A/N: I do not own Black Butler /Kuroshitsuji/ in any way, shape, or form. I'm merely taking some of them out and playing with them for a bit, then I swear I'll put them back.
"Yes, My Lord?"
"Is there any other-worldly laws that prevent you from speaking of former contracts?"
"Why would you ask that, Master?"
"I want to know what your last contract consisted of. Or any of them, for that matter. I'm bored and curious. Pick one and tell me everything."
Sebastian set down the empty tea tray on the edge of Ciel's desk and barely managed to hide an exasperated sigh. "And may I inquire as to precisely why my young master wishes to know this information?"
"I told you. I'm bored. Entertain me."
"May I sit? This will be quite the long story."
Ciel nodded toward the wing-back chair that faced his desk.
Sebastian unbuttoned his tailcoat and arranged it around his hips as he sat, crossing his legs and folding his hands leisurely across his abdomen. Clearing his throat, he closed his eyes briefly, conjuring up the memories that he'd suppressed for the last hundred years. Truth be told, there was a previous contract that begged a good re-telling. And being the crass demon that he was, Sebastian knew it was full of all the things Ciel Phantomhive never wanted to hear about: passion, desire, destitution, despair... "I'll tell you a story, then, young Master. But on one condition. I have a question to ask you and I'd like you to consider answering it. I'm not requesting specifically that you do. Only that at the end of my tale, you'll hear my inquiry and give it some thought."
"That is a legitimate request. Go on, then."
"My tale begins a century ago. I was called forth from the depths by a Mulatto woman plagued with visions. First, you must understand the supremacy with which superstition ruled in this place and time. It was New Orleans, Louisiana, 1789. About the same time, there was a small outbreak of plague in the city. Superstition ruled not only the general populace, but the Catholic church, as well. Routinely, people were lynched, burned, and murdered over superstitious beliefs. The woman that summoned me was the seventh child of her master's mistress, and in turn, she was pregnant with the seventh child of the son of her master-"
"The perfect stipulation to incur Vampirism."
"Precisely. Being of mixed lineage, she was raised with the slaves of her plantation, not by the family that owned it. When the people that she considered family realized the gravity of her situation, she was shunned. She was well into her ninth month of pregnancy when she summoned me. Because of the closeness of relation to the father, the six previous children were either miscarried, or died very shortly after birth. But because this woman suffered from what many of her peers called 'Holy Visions', she saw that this child would survive—and that she would not."
"How tragic," Ciel deadpanned, but his red irises gleamed with interest and Sebastian knew he had the young Phantomhive hooked.
"When I appeared before this young woman, I could read the fear and desperation in her eyes. I know that anyone who typically summons a demon would be filled with such emotion; but there was something so pure about her visage that I could practically taste her soul on the air in the room. She was huge with child, gasping for breath as she reclined in her dirty sleeping pallet; the summoning circle had been drawn around her with her own blood. The child was coming and there was naught either of us could do to stop it. I had seen many massacres in my life as a demon. Never had I seen blood so red, so viscous. The child was breached and it was tearing her apart from the inside out."
Ciel's eyes narrowed at the thought, an imperceptible shudder running the length of his spine. Never had he imagined the pains of a female in childbirth, but even his shriveled little black heart could beat a tune of pity for this unnamed woman.
"She stared up at me with enormous chocolate eyes, her mouth opening to speak, and I thought briefly, What a beauty this woman must have been. And how delicious a soul filled with such unrivaled agony will taste..."
''Etes-vous l'i-on avoir convoqué ?''
''Oui, mademoiselle. Je suis.''
''What must I do to bind you to a contract?'' Her voice was ragged, gasping. The pool of blood beneath her ruined white gown threatened to smear her summoning circle as she shifted to get a better look at him. He was a shadow in her blurred vision; a glimmering mass of black with tufted wings he carefully folded over his shoulders so as not to brush them against the filth of his surroundings. Her hands trembled at the sight before her, but she could not go back on what she'd done. There was a gleam of red through the blackness; a set of unforgiving eyes measuring her worth.
"First, you must set your terms. When those are agreed upon, you bind me with a name. The seal cannot be broken until the terms of the contract are met."
"I know that you will devour my soul as payment, but the contract terms will not be met for many years...and you can see I will not last much longer."
"Hmm. Contract pre-payment. Never heard of such. But I'm a discerning demon. It sounds rather interesting. What are you terms, precisely?"
She rocked back against the wall, her face growing more and more ashen by the minute. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes for a moment. Then, leveling her gaze at the shimmering blackness before her, she declared, "I want my child to grow. To have a life worth living. I cannot leave her with family. They think that she is a curse. I have been outcast to this hole of degradation and they will surely kill her the moment I am dead. I want a contract with you for her. You may have my soul as payment. When she reaches adulthood, the terms will be met."
"Shouldn't you be praying for a guardian angel, rather than making a deal with a devil?"
"Angels are not so reliable when you are bathed in these sorts of sins." She smiled a little, a tightening of the lips over teeth, the corner of her full wide mouth turning up; perhaps a grimace for the pain and the blasphemous joke she had uttered. She shook her head determinedly. "It does not matter for whom I pray. You will take the contract? Surely eighteen years is but a drop in the bucket for you. If she is anything like me, I promise you she will be fun..." a cough; choking. A trickle of blood came from the corner of her mouth and she threw her head back into the wall behind her. "Take it or leave! I am dying. I am full of agony and torment and either way my soul will go to hell..."
"Give me a name," the blackness whispered, fluttering and fading, becoming nothing more than a normal man standing before a dying woman. A breathtakingly beautiful man, dressed far too richly to be in hovel such as this one.
She stared in bewilderment for a moment at the pressed satin breeches, the pristine white silk stockings, the darkest garnet waistcoat gathered under glittering lace cravat. The color of his vest perfectly matched his eyes and the glimmering, shimmering blackness that was his aura was now the black hair that hung about his perfectly angular face.
A startled breath left her throat, a whispered, "Mon Dieu..."
A pleasantly crooked smile that belied his heavenly appearance appeared on his wide mouth. "Not hardly."
"Rene. Rene Corbeau, do my bidding!"
Etes-vous l'i-on avoir convoqué? Are you the one I have summoned?
Oui, mademoiselle. Je suis. Yes, miss. I am.
Rene Corbeau means «reborn» and «crow or raven»