October 6th 2012

A.N – I want to say sorry for this chapter. And for the delayed update...And I will explain myself at the end. Thank you for your patience.

Methods of Entertainment

Ciel suddenly adored bath time after being rather anxious about it as a cat. Sebastian was amused by the child's insistence that he have a tub filled with bubbles, toys and sweet scents. He roamed around beneath the bubbly surface and popped out in the hopes that he'd startle the older demon. Occasionally he'd spook himself by pulling the plug out of the bottom of the bath. When these occasions occurred, Ciel would insist that Sebastian bathed with him the next bath he took. These baths were still filled with bubbles and toys. Sebastian exited them smelling sweetly of vanilla or jasmine or some other such sweet scent. Though he found these scents befitting his tiny master, Sebastian did not agree with Ciel that they were universal scents that complemented everyone and would often have to bathe again to wash the clinging sweetness away.

The baths with Ciel were always eventful. The boy would splash around, zooming his rubber ducks through the water before flying them into the air. He'd cajole Sebastian into singing songs about the life stories of the mamma and papa ducks and their seven ducklings. He'd clamber all over the raven and pile bubbles up around his face and atop his head before giggling and blowing them away into the air. Sebastian found this time together pleasant, it was a sort of bonding experience.

Ciel did not change noticeably day-by-day, but each week that passed saw the boy growing – physically and mentally. Sebastian had to keep an endless supply of varying distractions planned. One day, Ciel would want to study music, the next he would urgently insist that he needed to create an herb garden, and then his attention would shift to hunting. Hunting was the one constant method of entertainment that Ciel returned to, sometimes five times a day. He liked to lie in wait in some hidden spot or shadowy nook and pounce on Sebastian's feet as he walked past. The butler was never caught unawares but he did allow Ciel to actually make contact with him rather than simply sidestepping. It wouldn't do to discourage the child's instincts.

Sebastian had decided that Ciel's natural affinity towards hunting indicated that it would be the most apt lesson for him to focus on. Besides the fact that as a hell-cat, Ciel's animal form was designed to be a hunter (as well as pampered lovingly), Sebastian wanted to ensure that Ciel was highly skilled in being able to protect himself and those he contracted with from other humans as well as demons. It was therefore imperative that Ciel learnt to move swiftly and silently. He would need impeccable reflexes and strong muscles as well as complete faith in his body's abilities. He should not even need to consider the height of a drop, simply take the leap and land on his feet without so much as a blink, it should be completely natural.

Of course, being so young, Ciel was not quite ready for rigorous training, so Sebastian allowed him to hunt in a playful manner, almost similar to a mother cat who will bring half dead prey animals to her young so that they learn that their food is not always dead. The child would stalk reflections dancing on the hardwood floors, pounce on flies, bat crumpled bits of paper around and generally behave like a playful kitten. He also turned to tormenting the goats – which he'd feared before – gleeful at the fact that he was finally able to outmanoeuvre them.

Staying seated on a wildly thrashing and bucking goat was much more difficult than sitting on Abra's back, however, it was also so much more fun. Not that riding Abra wasn't fun, but making the goats anxious filled Ciel with a vindictive glee that he hadn't felt in ever such a long time. The creatures were ever vigilant for his appearance, and yet he always managed to vault onto one's back, sending it careening around the paddock in a vicious panic, bucking and skidding in an attempt to throw him. Most recently the goats had tried running head-long at the sturdy fence in the hopes that the impact would dislodge him. Suffice to say, most of the goats were likely suffering awful headaches as, when they neared collision, Ciel simply leapt onto the nearest fencepost and easily retained his balance even though the whole structure shuddered. It was a great deal of fun, but his attention drifted so quickly these days and he was running out of things to do.

Sebastian was being boring a lot, writing on important paper that Ciel wasn't allowed to play with. He'd always stop working if Ciel asked him to though. After sending three goats into probable concussions, Ciel traipsed back indoors and meandered his way to the study, pausing only once to pounce on a ginormous spider to bring as a gift to his butler. It felt funny in his mouth as the hairy legs twitched so Ciel grasped it firmly in one hand. Half-alive creepie-crawlies were more fun to play with than dead ones. Sebastian, however, did not seem to appreciate his generous gift when he plopped it down onto whatever the raven demon was working on. In fact, rather than taking any time to at least bat it around a bit, Sebastian scooted it onto a spare bit of paper, squashed it with a merciless press of one palm and threw it into the waste paper basket.

"Well done little one." He praised absently, patting Ciel twice between his ears before returning his attention to his work. Ciel wrinkled his nose and swiped at his suddenly wildly twitching ears. Well he never did! How could Sebastian not appreciate such a wonderful, thoughtful...Ciel blinked, there was an owl tapping at the window. Sebastian was too absorbed in whatever he was doing to notice. Ciel wriggled in excitement, he'd never hunted a hunter before. Unless spiders counted as hunters, but they were lazy and just lay in wait. Silently he opened the window and smirked as the silly owl flew into the room. He crouched, eyes fixed on the bird that had perched on the chair on the opposite side of the desk to Sebastian. It sat there, staring owlishly at Sebastian. Because...it was an owl.

Ciel's tail flicked, eyes darting from the owl to Sebastian, the distracted adult hadn't even noticed the avian intruder yet. Ciel wondered if he would be upset to be gifted a fellow bird, or pleased with his developing hunting skills. A spider was one thing; surely an owl would be that much more impressive. Just as the young cat child made a leap for the owl, something grabbed at the back of his neck. Instinctively, Ciel went limp, eyes still fixated on the owl which hooted indignantly at him.

"Ciel! What on earth has gotten into you!?" Sebastian's clear voice rang out sternly above Ciel's head. The small demon twisted in an attempt to glare at Sebastian as he hissed at him. This was not on! First Sebastian ignored him and then he scolded him for trying to catch a bird.

"It's not like it's a raven." The boy growled, forehead furrowed as Sebastian picked him up under his arms and turned him so that they were face-to-face. "It's just a bird. You were more interested in that stupid paper than me. I tried to be good and leave you to your work but it's been hours and I've already hunted the goats and caught a fish...I put it back. And you didn't like my gift before so I thought that if I caught an owl..." Ciel hung his head, suddenly feeling overwhelmed by frustration and embarrassment. He felt shy under that red gaze.

"I apologise." Sebastian said in a formal tone. Ciel sniffed derisively and looked back into his butler's face. He bristled at the fact that the words were not directed at him, but the owl.

The creature let out a quiet hoot and accepted a roll of parchment and a red coin from Sebastian before flying out of the window.

After Sebastian had calmed the indignantly squawking Ciel down, he explained that the owl was in fact, a demon messenger and that they were not to be harmed in any manner. He then apologised for his distraction and said that the pair could do anything Ciel wanted. Ciel, who had not quite forgiven Sebastian, began plotting some activity that he knew the demon would not enjoy. Whilst they groomed the horses, the young feline demon thought very long and hard. He requested a cup of tea and some strawberries out in the garden and sat on the tree swing as he waited.

As he was nibbling on the juicy red fruits, Ciel's eye was drawn to a stick that had fallen from the tree his swing was suspended from. As he eyed it, the boy's mind whirred and he realised exactly what he wanted to do. Sebastian caught the devious expression on Ciel's face and immediately regretted not paying his little master enough attention. Before he could think up and offer an appealing alternative, Ciel spoke.

"I know what I want to do now, Sebastian." The butler paled and grimaced at the request but simply nodded obediently.

"Yes, my Lord."

Ciel threw the stick as far as he could, which was impressively further than he'd have managed as a human. A silky coated, black Labrador tore after the stick, skidding down the hill as it ran flat out. Ciel noticed that Sebastian's heart wasn't in his role. The body language was all wrong. He'd have to teach him. Lesson one. An excited – happy dog wagged his tail. The boy smiled to himself, gazing over to the maze where Abraxas was nibbling thoughtfully on the bushes before skittering along a little further and repeating the process.

A drumming sound against the ground made Ciel look up. The black dog was running towards him with a stick in its mouth. The child's eyes went wide and he let out a startled cry.

Suddenly, Ciel found himself to be perched on a small branch near the top of the tree, peering down at Sebastian through the leaves. The dog stared up at him before shifting into his human form, looking concerned.

"Ciel?" Sebastian called up to the clinging cat-child. Ciel blushed. He knew instincts were important for demons, but really?! Was a dog any threat to a demon, even if he was a hellcat. He could still feel his heart pounding and his fingers gripping the branch tightly.

"Ciel, it's ok. Come on down, I should have thought about it before shifting." Sebastian said soothingly. Ciel attempted to shift his limbs, but found that they were unresponsive. Sighing in exasperation, he called out to Sebastian grouchily.

"I can't. I'm stuck."

How humiliating.

The day that Sebastian had scaled a tree to carrying Ciel back down was lost to the vaults of their minds. Months passed and Ciel grew. It was odd, in a way it felt like a very long time had passed. The spectrum of the child's life was laid out before the pair. They were visited regularly by Alkippe and occasionally she was accompanied by Artair. Ciel was taught to move silently, to run swiftly, to leap great heights, to fight and to become so still that he would not be perceived. He loved his lessons, delighting in each new skill learnt. Sebastian taught him to cook human foods, showed him how to make a perfect cup of tea and how to make the bed. Ciel didn't enjoy these lessons so much, though cooking was quite entertaining. He also learnt to identify poisons that would affect humans as well as the few that demons were susceptible to. Sebastian ensured that the child knew what the antidotes were, as well as how to make and administer them. The boy learnt as swiftly as he grew.

On the other hand, the second childhood also seemed incredibly short. Sebastian found himself feeling anxious about Ciel growing to full maturity, but Alkippe assured him that all parents felt this way. She emphasised how wonderful it would be to take Ciel out of his home without having to worry about feeding him. How exciting it would be to bring the newly grown demon to hunt amongst humans for the first time. There were still many new experiences for them to share, and their relationship would still be a close one, despite not needing the parental aspect to it any longer.

Ciel still had a lot to learn. His lessons had all been skills to learn, but real life experience would be a lot different. Sebastian worried about the boy a lot. Ciel was now grown to the stage he'd found his animal form. This time he had no extraneous body hair and his movements were all graceful and light. Sebastian could clearly see the young man's beauty and strength. It was almost as though becoming a demon had intensified and highlighted Ciel's best qualities, showcasing them in his youthful, lithe form. He was bright and confident and had grown into a man that Sebastian was certain his parents would have been proud of, minus the one little issue of his now demonic nature.

By the time Ciel had reached adolescence for the second time – which he still thought incredibly unfair – he could remember his past. These memories were no longer tinged with sorrow or anger. Ciel felt removed from his human life, though he remembered it clearly. He found himself enjoying life as a demon, learning whatever skills Sebastian seemed to think would aid him once he matured. And Ciel felt ready to finally be recognised as an adult. His and Sebastian's bath time together had finished months ago, and Ciel found he missed the feeling of closeness it had brought. These days the two demons only really spent quiet, relaxing time together when reading in the library. Other than that, it was just lessons. Ciel had even started sleeping alone again – not that he found he needed to very much these days.

In fact, Ciel felt very...anxious. He felt full of unspent energy, even if he spent hours training with Sebastian. He kept quiet about it for a week, but the feeling only seemed to build until Ciel found it troublesome to remain still for more than a handful of minutes at a time.

"Sebastian?" he eventually questioned the raven demon as they were grooming the horses. Wine coloured eyes looked up at him over Amaya's back and a black eyebrow arched questioningly. "I...have been feeling..." Ciel trailed off thoughtfully. "...extremely energetic? Of late." Ciel combed a tangle from Abraxas' mane and smiled as the young horse nuzzled him. "I feel as though I have too much energy even though I am not actually sleeping most nights and even after spending the day working with Abra followed by training with you. It is rather distracting and becoming quite ... tiresome." He scrunched up his nose.

Sebastian's eyes widened slightly and he came around the horses to look at Ciel closely. He asked a string of bizarre questions ranging from 'have you been feeling hungry?' to 'when did you last taste blueberries?'. Ciel answered as best he could and yelped as Sebastian dragged him by the arm, out of the stables – into the house and through to the study. There he collected a sheaf of papers and a pen before pulling Ciel after him up into the boy's bedroom. Taking a seat near the window, Sebastian indicated that the hell cat should do the same.

Ciel watched curiously as Sebastian leafed through the pile of papers, scanned a few lines of text, pulled out three different sheets of paper, wrote a couple of words on each and carried them to the window. Soon, a large black own landed on the sill and accepted the papers and two black coins before nodding at Sebastian's murmured words and flew off.

The blue haired male fidgeted as the other sat down again and began looking at the papers in front of him. After three minutes, Ciel leapt to his feet and began pacing. "Sebastian! An explanation would be nice!" he hissed.

Sebastian looked up, obviously startled from a train of thought. He looked slightly nervous to Ciel.

"I apologise. It seems to me that you are maturing." Sebastian said. Ciel blinked, sat down on his bed abruptly and heaved out a long sigh.


A.N – Okay. Explanation time!

This chapter did not want to be written. I found it so hard to do, you can't believe! So, with my rl...life getting all complicated and stressful, I couldn't dredge up the effort to sit down and force my way through the writer's block. I would get out a sentence a day if I was lucky. Sometimes one a week.

I was working on resubmitting my project, booking graduation, went to a family gathering to scatter my Little Nana's ashes. I went away for a few days...I have been looking for a job. I am struggling to find motivation to get up in the morning, let alone write.

I have recently joined an RP group which is wonderful and supportive. They're the reason I have managed to finally get this to you. I have also started volunteering as a teaching assistant at my local primary school, so I have to get up and do stuff. However, this is absolutely draining me...so I can't promise my updating is going to get any quicker.

I am very, very, Very sorry for being so slow. And thank you for your amazing reviews and patience and gentle nudging. I hope you can forgive me. I'm suddenly a grown up after...17 years of being in education. And I'm finding it quite scary.

I love you guys!

Dreamy xxx *cuddles* xxx