Chapter Fifteen

Ciel hadn't moved since Sebast–no, since that demon had left him. He was no longer his, nor was he Sebastian anymore. Gritting his teeth, Ciel tried to knock the papers off his desk, but found he couldn't reach them, no matter how close he stood or how hard he tried.

Was that why I couldn't touch Seba–him before? The Earl thought.

A loud and piercing shriek echoed throughout the mansion, startling Ciel. He was frozen to the spot, unable to go towards the source. He had an idea of the cause, but couldn't move towards it, no matter how much he wanted closure.

"Bard!" Meirin screamed from the top of the stairs, tripping everywhere. "Bardroy!"

"What is it?" The chef stumbled out of his room–still buttoning his shirt. At that moment, Finnian had run inside from the garden and Tanaka had also appeared to see what all the commotion was about.

"He's–Ciel–in bed," Meirin started, frantically. Bard and Finny had began running up the steps–Tanaka followed, but much slower. "W-wait, don't go i-in! He's n-not–"

Both the chef and gardener had stopped before entering. Meirin clung to Bard's shirt, her eyes coated in thick tears, "Huh? He's not-what?"

"H-he is not b-b–" the maid couldn't even say it.

Ciel swallowed hard, having to strain his hearing to listen since his feet wouldn't move.

Bard gave the gardener a weary look and lightly pet Meirin on the head as he passed her over towards Finny. She attempted to stop Bard, but he was out of her reach and, with the grip Finnian was unintentionally using on her to hold her back, she couldn't stop him from seeing the awful sight.

Bard opened the door a little and saw a young man in the bed. He was not moving or breathing. Taking a deep breath, Bard stepped inside and inspected the body. It looked an awful lot like his old Master, but much older now. The gold ring, with the Phantomhive crest, on the male's middle finger was enough to make sure this was in fact Ciel Phantomhive. His mouth felt dry and it felt as if his heart had jumped up into his throat.

Sighing, Bardroy bent down to a squat beside the bed, "So, you grew up after all?" A small white envelope caught the chef's eye; he lifted his ex-Master's hand up and peeled it from him. A shudder ran deep throughout him as he felt how cold and lifeless the Phantomhive's body was.

Finally able to move, Ciel slowly made his way out of his study and down the hall. He rounded the servants, passing them without looking at them too much. Their sobbing made him uncomfortable, so he looked away until he got into his room. Shock overwhelmed him as he saw his corpse lying in his bed.

Unable to look at him anymore, Bard stood, "It was good seeing you one last time; I just wish the circumstances were different."

Bard exited the bedchamber–Ciel moving out the way from instinct–and produced the letter to Tanaka. He felt the old-man should be the one to read it first, seeing as he had a much closer relationship to the family than the rest of them.

Once the chef had handed Tanaka the letter, he stepped back, scratching the back of his head awkwardly as the steward grazed over the note. Tanaka then snapped his neck up, gaining all the other servant's attentions–including Ciel's.

Clearing his throat, the older man spoke as flatly as he could, "We have been given this final task, please go and make the proper preparations for the Master's funeral."

Meirin and Finnian sobbed more, clinging to one another. Bardroy had separated them, comforting them as he took them downstairs. Tanaka remained upstairs, preparing himself to see the Earl's in this kind of state. He had never expected to outlive the young Phantomhive and wished he never had. As heartbreaking as it was, he straightened up and proceeded inside the Master's room to pay his final respects.

Ciel swallowed hard, the lump in his throat from holding back his emotions was growing and he felt he might suffocate if it got any worse. Strolling up closer to his steward and his own body, he had to grit his teeth when a few tears fell effortlessly down Tanaka's face.

"Although you were still a child at heart," the older man spoke, his voice on the verge of breaking, "you never hesitated or faltered when having to make such grown-up decisions. It was an honour serving you and your parents. I can only hope you are happy and at peace wherever you are now."

"Stop it, you old fool," Ciel had to turn away, he couldn't even face the steward, "you have no idea what you're talking about."

"I am still unsure as to whether we should mention this to Lady Elizabeth or not," Tanaka sighed. "She will be devastated, but if we do not tell her, she will be even more upset if she were to find out on her own."

"What? No!" Ciel spun back around and attempted to grab the old man's shoulder.

"And what with the letter..." Tanaka stood as he looked the letter over once again, "Sebastian is a funny fellow. It's almost as if he left you a message within the message. Such a strange man, but he was always there for you, so I respect him for that."

Cocking an eyebrow, Ciel repeated: "A message, within the message?"

"We will do our best to give you a funeral you would approve of. In your honour, I'll make the necessary plans suited to your taste." Tanaka bowed a little before leaving the room and closing the door.

Frowning, Ciel looked over his body, trying his hardest not to cringe at the eeriness of it all. Unable to stand it much longer, Ciel wandered over to the door to leave, but just as he reached out to grab it, he found he could not reach it, no matter how much he tried. Beginning to panic, he tried to grab at the door frantically, trying to leave the confines of his bedroom.

He gave up after a few minutes, finding it useless. He took a few deep breaths before looking back at his bed and muttering how he would be stuck in here until someone opened the door up. He wandered over to the window and looked outside regretfully.

"This is just typical," Ciel rolled his eyes, "just watch, next I'll be trapped in here with some pervert!"

"A pervert? That's not a nice thing to say, Earl." The door clicked shut behind them.

That voice. It can't be... Ciel thought, tensing up before he could muster the courage to turn around. Before he could though, he wondered if he had imagined the response. He was not here completely. He was in some Limbo between worlds.

Before he had a chance to think anything else, he felt the breath of the other run down his neck.

"You can see me?" Ciel's eyes were wide and he was so shocked that he didn't even bother to move away.

"And hear you and smell you and, I'm sure if I gave it a go, I could taste you too," a dark chuckle. Shuddering, the Phantomhive glanced to the side as a long black nail dragged down his face so slowly, "How's life on the other side?"

Ciel attempted to swat the hand away, but he still couldn't reach anyone or anything himself. Firm and to the point, he asked: "What are you doing here, Undertaker?"

"Such a silly question," he smirked and took a step back and started for the Earl's body, "I'm here to collect your body–it is my job, after all."

"It seems they don't waste any time," Ciel muttered to himself as he crossed his arms, "they are already getting rid of me."

"Well, if you haven't realised it yet, you are dead," Undertaker ran his hand down the Earl's face, stopping to poke at his cheek before he allowed another grim laugh to escape his lips. Something caught his eye, and so he picked at it while Ciel huffed from across the room. "I'm sure no one would want a corpse in their house for long. You're blood's not yet coagulated, but you're body is in the process of rigor mortis. I'd say it's been about four to five hours since you've died–seeing as your body isn't all that stiff... yet."

Grimacing, Ciel turned back to look at Undertaker, suddenly growing angry as he saw him dragging his hand along his body's chest, moving downwards. Running to stop Undertaker, he attempted to push him out the way, only to find that there was some kind of force which held him back from the living.

"Get your hands off me!" Ciel swung a punch at the death god, only angering him more as still couldn't reach him.

"Alright, alright, don't hurt yourself," Undertaker ruffled his hair, smirking at the look of disbelief when he had managed to touch him. "Well, whether you like it or not, I have to get this back to my shop to get you sized up for a coffin and ready for your funeral. I heard they were going to have it in two days, so I'll need to start the embalming now."

"It's really happening, isn't it?" The Undertaker looked over at the remains of the Earl in the cross-dimensional world of their own. "All of this. It isn't just a bad dream or a trick."

"Hm," Undertaker handed Ciel a piece of paper he'd found beside Ciel's cadaver. "I'll let your demon answer that for you."

A cold wash ran throughout his body. He couldn't describe what emotion he was feeling from the mention or implication of Sebastian. While Ciel was distracted by the letter Undertaker had put on the bedside table for Ciel to read, the Undertaker began the process of removing the body from the home. Ciel noticed the back of the envelope which was next to the letter, seeing his family crest stamped into the red wax seal which had been broken. Looking to the letter, he began to read it.

Residents of the Phantomhive Estate,

Young Master was always thoughtful when it came to those close to him.
Even in death, he still wishes you all happiness, I m sure.
So, please bury his body properly by his parents' grave. Undertaker will be of great help with this.

My condolences for leaving without seeing you all one last time.
You were all still asleep and I hadn't the heart to wake you.

Leaving was one of the hardest things the Earl could have done before.
Of course, I never agreed, but it was not my place to speak.
Reasoning was always something of a challenge with the Earl.
Do not ever forget him; I m sure he'll never be far, so long as you remain here.

Sebastian Michaelis

P.S. Anything you asked of me, I answered at the beginning. So, is this the end? My reply is still the same.

Furrowing his brows, Ciel read the note a few more times. He read over the postscript and then, glancing at the main body of text from a distance, he saw it. He held back the urge to scream out, frustration building up to the point he thought he was going to go completely insane!

"Even after all he did, even after he had taken my soul," Ciel balled his fists and brought them down on the bedside table, making a loud thud, "he continues to mock me still!"

Undertaker looked at the Phantomhive in astonishment before the door began to creak open. He drew his attention away from the remaining entity of the boy and turned to the entrance of the room.

"Is everything okay in here?" Finnian poked his head into the room, his face was stained with tears, his eyes bloodshot and his voice was so quiet and raspy. "I heard a loud bang and thought you might need an extra hand."

Undertaker smiled casually, "Nothing to worry about, I was just making sure the Earl left with a bang!"

Taken aback from the Undertaker's crude and dark humour, he just nodded and left.

"Better keep those pent up emotions to yourself, unless you plan on haunting those servants of yours out there," Undertaker's voice was surprisingly serious. "Even after death–in your case, separation from the body and soul–you still have potential energy flowing through you. And, with enough force through your emotions which are cause for your instability, you can turn that potential energy into kinetic energy to pull yourself back into the living world for a moment."

"Are you saying I can come back?"

"No. That is impossible." Undertaker chuckled darkly, "You will eventually lose that potential energy once it takes a different form from you."

"Oh..." Ciel looked away, sighing as he crossed the room back to the window.

Undertaker finished up and took the body out of the room and down to his carriage. After excusing himself from the Estate, he left to go and get to work on the Earl's body for his funeral in two days.

Ciel hadn't moved from his room. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't. Undertaker had shut the door as he left and he didn't think he could muster up the energy to force himself into the living world again to open the door. So, he just sat in his room and watched as the sun rose and set twice over. Each of the servants had come into his room and just stared at it longingly, muttering some old memories that had stuck with them.

Every one of them cried–for him. It really was too much for the Earl, knowing how much he meant to them. He wished it otherwise. If only they did not care for him, they would not miss him now. If only Sebastian hadn't brought him back to cause them this much distress. If only he had never summoned Sebastian.

No, he thought, I will not regret what choices I made. It would not do any good now, anyway.

The two days had blurred together and it was the day of his funeral. He had heard the people shuffling around downstairs. He had heard some sobbing, but paid no attention to it. Before anything had begun, the door was cracked open. Ciel had turned to the sound without thinking, there was no one there, but he had an idea of who it was. No one else would open his door, knowing he was trapped in here otherwise, other than Undertaker.

The house grew silent and then Tanaka had begun speaking. The funeral started. The speech everyone had given must have gone on for at least half an hour before the few guests that were invited were able to come up and look at Ciel in his casket and pay their last respects. Another hour had gone by before the house was silent again.

Sighing, Ciel stood and decided to leave his room. He got to the top of the stairs before he stopped again. Taking a deep breath, he took the first step down and continued at a slow pace. The mansion no longer felt like his home, but just a house now.

He had gotten to the foyer where they held the funeral and walked up to the coffin. He let his eyes wander over his cadaver before he was shocked by the sound of something hitting the floor. He spun on his heel to see what it was. On the ground, rolling towards him was something black. It stopped only when it his foot, his mouth parted slightly as he dropped to his knees and went to touch it. Surprisingly, he was able to touch it, so he took it completely in his hand and inspected it as he stood.

After a closer look, it appeared to be a chess piece–the King. Only one person crossed his mind as he thought of the symbolic meaning it held with him and the other. Gripping it hard, he turned back to his body to find a small card and a black rose with his old ring–the sapphire gem absent–hanging around the stem. Reading the card, it said but one word: "Checkmate."

"You came here after all," Ciel stated grimly. "Is it not enough to take my soul, that you have to continue to torment and humiliate me?"

A soft clap echoed inside the building. Ciel turned, his chest was heaving from his racing heart and eyes were wide. A black silhouette stood in the doorway, smirking devilishly. As soon as the being looked up towards the Earl's ghost, it was obvious who it was. Gritting his teeth, Ciel started towards him, running as fast as he could, focusing all his anger towards the demon.

"You bastard!" Ciel screamed and tried to get at them. "You fucking bastard! Get the fuck out of here!"

Continuing to scream obscenities at the top of his lungs, whilst trying to attack the demon who was standing just a few centimetres from the entrance to the mansion, he continued to smile at the Earl. The demon–formerly known as Sebastian–remained just outside the mansion, out of Ciel's reach.

No matter how hard he tried though, Ciel would never leave the mansion. And the crow demon revelled in that thought as he stood outside, before his ex-Master.

"Looks like you're back in the cage, Ciel Phantomhive."

The End.

This is it now. I hope this ending/epilogue thing is to your liking. I do want to clarify that this was never intended to have a happy ending. It was Sebastian's revenge to regain his superiority (and sense of pride) over a mere human. Because, compared to a demon, that is all Ciel is.

Did ya'll see the message within the message? If so, post the hidden message in a review - if not, tell me and I can maybe make it a little more clear for you XD

Anyways, thank you to all who have stuck with this story! Without the readers, this would be nothing but a silly story I wrote. So, thank you all!