy it was to fall into arrogant hypocrisy when given the responsibility of power—

"Nemo est supra legis," Claude finished, and smiled down at Sebastian where he stood. Sebastian cut him a glance from below his lashes. Nobody is above the law. With the words, the power holding him back tightened, weighing him down lower. It strained his shoulders, pulling at the tendons and muscles; his arms trembled from the pressure, and although it hurt to, he couldn't help but laugh again.

"You abuse your power," he insisted. The coattails on Claude's uniform drifted behind his legs as he circled around him, hands clasped at his back and spectacles perched on his nose. His footsteps echoed in the cold darkness of the cellar.

"You abuse your freedom," Claude retorted.

"And how so?" Sebastian scoffed, and his hair stuck to his temple where he was beginning to perspire in the strain of sitting upright with the weight of the incantations. These Trancys played so dirty; Sebastian was positive that the devils higher even than Claude would not approve of his wild brandishing of power over those lower than him. Sebastian watched him from the corner of his eye, jaw jutted out.

"You're like a child. Given enough privileges, you'll eventually do nothing but wreak havoc and make messes." Claude sniffed in distaste.

"Are you calling me a delinquent, then?" Sebastian murmured, smiling politely. "What, exactly, are you referring to?"

Claude stopped short in front of him, heels together. He frowned down his nose at the butler on his knees, but his eyes smiled at the fact that it wasn't just a butler he had prostrate before him. "I'm referring to your blatant misuse and neglect of the basic laws, pupil of mine. From what circle are you, again? Second? Third? Fourth? Ah, well. All the same petty sins, anyway. Lust, self-indulgence, greed. Remember the rules. Nemo est supra legis."

Sebastian scoffed, casting his gaze elsewhere. Yes, lust, self-indulgence, greed. Petty sins. But they'd contributed to a rather satisfying existence thus far, so he didn't care. The stifling conceit of devils from higher circles of hell always managed to piss him off. He could feel the desire for insurgence, burning in his chest. He wanted to challenge the bastard, but knew well enough how he would be punished for defying a devil of a higher circle, and—

And Ciel called again, and it echoed through his blood with the sick sensation of helplessness, and Sebastian closed his eyes.

The fear of failing a master.

The fear of losing such a precious soul, so tenderly taken care of—

Perhaps the shame was worse than the fear.

...and washed the spider out.

The feel of come, sticky on his mouth, on his fingers. The way the bad men all ruffled his hair and winked at him like they were kind, but they weren't. Bare, scraped feet on the rough stone floor, the rattle of cage doors and shackles, a bunch of children with a chorus of tired voices, the wince and shudder as another unfiled corner of metal chafed a wrist. Their hands were always the same, gruff and hot and clutching, yanking at his clothes in impatience. And Ciel was always worried they'd rip his shirt, or his trousers, because he didn't have anything else to wear.

They called it magic, but Ciel didn't remember the magic in Grimm's ever involving monsters like them, who liked to touch him with dirty fingers in places that made him cringe. Maybe the magic was inside of him, and that was why they'd marked him with a hot iron—magic unleashed when they slipped him onto their laps and explored his insides with prying fingers and the intrusive, ripping throb of their—

No, it was just sex, and after a while, Ciel accepted that. It was just sex, and when it happened, he liked to detach himself from reality until they were done with him, go through the practiced motions with enough awareness to function, but not enough to really think about what he was doing when he sank down between bad men's knees and opened his mouth, or unfastened his pants and held them out from his hips so a hand could slither in, big and strong.

He hated sex.

Knuckles white where they trembled, fisted tight in expensive sheets. Body jerking, muscles burning with the pent-up energy, tingling with the swell of pleasure, and his eye patch always sat next to the candelabra on his right nightstand as black-tipped fingers swirled up his thighs and under his nightshirt. And he remembered the chuckle, three years ago— Don't you want a nightshift of your own? And the annoying smile afterwards when he confessed, This was my father's shirt.

Kisses. Sweet, soft, kisses, and sometimes kisses deep and hungry—but always kisses, because without kisses, sex meant nothing. And the body worked like a machine, the process such a natural routine. Heart fluttering, breath stuttering, temple damp with sweat and open shirt shifting on flushed skin. The stomach would knot as the muscles beneath it tightened—and the thighs would twitch as the muscles between them throbbed—and the air was cold on skin so usually concealed, but Sebastian's hands and mouth, and the press of his body, were warm. And sometimes the fire would crackle in the hearth across the room, and the candlelight would dance, and Sebastian would stare down at him where his back curled the wrong way and his feet hung in the air, shirttails falling down around his hips where Sebastian's were connected to his by their sex, and in the room of shadows and quiet, his stare was just as intimidating as the sounds of slick skin meeting skin, gasps and grunts and the rustle of clothing and sheets. Intimidating because it was comforting, because Ciel liked it, because the way it felt when the building pleasure finally shattered into stickiness on the bedclothes, on his skin, and he couldn't catch his breath as Sebastian cleaned it up before brushing damp hair from his eyes, that was magic. Dark magic, light magic, twisted magic. And he was afraid of it, afraid of the way it felt in his chest when he met the butler's eyes in bed, because he couldn't believe Sebastian really felt the way he seemed to, and Ciel couldn't sort out the feelings—

So he hated sex.

Alois's fingers crawled like spiders, thin and adroit, lingering at each custom-faced button on the front of his suitcoat to pluck it open with care.

Ciel had to respect him. Even in talking to someone like him, a conversation full of verbal traps and loopholes, plays on word and batted eyelashes, subtle shifts of the face for every game, every manipulation, Alois knew how to get what he wanted. And he was just as glib and quick-witted, offering a lovable facade but, beneath it, simply following the tailwind of his rapidly fluctuating mood—a reckless strategy, but one that had Ciel backed into the table with Alois's hips smashed into his.

"I want you for my very own, Ciel, but... The deal I'm proposing is this—you let me have what I want, and I'll let you go. And your butler, too, I guess. Back to your home, where you insist you belong, but I'll only let you go if you promise that I can have you again when I want to. I suppose I can settle for that."

The Trancy boy was a force to be reckoned with, and it made Ciel sick to admit that. He was pretty and smart and just as ruthless as he—perhaps more so, where he traipsed along the thin line that bordered the dark depths of madness. And there was something familiar about him, something Ciel hated, but something that he couldn't place his finger on just yet.

Alois chuckled below his breath, craned in and dusted a dry little kiss against Ciel's cheek, having aimed for his mouth before Ciel turned his face away. He didn't seem fazed by the defiance, though, and instead yanked Ciel's shirt up from inside his shorts, a pleased smile spreading across his face. "All I'm asking for you to do is play with me a little, and then I'll let you go..."

His growing arousal was obvious on Ciel's thigh, warm and daunting. Ciel shuddered, unable to repress a blush at the very idea of it. Lashes lowered on clouded eyes, his mouth twitched where he refused a scowl. And, God, he hadn't felt such stark consternation in a long time, and it was angering, because he was Ciel Phantomhive— And in the back of his mind, like a broken record, he'd struck up a frantic mantra of Sebastian's name. Maybe like a prayer, like a chant, subconscious and repeating.

Alois pouted, tugging on his shirttails. "Come on," he urged, and his brow dimpled above puppy-dog eyes that Ciel met with a dubious frown. "It's not like it's the first time," Alois murmured, running a fingertip along Ciel's wrist with his free hand. "Right? I'm sure you've done this plenty of times with your butler. I know I have mine—"

Ciel clapped a hand across Alois's mouth, frowning sharply. "That's enough, Trancy. It's a deal, but we'll have to work out the fine print some time. ...And please do understand that if you don't uphold your end of it, you'll pay."

Alois blinked at him, startled, but obviously not intimidated. And then he smiled behind Ciel's fingers, pulled the front of his shirt out as well and began to unfasten the buttons, one by one. His eyes burned into him, derogating even in their silent stare, and Ciel refused to meet them all the way; he watched them through his peripheral, as he struggled to remain unaffected by the fingers trailing up his stomach. And how dare Alois try to manipulate him by making suggestions, by exploiting something so intimate that he was probably bluffing about, anyway, because what went on between he and his butler was something more than Alois would ever understand—

Alois's fingers moved up his chest, instilling shivers where warm hands and well-manicured nails grazed his skin. His wrist shifted, and the nail on his little finger ran over Ciel's left nipple as his fingers splayed over his heart, and Ciel grunted, hunched away. Alois smiled affectionately, lashes lowering. "I won't hurt you, I promise," he whispered, but then his fingernails scraped as he clutched at Ciel's chest, pinched and played and smiled a reassuring smile. Ciel's voice breath caught in his throat, eyes widening—clutched Alois's thin wrist and tried to pull his hand away, but his fingertips tightened and Ciel cried out mostly from surprise, but still a little bit from the painful twitch of alarm in his nerves, branching out from beneath the blond boy's fingertips. The pain was like a tickle in his nerves, little shudders and shocks zipping down his arms, to his toes, between his legs. He met Alois's eyes with a worried knot of the brow, hunched into his hand and knees trembling where Alois's tangled with them. And if he wasn't hearing things, that was the sound of their panting combined echoing in the vast dining hall.

Out came the sun—

A bead of blood fell from his chin and splattered on the cellar floor, where many had done so already, leaving ruddy stains. Sebastian drew in a hissing breath, gathered the blood in his mouth and spat most of it out, cut his eyes over to watch as Claude paced back and forth beside him again. His face throbbed where the heel of Claude's shoe had cracked into his cheek, scraping the skin there and ripping the flesh inside on his teeth. His breath came in shallow gasps, the struggle to stay upright beneath Claude's power burning in his muscles now.

"Really, you're despicable," Claude declared, pitying and patronizing all at once. "Such a worthless Romeo. I really don't understand why you invest so much capital in something as simple as contracting. What is this now, your fifth? And here, after your last heartbreak, I thought you were going to stick to sampling agonies now and again, not sitting down to any more personal feasts."

"You and I are very different, Claude," Sebastian managed below his breath, and if he hadn't been quivering on the floor already, he might have been bold enough to call him by his real name.

"Right." Claude stopped short in front of him again, hands clasped behind his back. He regarded him down his nose, taciturn, but quite obviously contemptuous. "Allow me to remind you of the number of circles between us. I apologize—really, I do—if I can't stoop low enough to understand your petty passions."

Sebastian gnashed his teeth, met Claude's eyes with murderous intent. Claude sniffed in disdain.

"Let me, also, remind you of the weakness of feeling too much for a human. Nearly every contract you've made has left you reeling in the wake of its fulfillment, like an abandoned little boy. You're a devil of self-indulgence, but you allow yourself far too much emotional freedom. Why cause yourself such despair in opening your heart to a useless soul that you'll only swallow soon after?"

"Just because I favor my master, value him more than you might yours—"

"What, because I indulge him in his whims? Pardon me," Claude interrupted, adjusting his glasses, "but I think indulging my master in his whims is far different from favoring him, taking advantage of his loneliness for my own desires, playing games with his mind—and, in the end, favoring him a little too much. Wouldn't you agree?"

His eyes flashed behind his spectacles, and Sebastian's lip curled around a guttural scoff. Felt his shoulders twitch with the urge to attack, but he was bound. And Claude was no more than playing mind games, himself—contradicting and repeating, beating around the bush. Wasting time. Buying time for his little master. And, of course, perhaps he had a point; Sebastian wasn't going to deny the fact that he was a devil of self-indulgence, but there was nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that at all—

Claude kicked him again, this time in the ear, and it rang for the longest time, head spinning, as Sebastian spit more blood on the cellar floor, wishing it might land on Claude's nice, clean shoes. Teeth clenched, stubbornly, he glanced up to meet Claude's stare.

"You didn't answer me," was Claude's justification, and he went back to pacing the cellar with chin held high.

and dried up all the rain.

Ciel's fingers shook where he clutched at the edge of the table, hair falling from his eyes with his head cocked back, breath quick and short, brow knotted above turbid eyes. There was the rustle of expensive tweed and cotton as Alois pushed his open suitcoat to the side, then his shirt, and Ciel's hands tightened on the tablecloth, wrinkling it beneath sweaty fingers as Alois's hand slithered down the front of his loosened trousers, into his undershorts. The touch was tentative at first, polite—and just experienced enough that Ciel had to fight the guilt that followed the physical response that sparked up into his stomach, skipped a beat of his heart.

"There," Alois whispered; his eyes wouldn't leave Ciel's face, a piercing stare, and Ciel knew he'd spoken to soothe him, which made his face burn in shame as he glanced away. He knew this well enough, that the body reacted despite the mind's preference, because no matter how much he didn't want to be touched, regardless, the touch was nice.

For a moment it was just sharp breath, and then the clink of two plates as Ciel shifted, moving the tablecloth with him—and then Alois moved closer, smashing the heat between his legs harder against Ciel's thigh. Which twitched as his knees drifted apart, and Alois groped around within the front of his open trousers, fingers stroking and wriggling in a smooth pattern, exploring the places he seemed to already be familiar with. Heart racing beneath his naked chest, Ciel glanced over, wondering about the other boy now that he was getting what he wanted—and he couldn't help but stare, while Alois fondled him, distracted by how rapt he looked. Blue eyes lucid in his heated intent, blond hair falling in and out of his stare and dusting Ciel's cheek where he leaned against him; peaceful, and curious, and affectionate all at once, and—

Ciel's shoulders twitched forward as his body curled in, instinctive, at the unexpected flutter of muscles between his hips as Alois coaxed his erection with practiced fingers. His face burned, cheeks red, and he met Alois's glance in his direction with a look of honest vexation he'd forgotten to keep in check. Embarrassed, he looked away again, head hung near the blond boy's shoulder; he could feel it jump as, down his arm, Alois stopped dawdling and began to just pump him, letting a careful thumb brush the tip of his cock every time his knuckles slid up.

And then he stopped.

Ciel blinked, lashes fluttering on sharp eyes as he lifted his head. "Keep going," he urged, brow furrowing, fingers shifting in the tablecloth. His knuckles ached. "Why did you stop?"

Alois peered at him, long and hard, and then lit up, like a child at Christmas. "You like it," he deduced, anxiously. "You like it? Okay." He shifted forward, thrusting his hand lower, deeper between Ciel's thighs—they twitched apart again, impatiently, and Ciel's brow knotted further on a frown gradually losing its derision—and then Alois's knuckles grazed his buttocks, and he maneuvered a finger up and into him without warning.

Ciel sucked in a breath, eyes widening—instinctively rocked away but only brought Alois with him, smiling with such a proud gleam in his eye that Ciel felt the heat on his face intensify, and his shoulders burned as he supported himself half on the edge of the table, arms trembling and hips thrust forward to accommodate the sudden intrusion. The brat— Ciel gritted his teeth, heart thumping; he hissed out below his breath, "Trancy, why didn't you—warn me? You could have, at the very least...licked your finger—"

"Now, see?" Alois's smile darkened, and Ciel regarded it warily. There was another dangerous shift of his, from innocuous to sinister. He wiggled his finger, mocking Ciel's concerns, and Ciel held his breath against the awkward sensation. "You know just what we're doing here. I don't know why you put up such a fight in the beginning..." He chuckled, a rather grown-up sound for his face, and leaned in, breath hot on Ciel's ear. "Besides," he whispered, and Ciel shuddered, back arching at the feel of his voice, the words. "You know as well as I do that pleasure and pain are akin, especially in an activity such as this..."

Ciel didn't think his face could burn any hotter. He lifted his chin, salvaging a shred of pride as Alois began the machinery of sex again, flicking his wrist, sending his finger in and out and ignoring the bothersome struggle of doing so dry. With each sharp thrust of his finger up and in, the press of his knuckles against the hot skin of his thighs, Ciel's body shifted upwards, rolling up onto his toes, and he clutched at the edge of the table to keep steady, relaxed again as he sank back down to the floor. And yes, pleasure and pain were akin—and now that he was older, now that he knew that sex could be of his own volition, too, it was harder to deny the pleasure boiling in his blood, heating up his skin, taking his breath as Alois quickened the motion of his hand, shoving his finger in harder, harder yet, prying, forcing, wriggling in a second finger—


He sank his teeth into his lower lip, embarrassed, closing his eyes tight before he could see the way Alois looked at him in glee. His stomach knotted. Alois's nose was warm and soft where he pressed it into the nape of his neck, and only then did Ciel open his eyes again, staring up at the gilded ceiling overhead, hand-painted panels and ornate chandeliers, body bouncing with the rhythm of Alois's hand. And he could feel the heat pooling in his gut, branching down and stiffening in his open pants, and, once more, he called for Sebastian. And, trying to reach him, he felt the first pang of helpless guilt, so he closed his eyes again and pushed it from his mind. Reached out and grasped onto the blond boy, tight, because his arms were cramping and he didn't want to fall off the table. Another few dishes collided, rattled with the motion against the side of the table. Alois wriggled. Ciel shifted, shoving his thigh between Alois's legs, feeling the hot skin beneath the unbelievably short ends of his little trousers, and he felt just how hard the lump in the front of them was. Alois groaned, and the sound was like poison, shooting through Ciel's blood and making him shake, and there—why—he thought Sebastian had been the only one who knew how to hit that spot the right way—

Alois moved his head, tossing hair from his eyes and catching Ciel's open mouth in a kiss, teeth scraping and tongue darting in along a lower lip. Hungry, hard. Ciel couldn't reciprocate, startled and a little overwhelmed, but he let his jaw go slack as Alois explored his mouth with his tongue, and no, it wasn't supposed to feel as good as this. His fingers curled in the violet of a long jacket, thinking about the scarring on the Trancy boy's tongue and how it was inside his mouth, and as Alois thrust his fingers in and out, nails sharp, poking the places they hit, his forearm dragged along Ciel's cock, coarse fabric but enough of an accidental touch to leave him gasping for breath on Alois's lips.

And then he stopped again.

Alois yanked his fingers from between his thighs hard enough that Ciel winced, let out a startled groan, and when he pulled his hand from his pants, Ciel lost his balance and slipped off the edge of the table, falling into him and holding tight, knees shaking too much to support him yet. He panted, and he could feel Alois's heart against his cheek, and he didn't want to open his eyes yet, as Alois's fingers moved through his hair, gentle and kind, and he didn't understand what he wanted, stopping and starting and stopping again—

Alois plucked the knot of his eye patch, pulled it loose and threw it to the side. His fingers clenched in the hair at the back of Ciel's head, tugging him from his chest and forcing eye contact. Ciel gawked with wide eyes, chest rolling with his breath, because there was a sudden ice in the blue of Alois's eyes, a livid depth far greater than the glances at madness he'd given earlier.

"My turn," he announced, low, below his breath, and Ciel's brow furrowed in desperation. Alois's expression shifted, a gentle coo of pity—and with a tug at the hair and a shove on the shoulder, the callous demand was back, and he waited for Ciel to hit the floor.

And the itsy-bitsy spider

Claude stopped walking, as if struck by a sudden thought. He reached into his waistcoat, retrieving his pocket watch and popping it open to check the time.

"Well, then," he affirmed, with a decided sigh. "Slowly, they're getting along with it."

And, with the last of his contract's acuity flashing in the back of his mind, Sebastian's heart fell.

went up the spout again.

He'd been standing at first, one hand on his hip and the other resting on Ciel's head where he knelt before him, working away at his cock with tongue and teeth and gentle fingertips. But after a moment, even his self-importance was insignificant to how good it felt, and Alois lowered to the floor in front of him, rocked back on his elbows and spread his legs, cradling Ciel between them as he set back to pleasing him right away. Dark hair, one eye blue and the other faded mauve—long lashes and perfect German nose, thin, boyish lips busy amidst his knuckles, in Alois's lap. And Alois's hands twitched in sleeves too long, and he didn't hesitate in filling the dining hall with his cries of delight—the whimpers when Ciel used his teeth, the moan when he flicked out his tongue, the guttural sounds of approval as his head bobbed between his knees. And oh, Ciel knew what he was doing, too.

He came quickly, heart pounding and skin hot, and he didn't warn Ciel, just like nobody ever warned him, because Ciel was his. And it ended too soon, but the tingle in his muscles and the drowsiness draping over him with as the last of the pleasure faded was comfortable, and Alois helped wipe the sticky come from Ciel's lips and chin before pressing kisses to his forehead and eyelids. And Ciel turned dazed, mismatched eyes on him like the precious little thing he was; Alois smiled, dusting his nose against Ciel's, stroking a thumb on his cheek, and when Ciel opened his mouth, he already knew what he was going to ask, so he kissed him to make him be quiet. And then he reached into his pants and finished him off, and afterwards, Ciel stood and turned away, tried to redress himself, and Alois sat cross-legged on the carpet and licked the mess from his fingertips, bouncing in satisfaction at the taste of Ciel Phantomhive in his mouth as his laughter echoed in the corners of the room. He gave Ciel a smile when Ciel cast a dark glance his way, and then he rang for Hannah to get the butlers, and bid Ciel Phantomhive and his manservant a good evening while Claude buttoned his shorts for him in the vestibule.

And Alois thought that this was the best business deal he'd ever made for the Trancy family.

Like a married couple in dire straits, they didn't speak to each other much past formalities.

Ciel took a very long bath, staring into the water until well after the steam had faded.

The cook had a smoke break at the same time as the gardener swept the stoop and the maid shook out the rugs, and alone outside, they exchanged glances of silent alarm at the tension filling the manor, and with them busy, Sebastian made dinner. He didn't voice concern when Ciel hardly ate any of it at all.

He put him to bed, and although Ciel asked, per usual, for him to stay until he fell asleep, Sebastian sat at the foot of the bed and stared into the dancing flame of the candles, while Ciel stared at him from the pillows, silently, until his eyes drifted shut.