All characters © Toboso Yana

Summary: Back in Hell, Sebastian Michaelis decides what to do with Ciel's, since everyone seems to want it.

Author's note: done for a prompt request with the prompt "bathtub full of glowflies." Perhaps one of the hardest prompts I had to work with.

For the Taking

Legion's Bathtub was nothing special. They could have used Culsu's, Mammon's, or even Azazel's if they were going for size, but Legion's happened to be stationed right at the center of Hell, making it an easier gathering point for the newly returned or the especially bored demons to dump their souls in.

Sebastian always hated this part. You'd think it was simple: demon makes a contract, contract is filled, demon gets his soul, but oh no. Sometimes you didn't even get the soul you took, if someone higher up in the hierarchy wanted dibs on it. Now there wasn't much of that as there was name-calling, tail-biting, and hissing when it came time to sort through the souls. Nobody had much of manners anymore.

So they leaned over Legion's tub to admire the rings. Some were dull, some were especially shiny, some were oddly-shaped, and all were unique.

"I want that one," Verrine, the demon of impatience said immediately as he pointed to a green, ostentatious ring in the bunch. There were no objections; the soul was scuffed and blemished. Azazel picked up a silver one that pulsed curiously. Silver meant intelligence in a soul, and it caught the light of the flames like a drop of moon-milk in the sky.

"I'll take that one."

"No," Mephistopheles argued, "you won't. I want it."

They bickered for some time before Beelzebub interjected and snatched it away before any of them could protest. He smirked and crinkled a few dozen eyes as the others cursed his higher echelon of demonhood.

It went on like that for some time. Berith and Astaroth got into a fight over a particularly pure soul, stretching out their spindly fingers and gnashing their teeth with metallic screeches. Sonneillon claimed that all the souls were disgusting and refused to take any. Balthazar, Ornias, and Culsu had an especially colorful argument involving a mordant combination of Latin among an appalling use of three other dead languages, all over a mere virgin's soul.

And Sebastian Michaelis, well, he kept his eyes peeled (a literal expression here) for a particular ring in the bathtub that he knew lay at the very bottom.

"Not hungry?" Culsu inquired when she happened to notice that Sebastian had claimed no rings.

"You need some meat on those bones, Michaelis," Beelzebub, ironically, commented.

"Well not all of us can be demons of gluttony, I'm afraid."

"You're one to talk, Belphegor."

But Sebastian paid them no heed. It was the same tune every time, only with different verses. "Ah," he murmured, reaching into the tub, "found it."

What happened next was simply: the demons proceeded to wig out, for lack of a better expression. Their sonorous uproar shook the walls of Hell and probably reached the ears of Satan himself. A string of profanities and spates of heretical jargon exploded from the bathtub, shaking the rings so they clacked together tinnily.

"What a soul-"

"Well I'll be-"

"God damn it."

"It's already damned, fool!"


"Why did we not see this before?"

Sebastian ignored them. "This was my contractor," he said, holding up the ring. "May I claim it?"

"Absolutely not," Mammon replied coolly. "Even if you paid me for it I wouldn't give up a soul like that. I've never seen anything like it before."

"I haven't for a while either, what with those blasted Shinigami taking half of the souls these days anyway."

"It's so pure, yet strangely colored," Azazel exclaimed. "I want it."

Sebastian's eyes glowed a feral vermilion in the dim light. "Technically, it's mine."

A snort. "Since when has that ever mattered?" a demon asked.

Sebastian wrinkled his nose and hissed. "You won't get him so easily. I've already claimed it."

"'Him?' Don't tell me you've bonded with the soul, Michaelis? Oh, that's rich."

"It's a tortured soul," Mephistopheles observed, twisting the gloriously burnished ring around in his hand. "But there's precociousness in it, and it is virginal. Tell me, whose was it?"

"Ciel Phantomhive's."

"Of course, of course. His whole family's had dealings with us for ages."

"Wait, didn't you get Vincent Phantomhive a few years back, Michaelis?"

Sebastian looked around testily. "Yes, technically, but..."

"You already have a Phantomive! And so do you, Beelzebub! Give this one to someone else who hasn't had one yet!"

Another demon scoffed. "And since when have we ever been fair?"

It was a moot point. Eventually Asmodeus, one of the seven demon kings, interjected, as he usually did when dibs over souls got hairy (or slimy, depending on the situation or the demon involved). That proved to be useless too, since Asmodeus took one look at the soul and wanted it for himself. No one could come to an agreement.

"Are we going to have to bring this to Satan?"

"He'll flay our unholy asses alive."

After much quarreling, two broken seals, and a case of decapitation, Satan himself was called down to confiscate the soul and more than a few demons were turned to cinders and twisted hunks of fireflesh. He could understand why his underlings had fought so lustfully-but in the end it was just a soul. There were much more like that one in the world, especially with the way humans were evolving these days.

Following that Legion's bathtub of glowing rings was cleaned out slowly but surely, and life in Hell resumed. The demons enjoyed their souls for a bit, but being demons their greed was never fully satiated and they awaited the next import of souls. Legion himself had sent in a request form to Satan in hopes that someone else's bathtub would be used next time. Those scratches would never come out.

Life went on, and if any demon had cared enough to have spared a second glance, they would have observed that despite his endeavored claims, Sebastian Michaelis was not as unduly upset over the loss of his soul as he should have been.

"I didn't say anything then," Satan mentioned to Sebastian some years later, "but your antics still confuse me."

"Demons have forgotten the ways of humans, making them stupid," Sebastian replied. For a fraction of a second, his right eye glowed blue. Then it was gone, as if it had never been there, and he bowed: "but of course, only you would be unfooled."

Satan grinned and chuckled heartily. It was the kind of chuckle you expected old, corpulent Englishmen to have, though he was neither. "I'm almost jealous," he said. "If the fake was that unique, I can only imagine what the real one must have been like."

"He's wonderful," Sebastian Michaelis murmured, bringing a hand to his chest and feeling Ciel Phantomhive's soul coursing through what passed for his blood in this place of fire and rot.

"Most wonderful indeed."