No one else would have noticed. To others, Sebastian was as calm as ever, cool and collected all of the time. He was just as suave, just as smooth, and just as slick as he had always been. He still carried himself with that strict poise, was still polite, and continued to hold that eerie sense of power and control, despite his position as a butler. All was fine – in their eyes. Not in the branded eye of Ciel Phantomhive.

It made sense that he would be the only one to notice. He was Sebastian's Master, after all, and since his transition from human to demon, their brand had become rather sensitive on both ends as opposed to the one-sided link they had shared previously. Ciel was beginning to feel things, emotions and sensations that did not belong to him; they would pulse from the core of his pupil and startle him into motionlessness, cause him to freeze midway through an action or a sentence with a curious incline of a slender eyebrow. At first, it had confused him – why would he suddenly get a whiff of lobster boiling on a hot stove if he was nowhere near the kitchen? When he knew that is where Sebastian was? Or why would he feel a surge of a vague emotion – amusement, confusion, pride – when he was doing something as simple as reading a book? They were stronger the closer Sebastian was and that was ultimately how Ciel discovered that these feelings were not his own. When he felt a twinge of frustration, he would cast his eyes upon his butler and watch the fellow demon's brows tug over his nose, or raise his upper lip in disgust, or angle his body in front of his Master with a blip of something strange through Ciel's eyes; something like ownership.

Ciel never commented on the unexpected effect of his demonhood. It was not like it was a problem. In fact, it served to help Ciel better understand his butler in a way he never could as a human – in a way that had always frustrated him as a human. Even though he was nowhere near reading the man's mind, Sebastian was not so much a cloud of mystery anymore. Ciel had a bit of intuition now, a little insight, even if the sensations were just that. It was better than trying to guess what his butler was feeling. It had only been a short year since Ciel's transformation and their connection seemed to grow in strength every day.

However, recently, the emotions were different. The sensations pushing through him were more powerful and demanded his attention. Whenever they were together, even more so when they were alone, Ciel felt something trickle through their brand that had confused the demon Earl to no end at first. It was a warm sensation and pooled in his gut, near his groin. It had made him extremely uncomfortable the initial time it washed through him, made him rub his thighs together with a frown. What was this? He had never had feelings like that before. It was only that notion that caused him to throw his eyes toward Sebastian with a furrowed brow of confusion. They had to be his. Looking upon the demon, however, only caused that strange warmth to grow, stirring muscles in him that he did not know he had. It made his face flush and his hands shake – which was incredibly stupid and disappointing, as he had previously thought demons to be beyond that sort of thing, and yet here he was, swallowing down a dry throat and staring at the older demon for far too long.

Even more troubling than the warmth itself was the immense amount of pent up frustration he also felt push through the bond. It was almost as if Sebastian was doing a hell of a job restraining himself, like he was dying to snap out and react crudely. Ciel spent many nights twisted in his sheets, staring blankly at the ceiling as he tried to think of some word, some definition to the thoughts that pushed through him. He stayed awake until he felt the bond still on the other end, when he knew that Sebastian had slipped into unconsciousness, before he too let go and dreamed. When he had been human, he had never known for sure if Sebastian slept or not – he had never asked. Now, he knew; demons did sleep, though on a different plane than humans did. Sebastian had explained that it would be different for Ciel, who had been born a human. Sebastian claimed to never have dreams or nightmares or any of that, but he needed his rest just as much as every creature did. For some reason, that made Ciel feel sorry for him. Sleep would be pointless, to him, without dreams – but that was probably the lingering bit of humanity inside of him talking.

At any rate, he spent weeks trying to come up with an answer to the feelings Sebastian was emanating to him. Of course, there was always the option of simply demanding Sebastian to tell him, but something held him back. What if it was something he did not want to hear? What if Sebastian admitted something that caused Ciel emotional harm? He would never admit to such a thing, especially not now, as a demon, but he was not above feeling poorly. He had his days just as often now as he had when he was human. Sebastian had told him that time would take care of that, that soon apathy would replace the majority of his emotions.

Ciel refused to believe that, mostly due to the fact that he was very certain that Sebastian still felt a lot of things, most of which moved through him on a daily basis. Perhaps it was Sebastian simply trying to make him feel better; God knows that neither of them really enjoyed the rare nights Ciel woke up in a fit of tears, calling out for his butler. It was not that those nights were awkward by any means – they had been together for a long time, Sebastian had seen him at his worst, and this was certainly not it – but it was hard for both of them. Ciel hated showing weakness. Sebastian hated seeing his Master weak. The Earl only knew that because of what passed through the bond. Those nights were spent trembling against Sebastian's shoulder, with the older demon's hand rubbing along his back, whispering words of comfort into his Master's ear until he fell asleep again. They never spoke of those moments in the daytime.

The most frightening thought – the one that finally occurred to him in the middle of the night – was that Sebastian was suppressing the urge to kill him. That threat seemed to have been creeping along the edges of his brain the whole time but was only know rearing its ugly head. Ciel had clutched the blankets, drawn them to his chin and buried his head under his pillow. What if Sebastian hated him? What if that was the answer to the heat in his gut? The frustration? The sense of restraint? Ciel knew it would be easy, like snapping a toothpick. Ciel was a demon, sure, but he was young. He had turned into a demon, he was not born one – that changed things. His abilities were lessened, and what was worse, he had taken very little time in sharpening the few that he had. He had Sebastian, so he never thought of that as an issue he needed to take care of. Ciel slept restlessly that night when that possibility crossed his mind, and the next morning, he demanded Sebastian teach him how to accurately defend himself. Sebastian had furrowed his brow, light confusion pulsing through Ciel's eye before he obliged.

They spent hours in the courtyard. Sebastian was magnificent in battle; Ciel had already known that. But being the object of his offense was something Ciel was not afraid of admitting was truly terrifying. Sebastian never hurt him, always stopped an attack if he thought Ciel would not have ample time to defend, and was constantly asking his Master if he was all right, if he was fit enough to continue. Even if he was not, Ciel insisted to press on – if the time came that Sebastian tried to kill him, he wanted to at least be able to get away.

The very thought that Sebastian would ever do such a thing haunted Ciel for weeks. He had thought, at least hoped, that Sebastian had developed some sense of fondness for Ciel. When he had been human, their relationship had been professional. He did not expect something as silly as Sebastian truly caring for Ciel. He knew that, at the time, he had just been a meal, and he had been fine with that. Sure, the idea was not very comforting, but it had been a sacrifice he had been more than willing to make. But things were different – their relationship was not strictly professional anymore. They had both been tricked and manipulated beyond their control. Ciel did not choose to become a demon, but he did choose to keep Sebastian at his side.

Because even if Sebastian hated him, as Ciel feared he did, the young Earl would always care for Sebastian. And perhaps that was stupid or childish, and maybe Ciel would never admit those feelings, but he was not about to deny them, either. He had grown fond of the demon and liked him close. Why else would he cry out for him at night? Why else would he allow even a moment of weakness to be seen? Why else would he have kept Sebastian by his side?

Sometimes, he wondered if Sebastian felt anything through his end of the bond. He figured he must have; when he had been human, that had been his way of finding Ciel if the boy ever got lost, and he always had this strange ability to sense when his Master needed tea or a snack or rest. It had gone without comment before, but now he would find himself staring intently at his butler's face, focusing on one thought, one emotion, and trying to see if any of it registered to his demon. Sebastian did not so much as flinch through these tests.

Ciel was having a thousand unspoken conversations with the man and he either did not know or was very good at pretending he did not.

It grew too much. One morning Ciel simply refused to get out of bed. His disgruntled butler frowned down at his Master, pressing the back of his gloved hand to Ciel's forehead – as if something as human as a fever could be striking him. The boy had suppressed rolling his eyes only barely. Again, it came – that fluttering heat pooling between his legs, the twinge of restraint, and then Sebastian was gone, saying something about fetching Ciel tea before he left the room.

The Earl sits up, his hands threading in his hair. It was beginning to drive the poor demon mad. He was afraid to put his back to his butler, was afraid of being alone with him, found himself biting back Sebastian's name when he woke up in a fit of tears and residual waves of terror in the middle of the night. His fingers tighten in the field of his teal hair, the pain dull and faded.

If Sebastian hated him, if he was trying so hard not to lash out and strike him, kill him … then why even keep him around? Ciel bit his lip hard, eyes squeezing shut. That would mean being alone. That would mean living without Sebastian.

Ciel would rather die.

He opens his eyes again and allows his hands to fall into his lap, white palms clenching on top of his crossed knees. That was it, then. If Sebastian no longer wanted him, if their relationship was solely based on the fact that their contract had not been severed in time and Ciel had transformed into a demon without a human soul, then it was pointless. He would surrender. Ciel remembers the relief he felt when he left his servants behind, the Phantomhive manner, thinking their Master had died … he had been cradled in Sebastian's arms, looking out over the darkness and seeing a future in which no one could hurt him again like those cult members had several years ago. But that relief, the promise of a brighter future had been snuffed out by Sebastian's emotions filtering through the young Earl.

If it was pointless, then he would give Sebastian what he wanted. He had already been tricked once in his lifetime, had he not? And been bound to a stubborn boy for the rest of eternity? Surely, he deserved some slack. Ciel felt obligated. He cared for Sebastian, truly, and he would rather fall at Sebastian's hands then be the subject of any disdain.

Ciel waits with his foot jogging in impatience under the sheets until his butler to emerges again, a tray balanced on his hand, tea steaming. Ciel swallows hard, Sebastian's face as eerily expressionless as usual, his red eyes closed at the moment. He sets the tray blindly on Ciel's bedside table, hands poised to begin pouring before Ciel snaps, "Stop."

Sebastian's hands halt on command. "Young Master?" He turns, red eyes finally settling on his Master, Ciel's hair severely disheveled from sleep, the sheets crumpled around him. It pulses through him again, harder and thicker and stirring all kinds of muscles between his legs. Ciel shifts with discomfort. He turns his head down, pinning his trembling hands between his knees.

"I know you're restraining yourself from … something," Ciel mumbles, the words soft. "I can … feel it …" He lifts a hand and traces the curve under his branded eye, warmth spreading down his spine.

"Young Master –"

"This is an order, Sebastian." He feels his star-scarred eye burn as the words fall off of his tongue, and he notices the slight way his butler's body tenses in response. Ciel takes a deep breath. "You have thirty seconds to act on whatever it is you've been holding back. Thirty seconds to do whatever you wish. To me."

Ciel tries to swallow. He figures thirty seconds should be long enough for a demon of Sebastian's stature to kill someone like himself. He would not even fight back.

There is a long, suspended silence between the two, in which Ciel refuses to meet the crimson gaze of his butler. He does not wish to see whatever he thinks he will find there – glee, probably relief. Through the bond, the warm sensation builds, scorching through his gut, and he feels the string of restraint start to grow taut. To him, this is simply confirmation of his suspicions, and his eyes squeeze shut.

"Thirty seconds, and they start now."

One. Two.

"Yes, my Lord."

The bond screeches heat, fire flaming up his insides so hard that Ciel's eyes snap open automatically to see if he has been burned. He watches as a blurred, white-gloved hand throws the blankets off of his form. It will all end soon, he thinks bitterly, watching as Sebastian's knees land on either side of him. It is as if everything is moving in slow motion. How do demons even die, anyway? A hand smooths across his cheek and he cannot help but tilt his head up. Even if there is happiness in those eyes over his death, at least the last thing he will see is Sebastian.

Five. Six.

Fingers tighten behind his neck as their gazes meet, cerulean into ruby and Ciel's eyes begin to drift close. Maybe beheading is the way demons are killed, and the remains burned. It sounded cruel enough. But Sebastian's head is growing nearer, shards of black hair brushing his cheeks as lips brush against his own. Ciel jerks.

Ten. Eleven.

It takes him several seconds to process what is happening. The heat explodes in his gut, roaring through his body like a furnace and Sebastian is kissing him. Hot and hard on the mouth, and the weight of Sebastian's form forces the Earl's back to the sheets, head nestled by his pillow. Ciel gasps, the sound silenced by a hot tongue slipping between his lips. The heat grows, the taste sizzling into his brain – something not human, something no words can describe, akin to the flavor of burnt sweets.

Fifteen. Sixteen.

Sebastian's hips grind against his. It is a peculiar sensation, something that had never crossed Ciel's mind before and definitely not something he would have assumed to bring such a wave of pleasure, but the tense muscles in his gut are spasming and his body is jerking and his mind is reeling with pulsing feelings of the best kind.

Twenty-one. Twenty-two.

A muffled growl vibrates Sebastian's lips, making Ciel jump. The demon's hands flatten over Ciel's chest, clenching in the material of his nightshirt and tearing, a loud, sharp sound of the cloth giving way slicing through what little space remains between them. Cool air hits his chest, followed by gloved hands. Sebastian grunts, not breaking the kiss for a moment as his fingers deftly remove the accessories, hot fingertips roaming across the trembling plane of Ciel's torso.

Twenty-seven. Twenty-eight.

Ciel's thoughts have scattered, blown across his mind like paper in the wind. Black nails graze over the toughened skin of his nipples and a moan is swallowed into Sebastian's mouth, tongue dancing with his own. There is no coherency here. No time. No thirty seconds.

Except it ends.

The weight disappears. Ciel blinks blearily up at the ceiling, his hands limp and useless at his sides, shirt splayed open. He pants heavily and searches for the butler, hands skidding behind him to brace against the sheets. He tries to sit up, but the effort is futile and he finds himself falling back against is pillow in a seconds time. The boy is left in a bit of a state – his cheeks red, his chest fluctuating at an alarming rate, limbs trembling atop the mattress. He turns his head, dazed eyes finding the demon's waist and sliding up.

Sebastian is smiling, his hands hooked behind his back. "You were right, Young Master, about restraining myself. It has proven to be quite the difficult task."

Ciel blinks again, this time succeeding in his feat of pushing himself into a sitting position, his wavering slightly, not trusting his strength. He still could not quite catch up with the speed of his thoughts; through the bond he felt a vague sense of relief, followed shortly by another wave of restraint.

"You don't want to kill me?" Ciel lifts his eyes, the words sounding as stupid as they had in his head the first time it had occurred to him. He watches Sebastian's teasing smile slip away, replaced by furrowed brows and a frown, followed by a trickling of sadness through Ciel's eye.

"Why on Earth would I want such a thing?" His head tilts before he lowers, balancing on the edge of Ciel's bed. The boy turns his head away, breathing still heavy. The flush on his cheeks is still due mostly to their earlier endeavors, but now is ringed with embarrassment. How could he think something so bad about his butler, who had done nothing but help him since they had first met? Ciel shakes his head absently, raising his hands to ball his fists into his eyes.

"Young Master?"

"I thought you were going to kill me," Ciel mumbles, his head still shifting back and forth. "I thought you were keeping yourself from snapping, that you hated me, and I … those thirty seconds were supposed to end with me dying."

There are several moments of silence, and then a finger is curling under his chin. Ciel's eyes lift nervously to find sympathetic orbs of red boring into him. "There is not one thing I hate – even dislike - about you, Young Master. Was there a time when I was disappointed with circumstances? Absolutely. But that time has passed and things have changed. I am very fond of the Young Master and his death would make me for a very lonely demon." His grip slowly tightens on the youth's chin, drawing him forward, another grin slipping over his face. "My desire for you has not dwindled in the least, it has simply changed from your soul …" Ciel's breath hitches as Sebastian's eyes detach from his and dart around his exposed chest. The older demon smiles, smoothly resuming eye contact. "…to your body."

Ciel's held breath rushes past his lips, his tongue rolling along the lower, tasting that sweet, burnt flavor again. A tremor ripples through his body as he watches Sebastian's pupil constrict at the movement, a pulse of heat radiating in his skull through the seal. He edges forward slowly, shaking hands raising to cup the pale cheeks of his butler. With little effort, he guides Sebastian's face to his own, breaths apart, the tips of two white noses meeting.

"I ordered you, once, to never lie to me," Ciel whispers, his arms shaking, though he is not entirely sure why. "You haven't disobeyed that order, have you?"

Sebastian's lips tug upward again, giving the slightest shake of his head between Ciel's hands. "Certainly not, Young Master. If demons could fathom such a human thing as love …" He drifts off, pushing his body forward and balancing on one knee. Ciel rests upon his back again, keeping their faces steady and close with his small palms.

"I was human not too long ago." He swallows, giving a trembling smile. "I can fathom it."

Sebastian chuckles. Hands rest on Ciel's chest again, sliding down, running along the ridges of the Earl's slender ribs. It makes both demons give a shiver.

"The Young Master will have to teach me." Sebastian is speaking almost directly against Ciel's lips now, angling his body further above the boy. It would almost come off as predatory, if not for the adoring gleam in the red pits of his eyes.

Ciel nods slowly, licking his lips as he feels Sebastian's breath wash under his nose. "But before that, you have ten seconds to take off your clothes. Starting now."

Sebastian chuckles, leaving a burning kiss on the edge of Ciel's mouth. "Yes, my Lord."

A/N: You know where I wrote most of this? At school. School, people. Fanfiction has infiltrated my education.

...No regrets.

Reviews are always nice.