The bonus chapter! Yay! Let's get right to business.
FIRST! The alternate ending. It follows the same basic idea of the epilogue, up until the line where this one starts.
You choose the ending your prefer.
"How I've missed you..."
The emotion in Grell's eyes fought between panic and relief. He skittered away from the demon's touch, a hand flying to his scarred throat...but not before hesitating over that place on his chest.
The demon laughed softly.
"So nervous, my love..."
His eyes were pleading; it was astounding how well he could interpret merely his gaze.
"Afraid of what they'll do if they find us together again? And so soon after they've trusted you, however tenuously..."
The reaper turned faintly pink and took another shy step away. The demon sighed.
"And if I could take you away from them? Forever?"
The fear flickered and failed briefly; a question filled his face for a moment.
"Oh yes-I could. Quite easily, with no..." He moved smoothly forward, resting a hand on Grell's chest. "Complications..."
The place burned, the dark seal bleeding back into his skin. Grell stepped back again and found himself trapped against the wall.
"Do you really fear me so much now...? Or is it just the hanging threat...?"
A black-nailed hand deftly untied the ribbon at the reaper's throat and gently traced the scar.
"...Even if you reject me," He murmured softy, leaning to kiss the afflicted area, "I will always remain your Sebastian."
Grell bit his lip, trying to resist and save himself from whatever punishment would await him.
"Shall I take you away? Keep you with me and away from them?"
The question that reluctantly came into Grell's eyes was how it could be done. The demon couldn't help but grin.
"Are you prepared to renounce everything to do with them? If you make this decision, you can't ever hope to rejoin their ranks."
Stay, his mind said; you've made enough trouble for yourself. Turn your back to him now, and do what you're supposed to do.
But why? Why stay in the same place, with the same routine, for all eternity? To be mocked, belittled and abused; branded forever, cast down with no hope of redemption...why? Why not take this opportunity, with the man he loved?
After a long moment, he met Sebastian's eye again and nodded.
"You're certain?" The demon's grin had turned to a smirk. "Once we've begun, there's no going back. To stop would mean death."
He reached out and clasped the demon's hand, nodding again.
The smirk widened.
"You have to trust me, absolutely. Enough to put your life in my hands."
Grell gave the hand he was holding a squeeze.
"Very well..." Sebastian traced Grell's jaw with his fingertips. "Aren't you even going to ask what's to be done?"
Right. He had an idea of what the demon had in mind, but he was by no means certain of what it was.
Once again, Sebastian read his eyes and flawlessly discerned his thoughts.
"Very good...you know what I intend to do. A wonder you wouldn't object..."
Without giving the reaper a chance to re-think and change his mind, he pressed their lips together, coaxing Grell's mouth open. The redhead melted into the familiar kiss, clinging to the demon.
Sebastian's hand slid over Grell's chest and pressed against the seal; in that moment, the reaper felt a searing pain, as if something crucial were being torn from him. With a jolt, he realized what it was; Sebastian was devouring his soul. More out of instinct than anything else, he fought; with a low snarl as a warning, the demon pressed harder against him. Grell fought to relax and trust what was happening.
After a long moment of seemingly boundless pain, he felt a new energy surging into him, slowly at first. It began to ease the pain, and as his body relaxed, so did the demon's hold on him. It would be simple now. The rest of the process would take care of itself. The demonic energy coursing through the ex-reaper would detach the rest of his soul in a less painful way, and he would continue to absorb the demon's own energy to replace it.
Eventually he fell against Sebastian's chest, the process complete. Sebastian couldn't help but smile, holding him close.
"Tiring, yes...but worth it, in the end..."
He glanced up as he sensed the other reapers coming; of course they would know of what happened...he couldn't help but smile to himself as he snapped the chain on Grell's glasses and pulled them off.
"You won't need those anymore, my love..."
He snapped them at the bridge as the reapers flooded the room. William was at the forefront; with a wicked grin, Sebastian threw the halves of Grell's glasses at him, and vanished with Grell in his arms.
"Wake up, Grell..."
With a groan, Grell shifted. Sebastian had him cradled in his arms, perched on a rock in the barren landscape of Hell. He tucked an errant lock of red hair out of his eyes and ran his thumb over the ex-reaper's cheek.
Grell shifted again, his face twisting in confusion.
"I took you away from them, remember? You're mine forever..."
Grell shook his head, trying to recall what had happened.
"You'll remember soon enough," he said softly. "Just give it a moment."
Grell shifted, resting his head more comfortably on Sebastian's shoulder. The demon grinned, pressing a light kiss to Grell's lips.
He gasped, convulsing slightly as the memories rushed back to him. His eyes flew open, burning red for a moment before settling back to green as the realization settled in. Sebastian watched as Grell slowly inspected the black nails on his fingers and the other subtle changes to his body. He looked up to Sebastian, asking silently why the changed weren't more obvious.
"It will take time," The elder said, grinning. "But we've got plenty of that, now, don't we?"
I wasn't totally sold on the idea of turning Grell into a demon, which is why this is the alternate ending, and not the official one. But it was an interesting concept to toy around with.
A lot of you wanted to know what happened to Grell, at the very least, so...does this answer your questions? XD
NEXT! Deleted scenes!
Here are some scenes that I toyed with that didn't make the cut of the story, whether it was because they didn't work with timing, or because they really were totally pointless.
I flirted briefly with involving Ron in the fic, but I realized that he was, ultimately, pointless to the plot. Here's a scene where he tries to find a way to help his beloved mentor.
It also includes the more detailed explanation of the cutting of Sebastian seemingly for fun. The reapers are apparently a sadistic bunch.
He looked up, not bothering to try and hide his tearstained face any longer. Ronald Knox stood timidly in the door to the room he was kept in.
"...Are you okay? I haven't seen you in weeks..."
He didn't respond, only dropping his head back down.
"Why would you contract with a demon...?"
Grell didn't respond, only lifting his hand to his chest. Through the thin, white fabric of his shirt, Knox could see the rough shape of the seal.
"Over your heart, huh?"
Grell only nodded, ignoring the tear that slid down his cheek.
"I hate seeing you like this, you know. It's not like you to be so down."
"...They won't even let me see him."
"The demon? Really? They let anyone by, the new sport's to see how many times they can cut him before...he..." Ron trailed off as he saw the pain and horror in Grell's eyes. "...snaps..."
"...I didn't mean to-"
"Is he alright-?" The redhead was almost panicking. "Why do they-? How badly-?"
"It's never too deep, they're not allowed to hurt him too badly-"
"They shouldn't be allowed to hurt him at all-!" He was almost to the point of sobbing. "He's not just an-an animal-!"
Ron blinked twice.
"...You're really upset about this..."
"Of course I am-!"
"...I didn't know you cared about him so much..."
The redhead met his gaze, his eyes steady in spite of the tears on his face.
"...You don't understand."
There was a raw intensity behind his eyes that was almost terrifying in its conviction.
"...You honestly love that thing-"
"He's not a thing-!"
"Okay-! You honestly love him...don't you..."
In a rare moment of compassion, Knox wrapped his arms around the sobbing reaper.
"...Look...I don't really like him all that much, but I don't want to see you like this. There's got to be some way I can help you."
Grell turned his face into the younger's shoulder.
"...What can anyone do...?" He says miserably. "...I just wish they would let me...even talk to him..."
Ronald straightened up suddenly, clapping a hand to Grell's shoulder.
"That's it! I can pass messages between the two of you!"
He stood, enthusiastically beginning to pace.
"Yeah! I can-relay messages, or...pass notes between you two!"
"...What are we, schoolchildren...?" Grell scoffed, but it had lit a glimmer of hope in his heart-to be able to contact him in any way was better than this...
Knox knew the disdain wasn't genuine and pressed on.
"What do you want me to tell him?"
"...I'd rather give him a letter..." Grell says, slowly moving over to the desk. Pulling a pen and a blank sheet of paper in front of him, he stared at it as he tried to come up with what to write.
"Ooh, this is just your kind of thing, isn't it?" Knox was gushing. "Secret letters between forbidden lovers-it sounds just like you!"
Eventually, Grell set the pen to paper and began to write, but found himself unable to fill more than half the sheet. He refused to write anything about his own woes, knowing full well that Sebastian had enough misery on his own plate.
He carefully applied a coat of lipstick and kissed the corner, folding the paper over and handing it to Ron.
"...Can you give it to him as soon as possible...?"
"I'll go right now-!" He seemed ecstatic at having a part in their plan. "Why don't you give me another sheet of paper? I doubt he'll have anything to write on-or with, for that matter..."
Armed with Grell's note, a fresh sheet of paper, and a pen, Knox left a few moments later and was soon making his way down the hall where Sebastian was kept.
It became clear very soon that some of the others had recently been playing their 'game'; there was the distinct, metallic smell of blood in the air, and as the cell came in to view, the demon wasn't where he usually sat-leaning against the bars, his back to the hall. He was instead in one of the far corners, though he kept the same posture; one knee bent, an elbow resting on it, the other arm in his lap. As he heard someone approaching, he looked up, eyes burning in though the dark. Ron could feel the fury emanating from him from across the hall.
"Come back to play again...?" He snarled, his voice guttural, biting, and laced with venom. Knox immediately pitied the next one who decided they wanted to 'play', and couldn't help wondering what the demon possibly had planned-his tone said all to clearly that he had figured some way to get back at any who hurt him.
"Not quite," he quipped as cheerfully as he could. "Actually, I have something for you."
The demon didn't move, nor did his gaze soften.
"...What, you don't want to know what it is~?"
The burning red eyes narrowed further in their glare. Ron lifted Grell's note in two fingers.
"Guess who this is from?"
A low growl began to issue from the demon's throat; Knox cleared his.
"It's from Grell-!" he says in a furtive, quiet voice; the growl only grew more pronounced.
"No-! Really! Here!"
He slipped it through the bars, trying to fling it toward him, as he showed no signs of moving. It fluttered to the ground and lay there, untouched.
"...He wanted a response..." Ron says nervously. "...I think he was kinda hoping you'd read it and then write back so I'd have something to give him..."
Still, the growling. Knox ran a hand through his hair and slipped the second sheet of paper through the bars.
"...I don't think anyone would be happy if they knew I was doing this," He says with a pout. "I'm trying to help the two of you out, you know..."
He jumped at the demon's voice, but didn't otherwise move.
"What? I risk my hide to give you something from-!"
The growl-that seemed never to have stopped, even as he'd spoken-opened to a snarl. Ron jumped again, stepping back a few paces.
He retreated back down the hallway again, watching from a place where it was difficult for the demon to see him. He heard him move-presumably to collect the note-and settle back to where he'd been.
Sebastian let his fingers trail over the folded paper, almost afraid to open it and read what was written. A petty, stupid joke wouldn't matter, but to tease him like that was cruel.
He slipped his thumb between the folds and flicked the paper open. He didn't realize as a gentle smile spread across his lips; it was from Grell.
He sighed as he finishes reading and gently tore the lower corner of the paper off, carefully folding it and tucking the fragment with Grell's kiss on it into a pocket.
"You never gave me a pen."
Knox jumped at the statement that was so obviously directed at him, and sidled back toward the cell.
The demon seemed placated at least, but still far from content, let alone happy. However, the last statement had been the most civil thing he'd said so far.
"...You're not...gonna kill me with it or anything...are you...?"
"If a mere pen could kill a reaper, I'd have managed to do it with the feathers by now."
He hadn't noticed before, but yes, there were black feathers littered throughout the room.
"What the hell...?"
He skittered back as he hears the demon shifting again, but it was only to step forward, into the light. His attention was first drawn to the cuts-some of which were still bleeding-on the bare torso, but after tearing his eyes from them, he noticed the cuff of black feathers growing from his collarbones and presumably meeting between his shoulder blades. He could imagine that at one point it had been a gleaming and somehow elegant mantle, but the feathers that remained were dull, some cut by scythes; there were patches where all of them had either fallen or been ripped out.
"...Did they do that to you...?"
"Indirectly, for the most part." There was no expression on the demon's face as he tilted his head to one side. "They tend not to aim for something so trivial, that won't bleed. However, they do begin to fall out when the body is too far from a 'healthy' state."
As if to make his point, one of the few remaining feathers that had an elegant shape and was a glossy black fell, slowly spiraling to the floor. Knox stammered a few times, trying to figure out something to say. Thankfully, the demon only cocked an eyebrow and spoke.
He offered it through the bars, but the demon merely took a step back.
"Put it down and move back to where you were."
The demon only glared at him.
Side note: Grell was always going to get one of the feathers; the original idea was that Sebastian would give one to Ron to bring to Grell.
Here's a little snippet I toyed with that would have involved the two meeting in secret somehow; the idea was that if Sebastian always had to follow orders, the order to appear at Grell's side would be no exception.
It ultimately would have been an awful cop-out, so I cut it.
"Sebastian..." He trails off. ...Come here...
"...Yes, my love?"
He whirls around; how could he have-?
There was a smug smirk on the demon's lips.
"An order must be obeyed."
He couldn't help himself; the reaper threw himself into the demon's arms, making him laugh softly.
"I've missed you, as well..." He says, pulling him even closer and holding him tight.
"It's not important," he says. "I'd rather not waste time discussing it."
Grell nuzzles his face into Sebastian's chest.
"...I know they hurt you...I'm so sorry..."
"Don't apologize for them." He sounded irritated suddenly, his hands tensing, nails almost tearing through Grell's shirt. "There's no reason for you to say anything about them."
Pointless plot extension; Grell attempting to negotiate meetings with Sebastian. Never fit in.
"You still refuse to eat."
Grell said nothing in response to William. The superior reaper sighed.
"What was your demand...?"
"I want to be able to see him. Alone."
"Every day. For...just an hour, even..."
"If I die, there won't be anyone to control him. What do you think he'd do without his 'collar'...?"
"Are you making a threat, Grell Sutcliff?"
"If I were, it would be toward myself...any collateral damage would be... unfortunate."
There was a cunning streak in the redhead that he'd never expected; the flirtatious incompetence had completely masked this calculating and shrewd persona. It was a pity, he thought, that it took this to bring it out. If the other wasn't eventually put to death, he would have to find a way to keep the reaper in that mindset.
"There are ways to make you do what we want."
"What do you intend to do? Threatening seems a bit counter-productive, no?"
Will adjusted his glasses, sighing again.
"Perhaps they will be willing to negotiate."
It was incredible how he could mock him with that one word, while at the same time appearing to agree.
Eventually, they would be given an hour or so a few days a week to meet, which would have led to...
Pointless Plot Extension II: In my first working of the whole throat slit/broken contract thing, they happened in the reverse order. The reapers mistook some interaction between the two in their allotted time together for an order and barged in, knocking Seb out and shutting Grell up. Two weeks later, they finally get to see each other again.
He sat with his back to the door, a notable change. Usually he waited near the door, albeit stoic until they were alone.
Sebastian rolled out his wrist as the shackles were removed; thankfully, they weren't iron, but they were stronger than any other metal he'd encountered. Weakened as he was, he hadn't even attempted to break them. The fastenings, as well, were unfamiliar to him, and complicated to try and pick.
As the door finally closed, the demon's virulent glare softened and he moved toward the other.
The reaper lifted a hand, beckoning him closer. He only rose to his feet when Sebastian stood before him, and buried his face in the other's shoulder without looking up at him.
Sebastian sighed softly, wrapping his arms around the other and holding him tight.
"How have they been treating you...?" He murmured, remembering well the last time they'd been allowed together; the misunderstanding, the attack, the curtain of blood...then everything had gone black. Whatever tranquilizer they used had been designed to set in quickly.
Grell didn't respond, save for his hands clenching to fists. He shook his head, burying it further in Sebastian's chest.
"...Has it gotten worse-?"
The redhead's grip tightened as a steel edge crept into Sebastian's voice. He shifted, nuzzling his cheek into the comfortable space between the demon's collarbones, the break in the ridge of feathers.
It was unlike him to be quiet for so long. Sebastian ran a hand through Grell's hair, fingernails skittering lightly across his scalp. Grell did nothing but hide his face further. A shudder wracked his slight frame, and Sebastian realized with a start the he had begun to cry.
He pulled away to look at him properly, but the reaper panicked, turning his back. Sebastian touches his shoulder.
"Give me a straight answer, Grell...you haven't said anything-!"
Another, more violent shudder passed through him, and Sebastian caught a rough, rasping noise, barely muffled by the hand Grell pressed to his mouth. His grip on the reaper's shoulder tightened.
His arms were wrapped around himself and Sebastian somehow knew he was worrying his lower lip; as he slowly turned, gaze directed at the floor, he saw he'd been right. He passed his thumb over Grell's lip, lifting his chin.
He stopped, catching sight of what Grell had so obviously not wanted him to see. Unable to help himself, he tilted his chin up further and, with his free hand, traced the thick, raised scar that ran vertically from the underside of his jaw, all the way to the hollow between his collarbones.
"...What did they do to you-?"
A sick comprehension dawned on him as the green eyes rose to meet his for the first time; it was confirmed as Grell's lips parted, but despite his obvious efforts, no sound came from them.
The painful, rasping noise again as he began to sob. Sebastian pulled him close again, kissing him softly.
One of the biggest differences. I had about four different possibilities for ending the story, and one of them involved the execution of our couple. This idea was brought about by the thinking that when the reapers realized Sebastian and Grell could communicate by writing the words letter by letter on each other's palms (similar to how Ciel gives Sebastian his orders in chapter 28 in the manga), leaving them with no record of what the message was, they immediately considered the communication dangerous, as it was hard to intercept. Thus, the only way to rid themselves of their little problem was to kill both parties.
"Any last words, demon?"
He coolly regarded the shinigami before him before giving a derisive snort. Summoning the last of his energy, he moved toward to the one beside him too quickly to be stopped, boldly and-in their eyes, at least- vulgarly pressing a last kiss to the red-headed reaper's trembling lips.
"To the very last...every hair on my head...is yours."
Tears welled in the brilliantly green eyes as the demon firmly and intentionally laced their fingers together, but no sound passed the dry and cracked lips.
Appearing extremely disgruntled, the executioner turned to the rogue reaper and mocked him with the same question. The thick scar that ran down his once-flawless throat meant he hadn't spoken in weeks, would never speak again. The demon had longed to trace the mark with his lips, to somehow let him know that it did nothing to detract from his beauty, the same way the crude clipping of his hair couldn't diminish its glory. But there was no time and this was not the place. Such words now would mean nothing.
He merely straightened his spine, flicking his uneven locks of hair over his shoulder with a toss of his head, and fixed the other reaper with a gaze that was almost terrifyingly blank and cold.
Other plans for this part included Sebastian kissing Grell and turning him into a demon right there; dragging him to Hell without turning him; the two of them breaking the contract then and there, and of course, the obvious: they just get killed.
I think I like how it ended without them dying better. I'm awful. But I'm not that awful.
And, finally, the Q&A!
In regards to Grell's voice, I hadn't intended for him to ever get it back; the strike to his throat was intentionally to sever his vocal cords and prevent him from giving Sebastian orders. Being that the reapers rushed in with that 'shoot first, ask questions later' mentality, they didn't bother to establish that Grell was actually just telling Sebastian to leave without causing trouble. That's what you get when you jump to conclusions!
I also think that, after his little change of heart, William did a lot to try and keep Grell's head above water. As you said, his life really was ruined, but Will seems to have at least developed some kind of a soft spot for him by now. I don't think he wanted to see him wallowing and wasting away (especially because it was indirectly his fault that Grell got hurt in the first place), and he's been through losing someone he loved...so he knows what Grell's going through. So yeah, in the time between the last chapter and the epilogue, Will was there for him.
And I don't exactly think Sebastian meant to torment him by showing up...I think he just missed Grell too :( and finally had an opportunity to see him again. So he jumped on it.
~~~~~ShinigamiLullaby, I hope the extended ending answered your questions! No, Grell doesn't speak again, but he does get to spend the rest of his life with Sebastian!
~~~~And soulbreak and catskid100, yes, this is the very end. Red and Black is now officially complete.
Thank you for your reviews and your questions! Feel free to PM me if there's anything else you want clarified!
I love you all!
Oh! PS! I'll be taking one-shot commissions for a little while, so PM me if you want one! It'll be posted in the Kuroshitsuji OneShots fic, and I will keep a list in my profile so you know what chapter will be yours. There will also probably be a little dedication at the top. I'm thinking...five at a time? Maybe ten? It depends. Anyway! A pairing, a scenario, preferably both, whatever you want!
My one real irk is hardcore stuff with underage characters. Shouta fluff I'm okay with, but anything XXX with Ciel, Lizzie, or Alois will be shifted to an 18+ age range.