POSSESSION, OBSESSION, AND MAYBE LOVE
Ciel Phantomhive X Sebastian Michaelis
A/N: Disclaimer – I do not own, nor did I create any of the original Kuroshituji characters or plot lines. Those are to be placed firmly at their respected owner's feet. Thank you Toboso Yana-san for your brilliance. That said and done, please do enjoy yourselves in my mind's creations.
Ciel took a sip of the blood-red soul from his porcelain cup and watched as the sky was set aflame by the setting sun. It's been one year already, he mused. His first year as a demon slipped out of his fingers so quickly. He would merely blink and another week had passed. During this time there were only a handful of moments that left an impression on his memories.
Ciel set down his cup with barely a chink and watched Parisians, Germans, Spaniards, and Englishmen alike scurry around the Eiffel Tower; its novelty not yet faded and maybe never will. He sat outside a little café and watched the people flow around him. A part of the city life, and yet apart from it.
The Eiffel Tower.
He was almost back to where it all began. Did these people know what occurred at the top of that tower a year ago? Did they know how his life was ripped apart for the second time? Did it matter? To them all, he guessed it didn't.
"Would you like another shard, my lord?"
Sebastian's voice cut through his melancholy thoughts. How unlike himself, to be so lost in the past. He glanced up at the small black crystal his butler held in his gloved hand. The discovery of the process to make the useful item was one of the few memorable moments of his journey, although he couldn't recall her name or face now. A demon they met in Moscow shared her secrets in exchange for her life. She even so kindly handed over her own crystallization box. With this box he could find his victims and cleanly steal their souls. Just look inside, just look inside and you'll see something beautiful. Once their gaze was captured by the dark interior, their souls would leak out and fall into the beautifully carved ivory box. There, the souls crystallized over time, preserved for his consumption forever.
"Another shard, my lord?" Sebastian asked again.
Ciel waved it away. "I'm in the mood for something fresher tonight. There was a hotel near here that refused me lodging once. I want to visit the owner again."
Sebastian straightened and opened the palm-sized bone-white box on the table. He dropped the shard back in. He watched the colorful broken pieces of souls trapped there before closing the box. His own soul box was in his pocket. The jade and ivory "box" was no bigger than a pen but just as potent as the original. The only real difference was how the souls were harvested and how many it could hold. Instead of luring the soul into the ivory box, the jade pen grabbed hold of the target soul and sucked it in to be turned into a fine powder. Master Ciel had found he had a knack for creating demon artifacts and he made quite a few things. His offensive skills were still lacking, but his clever creations went a long way in making up for that. The boxes made regular meals possible but the taste of a fresh kill was still irreplaceable. "Yes, my lord."
Ciel fingered the delicate gold edging of the saucer before picking up the cup again. It was partway to his lips when two Englishmen moved to the table behind him. They nodded to him before sitting down. He saluted them with his cup before returning his attention to the street beside him. A boy and his mother walked by just then and drew him into their conversation.
"Maman, I want a new toy," the boy said in a sweet voice that matched his young age.
The mother stopped to pat the boy on his head. "Alright then, just for tonight we can get you a gift for starting school. Would you like the new Fun Tom toy?"
The five years old boy rolled his eyes and whined. "Non, maman. The new Fun Tom toys are no good at all. They're so boring. Everyone will laugh at me."
She picked him up with a laugh. "I see. Ok, how about the original Bitter Rabbit book bag?"
The boy shouted with joy and gave her a tight hug. "Oui! Je t'aime, maman!"
The woman put him down and together they walked hand in hand down the street, the boy singing "Bitter Rabbit" with every step.
Ciel put his empty cup down with a slight nip of irritation gnawing at him. Someone was ruining his company, it seemed. The two men behind him confirmed it.
The blond man and his companion watched the boy and his mother as they left. "Yes, I believe that just about proves it, William. The Fun Tom company has fallen short of expectations these years. If they didn't have such a strong base they would have collapsed already. And supposedly a child is running it all," he said.
The man, William, laughed scornfully. "Yes, that is what they get for letting a child sit behind the desk. They should have known better. Either you or I would have been a better fit for the position, eh, Charles?"
Charles waved that thought aside quickly. "I wouldn't want to be the Queen's Watchdog for anything."
William choked on his coffee and sputtered. "What do you mean?"
"Didn't you know that the Fun Tom company is owned by the Phantomhive family?"
"Well, what about them? Why wouldn't you want a chance to be a nobleman?"
Charles shook his head. "I wouldn't want anything to do with the Evil Nobleman. I don't want to be burned to death like that kid's family. I don't want to get my hands dirty with anything he's doing," he said adamantly.
Ciel had heard enough. He edged his chair back to leave when what they said next stopped him.
"Ciel Phantomhive's in London playing for the Queen. He barely leaves her side, him and his Oriental butler. More lap dog than watch dog now."
Sebastian watched as fine lines appeared in the teacup from Ciel's anger. Slowly the cup turned to powdery dust before Ciel controlled his temper. The conversation between the two men at his back had him curious, but not enough for him to truly care. Not much of anything made a difference to him now. His servitude was eternal and it was his little lord that would decide their destination. His little lord that would decide everything. Sebastian was just a butler.
Ciel looked up into Sebastian's apathetic eyes and nearly snarled. Those damned eyes! He hated Sebastian's cold, dead eyes. There was no longer any sense of sadistic anticipation or bestial cunning in them. There was no disdain, no anger, no frustration. There was nothing. And that drowned him in his own frustration. This man, this demon, was no longer the demon he knew; the demon he wanted at his side forever. This demon no longer wanted him.
Which was fine. Right? Because Ciel Phantomhive needed no one. A butler was just a servant to make his life easier, right?
Gritting his teeth to bite back his volatile temper, he pushed away from the table and barked, "Come, Sebastian." He was so angry now he almost didn't care if anyone saw him. Once he turned into an alley he took to the air, his obsidian butterfly earring lending him the ability to skim above the roof tops. Without glancing backwards to check if his servant followed him, he sped to his dinner.
Tonight he was going to rip the innkeeper's soul out of his screaming, broken body. And tomorrow... Tomorrow he would return to England to find the Queen's Watchdog who dared to take the name Ciel Phantomhive.
Ciel stepped up to the well manicured drive leading to his estate with the moon beginning its ascent behind him. The loom of the building surprised him when he saw a familiar hat bobbing just above a neat bush. If Finny was there, then so too were the others. He had slightly expected to see the manor in ruins. He pulled his hat down slightly further to cover his eyes. Together with Sebastian, he walked up that nostalgic drive.
Not halfway up the path the ground rumbled and Ciel looked up in surprise to find Finny running towards them with a statue in his hands. The wild look in his eyes did not bode well. "Go away, you sneaky people! Or I'll throw this statue at you!"
Sebastian stopped for a moment but Ciel never faltered. It was his estate and he'd be damned if he let the servants stop him from entering. But Finny never got a chance to follow through with his threat. Mei-Rin, with her extraordinary eyesight came bounding out the door and past the teary gardener.
"Young Master! It's young master!" she exclaimed exuberantly. "Young master and Sebastian are back!"
Finny put down the angelic statue and trotted up along side the woman. "Young master? The real young master?"
Bard came running out a second later, his long legs eating up the ground until he was abreast with the others. "Is it true? Are they really back?"
Ciel wasn't given a chance to confirm or deny his identity. The three made it impossible to interject anything in their excitement.
"It's really them! I recognized the way they walk from up on the roof top," Mei-Rin said.
Finny looked at Mei-Rin's face in awe. "You can do that? Just by the way they walk? But didn't the young master always wear an eye patch?"
Bard pushed the boy's head down affectionately. "Remember what Tanaka said? The young master only wore it to hide the evidence of his contract to Sebastian. He doesn't need to hide it anymore."
Ciel was taken aback by what the chef said so casually. At what point was his secret known to his household? But before he could say anything, the three stood in front of him and bowed.
"Welcome home, young master Ciel. Welcome home, Sebastian," they said together. Then they straightened and glanced at each other before looking at him again. "We hope you had a devil of a time on your travels," they said with a grin.
Ciel didn't know what to say. Their actions left him in a light state of shock.
Mei-Rin, the clumsiest of them all, stepped up to the plate and offered a solution. "If the young master would like to continue this inside? We've kept your office the way you left it as much as we could. We would like to speak to you there, if you would permit us."
Ciel was dealt another surprise by her proper language. He gave a slight nod and moved forward. This sounded like a long conversation, one that he might need to sit down for.
The interior of the manor looked the same but the atmosphere was noticeably different. The well lit air hung untouched around them, quiet and forgotten. There was the vastness of space but no life in it, like the walls itself thought that without a lord to serve, it was little better than a decorative cavern. It seemed that part of the rumors were true; the new lord of the house did not reside in his estate often. But better than useless speculations, he needed information. He walked silently to his office.
Sebastian pushed open the large oak door and let his master and the other three through before entering himself, taking the offered hat and cloak as the small demon passed by. He watched as Ciel walked around the heavy desk and took his seat like the countless times before. He closed the door and stood beside it, unobtrusive. The show tonight will be coming from the humans.
Ciel settled into his leather chair and pinned his servants with his red stare. He motioned with a hand for them to begin their story.
Finny could hold it in no longer. Crying profusely he blurted, "Tanaka is dead, young master."
A corner of his heart convulsed with pain, but he kept the sadness from entering his expression. "Is that the beginning of the story?" Ciel asked.
Finny shook his head.
Ciel looked at Bard to give his gardener time to pull himself together. "Then start at the beginning."
The chef swallowed the lump in his throat and drew in a deep breath. "It started two months after you left, sir. I was trying to make dinner when I was summoned by Tanaka to get Mei-Rin and Finny quickly before meeting the guests. It was in this room that we met the fake Ciel Phantomhive for the first time. And we were fooled by him," he gritted out. His fists were shaking with his anger.
Mei-Rin touched her friend's shoulder in a show of camaraderie and continued the story for him. "At first we were all fooled by them, but we were just so happy that the young master was finally home again. The only one that knew from the start was Tanaka, but he said nothing to us then. That Ciel Phantomhive was escorted here with three of the Queen's men with a written order for our continued service under him. That should have been a clue, but we turned a blind eye to everything but the fact that you were home. And he truly looks just like you with the same colored hair and eyes, his height, even his bone structure. His voice, too, young master.
"We were so happy that we did our best and truly learned our duties, because Sebastian wasn't here any longer to help us. And that was another thing that should have told us to look deeper. Sebastian, who said he would never leave young master's side, was not here anymore. When I thought to ask, I was pushed down and burned with the young master's tea." Her hand moved up to her chest from the memory of the pain. It was her turn to be offered a supporting hand by Bard.
He took up the reins where she left off. "It was then that we started noticing other things that where off. It's embarrassing that it took us a month to figure it out. Sir, sometimes you are cold to us, but in the years we served you, you never raised a hand against us. If we did something wrong, you would just have us do it again or just walk away. This Ciel would throw the silverware at us and even the broken plates. He would set fire to Finny's bush as soon as he finished trimming it, and punish him for it. But it wasn't until the imposter argued with Tanaka that we finally saw that he wasn't you. You would NEVER strike Tanaka with your cane, never," he finished vehemently before his passion took over and he was once again unable to speak.
"When I asked him if I could make a grave marker for Pluto's grave, he didn't know who Pluto was. I cried that he would forget Pluto, when he remembered everything else, and then he forbade me to bring up that name again and to never set up a grave marker for Pluto. And, and he called me a freak," Finny couldn't help but interject as he sobbed.
Mei-Rin spoke up again. "Into the second month, Tanaka started resisting his orders. He did all the normal things a butler would do but nothing else. We were all scared by then and didn't ask any questions. We didn't want to draw attention at all. Tanaka knew our fears and used himself as a buffer between the young lord and us. We should never have allowed it to happen. We just didn't know what to do. This is our only home. And this is where our memory of you are, young master. One night when he took his cane to Finny, we were standing outside, waiting to take Finny away and treat him as soon as his punishment was done."
Finny jumped in again, tears running down his face. "All I did was put fresh flowers in this room like I did when you were here, and then he walked in and beat me. He said I was trying to kill him, bringing in flowers he was allergic to. And when I said that flowers never bothered the young master, he threw down his cane and picked up the fire poker instead. I started screaming when he put the poker in the fire and came to hit me again. Tanaka and the others rushed into the room then and protected me. When we were leaving the room, Tanaka turned back to the young master's imposter and said: I have served the Phantomhive name for my entire life, and you sir, are no Phantomhive!"
Mei-Rin started mumbling, her gaze distant behind her glasses. "We shouldn't have let him say that. We should have stayed with him that night. We shouldn't have left him alone after he gave us his diary. He knew something was going to happen. I wish we did, too."
Bard put a protective arm around her and even pulled Finny in closer. They stood huddled there together. "They found Tanaka dead the next morning, sir. The young lord said he woke up on his own and when he rang for Tanaka, he never showed. So he went to see for himself why Tanaka was neglecting his duty. He said Tanaka was already dead when he got there." Bard shook his head before continuing. "It didn't seem right. We weren't allowed near the body. And not even half a day passed before a new butler was at the door."
She had gathered her courage again and only a small quiver in her voice was heard. "We had a small funeral the next day for Tanaka. They said his heart gave out on him and he just died in his sleep. It didn't seem right at all but we had no proof. Before the fake young master left for London, the new butler, Michael, burned all of Tanaka's personal belongings. The only thing that was safe was the diary we hid in my room."
Finny wiped at his tear-stained face with his arm. "We read the diary the night after Michael and young master's imposter left. We found out about everything then."
Mei-Rin took a tentative step forward. "We know the young master is a demon like Sebastian now. Is that why you left us?" she asked in a quiet voice.
Ciel touched his steepled fingers to his lips as he watched them, weighing his words in his mind before answering. The fear he saw shadowed over them caused a spurt of anger to flood his veins. How dare some arrogant piece of trash touch his people. He gave her the full weight of his gaze. "Partly," he said. "You said you read Tanaka's diary and know everything he knew. You know, then, that I nearly died once before."
She nodded. "And that before you truly died you made a contract with Sebastian, who saved you."
Ciel smirked at that romantic rendition. "Do you know what the terms of that contract was?"
She hesitated before answering. "No, young master."
"Sebastian would act as my butler as he helped me get my revenge on the cretins who soiled my name and pride that night. In return for his service, when the last person died, my soul was Sebastian's to eat. Last year, my revenge was completed. I no longer needed to be here."
Mei-Rin shuddered but pushed on. "But young master is alive. Did Sebastian change his mind and turned you into a demon instead?"
Ciel laughed. "It's not so romantic as that, Mei-Rin. If Sebastian could, he would have devoured my soul a long time ago. But due to unexpected turn of events, I was turned into a demon before he could eat me."
"Then why did you leave us and let everyone believe you were dead?" she blurted out desperately, almost accusingly.
He looked at her, just looked at her. "Ciel Phantomhive, the Queen's Watchdog, the Evil Nobleman, did die. I am no longer the person who sat here a year ago. I do not serve the Queen or this country anymore."
"Then who are you?" she whispered hoarsely.
A gust of wind chose that moment to blow back the heavy curtains through the open window. Ciel sat there with the heavy, pregnant moon behind him. He watched them all with glowing red eyes, one with a cursed pentacle in it. "I am Ciel Phantomhive, a demon."
The three humans steeled themselves. They glanced at each other with a nod and dropped to one knee in unison. "We recognize you as the true lord of this house, as the true bearer of the Phantomhive name. We pledge to you our loyalty and service from this day forth."
Ciel sat up straighter in his chair and he noted Sebastian's sudden stiffness as well. He was not the only one taken by surprise this time. He looked at the three bowed heads. How long had they been thinking about this moment? This was no spur of the moment decision for it to be so choreographed. "You would pledge loyalty to a demon? Be careful of what you say, I may eat your soul."
They didn't so much as shudder. They were resolute in their decision. Finny spoke up first. "Sebastian found us and gave us a chance for a better life, but you let us into your house. You took us in without knowing who we were."
"You took us in without asking what we've done," Bard said.
Mei-Rin finished for them. "You took us in and gave us a home we were proud to defend, to use our abilities for something we didn't need to be ashamed of. We were useless at anything other than killing before, and even though that's still what we do best, we've become servants this household can be proud of having. We won't cause you trouble anymore."
Ciel thought for a bit. Did he want them tangled up in the demonic world? His servants were skillful, but they were still humans... and yet they managed to subdue a rampaging Devil Dog. He opened his mouth to voice his decision but was interrupted.
Bard spoke with his head still bowed. "We should have pledged our loyalty to you before. From the moment we became a member of this household, we were loyal to you and the Phantomhive name, not the to the Queen or this country and especially to that deceiving brat. No, more than the Phantomhive name, we are loyal to YOU, my lord." He looked up, his eyes burning with his conviction.
Ciel sighed. "Fine," he said. "I prefer to have a home territory anyway. But leave me now, I need to speak to Sebastian."
Dismissed, but happy they were once again with their true lord, the three humans left. Before they exited the door, Bard turned and asked. "Sir, will you be having dinner tonight?"
Ciel smiled coldly. "Will you lure me a tasty soul for my dinner?" he teased.
The man nodded puzzledly and left. Before the door swung shut, Ciel could hear them outside. "Did he mean that?" Finny asked.
"What sort of soul would young master find tasty?" Mei-Rin wondered.
"Maybe we'll ask Sebastian when he comes out," Bard said before Ciel couldn't hear them anymore.
"How amusing. They would rather serve a demon than the impertinent filth sent by the Queen," he said when he and Sebastian were alone.
Sebastian set about to preparing Ciel's "tea" by the cabinet. On the tray he brought to the desk sat the fine violet china, the soul box, silver tongs, a teaspoon, and a pressed white linen napkin. He placed the tray down and arranged the items in front of his lord. "Do you think this wise, my lord? Your family estate is very close to the capital."
Ciel opened the soul box and peered inside. Using the silver tongs, he carefully selected the largest of the four peridot shards mixed in with the other colors. He dropped it into the gently steaming cup and closed the box. He placed the tongs down and watched as the water turned the color of spring grass as the fragment of the soul dissolved. "It's safe enough for now and this will amuse me for a while." Ciel fell silent as he picked up the violet cup and sipped the childish soul. He stared out the window into the full moon. "Sebastian, go to London and find out everything you can on the old woman's 'Ciel Phantomhive' and his butler Michael. You may make a stop for food on your way home but don't be too long."
"Yes, my lord."
Ciel didn't turn around to see his butler disappear. He watched the moon and drank at the crying soul, his mind thinking of the next necessary moves this new game of chess required.
A/N: Normally I write Prince of Tennis fanfics and they tend to have an emphasis on sex between the male characters. Given my way, there will be plenty of vivid intimacy between Ciel and Sebastian. If you as readers would rather see more story than sex, speak now or forever hold your peace. I'm not saying I'd give up the sex, but I would gloss over the details in your favor. That is if the majority says story: yes, sex: no.
I hope you will enjoy this story with me.