A/N: I'm like 6000 words behind on NaNoWriMo. :/ I hate having tests that I'm not ready for. It's been nothing but studying since I got home from visiting my girlfriend. Hope all of you are having a happy November. And have a Happy Thanksgiving, those of you who celebrate it, since there won't be a new chapter until at least the beginning of December.
Closeness in the Aftermath
"Ooooh~ Someone had fun last night~!"
Ciel blinked blearily, drawn into wakefulness by the playful voice. An unfamiliar weight was draped across his stomach, and as he shifted, he realized it was Sebastian's arm. The demon was seemingly asleep, messy raven hair strewn across the pillow. At the sight of his bare chest showing above the sheets, Ciel's mind flashed to what they had done the night before, and he blushed faintly.
A giggle drew his attention, and he shifted enough to look around the room. Asmodeus, the violet-haired incubus from the night before, was seated on the windowsill. Ciel yelped when he saw him, and instantly Sebastian was awake, prepared for whatever had caused the exclamation. When he saw who it was, however, he relaxed, and chided, "'Deus, you should know better than to come into other people's rooms when they're sleeping. Especially if they're off-limits." There was a small smile on his face, as he knew Asmodeus didn't mean any harm.
"But you've already had a taste of him, I see." The incubus practically danced over to the bed, and Ciel shrunk back against Sebastian warily. Asmodeus smiled as he sat down on the edge of the bed, teasing, "He looks so sweet; are you certain I can't have just a little sample~?"
Ciel clutched the blankets to his chest, acutely aware that he was naked beneath them. "Get away from me, you pervert!" Sebastian's warmth was reassuring and solid at his back, but he wasn't sure if his butler would protect him from his 'very good friend', if Asmodeus didn't intend him actual harm. One couldn't expect demons to have human morals, after all. But the violet-eyed man only ruffled his hair lightly, his gaze warm.
"I'm joking, darling. Don't look so worried."
The little earl continued to glare at him suspiciously as Sebastian stood and began to get dressed. When he was presentable, he bowed to Ciel, explaining, "I must go prepare your breakfast, or the servants will become suspicious. Will you be all right if I leave you here with Asmodeus?"
Ciel huffed. "As long as I can get dressed first." His face was firmly set in what could only be described as a pout, and Sebastian chuckled, but obliged to the unspoken order. Once Ciel was dressed in his nightshirt and undergarments again, the demon bowed and left, leaving the two remaining occupants of the room to stare at each other. Each was sizing the other up, though Ciel was analyzing a potential threat, and Asmodeus was just enjoying looking.
Finally, the silence became near-oppressive, and the incubus asked cheerfully, "So is there a reason you don't like me? I don't think I've done anything awful yet…" He kicked his feet lazily.
"I don't trust you." Ciel replied. "I met you two days ago for five minutes. Just because Sebastian likes you doesn't mean you don't mean us harm. You are a demon, after all." He rolled onto his back, staring up at the ceiling, but keeping all of his senses focused.
"I'm just flirting. No harm in that."
"You're an incubus. There's all the harm in that." Ciel replied. "Those who drown themselves in pleasure are hopeless."
Asmodeus grinned, but there was a more serious look in his eyes. "I enjoy being what I am, but I don't let it define me. I don't drown, Ciel. People who throw themselves at me despite knowing what I am… they are the ones drowning." He pulled his legs up, sitting cross-legged on the blanket, pretending not to notice Ciel edging away from him. "I am the Prince of Lust, but I do not take those who are unwilling. Lust is not just sex. It is to yearn, to crave, to desire… And if someone feels no desire, I would not get nearly as satisfying a meal as I do from a willing participant."
"Like that reassures me." Ciel scoffed. "You say you don't sleep with people who are unwilling, but you've got the power to make them willing, whether they agree or not."
"That would be cheating!" Asmodeus chimed. When he saw Ciel scowl, however, he sighed. "Listen, darling. If I am being completely honest, you are beautiful. I would love to get you in bed. And if I so desired, I could have you right now. But I haven't. I haven't tried to use my powers on you. I haven't even touched you, save to play with your hair. So please, believe me when I say that I will do nothing to you that you do not want."
Ciel frowned, but hesitantly extended a hand. Asmodeus shook it, then smiled brightly. "Just, let me know if you ever want to know what it feels like to sleep with someone who's even better than Sebastian!"
Before the boy could splutter something rude or indignant, Sebastian nudged the door open and came in bearing a scone with sugar crystals baked into the top and a cup of Earl Grey tea. "Someone thinks quite highly of themselves." he teased the incubus, handing Ciel the tea and setting the scone on the side table. He was actually quite pleased that his young lord hadn't bludgeoned his best friend to death with the fire irons during his absence. Asmodeus could be a bit overwhelming at times, and to someone with his master's temperament…
"I taught you everything you know, 'Nome, and you know it." the other demon laughed.
Faintly pink by this point at the continued skirting of potentially awkward topics, Ciel took a sip of tea and cut in, "Is there a reason you're here, or did you just come to be annoying?"
"Bocchan, that's hardly polite…" Sebastian began, but Asmodeus waved him off.
"It's fine, 'Nome. He clearly doesn't like being teased." The incubus got up, folding his arms over his chest. "Lilitain has been banned from returning to Earth for at least seven years after the month it will take him to regenerate. I spoke to Satan personally, and he agreed with my decision. I told him about Lilitain kidnapping a contractor as well, and he's reinforced the law in Hell."
Ciel perked up. "Law?" He motioned for Sebastian to hand him the scone, an expectantly curious expression on his face.
The butler chuckled, passing him the plate. "Why yes, Bocchan. Demons have laws just as humans, angels, and reapers do. And one of the most important laws is that a human under contract is not to be targeted by other demons. Most know better than to break it."
"Anyway," Asmodeus said brightly, "I just wanted you let you know. And it was a good excuse to see darling Ciel again. You're really lucky, 'Nome." He skipped around the bed and gave Ciel a kiss on the cheek before waving a hand and opening what looked like an ominous purple and red hole swirling with dark mist in the middle of the room. "I'll see you later!" And then he jumped through the portal and was gone.
When the portal closed, Sebastian glanced over at Ciel, who was staring blankly at the spot where it had been only seconds before. "Was that a portal to Hell?" he asked incredulously.
"Yes." Sebastian replied, completely unperturbed as Ciel began to scrub furiously at the cheek that had been kissed. "Would you like to get dressed for the day now?" He held up Ciel's green day coat and smiled.
The day was fairly mediocre, by the standards of the manor. The servants were doing a bit better than usual, and the Funtom Company was running smoothly. There were only a few things that needed Ciel's signature, and after that he worked on Latin that his tutor had left for him. All in all, rather dull.
Sebastian spent a good portion of the day in the kitchen, preparing the fabulous meals that he had wanted to prepare the previous day, but hadn't due to his master's mood. For lunch he prepared a savory beef stew, crisp salad, and creamy custard. Dinner was going to be a roast duck with orange sauce, with a side of a mixed fruit salad, and a decadent chocolate mousse cake for dessert.
Neither of them had discussed what had transpired the night before. But Ciel was, if Sebastian dared to think it, outright friendly to him. He smiled when his lunch was brought, spoke less harshly, and had almost reached for the butler's hand as Sebastian accompanied him to the library that afternoon. The demon kept glancing at his master as he dusted the library, and when he was finished, he walked over to where Ciel was reading in his armchair, tilted his head up, and kissed him. The boy turned pink, but Sebastian saw a tiny smile on his lips before he buried his face back in his book.
Sebastian returned to the kitchen, where Sky and Corbeau were patiently waiting to be fed, and scooped up both kittens. "Bocchan seems so much…happier today." he murmured, stroking them and rubbing their ears. A genuine smile spread across his face, and the kittens seemed to pick up on his good mood, purring contentedly and nuzzling his waistcoat. He set them on the counter, giving them a dish of cream and a small plate of fishes before turning to the counter beside the stove and beginning to prepare the duck to roast.
Unfortunately, he only just finished putting the duck in the oven when both kittens looked up at the back door and mewed plaintively in unison. The demon caught the aura just a moment later, seconds before a knock on the back door.
He frowned, going over to open the door, and was immediately forced to step back as a bundle of red launched into him. "Oh, my hero~!" Grell chimed, clinging and nuzzling into Sebastian's chest. Behind him, still in the doorway and looking horribly embarrassed, were Alan and Eric, the two shinigami that they had met previously.
"Grell. Kindly detach yourself from my shirt." Sebastian sighed, only half-listening to Grell gushing about how Sebastian had saved him from 'that horrible incubus'. When the redhead ignored him, Sebastian pried him off and guided him to a chair. "Please, come in." he told the other two, and they came to take seats as well, though Alan looked considerably more nervous than his partner. "So, what brings three shinigami to my master's door? And not even the front door like proper visitors?"
Grell and Eric promptly got into a squabbling match, each trying to talk over the other, and Sebastian turned his attention to Alan, who explained calmly that Grell had been telling the story of encountering the incubus, and they had come to confirm that he was gone. "It was our case, after all." the brunet said, still looking a bit nervous about being in the same room as a demon. "Is it true that you went after it?"
"It is." Sebastian confirmed, returning to the stove to begin preparing the orange sauce for the duck, somewhat disappointed that the kittens had fled when Grell entered the house. They were much better company. "I fought him to rescue my master, and tore him to pieces. He will not be able to leave Hell for seven years."
"Seven years?" Eric scoffed. "Who decided that?"
Sebastian glanced over his shoulder. "Asmodeus, Prince of Hell and Patron of Lust. The incubi fall under his jurisdiction."
"You know one of the Princes?" Eric asked skeptically. "Don't you have to be a pretty high rank to get to even talk to them?" He scooted his chair over and threw an arm around Alan, aware of the younger's discomfort. His partner didn't trust demons, and with good reason, but one under a contract wasn't usually a threat. "How strong a demon are you, 'Sebas-chan'?" But it didn't hurt to make sure.
"I am strong enough to protect my master." Sebastian replied, not rising to the taunting nickname. "That is enough. Now, if you have no further business here, I would have to ask you to leave. Dinner will be served soon."
Eric got to his feet, nodding. "If you say so…" He took Alan's hand, but then asked abruptly, "Have you heard from the Undertaker recently?"
"Not since we went to speak with him about a case, shortly before meeting you." Sebastian replied. "Why?"
"He was asking about you this morning." Eric said. "Said you should come see him when you get the chance. Anyway, we'll be going now."
Sebastian filed this bit of information away to tell his master, and nodded to them politely as they headed for the door. Grell, who had been visibly restraining himself ever since he'd sat down, fidgeted restlessly. "But Sebas-chan, I was hoping we could spend more time together~" His yellow-and-green eyes were bright with eagerness. "I barely got to see you at all! You just asked about the incubus and left! Though, I cherish the feeling of your hand on my face as you slapped me back to consciousness…" In the background of Grell's fangirling, Alan and Eric snuck out the kitchen door, Eric lifting a hand in a brief farewell as they avoided their love-struck collegue.
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, Sebastian instead said calmly, "I must prepare my master's dinner, Grell."
The redhead, undeterred, only crept closer. "Oh, but there are so many more interesting things we could do instead~" He pressed himself up against Sebastian's back, and Sebastian sighed. But before he could throw Grell off, there was a disapproving cough from the doorway. He turned to see Ciel standing there, looking halfway between irritated and jealous. The shinigami made a disappointed noise, but didn't move away.
"Sebastian, what is that thing doing here?" Ciel practically snapped.
The butler carefully considered where everyone was as he pondered his response. Bard and Finny were shifting the furniture in the billiard room, and Maylene was remaking the beds in the guest rooms with fresh sheets. So Sebastian felt free to shrug Grell off of him and move to where Ciel stood, wrapping an arm around him and pulling him closer than propriety would normally allow. "My apologies, Bocchan. Grell came with Mr. Eric and Mr. Alan to confirm the destruction of the incubus. He is being rather stubborn about leaving."
Ciel glanced up, catching the gleam of mischief in the demon's eyes, and almost smirked. Perhaps if Grell was unable to take a hint, they'd have to be a bit more direct. Sebastian was his, and while he knew that his butler felt nothing but disdain for the redhead, it didn't stop the tiny flare of jealousy that bloomed inside him. "Well, make sure you get him to leave soon. I won't stand for dinner being late." He directed a pointed look at Grell before grabbing Sebastian's tie and pulling him down for a brief kiss.
"W-What?!" Grell spluttered. "You little BRAT!" He started forward, determined to rip away the kid stealing his Sebastian, but was promptly stopped by a kick to the stomach. "Oof!" As he clutched his sore abdomen, he happened to look up in time to see Sebastian and Ciel exchange a glance, and he was taken aback by the softness in the demon's normally burning eyes. Sebastian never looked at him with anything remotely close to that. But more so than that, it was the warmth in Ciel's eyes that truly baffled him. Slowly, Grell realized what he was seeing, and while he was still jealous, he was also just the faintest bit happy for the kid. The little earl always seemed so morose. Maybe this would be good for him. With a grin, he dusted off his vest and laughed, "So that's how it is? Dallying with your master, what sort of servant are you?"
"I am here to fulfill all of my master's desires." Sebastian said with a smirk, tightening his arm around Ciel, who was blushing furiously. "And believe me, it gives me great pleasure to do so…"
Grell licked his lips. "Well, you're lucky, Brat. Enjoy it, because this doesn't mean I'll stop trying to win dear Sebas-chan for my own!" The shinigami struck a dramatic pose, and Sebastian rolled his eyes.
"Time to leave, Grell." And he promptly grabbed the redhead by the back of his coat and tossed him out the back door. When he turned back, Ciel was less pink, and even looked a bit amused.
"So Grell thinks I'm lucky for having you, and Asmodeus thinks you're lucky for having me." he said, a tiny smile on his face. "We should send them off on a trip, maybe send Elizabeth with them, and they can all discuss how unlucky they seem to be." He chuckled to himself.
Sebastian looked at him curiously. "Lady Elizabeth would do well in 'Deus's company, at least. But, Bocchan… What are you going to do about her? She is still your fiancée."
Hesitation filled Ciel's expression, and then he scowled. "I don't know. She certainly wouldn't understand. No one would. Something like this…"
"I know, Bocchan. No one will know." He understood Ciel's fears. The boy had made it very clear that if their affairs were discovered, he would face condemnation from society. Sebastian, however, would never let that happen. "But someday, Lady Elizabeth will have to be dealt with, whether that means telling her the truth, or some story."
Ciel sighed, wrapping his arms around Sebastian's waist. "We'll deal with Elizabeth eventually. But for now… For now we have other things to worry about. There's still a murderer out there." The Miniature Killer had been quiet for almost a week now, but Ciel was certain that they would strike again soon. It was only common sense, for a serial killer.
Sebastian held him for just a moment, then kissed his forehead and stepped back. "I must finish preparing your dinner, Bocchan. There will be a spectacular cake prepared for your dessert." He ruffled the boy's hair and turned back to the counter, fully expecting Ciel to leave. But the boy watched attentively as he finished preparing the meal, taking a seat on one of the chairs at the table in the corner. He brushed off Bard's questions when the cook appeared to help, and when Maylene and Finny showed up and asked almost the same thing, he simply explained that as it was his manor, he was allowed to be wherever he chose. The servants glanced from him to Sebastian, baffled, but when the butler said nothing, they acquiesced.
Ciel was more than pleased with the food and the dessert that Sebastian had chosen to prepare. The evening passed smoothly up until Ciel's bath, when the boy had turned vibrant red and refused to get undressed for almost fifteen minutes.
"But Bocchan, we do this every night." Sebastian protested, half because of the fact that they were rapidly falling behind schedule, and half because he had actually been looking forward to bathing his young lord.
"That was…before." Ciel said evasively. "It's different now."
"But I have seen you naked in the most intimate of situations. Surely a simple bath is nothing?"
Clutching at his shirt, Ciel somehow managed to turn even redder. "I-Idiot! Shut up…" He'd almost literally backed himself into a corner, stuck between the wall and the bathtub, and it was taking every ounce of Sebastian's considerable self-control not to chuckle at him.
"Shall we compromise, Bocchan?" Sebastian offered. "I shall help you wash your hair and your back, and you may do the rest on your own. Is that acceptable?" He held out a hand, and after a few moments, Ciel relented, letting Sebastian finish undressing him and help him into the bath. As promised, the butler washed his hair, scrubbed his back with lavender-scented soap, and left him to clean the rest of his body on his own. The touches had been completely innocent, and Ciel actually found it reassuring. He'd been a bit worried that after what they had done the previous night, Sebastian would feel at liberty to touch him as he pleased. Kisses were fine, as long as they were discreet, but anything further, he at least wanted a say in. But he definitely felt better knowing that Sebastian was willing to respect his space, without an order.
When he was ready to get out, he called Sebastian back in, letting his demon help him out of the bath and dry him off. Once his nightshirt and undergarments were on, they walked back into the bedroom, and Sebastian began to turn the bed down. Ciel hung back for a moment, and then asked quietly, "Will you stay here tonight?"
Sebastian smiled. "Oh? Are you asking me to spend the night with you? What boldness."
"N-Not like that!" Ciel yelped. "Just-!" He spluttered, unable to articulate what he wanted. But Sebastian only continued to smile, taking off his tailcoat, waistcoat, and shoes.
"I understand what you mean." the demon said quietly. "Don't worry, I'll be up in the morning to make your breakfast." When Ciel didn't move, he climbed into the other side of the bed, and beckoned. "Come now. You asked for this, did you not? What sort of butler would I be if I couldn't fulfill your wishes?"
After another moment of wariness, Ciel got into bed, curling up against Sebastian's side. He rested his head on the demon's shoulder, getting comfortable and muttering stubbornly, "Not a word." Sebastian obliged, merely wrapping his arms around his master and watching him drift to sleep. He hadn't mentioned Eric's news about Undertaker wanting to see them, believing it best to leave it for tomorrow. He had a bad feeling that things were going to change quite soon. But for now, he was content to simply hold the small human he had come to love, and worry about the rest at another time.