A/N: This is a short-story, and when it was written it was written to vent a lot of hate and anger and frustration. I feel bad, in hindsight, picking my darling Ciel as the target of all this, but it is what it is. There is no happy ending waiting, and this is rated M for a reason. I picture it as manga-canon Sebastian and anime-canon Ciel, but interpret it how you like.

As it stands, this is the edited version. I went back and fixed some things that I wasn't quite happy with, especially in the last chapter. And, if you'll notice, it's a chapter longer now. I realized that there wasn't much of an explanation for Sebastian's actions, and I hope that the Entr'acte will clear that up a bit.

I would say "enjoy", but, well…


Prologue

Ciel woke to fire.

Tongues of flame licked at his bare feet and hands, and his immediate reaction was to draw his limbs in close to himself, curling into a shaking ball as memories of the inferno that burned his home and killed his parents surfaced in his mind. What was going on? Where was he? The last thing he remembered…

"Are you ready?"

Sebastian. It was Sebastian, leaning over him, and excruciating pain ripping through him, like white-hot knives piercing his flesh. Ciel looked around himself at the ring of fire, shifting to be closer to the center of the only open area, still holding his knees. The memories continued to come; that normally-gentle voice chuckling wickedly was the last thing he remembered hearing. Wide blue eyes scanned the flames one last time, and the child flinched as he realized they were closing in. "Sebastian!" The name escaped his lips without him even thinking about it. But the guardian he had come to rely on so determinedly did not come, and the fire continued to advance.

Ciel scrambled to his feet, trying to see over the deadly walls of inferno. He finally spotted a dark figure standing just beyond the fire, familiar features half-visible in the flickering light. "Sebastian!" he cried. "Sebastian…!" But the figure didn't move, and Ciel was forced to step back as the fire inched closer. It was too close, on every side; he couldn't move anymore.

He felt his feet begin to burn, the heat unbearable. A shriek escaped him, and he stumbled in a blind attempt to avoid the pain, falling back and immediately feeling what remained of his clothing catch fire as he landed in the flames. He screamed, tears coming to his eyes and evaporating in the heat nearly before they could fall. It hurt worse than anything he had ever experienced.

He was snatched from the fire to dangle over the greedy tongues of flame by one slender wrist, caught in the grip of the demon who only now had responded to his pleas for help. But as sapphire eyes met crimson, Ciel knew that something was wrong. Sebastian had never looked at him the way he was now, as if he were merely a morsel waiting to be devoured. The last time he had seen the demon look like that had been the moment they'd met.

His wrist ached with the strain of supporting his whole body, and Ciel squirmed weakly. "Sebastian, what's going on? What have you done?"

"What have I done, my little lord?" Sebastian questioned, the familiar title sounding only mocking in this moment. "What makes you think that I've done something?" His lips curled into a wicked smirk. "I am claiming what is mine; that is all."

Ciel's eyes widened. "You were supposed to devour my soul!" he shouted harshly. "What is this?!" He would not admit to being afraid, not of this creature, but he couldn't do anything about the fact that he was shaking from both pain and frustration.

Sebastian chuckled lightly. "I have claimed your soul, little master," he said softly. "How do you think you exist now? A human body certainly would not withstand Hell." He watched Ciel turn pale, amused, and continued, "And while I have every intention to eat you, I do not feel that your soul is ready yet. Perhaps undergoing some of what we have to offer here in Hell will season you to perfection."

In a moment of blind panic, Ciel used his free hand to reach for his eyepatch, and stiffened as he realized that he wasn't wearing it. The freeze only lasted a moment, before he recovered and began, "This is an order! Release me, or-" But his words choked off as pain flared in his right eye, like red-hot needles prickling the sensitive orb.

"The contract mark has reversed," Sebastian said, smirking. "It shall be me giving you orders now, little master." Sweeping the child up to the familiar bridal-style cradle, he crooned in the delicate ear, "You should have known the price of evil, for evil you were, my little lord. Had I not taken possession of your soul, you would have ended up here regardless."

Ciel simply stared up at him, and Sebastian laughed at the horror that was slowly overtaking and drowning his features. "It hurts to know that you belong here, doesn't it? There's no one for you to call, and everyone for you to fear, in this world." His smile widened, baring sharp, deadly fangs. "Your tragic fate is looking oh so clear, little master."

The last thing that the former earl remembered hearing as his awareness faded to black was the demon's voice, a final whisper graced upon him: "Welcome to your Nightmare, my little, little lord…"

Sleep not, trapped in tormented dreams,

In worlds where things aren't as they seem.

The demon's shadow lurks within;

No mercy from a cruel raven.

To learn from him of every vice,

Your body, then, must pay the price.

'Til torture stops and feast begins,

And you, at last, will meet your end.