Two years after its original publication on Fanfiction, I'm finally giving this chapter (well, pretty much the first chunk of the story) the rewrite it so sorely needs. God… two years of high school English REALLY makes a gigantic difference. Seriously. I sounded like some twelve year old just taking really stupid sentences and throwing in some funky sounding synonyms in order to seem smart…
I will openly admit… It took WAY too much effort to retype this so it didn't sound quite so cheesy.
"Your eyes shine like impure jewels which can reflect love for no one. You're a demon who profanes innocent souls with your unworthy hands and lips…" The reaper trailed off, as if too distracted by the demon to continue. He let out an infatuated sigh. "Oh, it's so good! You're so thrilling, Bassy," Grell swooned. "I want to bear your children~"
Sebastian's face warped abruptly with barely disguised disgust.
"I'd greatly appreciate," the demon ground out, "if you'd stop. That's revolting." His sneer twisted at the edges until it had morphed into an annoyed snarl. "Not to mention physically impossible."
"Oh, you're so cold!" Grell sobbed, starting up his 'scythe' with a well-practiced twist of the wrist.
Ciel had never asked Sebastian why demons couldn't love, it had never really occurred to him he supposed. Well… maybe not even that. He'd never thought of it in that sense. (He'd honestly never thought about it at all… Why should he care?) The answer seemed simple. Sebastian was a demon. Demons didn't need to love. They didn't have 'morals' or 'feelings' like humans did (not that many humans had those in the first place…). Simple. Yes. Simple…
However, there was a monstrous difference between 'will not' and 'cannot.'
Were demons really incapable of feeling? That didn't seem… natural…? (Was that the right word?) Besides, there were plenty of times when Sebastian had obviously been experiencing some kind of emotion - whether it be amusement, anger, annoyance, satisfaction… Was love just… bred out of them?
…but then again, he very obviously loved cats.
…or did that not count? If that didn't count, then what did? What constituted as 'love' that a demon could feel versus 'love' that he couldn't?
And that's what confused him.
And the young Earl Phantomhive loathed being confused. Confusion was weakness. Confusion meant not knowing something. Not knowing something made him not the best. And not being the best was unacceptable.
"Yes, young master?"
"Why can't demons love?"
Sebastian's eyes seemed to flicker for a moment before narrowing.
"I've never found it necessary…" the butler paused for a moment, shooting the Earl one of his closed-eyed grins. "I'm a demon, after all, young master. What did you expect?"
Ciel's uncovered eye narrowed.
"I don't recall asking why you won't love," he frowned, glaring at the demon over the rim of his porcelain tea cup. "I asked why you can't."
"…What made you think that demons are incapable of love?" Sebastian replied calmly, turning around to organize one of the many bookshelves in Ciel's study. The teen snorted.
Perhaps it has something to do with you being the spawn of Satan?
"That Reaper, Grell, said something about it."
Sebastian paused for a moment before continuing to straighten the books.
"He was incorrect. Demons can love."
"Really?" Ciel questioned, skeptical.
"We can only become emotionally attached to one other… not including our family members or children, of course. But then I suppose most demons don't bother to become too attached to those either." He smirked. "I know I didn't."
Ciel rolled his eyes. Carefully, he placed the fragile teacup on the smooth surface of his desk and cradled his chin in his hands, looking up at the elder male with a curious gaze.
"Who's your 'one other' then?" he questioned. The demon grinned.
"Are you hoping I've grown a soft spot for you, my lord?"
"Of course not. Now, answer me."
"I'm not sure."
Ciel arched an eyebrow curiously.
"You don't know…?"
"No. I can't decide who it is, after all."
"And is that odd?" he inquired. "Not having found that demon yet?"
"For a demon of my stature and age, yes… I suppose it is."
Ciel shuffled his papers and returned to scanning them, feeling a bit awkward. The young Earl's gaze fell on one paper in particular: a letter from the Queen. His eyes narrowed - the awkward, uncomfortable, feeling that had welled up in the back of his mind dissipating.
"We're going on a trip."
"In this season?" Sebastian frowned.
Ciel took a sip of his tea.
"Sebastian, are you familiar with the leisure activity know as bear-baiting?"
"From the name, I suppose it's fairly safe to assume that it's a decently entertaining hobby," the demon hummed. "But I'm afraid not."
"It's a sport where the participants tie a bear to a fence with a rope or chord and fighting dogs surrounded it, bite at it, and kill it," Ciel explained stoically.
"My, my. That sounds very… human-like," the butler smiled.
"It was banned by the Cruelty to Animals Act of 1835... but there was a loop hole; the law didn't apply to the attack dogs. What do you think happened then?"
Sebastian raised a finger to his lips, as if pondering.
"I imagine they began having the dogs attack their own kind. Perhaps you would call it 'dog-baiting'?"
"There's a village doing just that: Houndsworth. The place was originally famous for rearing hunting dogs, but behind closed doors they…" Ciel took a bite of his cake, letting the sentence hang. "The Queen is heart sick. We'll secure the village under pretext of making it a health resort. That's the goal of this journey," he finished, folding his hands under his chin.
"A village full of dogs, eh?"
"What is it?"
"Merely that securing a construction site seems like quite a trifling job for you to be concerned with."
"There is a reason."
"The reason why I, why the house of Phantomhive, must go to Houndsworth in person."
Samantha Quenell sighed, running a hand through her lengthening strawberry-blonde hair. This town was starting to grate on her nerves. She peered out the window at the grey, cobblestone streets, distaste shadowing her silvery-blue eyes.
A small mewing echoed in Sam's ears and she turned from the glass, reaching out a hand to run her fingers through the soft fur of her orange tom-cat, Avalon.
"We'll leave this place soon, Avi, I promise. I don't like it here either… All those creepy dogs running around and slobbering all over the place… They all look like they have rabies with how much their mouths froth. Animals," she scoffed. She glanced at the cat. "Uh…no offense."
Avalon mewed in agreement. He tilted his head, eyes questioning his companion's choice in coming to Houndsworth in the first place.
"I'm not sure why I needed to come here Avalon, I'm really not. It just… I just felt like it… and the food is actually pretty good."
The cat yawned and twitched his tail, rubbing his head affectionately against Sam's hand. She smiled and picked up one of the stray books she'd left lying haphazardly around the hotel room. She reclined lazily against the windowpane and began to read.
"Resort! Resort! Resort! Resort!" chanted the three Phantomhive servants, flitting excitedly around the wooden carriage as they grew closer and closer to their destination.
"Isn't this wonderful, Mey-Rin? I'm so excited!" Finnian exclaimed.
"Yes! Yes! I can't believe the young master is taking us with him to the Queen's health resort!" Mey-Rin squealed.
"I guess even the young master has his good points," Bard grinned.
"Of course!" Mey-Rin and Finnian happily agreed.
"They are fortunate people," Sebastian smiled, addressing Ciel. "It appears they're grateful to you, my kind young master."
"I didn't want to leave them behind by themselves and come back to find my manor completely in ruins," Ciel sighed.
The carriages pulled up to a haggard, wooden sign with a crow perched lightly on the cracked edge.
Welcome to Houndsworth.
Sebastian turned around to face the other members of the traveling party.
"This would seem to be the entrance to the village."
Mey-Rin, Bard, and Finnian's faces lit up. A warped tree adorned with metal dog collars and rusty chains came into view not minutes later. Decaying and maggot infested skulls of dead dogs rested on the ground underneath. The three screeched and blanched in horror.
"Oh. I believe I forgot to tell you one thing… this is the planned construction site for the resort," Ciel stated nonchalantly.
"Young Master," the trio cried pathetically.
"Hau, hau," Tanaka chirped, unperturbed by the smell of rot.
The carriage continued on into the foggy landscape. All of a sudden, Finni perked up and pointed enthusiastically to an approaching blob.
"Hey, I found the first villager!"
An old women limped over to them slowly, struggling to push a baby stroller that was stuck in a muddy rift.
"Stop the carriage, Mister Tanaka!" Finni exclaimed, jumping out of the carriage. "I'll help you out, Granny," he smiled, extending a hand to her. Mey-Rin gasped.
"N-No, Finni! If you're not careful, the baby will-"
Finni picked up the carriage and hauled it up and over his head without a second thought.
The two servants stared at him in horror. He blanched and slammed the carriage down back to the ground. The frame rattled and squeaked.
"I-I'm so sorry!"
"WAH! Is the baby all right?"
The three leaned forward to peer inside the small carriage and gasped. Resting inside on soft padding and piles of soft, silky, blankets was the skeleton of a little dog.
"This child was eaten by it," the old women whispered morosely, eyes flat and lips taught. The three Phantomhive servants remained dead pan as she continued on, pushing the stroller along and chanting to herself under her breath.
"The white dog is a good dog."
"Eat…en?" The three gulped, exchanging nervous glances.
"The disobedient black dog is a bad dog. Lullaby, the sun sets."
"Apparently, many of the villagers have gone missing or have been found viciously murdered," Ciel frowned, turning to Sebastian.
"Lullaby and goodnight."
"Part of my job is to find the cause of these killings… and dispose of it."
"If you don't go to sleep, the dog will come down here. He'll gobble your flesh down to the bone."
Sam frowned and closed her book, reaching over to stroke her cat fondly with a huff.
"That was such a lousy ending… I really hate books with sad endings. I mean, Real life is like that, sure. But this is a book, for crying out loud! I shouldn't be crying," she sniffed indignantly. "Not to mention, the author practically forced the most important scene in the entire book into… I don't know… three pages? Four tops?" she grumbled.
Sam stood up and stretched.
"I wasted almost…" she glanced at the clock across the room, "half of the day reading that stupid book," she frowned. She ran a brush quickly through her little-past-shoulder-length hair and laced up her boots. Sam slipped a small pocket knife into the interior of her right boot, for safety purposes only. (Who knew what kinds of perverts lived in this creepy little Hell hole of a town?)
Sam appraised herself in the dingy full-length mirror. Her black blouse was almost threadbare and she wore three of them in layers to be in any way decent. Her chest bindings felt itchy and she knew they were on their last life. The only thing that was half-way decent was her long coat – a gift from her father.
Sam frowned. She needed to go shopping. Great... Note the sarcasm.
"Avi, come on. We need to find some place where I can get some new clothes."
Avalon mewed in annoyance.
"I know it sucks, but I'd rather not have my shirt completely disintegrate on me. I'll give these old ones to you to use as your own personal bed, 'kay?" Sam buttoned her coat and walked to the door, gesturing with a jerk of her head for Avalon to follow.
Avalon mewed and hopped down from his perch on the windowsill, choosing instead to take up residence on Sam's shoulder. She pat his head fondly and walked out the door.
Down on the street, Sam found a small store with a female vendor who looked at her cat with disdain. Sam rolled her eyes and began looking for blouses, pants, and chest wrappings.
Of course, because it was a feminine store (and a small one at that), there were absolutely no pants to be found. There was a simple, cream colored, button-up, blouse that Sam found to her liking and a leathery looking brown vest that went over it. She found some plain chest wrappings and quickly headed to a desolate corner of the shop to change.
Happy and comfortable in her new outfit, Sam paid the female shopkeeper and headed back out onto the street.
Avalon hissed and spat as they passed a small group of yapping dogs and the canines in turn pulled all the harder on their leashes in an attempt to attack the proud looking feline situated on Sam's shoulder.
"Hey, lady! Put that damn kitty-cat away until you get home! Quit rillin' up my dogs by showin' off your pups' snack!"
Sam bristled up like a hedgehog that'd just been drenched in ice cold slush.
"Avalon isn't a snack, he's my cat. And he's certainly better than any of those slobbering monsters you call dogs."
"Hey, you b-"
"Look," she snapped, irritated, "You keep your pet preferences and I'll keep mine. I'm just heading back to my hotel room, not showing off my cat as some main course for some inbred mutts."
The man clenched his teeth, face red.
"You think they're inbred mutts?" he puffed, cheeks puffed out like an angry squirrel.
Sam gulped and took a small, nervous step backwards. Enraging a man who looked to be easily a foot and a half taller and a stone heavier than her was never a good idea. Particularly when he held the leashes of four gigantic, fearsome looking dogs in his grubby fists.
Say no. Apologize.
"You think they're 'slobbering beasts' too, huh? Well fine…" he smirked, fingers loosening his hold on the rope leashes. Sam gulped, taking another fast step backwards. Uh-oh. Her brother had always said her mouth would get her into trouble and now—
"Enjoy the 'slobber'!"
He let the dogs go.
Four huge, snarling (and indeed slobbering) hounds rushed at her and Avalon like a quartet of freight trains on steroids.
Sam turned and bolted, Avalon jumping down from her shoulder to sprint alongside her. Slowly, the feline began to inch ahead, gaining speed and therefor distance as only a cat magically could. Sam huffed, forcing more energy into her legs to keep up with the bolting orange fur ball.
Her breath was coming fast and hard, scorching her lungs and sucking the life from her flailing limbs. She'd never been an excellent runner, never even up to the stature of being called good. She could sprint like Hell… for about twenty-five seconds. Light sparring and treading water were all the physical activities she was really good for (and calling those two good was being rather generous).
Only one of those would be of any use in this circumstance and she didn't particularly fancy turning to fight off four snarling dogs that in all likelihood weighed just as much as she and had mouths filled with dagger-like fangs.
As much as she loathed to admit it, she was royally screwed.
The carriages began to slowly crawl closer to town. Finnian, Mey-Rin and Bard all gasped and 'oohed' at the scenic landscape and fuzzy farm lands.
"It's starting to actually look like a resort!" Bard grinned as they peered into the shimmering blue lake. Their reflections smiled back at them, dancing and swirling with the smallest of ripples. The two carriages passed by a small, somewhat dilapidated house on the outskirts near the lake. Five dogs were locked inside of a wooden crate while a man with shaggy brown hair focused on training one that stood before him, wagging a scrawny tail.
The tiny dog sat obediently.
Again, the dog obeyed without an ounce of hesitance.
"Oh, good boy! Good boy!" The man beamed, petting and hugging the tiny animal.
Mey-Rin sighed dreamily, blushing a rosy shade of pink.
"Wow, I'd like him to pet me, yes…"
"He warps it with rewards and punishments, and forces obedience. A fine sight," Sebastian smirked sarcastically. "But the dog is not blameless. It fawns on humans and welcomes the chain around its neck. Really, it is quite hard to understand."
"If you have something to say, just say it," Ciel ordered blandly, propping his chin up with a fist.
"Thank you, my lord. I love cats, but I'm not fond of dogs. Or rather… To be frank, I hate them."
In the next moment, an orange tabby cat dashed frantically across the cobblestone street not ten feet in front of Sebastian and Ciel's carriage, barely missing a collision. A girl followed after it, equally as spastic but not quite as lucky.
Sebastian yanked hard on the reins, drawing the horse to an immediate stop and causing it to rear. The girl turned briefly with wide eyes to see the horse looming over her before four dogs descended on her with nasally snarls. She squeaked and kicked out. One dog backed away for a moment and another used the opening to chomp down on her arm. Her eyes went dark with anger and pain before her leg snapped out and she kneed the canine hard and square in the ribs.
The dog yelped and scampered back a few feet. The others backed away, teeth bared and growling.
The cat from earlier, seeming to sense its companion's troubles, returned to her side. One of the dogs stepped forward and the feline hissed and scratched like mad until the dog retreated with a faint yelp. The tabby jumped back and onto the girl's shoulder, looking triumphant. The dog stood, face a mess of gory scratches and missing patches of fur.
The other dogs drew in closer, snarls warping their faces. The girl took a defensive stance and drew a knife from her boot, hands shaking.
"Sebastian," Ciel ordered, tone crisp and a clear indication of what he wished to be done.
Lacking his ever usual "Yes, my lord," Sebastian hopped down from the carriage and between the two adversaries.
With a single ruthless, demonic glower, the dogs put their tails between their legs and slowly slunk away. After they'd fled, Sebastian turned to see the girl looking up at him in utter shock, mouth hanging open in a rather unattractive way and hair skewed every which way.
"That's not fair at all. No matter how much I death glared them, they wouldn't stop chasing. They weren't even after you," she mumbled, incredulous.
Sebastian stared back at the girl with mild curiosity. She didn't seem infatuated with him in the least, unlike most of the human females he'd dealt with over the many years. Whether it be his looks or his daring rescues, most women fawned at the first sight of him.
"Oh, sorry!" She flushed, bowing her head in embarrassment. "I didn't mean to seem ungrateful if I did… Thank you for saving Avalon and myself from a surely untimely, slobbery, doom."
The girl looked up and then at the cat in her shoulder.
"And thank you, Avi. You were very, very brave. Remind me to get you some tuna and milk sometime, 'kay?"
The cat mewed and rubbed her cheek affectionately.
"Miss, y-your arm is bleeding!" Mey-Rin exclaimed, pointing to a rather nasty looking gash on the girl's arm that was indeed dripping blood. The strawberry blonde held up the wounded limb and observed it with a narrowed eye.
"Well, would you look at that. Bugger got me worse than I'd thought…"
She observed the gash for another moment or two before shrugging and smiling up at the two carriages.
"It's not that bad, I'll be fine. Thank you again," she smiled again fleetingly before turning.
Sebastian placed a hand on her unoccupied shoulder.
"Why don't you come with us? Our destination isn't too far from here and it wouldn't do any harm to have your injury cleaned out and bandaged properly."
The girl looked blank, if not a bit annoyed.
"I don't want to cause any trouble…"
"I insist," Ciel cut in from his perch on the carriage.
The girl bit her lip but nodded. Sebastian helped her (and Avalon) up into the carriage and spurred the horses further up the street.
Ciel's gaze fell onto the new occupant of his carriage. Normally, if someone said they were fine with taking care of something (in this case an injury) by themselves, Ciel let them be. Why was it any business of his of some random idiot couldn't take proper care of themselves and ended up dead from infection? He honestly couldn't care less. However, Sebastian's small yet very noticeable action had piqued the interest of the young Phantomhive.
The girl noticed Ciel's gaze and smiled slightly, politely, before dead panning and scratching awkwardly at the back of her head.
"Oh, I forgot to introduce myself, didn't I? I'm Sam Qu- uh, Samantha Quenell."
"Ciel Phantomhive. The man who saved you is Sebastian Michaelis, my butler, and those four are my other servants, Mey-Rin, Bard, Finnian, and Tanaka."
"It's nice to meet you all."
The cat mewed unhappily and Sam blinked at him, curious. A light seemed to go off in her head and she smirked.
"Sorry, this is Avalon. He doesn't like to be left out of anything," she chuckled.
Ciel peered at his butler, noticing his strangely stiff posture. The Earl smirked. So he was uncomfortable now, was? How amusing.
"Is something wrong, Sebastian?"
Sebastian turned slightly to peer at the two people sitting behind him.
"No, nothing at all, young master. Miss Samantha?"
Sam perked up slightly, straightening in her seat.
"Perhaps you should bandage your arm with something temporarily. It will stop the bleeding."
"Oh, yes. Right. Good idea. Why didn't I think of that? Stupid…" she flushed and began wrapping what appeared to be an old shirt around the bite.
Ciel's eye narrowed at the demon. He seemed to… care? Would that be the best way to describe it? Either way, it was something a demon should be incapable of doing, especially towards a human girl…
Well, I hope you guys liked it! Until next time.