AN: So... This is it. Over a year of writing, plotting, and evil doings and 'The Devil's Canvas' is makings it's end. I have to say that it's been one hell of a ride. So many memories were made and so many new friends were brought into both mine and Disgruntled Minion's lives.

I've already seen so many 'Thank you's' and 'You made my Tuesday's', but I really don't think you guys understand just how much it should be us saying those same words right back to all of you. You, the readers, deserve the biggest THANK YOU! It if had not been for your support, encouragement, and love, 'The Devil's Canvas' would never have been what it is today. It was because of all of you that we strove to make this fic what it is today.

When we first posted this, we only planned for it to be a oneshot... and now look at it. Pushing fifty chapters! That's all thanks to all the love you've given this story and it's characters. Without you all, it really would be nothing.

Every review pushed us to do better, and to grow as writers. I went through some hard times this past year, and I can honestly say that every kind word that was given in a review brightened my day and gave me the strength to push a head. So thank you!

It was also so nice to meet so many people through this fic. Just because TDC is over, y'all better not be strangers! Feel free to come chat to me at any time! I always love hearing from you. ^^

Lastly I want to thank everyone who's given something to this fic, be it art or a fic. Thank you for making this story grow past our imaginations and into yours. You've made TDC far bigger than I could ever of hoped! So thank you for the gifts, both past and future! We love them!

Love you all so much! Thanks for giving me so many reasons to smile!

Now, with that being said... this isn't the end of the TDC-verse. Expect oneshots and drabbles; there is still so much to explore. And there is to be a PREQUEL! 8D We will be writing a Prequel that will tell the tale of Sebastian's life in the family and ultimately what happened between him and Claude. IMPORTANT! I won't be posting this fic. Disgruntled Minion will be posting it, so hurry over to her and watch her. Trust me when I say you won't want to miss it.

With all this said, and with tear filled eyes, I present to you the Epilogue.


By: Akiru chan and Disgruntled Minion

A chilling breeze filtered through the small courtyard, ruffling up a sea of black like a flock of crows. Goose-pimpled hands reached up to hold down hats and tassels that wished to float off into the sky a moment too soon. Ciel huddled himself within the masses, looking up at the oak doors of the Assembly Hall, wishing that they would hurry up and come for them to enter in one unified line. For a moment, Ciel was reminded of a funeral march, and perhaps it was for some.

Today, many would be kissing good bye the life of the carefree student and walking blindly into the real world. Fortunately for Ciel, he had taken that dreadful step four years prior, albeit rather unknowingly. His real world was far harsher than anything many of his peers would be facing, life and death hanging in the balance and all that finery. Ciel scoffed at the thought, because really it wasn't all that damper.

Of course his early years had been all about trial and error, and still were today if Ciel would allow himself to admit that. But he now had four years of experience backing himself up, and he was all the wiser for them. Mistakes had been made, but they were learned from and corrected.

A booming voice roused Ciel from his musings, his head snapping to the front steps of the hall. There was a man standing there trying to gather the group of soon to be graduate's attention. Ciel couldn't be sure who he was, Dean or otherwise, but the man was definitely of importance; his own gown was draped with so many bright colors that Ciel felt it was rather distasteful to look at.

"Please get into line. We'll be heading in now," he chimed in a gruff voice aged with time.

Ciel felt his nerves flutter within his stomach once more, although thankfully they were dulled by the two shots of whiskey he had snuck before leaving for campus an hour prior to this. It wasn't something he was proud of, but it did the trick in a pinch, and Ciel liked to believe he was a little more responsible with his drinking habits.

The line moved into the crowded Assembly Hall, and Ciel instantly went into search mode. His eyes scanned the area, not so much looking for possible threats as he was for Sebastian. They hadn't seen each other since early morning, parting with only a quick kiss. Flashes of cameras didn't make Ciel's job any easier, and it was only by mere chance his eyes caught sight of black hair and the lavender tie Ciel had made Sebastian wear. "It'll make you easier to spot," Ciel had told him, not quite believing that it had actually worked.

A wide smile was given to Sebastian, who was sitting in a row filled with familiar faces. Tanaka was next to Sebastian looking proud; Aunt Ann was snapping multiple photos at Sebastian's other side; Finny and Mey-rin looked about ready to cry; and Claude and Alois ended the row, looking as if they were trying too hard to look displeased at being here. The whole sight made Ciel happy and he couldn't stop the grin on his face as his blue eye moved to settle on Sebastian once more.

The older male offered him a smile that was reserved strictly for Ciel before he moved forward again to take his seat further up in the front. The large class remained standing, and Sebastian found himself watching with interest. He had never walked the stage upon his graduation, finding the whole thing dull and pointless, not to mention he had better things to do at the time than sit through a whole ceremony. So when Ciel had mentioned that he wanted to walk, Sebastian couldn't figure out why, but hadn't turned down Ciel's excitement. They had grown up differently, and Sebastian had to remind himself that Ciel would always see things differently than he did. But such a thing wasn't always bad.

It brought a new perspective to his life, allowing him to look at the world through a wider lens and appreciate Ciel even more. He didn't think at first that he would be happy giving up his life in the field to work in abroad negotiations with Ciel, but Sebastian had given it a chance and was surprised to find that he enjoyed it more than he ever thought he would. It was a different type of thrill, one that left him satisfied after each successful meeting. And it was only made better due to the fact that he was always next to Ciel.

The younger male had been his anchor in the past few years, and they leaned on each other when they needed it, no longer hiding their fears or nightmares from each other. They had grown closer as the years passed, and Sebastian wouldn't trade any of it for the world. He was happy and content with Ciel at his side, doing what they both liked to do in the company of each other.

Crimson eyes caught blue as Ciel turned around in his chair to look at him once more, and Sebastian winked and mouthed the words 'I love you' before blowing him a kiss. He chuckled lowly as Ciel huffed at him before turning around once more, focusing on the speaker behind the podium.

There was a definite heat to Ciel's cheeks, but he tried fiercely to fight down his blush. Leave it to Sebastian to embarrass Ciel when he was already nervous enough. He settled back into his seat, looking intent as different members of the education board stood up to say their speeches and congratulate the soon to be graduates. It wouldn't do for Ciel to have Sebastian distracting him any more. Even at the age of twenty-two, Ciel had a knack for allowing Sebastian to get under his skin. He would think that age would help harden him, but it did little when faced with Sebastian.

What seemed like hours passed before everyone was seated, and the Dean, accompanied by a woman, moved out on the stage to stand by the tables holding the diplomas. Ciel felt his heart race as he knew it would soon be his time to cross the stage. They would be calling them according to Educational Departments, which gave Ciel some time to prepare himself. The Fine Arts were first, and Ciel felt a longing to be graduating amongst them. It had been a hard choice to make, but a needed one. After much thought, Ciel had changed his major to Business, and settled with only an Art minor. In the long run, it would help him more than art ever would, especially with his role within the family.

The choice had pleased Tanaka, and it had indeed helped Ciel where it mattered. During the last year's spring semester, Ciel had even studied abroad in America. Sebastian had of course accompanied him, but Tanaka had allowed it to be a learning experience. It had then become Ciel's responsibility to meet with client from The States and oversee and close deals. It was the first time Ciel had been allowed to work on his own, and he couldn't help but excel at it. He had had Sebastian's help, but Ciel liked to think that the older man hadn't been needed.

A quick glance was chanced back to Sebastian. Ciel smiled once more, and gave him a quick wink.

Sebastian smirked at Ciel again and nodded his head, letting him know that he was watching. His eyes never strayed from the younger male until it came time for the business majors to receive their diploma. Only then did he let his eyes wander, scanning the area for any possible threats. It seemed unlikely that anyone would try to take Ciel out in such a crowded area as it would be nearly impossible to get away, and Sebastian had already scanned the building the previous night. There were no way for a sniper to take a shot from any angle, and he had deemed it safe.

He felt his chest swell with pride as Ciel approached the stage and Sebastian once more caught sight of the blue eyes, one tinted slightly purple. A small hint of nervousness was present in them but other than that, Ciel looked calm and composed. In a small way, watching Ciel graduate made Sebastian feel as though he had never missed his own graduation and in the past few years, Sebastian had relived his childhood through Ciel. When they weren't working, the younger male was taking him places and making him experience things he had missed when he was younger. It felt as though he was living again for the first time.

Sebastian's eyes trained on Ciel as he mounted the steps, waiting to be called. There was one person before him but they held nothing in comparison to Ciel. The younger male was the only person Sebastian was focused on and the only one he cared about.

A flock of butterflies filled Ciel's stomach as his name was called. 'Don't fall' chanted through Ciel's head and he took careful steps up towards the Dean. There was a roar of cheers that seemed dulled by the pounding of his heart in his ears. Everything seemed to go in slow motion as Ciel took his diploma, shook the Dean's hand, and turned to pose for the professional photographer that the University had hired.

It was over as soon as it had started, and Ciel moved his tassel from right to left. He was now a graduate, and Ciel couldn't keep the smile from his face. The diploma was held close to his chest as the graduation continued and concluded in a flash. Before he knew it, they were announced as the graduates of that year, and a sea of hats flew into the air.

Ciel raised his up, but did not let go, not wanting to lose his hat amongst the others. It would become another souvenir to the accomplishments he had gained for himself. The hall was a frenzy from then on, Ciel having to fight his way through the crowds to the front and hopefully outside to find Sebastian and the rest of his makeshift family. He pushed back through some people, and paused to wave at some classmates who cheered his name as he went past. A professor held him back a moment more, giving him a pat on the back and wishing Ciel a bright future.

Finally, Ciel broke into the evening light and looked around frantically for his family. A familiar shout of his name had Ciel whirling around. "Sebastian!" He called back, receiving another yell of his name. A hand waved in the air over a mass of heads, and Ciel hurried over with a smile on his face.

Sebastian caught Ciel as the younger male launched himself into waiting arms and pulled him closer. The black cap was knocked to the ground in the action but it went unnoticed. It wasn't important compared to the person in his arms right now. Nothing would ever be more important. Leaning down, he captured Ciel's lips in a deep kiss, letting Ciel know how proud he was, as actions always spoke louder than words

A small frown crossed his face at the taste of alcohol on Ciel's breath, even if it wasn't as strong as it had once been years ago when Ciel had first started drinking. They pulled apart, and Sebastian gazed at Ciel, his lips brushing against Ciel's as he spoke. "I taste alcohol on your breath," he murmured so Tanaka didn't hear. "But other than that, words cannot express how proud I am of you"

Ciel blushed and looked away from Sebastian, looking a little guilty. "I only had a little. You know... Just to settle my nerves." He toed the soft grass and tried to brush the whole issue off. Since he had first drowned himself in alcohol three years ago, Ciel had only regressed two times. Once when Sebastian had been called away on a special assignment that Tanaka had deemed undoable by anyone else in the family; Sebastian had come back three days late, leaving Ciel in a panicked worry. The second time was when Ciel had been forced to kill an innocent woman during a deal gone bad. He had drunk himself into a stupor before Sebastian had seen the danger signs of Ciel regressing into old ways and had put a quick stop to it. Since then Ciel had tried to keep all drinking to a minimum, but Sebastian seemed to think that the smallest sip was a sin.

Trying to get past the subject, Ciel thrust his diploma into Sebastian's chest, and tried to smile it all off. "Look at what I've got!" He announced and looked past Sebastian to grin at everyone else who had come to see his big moment. It was almost like being welcomed into the family again. There was, after all, going to be a big dinner at the main house tonight as well.

"Yes, I can see that," Sebastian murmured and took the diploma from Ciel's hands. "And we're all very proud of you." He turned to the side so everyone else could see the diploma and let them crowd around Ciel to offer their congratulations. He would offer his own tonight after the dinner and they were all alone, but that was for later and this was now. If anything, it gave him something to look forward to.

The diploma was passed off to Tanaka so the older male could look at it and offer his praise. He took it with careful hands that shook slightly, giving away his age, but his eyes were still strong as he gazed at Ciel. "I'm very proud in all that you accomplished, Ciel. You have indeed become worthy of becoming my heir." He smiled. "You will make a fine head for the family, and I know your parents would be proud of you. I know I am."

"Thank you," Ciel beamed and bounced over to hug Tanaka before moving to embrace everyone else. It was oddly out of character for him, but today was special. This was a new mark in his life, and he was allowed to show his excitement. "I worked my ass off for this, so you all should be proud." He laughed and backed up, rocking on his heels. A small part of him wished that his parents could be here right now to see how much he had accomplished in his twenty-two years of life, and just how much more he was determined to accomplish. Already a bright future lay ahead of him, and he couldn't be prouder for shaping it himself. Ciel supposed he was the proudest of himself for choosing his path and knowing that it had been the right one.

Finny's laughter was loud in the courtyard as he hugged Ciel tightly, lifting him off his feet and swaying him from side to side. "We are proud, Ciel. So very, very proud, and we all wish you the best of luck in your future." His voice lowered. "And we're all very honored to serve you."

A few sputtered retorts left Ciel as he tried to struggle free from Finny's grip. Despite the man being around the same size and build as Ciel, he had an amazing grip that made Ciel feel like a banana being smashed from its peel. "Th-thanks Finny... But let me go!" It took a moment, but soon he was lowered back to the ground and felt air being let back into his lungs. Finny looked sheepish with a faint blush on his cheeks, and Ciel couldn't help but give him a forgiving smile. "I'm honored to have you serve me as well," Ciel whispered, trying to up the man's mood once more.

Finny beamed at the words and wiggled back and forth on his feet, looking all the more pleased with himself now thanks to Ciel's words. He glanced up as Sebastian approached and felt his smile grow wider as he grabbed for both Ciel's and Sebastian's hands. "Come on! We have a party back at the house and it can't start without you!"

Sebastian chuckled and let Finny pull him along, not wanting to damper the mood by snapping at the other male for acting childish. He could see that Ciel was laughing and enjoying the time, and that's what it was all about in the end. This was Ciel's day, and Sebastian just wanted him to be happy. Even if that meant dealing with Finny's hyper personality to keep Ciel smiling. In the end, it would always be worth it.

"Sebastian!" Ciel yelled, head falling onto the hard mahogany desktop with a dull thud. Papers were scattered about, some even falling to the carpeted floors of the familiar office; an office that Ciel could now call his own no matter how foreign the words felt on his tongue.

There was no reply, and Ciel was forced to look up through cracked eyelids. "Sebastian!" He called once more, hoping the older man would come to his rescue. For the past hour, he had been looking over papers that had little to do with the overall family, but more to do with personal business ventures that had been the main means of income for Tanaka and now Ciel. It didn't help that these were very much legal affairs, which made them extremely boring in Ciel's book.

Finally, the door cracked open, admitting a figure that wasn't Sebastian but instead Tanaka. The old man looked at Ciel with amused eyes as he slowly walked towards the desk, chuckling slightly at the dismayed look on Ciel's face. "It's not all fun and games being the boss, is it?" He asked softly, taking a seat before the younger male and holding out his hand for the paper that was driving Ciel insane.

"You weren't who I'd called," Ciel grumbled but handed the blasted paper over to his grandfather without much protest. Sebastian might have been whom Ciel wanted, but it was Tanaka who could clear this matter up without much effort. It seemed that perhaps the better of the two had come for this issue, but that still did not keep Ciel from glancing hopefully to the door as if hoping Sebastian would come running in at any moment, which was really quite possible.

"Sebastian is currently engaged in a small task for me. He won't be coming for a while, so it's just you and me for now," Tanaka answered, looking over the paper and quickly realizing what the problem was. "These papers detail several pieces of land that we own across England and Europe as well. They're in prime locations for real estate and in the past years, apartments and lofts have been built on them, providing a steady source of income for me. Every month, the apartment companies pay me for the land that they're borrowing, and that money is set aside. Or the tenants of the apartments that I own pay me rent. It's simple, but there are many names that go along with the process, and that's the part that becomes hard."

A low groan left Ciel, and he looked up pleadingly. "I don't see why you had to dump all of this on me so soon." There was a pause, and Ciel could only sigh knowing that all the complaining in the world wasn't going to change a thing. Giving into the current fate that was presented to him, Ciel fished out some more papers that dealt with the same matter and began running through them with Tanaka. "You might as well help me while I have you here." The funny thing was, had these papers had been about weapons or the like, Ciel probably would not have needed help in the slightest. It was amazing what interest in a subject could do for one's understanding of it.

Tanaka chuckled. "It's actually interesting if you didn't approach it in such a negative light. With these papers in your hands, you have the opportunity to ruin lives and break people if you so wished." He flipped through some more papers, putting them in the proper order before speaking again. "You can raise prices on the land or for the rent as you see fit, provided there's a logical reason for doing so. For example, this one piece of land we own in America has an apartment complex that we own. Right now, the exchange rate is in our favor that even a small increase of rent, say by twenty-five dollars a month, will be enough to double in the pound here. It's like a game, and you have to know when to move, when to stay still, and when to cut your losses."

Ciel huffed and slipped back into the leather desk chair. "You had to put it that way," he mumbled. It sounded so much more appealing when Tanaka put it like that and gave Ciel little cause to back out and complain. Regardless, he put on his best sulking face and turned to gaze back over the mound of papers.

The smirk on Tanaka's face told that he didn't believe Ciel's act, and he continued to look over the papers, humming silently to himself. "I wouldn't have passed this job and the title over to you if I didn't believe that you were ready, Ciel," he said softly. "I know you are, and even though this is something you might not like, you have the smarts for it, and I know you'll go far."

"Yes, I know. It's just the downside to the job," Ciel quipped and got back to work with a more solid resolve. This time, he filed the papers into the appropriate files and made notes and added up numbers until everything was settled. He fell back into his chair and looked up at Tanaka with a pleased grin. "There, that's done." And it was, if only a small bit of all that he had to do for the day. There were still a few phone calls to be made and a briefing he had to give to Claude and Alois about digging up some information regarding a new string of bars selling some unwanted drugs behind their doors.

"So I can assume that my services won't be needed anymore for the rest of the day?" Tanaka asked, his voice light and teasing. He didn't mind helping Ciel when the time called for it, as Ciel was still young and new to the position of being head of the family. It was the reason why Tanaka had accepted the title of advisor when he stepped down and passed the title over to Ciel. It allowed Ciel the freedom to do as he wished, but Tanaka would always be there to give a gentle push in the right direction until Ciel could truly stand on his own.

There was a slight shake of the head and, Ciel waved away Tanaka. "I think I've got this, but if you could... Send Sebastian up when he gets back. He owes me lunch." It wasn't the complete truth. Ciel merely wanted the older man's presence, but he knew that if asked, Sebastian wouldn't turn down having lunch in the office for the day.

Tanaka chuckled and his eyes danced with cruel humor. "I suppose I can see if he's escaped the restraints I put him in," he stated, standing up from his chair. "I read a book describing new ways to restrain someone, and Sebastian is really the best test subject to try it out on."

"You didn't!" Ciel looked rightly appalled. He couldn't believe Tanaka had bound Sebastian and for such reasons. "Couldn't you have found someone else?" Preferably someone Ciel didn't have such an attachment to.

"There's no one else who would be able to escape restraints as Sebastian can. Not only that, but he's determined. So even if he didn't get out of them today, he'll return tomorrow to try again until he succeeds," Tanaka answered and dangled the key in front of Ciel. "Although I'm sure that I'll return to the room I left him in, and he'll be sitting in my chair looking smug as hell."

A sadistic little smirk spread across Ciel's lips. "If he's not out of them, you should send him up here still bound. I'd like to use that to my advantage." He laughed and couldn't quite bring himself to look Tanaka in the eye.

Tanaka shook his head and turned towards the door, acting as though he wasn't going to comment, only to pause at the entrance of the study. "I think it would be best actually if you went down to see him instead. He's bound to a chair and blindfolded," he gazed over his shoulder. "I think you'd like to use that to your advantage more."

"You know, I think you're right." The papers were shuffled and stacked neatly before Ciel stood. There was a glint in Ciel's eye, and he couldn't help but be thankful for Tanaka's sense of humor. It was odd to have your grandfather so privy to your sexual affairs, but at the same time Ciel did not have the same bond with Tanaka that most grandchildren had with their grandparents. Tanaka was family, but not so much that the usual modesty came into account.

Ciel followed the older man out the door and down the hall, trying not to look too eager. "How long have you had him confined?" He couldn't help but ask.

Tanaka hummed in thought as they continued to walk down the hall, the keys jingling in his hand. "I'd say around an hour. But this is a new restraint for Sebastian, so it'll take him a while to work out the kinks before he can escape." He glanced at Ciel as he slowed down outside a room, pressing the keys into Ciel's hand. "I'm guessing it'll take him longer now, unless he's already escaped somehow."

"I'm almost willing to bet money that he's already gotten loose just for the fact that I want him tied up." Ciel nudged open the door with his shoulder, looking a little amused to indeed see Sebastian sitting without a care in the world. He was looking with unamused appreciation at his nails, and looking bored. A small huff left Ciel, and he pocketed the keys that he wouldn't be needing.

Sebastian glanced at them as they entered the room and stood up. "Did you two finish your work?" He asked, toeing the chains that rested next to the chair.

Tanaka nodded and approached Sebastian, picking up the discarded blindfold. "We did. But Ciel is rather curious to see how you were tied up before, and how you accomplished your task of getting out of the restraints." He held up the blindfold. "Will you show him what it looked like?"

A smirk curled Ciel's lips. "I'm quite eager to see how these restraints work. Do they prove a challenge for you?" He walked closer, moving towards Sebastian with purpose. When he reached the other man's side, he leaned down and whispered quietly into Sebastian's ear. "I'd love to see how well they would secure you to our bed. Can you imagine that?"

A shiver worked its way through Sebastian's body, and he felt lust trickle through his veins, coming to pool low in his body. "Somehow I think if I add you into the mix, they'll be a challenge for me," he answered lowly. "But I'm always up for a challenge," he smirked.

"I know you are." Ciel pulled back, his breath just ghosting over Sebastian's cheek before he took a safe distance away. "How long did it take you to get out?" He asked after a moment, turning serious and professional. It was fun for a moment, but for Tanaka's sake, Ciel needed to show that he could be professional even when faced with his lust.

"Longer than I would like to admit," Sebastian admitted and gestured to the chains. "The locks were at an odd angle making it harder to pick and wiggle free. I'd like to try again tomorrow so I can perfect the technique and find different ways out," he said, looking at Tanaka for permission.

The older male nodded. "That's fine with me, so long as you get your work done on time as well." He clapped Ciel on the shoulder and turned to leave. "Make sure you get your work down as well today. I know you two have plans tonight at the parlor."

"I know. It'll be done." Although Ciel wasn't sure if he'd get it all done by the time needed, but he'd do his best. He still hadn't gained the proficiency that Tanaka had held in his prime, but Ciel was working up to it.

Slowly, he turned back to Sebastian and gave a small smile. "You ready to get out of here? I could use some help. I need to balance the check books." Ciel said it in a sarcastic flare, not wanting to have to look through all the family's spending for the month.

Sebastian chuckled and stood up. "Sure. Might as well get the boring things out of the way now and save the exciting parts for tonight." He slipped his fingers through Ciel's and pulled him out of the room so they could get started. The sooner they started, the quicker they could finish.

The tattoo gun buzzed in Sebastian's hand as he worked on the intricate design before him. Ciel was silent in the chair, letting him focus on the fine lines that crossed back and forth in a design that Sebastian knew all too well. He had been sketching it out nearly every day for the past few weeks and was excited to finally make the tattoo come to life on Ciel's skin.

"Almost done," he murmured as he wiped away some excess ink. He glanced at it, making sure everything was proper before continuing once more. Once he was done with Ciel, it would be his turn to take the chair and put his trust in Ciel.

Ciel winced, finding the area far more tender than the skin on his back. He kept glancing at black ink and blood that Sebastian continuously wiped from his skin and hoped that it would indeed be done soon. "This will be my one and only tattoo on my wrist," he announced, frowning as he eyed what was left of it.

Sebastian nodded. "Of course. I wouldn't put another on it after this one. Especially as this one has such a special meaning to it. Adding one to the other wrist would only ruin the effect." He leaned back and looked over the last line he had finished before turning off the gun. "There, all done."

"Does this mean we'll be going on a honeymoon now, Dear? With the exchanging of ring and such," Ciel laughed and looked over Sebastian's handiwork. It looked wonderful as always, and he could only hope that his own tattoo would hold up against this one. This would be the first time that Ciel would lay ink upon Sebastian's skin, even if he had three years now backing him in experience. This wouldn't be by far his first tattoo, but it would be the most important.

"Where would you want to go?" Sebastian asked, wrapping the tattoo once Ciel was done looking over it. "We can always take a week or two off, so long as we play it right." Once the tattoo was wrapped, he started to clean the gun while Ciel set up the booth next to him, prepping it for the next tattoo.

Ciel shrugged, getting out a new cap of black ink. "Somewhere not too touristy. I don't want to have to deal with crowds." They only caused him to worry, and vacation was meant for relaxation. He wouldn't be able to enjoy himself if he was constantly worried over a possible assault.

Sebastian nodded as he stood from his stool and made his way to the booth Ciel was sitting at. "I agree. It's something we'll have to think about at a later date, though." He took a seat in the chair and gazed at his un-inked hand before setting it down again. "I trust you," he said honestly, holding Ciel's eyes. There was no doubt in his voice, and Sebastian knew that Ciel would be able to do this. The younger male had grown in his tattoo skills, and Sebastian wouldn't trust anyone else when it came to going under the needle again.

The transfer paper was snatched from the side table and Ciel pushed Sebastian into the chair. "Keep quiet. I want to concentrate," he snapped with no real bite. There was a small smile upon his lips, and he worked at getting everything set up as quickly as possible in hopes that he could hide the slight shake of his hands.

Once the design was transferred, Sebastian looked over it to make sure it was correct before relaxing in the chair once more. He let Ciel collect himself and waited until the tattoo gun was turned on, the familiar buzz filling the parlor. It took a second before the needle touched his skin, and Sebastian's eyes closed at the unfamiliar sensations. Despite his experience with the gun, he only had a few hours under the needle, and this would only be his third tattooing. But he was still pleased that it was Ciel who would be giving him this tattoo instead of someone else.

"You okay?" Ciel asked, pulling away and leaning forward to give Sebastian a comforting kiss to his cheek.

Sebastian hummed. "I'm fine," he answered as Ciel leaned back and started once more. "Just feels weird, but nothing that I can't handle." And by weird he meant painful, but there was no need to admit that aloud.

Ciel chuckled. "You sure? This is pretty much new for you." The tattoo gun hummed as Ciel's steady hand led it along it's intended path. Each line was even and neat, a perfect endeavour no less expected of someone taught by Sebastian. "I won't hold it against you if you end up crying," he teased and wiped away blood and ink.

A low laugh left Sebastian's mouth as he watched Ciel lower the gun back to his skin once more. It was red now, stained with black ink as the design blossomed and grew under Ciel's steady and skilled hand. Watching the younger male work made pride bloom in Sebastian's chest once more. He was proud of everything that Ciel had become and had worked hard to achieve in the past few years. Words would never be able to convey that pride, but Sebastian knew that they didn't need words. They showed it to each other everyday in every little thing that they did for each other.

They could read each other and like clockwork, knew how to comfort, praise, and encourage the other. Like the circles that now stained their hands, their relationship was a never ending one. It was impossible to tell where Sebastian started and where Ciel ended. They were intertwined with one another, impossible to tell apart and faithfully loyal only to each other.

"Just a little more," Ciel mumbled, in his own little world. This masterpiece would be his forever claim upon Sebastian. It was more meaningful than any ring, and forever permanent. Nothing would erase this mark, and a possessive flame flared within Ciel. As the last mark was done, black standing proud against pale skin, he knew that their love would be as permanent as a tattoo and far more bold, never fading.

The gun was pulled away, and Sebastian brought his hand up, examining the ink that flowed across his skin in an intricate design. It was better than the tattoo hidden behind his ear and far more special and meaningful. While the family tattoo bound Sebastian to the family and all that it meant, this one bound Sebastian to Ciel and meant more than anyone could possibly imagine.

He reached towards Ciel and tugged the younger male, pressing his lips against Ciel's. "I love you," he murmured, knowing that Ciel already knew that, but it still didn't stop Sebastian from saying it. For as long as they lived, Sebastian would never stop loving Ciel, just as the mark on his hand would never vanish.

"I love you, too." Ciel's fingers trailed over the welted skin of Sebastian's hands, gentle and tender. A smile played on his lips as the tattoo gun was placed to the side, and he leaned in for another kiss. 'You may now kiss the bride' floated to mind and Ciel couldn't help the cheerful chuckle, the mirth too overflowing to contain. "Love you so much..." It was a whisper upon lips, but Ciel knew that Sebastian heard it, knew the truth in those words even if they had stayed unspoken.

Sebastian hummed as he gazed back into the beautiful eyes that were focused on him. They had changed since the first time he met Ciel, a crystal clear blue that reflected nothing but innocence at first. Now they were tainted and all the more beautiful for it, and Sebastian couldn't help but pull Ciel down for another kiss. Their eyes closed, hiding the beauty from the world as they indulged in each other once more. But it wasn't just Ciel who had changed, and Sebastian could admit that his eyes were no longer as tainted as they once were.

Whereas some of the innocence had left Ciel's eyes, that same innocence had been given instead to Sebastian. It was something that only Ciel was allowed to see, but it was there and Ciel knew of the change the most. A change that had Sebastian's eyes softening whenever he looked at Ciel or held him close, whispering tender words only for Ciel to hear. There was a sense of peace in them and Sebastian felt at ease with himself, something he never would've believed to happen when he was younger.

But Ciel had pulled him away from the shadows even when Sebastian thought he was in too deep. Had breathed life back into him and opened Sebastian's eyes to something he never thought he would find.


And despite the bumpy ride that it had taken them through, he wouldn't change a thing. There were no regrets, and as they broke apart, blue eyes gazing at him once more, Sebastian found himself looking forward to the future that they would be able to share together. One that was as strong and deep as their emotions, and as lasting as the bonds inked on their skin.

Thank you for reading! ^^

Love, Akiru and DM