I am very excited to introduce What May Come, a collaboration between myself and Akiru Chan! This story should be updated every Friday. Read and review, flame if you must.
Akiru Chan and I have limited medical knowledge, so please forgive any errors you might find.
Disclaimer: Neither of us own Sebastian or Ciel, or any of the other Kuroshitsuji characters.
It was a typical Wednesday morning, sun peeking out of overcast skies to warm the soon to be crisp spring air. Traffic was flowing with nameless people heading off to jobs or to some unknown designation, all hoping to make it there safely. A small white car merged onto the interstate, earning a honk from an eighteen-wheeler who slowed to allow for the car's sudden appearance.
"Sorry!" The driver of the little white car apologized as best she could, hand shooting up to wave. Her eyes quickly shot to her son who sat next to her, head resting on his hand as he looked out the window seeming unphazed. "You okay?" she asked, not taking her eyes off the road again.
"Yeah, I'm fine," her son spoke. "I'm used to your driving, since you're the one who drives me everywhere." A slight smile crossed his face. A low whine from the backseat attracted his attention. He tilted his head to the left. "Calm down, every thing's fine." He reached behind to pet the dog and was rewarded with a lick. "You should be used to this, too, since you go with us all the time."
His mother, Rachel, smiled and switched lanes as she picked up speed. "Let's just keep this from your father, okay Ciel? You know how he worries," Rachel said with a laugh. "He'll end up feeling even worse for not being able to come today. It's a big day after all." She reached over to squeezed her son's free hand in a loving hold.
Ciel returned the gesture. "I know," he sighed before returning his gaze to the window. "I'm just not sure why I'm doing this. Will it even help? It's still new, after all. And what about complications? I don't see a reason to take any risks."
Rachel sighed, removing her hand from her son. It was quiet for a moment, only the soft tunes from the radio filling the silence. "It'll work," she said. "They've had positive results with it so far, and without out any negative side affects. It's the best shot you have of seeing again." It was still a tender subject, even after all these years. Rachel watched her son as he continued to gaze out the window, unseeing of the sights. All she wanted was for him to be free of this curse; Ciel should never have had to deal with all this to begin with.
Ciel took a slow, deep breath. He could feel his heartbeat accelerate and his pulse begin to pound. He clenched his hands, nails digging into the soft flesh. Everything around him seemed to move in closer, suffocating him. He swallowed hard and tried to speak. All that came out was a small whisper. Ciel tried again. "Mom," he managed to say weakly.
In seconds Rachel had her free hand gripping Ciel's shoulder, giving him all the comfort she could in the current situation. Anxiety attacks were common, and she should have expected one with how stressful the current situation was. "Breathe Ciel, it's okay. Everything is going to be alright," she cooed, hand stroking him gently as Ciel's breathing evened out.
Ciel leaned his head against the headrest and let out a shaky breath. He hated these attacks. They always struck at the most inopportune moments, and it was embarrassing when they happened in public. Not that Ciel went very many places anymore. He preferred to stay home, away from all the people he didn't know. The place he frequented the most was Funtom Company, a chain of toy stores that his father owned. But if his parents got their wish, then he would be spending a lot of time at the hospital, a fact he wasn't too happy about. He was beginning to wish that their car would break down, making it impossible for them to get to their appointment on time. Surely the doctor had better things to do than just sit around and wait for them.
The rest of the ride was uneventful, mother and son staying quiet, listening to the radio but not really hearing it. There were far too many things to think about, to consider. When the car pulled up into the crowded parking lot of the doctor's office, Rachel finally turned to her son. "Are you ready for this?" she asked, pulling into an empty spot.
"Not really," he admitted. 'But do I have a choice?' He unbuckled his seat belt and opened the car door. He slowly got out of the car and shut the door. He felt for the back door handle to let his dog out. "Hey, boy," he grinned. "Ready to take a walk?" Ciel snapped his fingers, moving aside to let the dog jump out. The animal stood patiently as Ciel took hold of the harness
"Hurry up dear; we don't want to be late." Rachel pulled her purse onto her shoulder and quickly locked the car. She came up behind Ciel, her hand on his back, leading him forward. The dog kept a pace ahead of them, keeping to Ciel's side and leading him as much as Rachel was.
Ciel was tempted to drag his feet and dally as much as possible, but the hand on his back warned that he best keep moving. He could feel his hands begin to tremble, and he gritted his teeth. Although he didn't want to do this, it would be better if he acted confidently. Then, the anxiety attacks might be kept at bay.
They stopped at the reception desk to ask for directions to the office of the head neurologist. Upon receiving them, they once again set off on their way. Ciel was becoming anxious again as they drew closer to their destination. He needed something to distract himself.
"Mom, I think I deserve something sweet after this torture," he mumbled.
"And what would you like?" Rachel asked as she pressed the button to one of the elevators. Luck was on their side when it immediately binged and opened to allow them to step in. They were headed towards the third and top most floor, and it looked as if they would make it just on time.
Ciel thought for a moment. "Chocolate cake, probably." His grip tightened on the harness as the elevator continued to rise. 'Just think about something sweet, and you'll be fine.'
When they reached their stop, the elevator doors slid open and Rachel helped to maneuver Ciel out. "How about I take you to that bakery you love so much after this?" she asked as they neared their designation.
"That sounds good," Ciel agreed. He had a sweet tooth and therefore loved anything sweet. He remembered when he was younger, he would sneak into the kitchen and grab a cookie or two before dinner. But that had been before the Incident.
Ciel quickly backed away from that train of thought. Right now was not a good time to be lost in memories. He would be meeting someone new today, and even though he was not thrilled about it, he still wanted to make a good impression.
A pleasantly smiling nurse met the at the front desk. She smiled and handed Rachel a clipboard and some papers to fill out. "Come on Ciel, let's find a place to sit." The waiting room was quiet and mostly empty. They found a spot in a corner and Rachel helped Ciel to find the seat and sit.
Scratching sounds emanated from their area as Rachel quickly filled out the form with neat scrawl. She tapped the paper with finality as she was done and stood up. "I'll be right back," she promised and headed off to return everything to the nurse.
"Okay," Ciel replied. He settled back in the chair, idly scratching his dog behind the ear. He listened to his mother's faint voice as she talked cheerfully with the nurse. The sharp smell of antiseptic stung his nose, and he gave a slight cough. Since he was blind, his other senses - taste, smell, touch, hearing - had heightened to make up for the loss of his sight.
He had lost his sight eight years ago, but that had to do with the Incident, as well. Ciel growled. Why was the Incident continually on his mind? Breathing in deeply, he concentrated on the sounds and smells of where he was. That always helped to calm him down when there was no one else around.
"Ciel, are you alright?" Rachel returned, a worried look on her face. "The doctor will see us now." She reached out towards her son, running her hands through his hair in a soothing matter. "Every thing's going to be alright." Moving back, Rachel gave Ciel the room to get up and hold onto his dog's harness.
Rachel led the way, one eye always on Ciel. Despite Ciel now having a seeing eye dog to help with the things she once did for her son, she couldn't bring herself to put all her trust in an animal. Ahead of them a nurse held the door open as she waited for them.
"This way," the nurse said, directing them down the hall and into an empty doctor's office. Rachel gave a small thank you as the nurse left and she ushered Ciel into the room, helping him to climb up to sit on the examination table.
Ciel sat there in silence, swinging his legs back and forth. He didn't like having to wait for appointments, especially if it was with a doctor. They were the worst. They scheduled too many people in one day, and when they finally did get to see you, it was always so rushed because they had to hurry to the next patient. He much preferred to get things over and done with and be on his way home as soon as possible.
Ciel could hear a clock ticking away the seconds, and he silently began to count them. "Are we early or late for the appointment, Mom?"
"We're right on time dear," Rachel said, attention turning towards the door when the handle jingled and then turned. In walked a man, or who Rachel presumed to be the doctor. He looked far too young to be as successful as he was, at least in her opinion.
"I'm Dr. Michaelis," he said, hand out to shake Rachel's as she too introduced herself. "It's nice to meet you." The doctor turned, eyes set on Ciel. He smiled, the expression only helping to make him all the more handsome. "And you must be Ciel," he said lastly, putting his hand of the young man's shoulder.
Ciel flinched at the contact, moving away slightly. He didn't like anyone, especially strangers, touching him. Realizing that his actions would seem rude, he smiled politely. "Yes, I am. It's nice to meet you, Dr. Michaelis. This is my seeing eye dog," he added, unsure why he thought it was important to introduce the man to his dog.
Dr. Michaelis nodded and stooped down to pet the dog. "He's a wonderful dog," he said as he stood back up. "May I ask his name?" From the way Ciel had flinched away when he had touch the boy, he got a pretty good sense that it would be best if he befriended Ciel before they got into the technical talk. He wanted Ciel to feel as comfortable as he could.
"He is a good dog, and his name is Sebastian," Ciel replied.
There was a moment where the doctor looked taken aback, eyes large with surprise. The look soon transformed into a smile. "I quite like that name," he finally said. "Although I might be biased, considering I'm Sebastian as well." Sebastian laughed, eyes sparkling with humor.
Ciel's lips twitched into the smallest hint of a smile. "Really? What are the odds of my doctor having the same name as my dog?" Ciel could feel his body begin to relax slightly and thought that maybe this wouldn't be as bad as he had originally assumed.
"If I had to guess, I'd say pretty slim. Perhaps it was all meant to be," Sebastian joked. "And if you'd like, feel free to call me Sebastian as well. Dr. Michaelis sounds rather old and stuffy, don't you think?" He moved away from Ciel and sat himself on the rolling stool, that had been tucked away under a counter.
Ciel nodded. "All right then, Sebastian." It felt slightly awkward to call an adult by his first name. Sebastian, from his spot on the floor, looked up at Ciel expectantly and gave a small bark. "Oh, sorry. I wasn't talking to you." Ciel reached his hand down, feeling the dog's wet nose brush against his fingers. He scratched Sebastian affectionately behind the ear before straightening. He kept his gaze focused on his hands. He wasn't quite sure where the doctor was sitting, and he didn't want to look like an idiot by staring at a vacant spot.
"I don't think I need to ask why you two are here; so why don't we get to the point of the matter?" Sebastian picked up a clipboard that held Ciel's medical history. "Your Cortical blindness was caused by trauma and lacerations to the back of the head, correct?" he asked, looking towards both Ciel and his mother.
Rachel nodded, and Sebastian continued. "And you've been blind for eight years? Can you tell me the extent of your blindness Ciel?"
Ciel, now able to tell where Sebastian was, glanced in his general direction. "Eight years is correct. My sight is fully gone. Occasionally, I can see movement, but not much. No color or shapes, either."
Sebastian nodded his head. It didn't come as a surprise, having dealt with Cortical patients for years; Ciel's symptoms were pretty basic. He quickly wrote everything down, keeping a detailed note of everything they were talking about. "Well let's hope we can change all that." Ciel would be his first patient to have Cortical blindness in both eyes, and Sebastian was going to make sure that he would get the boy's sight back one way or another.
"Now as you know this treatment is still in it's early stages. We haven't had any negative outcomes as of yet, but I want you both to be aware that something could happen. If you do choose to go through with the treatment I'll have to ask you to sign release forms to verify that you understand the risks." Sebastian explained. "From there the treatment lasts about a year, and will require surgery." He passed Ciel's mom a small packet of papers that went through the risks and passed Ciel a similar packet, except it was in braille.
Ciel took the packet, running his fingers over the small raised dots. As much as he enjoyed reading once he had learned braille, it was sometimes annoying. He thought that it was easier to lose his place than if he could read with his eyes. But if he was able to read again, he wouldn't complain.
Ciel continued to read through the paper, once again feeling anxiety course through his body. He didn't want to do this. He was perfectly fine without his eyesight. His fingers began to tremble, making it difficult to decipher what words were printed on the sheet. He finally had to stop until the shaking ceased.
"What kind of negative outcomes could there be? I mean, it's not like I can lose my sight again. If the treatments and surgery don't work, then it's not like I've lost anything," Ciel stated.
It took a moment for Sebastian to speak, a somewhat grim expression on his face. "Aside from you never being able to regain your sight, there is a chance that damage could be done to your Temporal and Parietal lobe. Both your memory, speech, and sense of direction would be damaged if something were to go wrong," Sebastian answered truthfully. He would never hide facts from his patients, not when it could negatively affect their way of life.
Ciel drew in a harsh breath. To lose his memory, speech, and sense of direction if something went wrong? Those were serious outcomes. He wasn't sure if he could deal with that. Granted, some memories he would be more than willing to give up, but to lose all of them?
"Is there a chance that I would get them back?" Ciel questioned, gripping the edge of the examination table.
Sebastian sighed and shook his head despite knowing Ciel could not see. "There is no way to really tell; it just depends on the damage itself, and how severe." He saw the fear in Ciel's eyes, and despite meeting the young man for the first time, Sebastian felt the need to comfort him; tell him everything was going to be okay, but he couldn't lie. "I won't lie to you Ciel, there comes a great risk at undergoing this treatment. Undergoing anesthesia alone can result in complications and possible death, but I will promise to try my hardest to ensure nothing of ill nature befalls you. I give you my word." And it was all Sebastian could give the boy. He couldn't promise that everything would be alright, but he could promise to do his best to ensure Ciel's well being.
Ciel was silent for a moment, digesting the information he had been given. He knew that every surgery came with risks, but he wasn't sure if he was willing to take these risks. The stakes were too high. "What is the chance that something will happen?" Ciel persisted. He wanted to make sure he covered everything before making a decision, knowing that his mom wouldn't allow him to say no if he didn't have all the information.
"With the success rate we've been having, your chances are high that you will be fine. We have only the best doctors and Neurosurgeons to ensure your safety, but despite that the risk is high and there will be a moderate chance that something will go wrong. I will say that the biggest risk you will face is the treatment turning unsuccessful, with no hope of regaining your sight. The real danger comes with the surgery," Sebastian explained. "If you wish, we can continue on with the treatment and see how you respond to it. If favorable, then you can make the choice to continue on and go through with the surgery."
"What does the treatment consist of?" He frowned slightly. This was a lot to take in for one day. He was already tired and just wanted to go home.
"It'll start out with weekly injections, and if you respond promisingly we'll begin sessions that'll have you staying here during the weekends for observation. It'll ensure that you don't experience negative side affects." Sebastian turned to Rachel and smiled. "We also provide our patients with their own rooms while they stay here. They'll have their full privacy, but will be checked on hourly and will have an emergency call button by their bed. Nurses are always on call to rush to their need."
Ciel didn't hear anything past the words 'negative side affects.' It seemed that the more he learned about this treatment, the more there was to dislike about it. Injections. Having to stay overnight in a place he wasn't familiar with. Combine that together and it was a recipe for an anxiety attack. He rubbed his forehead and sighed. The dog sitting by his feet looked up and gave a pitiful whine. "Yeah, I don't like it either," he muttered, not really caring if the two other people in the room heard him.
Sebastian caught the mumbled and smiled sadly. "On the nights you stay here, I'll be on the clock so you can always call on me if you're feeling uncomfortable. I'll also pull some strings to make sure that Sebastian here," he pointed to the dog. "Gets to stay with you, and of course you are always free to call your mom."
Whatever the reason, Sebastian felt the need to have this boy agree to the treatment. He wanted to help Ciel see again. There was something about Ciel that seemed to draw Sebastian. He had yet to figure out what it was, but he was determined to find out.
Upon hearing that his dog would be able to stay with him, Ciel seemed to brighten a little. On his ever growing list of things he hated, he disliked being apart from Sebastian, who was a nice source of comfort whenever he felt lonely or anxious. Not to mention, Sebastian was the one who led him around most of the time. There were occasions when Ciel would use a cane to walk, but that was mostly reserved for times when Sebastian wasn't feeling well.
The fact that Ciel would have access to a telephone to call his mom eased some more of his fears. If he did have an anxiety attack while spending the night at the hospital, he was free to call and hear his mom's reassuring words.
Even with that, Ciel was still uneasy about agreeing to the treatment. Not only would he have to endure injections and surgery that might not work or might result in complications, he would also have to spend the night in an unfamiliar place. Before the Incident, Ciel had loved to spend the night at his friends' houses. But afterwards, he had terrible nightmares that often kept him and his parents up until the early morning hours. How embarrassing would it be to have a nightmare in a building full of strangers?
Ciel wondered if the cons outweighed the pros. He would need more time to think about this. He bit his lip, then asked, "I don't have to give you an answer right now, do I?"
Sebastian quickly answered, smile on his face. "Of course not. You may think it over as long as you like," he assured. There was no need to rush Ciel into a decision, especially one he might come to regret in the future. "I just hope that in the end I'll be able to help." Sebastian went to pat Ciel on the shoulder once more but stopped midway, remembering how Ciel had reacted the first time Sebastian had touched him.
Ciel nodded. "Okay." He couldn't tell what his mother's reaction to the information was. Did she still want him to give it a try, or was she now against it since she had heard the risks? "I'm really not sure about this," he confessed. "Yeah, it would be great to have my sight back, but I've adjusted fine to being blind. Why risk losing other important things just to get one thing back? Regain my sight, but lose my memories and the ability to speak? It doesn't seem like a fair exchange."
Rachel stood and made her way over towards her son. Her hands cupped Ciel's own and she gave them a comforting squeeze. "I know this is a tough decision for you Ciel, but don't let the fear of what could be rule your life. Do you really want to stay like this forever?" she asked. "Sometimes the greatest rewards come with the greatest risks, but it's up to you to decide if you want the reward enough."
Ciel looked torn. He did want to see again. It would be wonderful to see the world once more. Since he had been blinded when he was ten, he still hadn't seen as much of the world as he would have liked to. The images he had in his head probably didn't even compare to the real thing.
His mom was right. Should he let fear decide what course of action to take? Or should he summon the courage to take a risk?
His dog whined and nudged Ciel's leg with his muzzle, sensing Ciel's distress. The young male patted Sebastian's head, the action calming him down slightly. "I'd still like to think about it," he replied finally.
"Well then, I'll be looking forward to hearing what you decide." Sebastian stood as well, shaking Rachel's hand and reaching down to shake Ciel's own. He felt anxious letting them leave without knowing if he'd see the boy again, but Sebastian had faith that Ciel would choose his sight in the end.
Ciel, Rachel, and Sebastian the dog were ushered through the office door and towards the receptionist's desk by Sebastian who waved over one of the nurses. "Mey-rin here will check you out. It was nice meeting both of you and I hope to see you again soon Ciel." With that Sebastian dismissed himself and headed off down the hall.
Ciel stood listlessly as Mey-rin chatted amiably with Rachel. He was so distracted, as he still had a lot on his mind, that he didn't hear his mother call out that they could leave now. He suddenly felt something tug on his sleeve and realized that it was his dog. He blinked and stepped forward, concluding that they were free to go. He was thankful that Sebastian was a good guide dog. Otherwise, there would have been several times that Ciel would have either been left behind or injured.
"Good boy, Sebastian," Ciel praised him softly. They swiftly caught up to Rachel, who was waiting for them at the elevators. "Sorry, I didn't hear you talking to me," he apologized.
"It's okay dear," Rachel said as she ushered her son into the elevator. "You ready for that cake?" She wanted to ease Ciel's mind. Worry over everything right now wouldn't do either of them any good. They would wait until they got home and were able to sit down as a family to discuss everything.
"Cake sounds good now," Ciel answered. He was exhausted, and right now some sugar would help to give him a boost of energy. He would need it later when he and his parents talked about the treatment more. He had a feeling that he would have to fight hard if he didn't want to go through treatment.
Closing his eyes, Ciel leaned his head against the wall of the elevator. He would eat his cake, then take a nap.
And hope that the dreams stayed away.
The ride home was uneventful and Rachel was sure to drive responsibly. Traffic was flowing, not too many cars clogging the interstate. Soft tunes played on the radio adding to the only noise. Even as they turned up the long drive and through their front gate nothing was said between mother and son.
So much was on both of their minds, Rachel worrying over the inner turmoil Ciel was no doubt suffering from. She was on edge waiting for another anxiety attack, expecting it to hit at any coming moment. It wasn't until they parked that Rachel turned towards her son.
"You okay?" She reached in the back to grab the bag holding the to-go container that had Ciel's cake in it; they had decided to bring the sweet home to eat. Sebastian the dog lifted his head and sat up, knowing he would soon be asked to preform his duty.
"Not really," Ciel admitted. "I don't know what to do, Mom. I want to see again, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to risk losing memories." He gave a small shudder. "Some I would very much like to forget, but there are others that I don't want to ever forget." He could feel tears forming in his eyes, and he quickly blinked them away. He was definitely exhausted, physically and emotionally. "What do I do?" He asked in a whisper.
A calming hand rested on Ciel's shoulder, squeezing tenderly. "Hush dear, you'll figure it all out," Rachel consoled. "And you still have your father, I'm sure he'll be able to help you." She gave him one last smile and then exited the car.
Ciel slowly got out of the car, as well, before letting Sebastian out of the backseat. He took hold of the harness and allowed himself to be led up the steps to the front door. "Is Dad working late again tonight?"
It took a moment for Rachel to crane her neck around the front entry to see if there was any light coming from the upstairs hall. A stream of it could be seen leaking under the first door; the room that Vincent had claimed as his office.
"I think he's in his office dear... or he left the light on again," she mumbled the last bit under her breath. Rachel continued on into the kitchen, leaving Ciel in the entrance way, as she went to place the cake in the refrigerator.
"Okay. I'm going to check if he's there and let him know that we're home. Come on, Sebastian. Let's go to Dad's office," Ciel spoke. Sebastian obediently began to walk, stopping once they reached the stairs. When he was sure Ciel knew that he had to climb the stairs now, he slowly started to walk again. Ciel, even though he knew his house like the back of his hand, still paid extra attention to where the steps were. He had fallen down the steps once because he had been careless with his footing.
Once past the steps, it was only a few feet more until Vincent's office. Ciel paused to listen, wanting to know if his father was on the phone before he knocked. When he didn't hear any talking, he knocked once.
"Come in," Vincent called, putting down the document he had been looking over. His attention turned towards the door as the knob turned and opened to reveal Ciel. A smile crossed his face when he saw his son, ushering the boy in with a quick 'come in' and a wave of his hand. "How did today go?" he asked, going back to pick up his papers.
"It went fine. We met with the head neurologist, Dr. Sebastian Michaelis. He was nice, and he answered a lot of my questions. After the appointment, Mom took me to the bakery." Ciel didn't mention the little driving incident on the way to the appointment. His mom was right; Vincent did worry quite a bit. He also didn't comment on his doctor's name, wanting to see if his father picked up on that fact himself.
A smirk twisted Vincent's lips, and he looked up once again. "I didn't realize Sebastian was such a common name," he commented. "But tell me what this Dr. Michaelis had to say. Did he agree to start treatment?"
"I haven't given him an answer yet," Ciel answered truthfully. "But if I say yes, then he will start treatment. It will be...injections, at first," he stumbled over the word. "Then after that, I will have to undergo surgery. There are risks, though. It's possible that I might lose my memories, speech, and sense of direction."
This time Vincent put his documents down and to the side. He could deal with them later when more important things weren't demanding his attention. "Come here Ciel." Vincent pulled a chair over and helped Ciel sit himself in it. There was a moment of silence in which Vincent assessed his son. He could clearly see the tell tale signs of stress etched on his sons face. "Did the doctor say what the chances are that something like that could happen?"
Ciel frowned, trying to remember. "He said there was a moderate chance of it happening. And depending on how severe the damage is, I may or may not recover those abilities."
Vincent sighed and turned to face his son. "If you have any doubts, then don't go through with it. Me nor your mother will force you to go through with this. But know that this will be your only chance to regain your sight. Be sure that you are ready to face the rest of your life blind. I just don't want you to regret your decision, whatever that might be." He patted his son on the shoulder and went to scratch Sebastian behind the ear when the dog whined.
Ciel nodded slowly. "I know. Thanks, Dad. I'll be in my room." Standing up, he offered a small smile towards his father then left. When he was alone in his room, he let go of the harness. He had the layout of his room memorized. Three steps forward and five steps to the right, and there was his bed. From there, it was six steps to the left and he was by his favorite window seat.
Curled up on the seat, he pressed the side of his head against the windowpane and settled in to think about the important, and possibly life-changing, decision. There was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to see again. But the more fearful side of him kept bringing up the risks and complications involved. Sighing, he rubbed his forehead with his hand.
He began to think on what his father had said about facing the rest of his life being blind. He was eighteen now, and had recently begun to wonder what he could do. There were limited jobs that a blind person could hold, and he wasn't sure if he wanted to depend on his parents for income forever. Yes, he knew that they loved helping him and would willingly continue to do so, but he also knew that someday, he would like to be independent.
Ciel clenched his jaw. He had decided.