A/N Thanks everyone for your encouragement with this chapter! And for your kinds words about my story in general. I've been really busy, so I know this chaper isn't too long, but it will give you something more to look forward to ;)

The kitchen was covered in a fine layer of white dust while his three underlings stood, frozen in the middle of the room. Sebastian glowered. "What have you all done?"

They all spoke at once, stumbling over each other as they raced toward him. They were covered in flour, he realized, curling a lip in distaste as Finnian latched onto his coat with grubby fingers. "Mr. Sebastian, I swear it was only an accident: we were all just trying to sift the flour and there was a bit of a mistake."

"Never mind," Sebastian purred, jerking his arm away and brushing off the dust. "Can I trust you all to please clean up this mess without further…incidents."

They all hustled to do as they were bid and Sebastian sighed. Now he would have to wait to prepare the young master's dessert. It would be a cranberry tart with freshly whipped cream. He flung open the window in the kitchen so the room could aerate, then stepped into the dining room to polish the silver.

He never grew tired of the same routine every day; in fact, the mundane tasks kept him focused on the present instead of his long and often torturous past. Most of the things that haunted him literally had nothing to do with the world he currently inhabited. He tried to always keep himself above guilt and pain, but that's not to say he doesn't have those feelings. He buffed a silver spoon until it gleamed, and moved on to another one. It had been almost a week since Sutcliff had bounded into the house and tried to kill him, but the memories still scalded. "That's what happens when you act selfishly: it always comes back to haunt you," he whispered. Green, impassioned eyes and silky red hair.

He slammed the spoon on the sideboard and pressed his eyes shut. He had had the dream, no the nightmare, again last night. And that mysterious feeling of contentment and peace was haunting him again. He pressed his gloved hands together and took a deep breath. Living among all these humans was very tiresome. All these useless emotions.

A bell rang. The Young Master called.

"Sebastian, why do I not have my afternoon tea?" Ciel sat rigidly in his large leather chair looking over paper work for the new German Funtom merger.

"There was a bit of a debacle in the kitchen. I apologize."

"Surely you would be able to handle a little bit of debachery." He smirked evily and folded his legs.

Sebastian soured. He was not in the mood for jokes. "Is that all you require at the moment, Young Master?"

He sighed. "Could you brew some tea, at least? All this mess," he motioned to the piles of papers, "is rather tedious."

The butler bowed and was ready to depart when Ciel spoke up once more. "Is something the matter, Sebastian?"

He froze. "What do you mean, Young Master?"

"You've been acting strangely since that shinigami came here and attacked."

His breath hitched. He had hoped Ciel would have thought nothing more about it since it happened. "I don't know what you mean, Young Master. All is well. I'll fetch your tea."

"What did you do to make Sutcliff want to kill you? Does it have anything to do with those unearthly screams I heard the other night?" His voice was innocent, that of a child, but Sebastian could tell by his tone he knew precisely what he had heard.

Sebastian shut his eyes, preparing to ignore him completely, but then he heard the boy rise up and approach him. He whirled around to meet that innocent blue eye. Perhaps the Young Master didn't know as much as Sebastian thought.

"What did you do? Did you…hurt him?"

The demon winced. "Surely you don't wish for me to explain it to you."

"What is there to explain? Did you try to kill him or something?" He tried to regain his characteristic nonchalant attitude, but his curiosity was clear.

"I had to punish him," Sebastian crooned. "He was lurking around the grounds again after I had threatened him to leave so I had to retaliate." He recalled soft white skin pressed against his, warm hands stroking, and sweet lips kissing. "He fought back however, and escaped."

Ciel looked skeptical. "Sebastian…" his expression grew increasingly nervous and he bit his lip. Such a cute, innocent child. Oh how Sebastian longed for the taste of that soul; when he would consume that boy and for a moment become one with him until the soul perished. He would always carry a piece of Ciel with him and that was a comfort. "Sebastian…tell me about…" Ciel cleared his throat, "intercourse."

Sebastian gawked, eyes wide and mouth an O. "Intercourse, Young Master?"

"Sex." He stated, swallowing hard; his façade was cracking though he tried hard to compose himself. Precious.

"What do you wish to know? The basics or a more detailed description." Sebastian couldn't help but enjoy the awkward situation, but never had he longed more to be in the kitchen. When the young master stayed silent, the demon smirked. "I will be in the kitchen repairing this disaster if you-"

"Sebastian." Young Master's voice was commanding yet tremulous. "Sit."

Pursing his lips in displeasure, Sebastian perched on the edge of a wingback chair and settled his hands in his lap. He'd never been ordered to sit before. Ciel sat in the chair opposite him and met his gaze with an uncharacteristic uncertainty. "I know 'the basics.' As you know," Ciel hissed, "Tell me what happened, Sebastian? Did you… rape Sutcliff? Because you know I understand that too."

Sebastian nearly rose to his feet in alarm. "I don't know what you mean."

"I saw you. I snuck down the hall, looked in the room, and saw you. He was screaming and you were both…." He blushed, his fingers fidgeting.

"Yes. I did." His voice was devoid of emotion. Devoid of anything. He wouldn't allow himself to fall into the trap of revealing anything. "It is none of your concern, Young Master." Sebastian decided to walk out now. He needed to tend to the kitchen, begin preparations for dinner, polish the silver, run some errands far from the manor…

"Is it always like that: cruel, painful, frightening." Ciel hugged himself, repressing a shudder. "I thought that if you…"

Sebastian remembered once more that flowing red hair and supple white skin. Completely willing, trusting, and beautiful. Those eyes transfixing him with desire and hope. His heart ached with that foreign emotion. "Yes, it is always like that. It's best you put all thoughts of…sex out of your mind, Young Master."

Ciel was crushed. His sweet, small mouth twisted in a grimace and cerulean eye squinted in disbelief. Sebastian thought it strange that the young master would still hold some hope in romance. But hadn't he had some hope last night? Hadn't Sebastian himself given into the desire to be- "That is all, Sebastian. Thank you."

With a half-hearted attempt at an evil smirk, Sebastian retreated to the kitchen immersed in thought.

Sebastian smiled warmly at the dark aromatic batter he stirred. A moist chocolate cake was just the thing to rejuvenate both his spirits and those of his young master. He would spread some raspberry jam between the layers of the cake and garnish each slice with a sprig of crushed mint. Mint always complimented chocolate nicely.

There was a knock on the kitchen window behind him. Sebastian whirled around in alarm, realizing that in his pink frilled apron he was unlikely to frighten any intruder. To his surprise, the face he saw was a familiar one.

William T. Spears had tapped the window with his long death scythe and now pushed up his glasses delicately with the same implement. Sebastian felt a kind of camaraderie with this shinigami: he felt they both had similar ideas about the vanity of their species and unlike Sutcliff, Spears could be relied upon to always act in a predictable manner.

In a flash, Sebastian had removed his apron and sprung from the window. Before he could even open his mouth in a scathing comment, a black gloved fist delivered a crunching blow across Sebastian's nose. He stumbled back, covering the blood oozing down his lip, and glared with shock at the man before him. William stood defiantly, waiting for Sebastian to fight back.

With uncharacteristic puzzlement, he sputtered, "What—What was that for?"

"Grell Sutcliff." He moved to strike again, but this time Sebastian was ready and grabbed William's arm, pinioning it behind him with bone cracking force. He tried to swing his deathscythe around for a second blow, but Sebastian caught his wrist, and held him fast. "You monster," he growled, struggling fiercely.

"What is the meaning of this assault? You shinigami truly are becoming lax in your duties. Sutcliff came here to attack me and I retaliated. Surely you know what a rogue that employee of yours is."

"You…" William menaced, "you had no right to do what you did. You…raped him. You took his trust and used him utterly! How could you-"

"Demon." Sebastian sneered, reminding the shinigami of what he already knew. Why was Mr. Spears reacting so violently to this occurrence? "Sutcliff shouldn't have trusted me in the first place. That was his mistake. I was told to defend this house and punish Sutcliffe for invading this property. Rape just so happened to be the most effective and convenient form of punishment at the time. Besides, he shouldn't take it so personally, after all-"'

At that, William wrenched his arm free and hit Sebastian hard on the head with his deathscythe. The force of the blow sent Sebastian staggering, and William proceeded to swing his scythe angrily in front of him. He flung spiteful remarks at Sebastian, but he merely ignored him and instead easily avoided the attacks and mused on such remarkable behavior for the shinigami. Never had he seen Spears so irrationally upset; could it be that he harbored some sympathetic feelings for the fiery reaper. Could it even be love? Shinigami after all were just as susceptible to that dangerous feeling as humans. He felt the keen icy blade of the scythe strike his shoulder and he chided himself for being distracted.

"Stay away from him, do you hear me? Do you understand, you filthy, monstrous demon!" Finally Spears assuaged his assault and examined his opponent's face. "You're not even capable of feeling remorse, are you?"

Sebastian felt irritation bubbling inside him. "So do you love Sutcliff."

"I am reacting to protect a member of my team. A motive you couldn't possibly understand."

"I can tell when you're lying." Sebastian sashayed toward the reaper. "Why would you lie? Do you think your feelings belie some sort of weakness? I already know your deficiencies, understand them, and I think it's foolish for you to shy away from your true nature. Face it: you are destined to fail against demons because you cannot detach from the human race. It's the same problem Sutcliffe-"

Spears strode toward Sebastian and met him half way. "Can't detach? What about you and your irrational love, because that's what it is, of your master?" Sebastian sputtered a retort, but Spears kept going. "It's natural for a demon to play with his food, but this charade just keeps going. You say you're waiting until the opportune moment, but that's laughable! You could have had him at any time. You're only telling yourself that because-"

Sebastian's eyes shone brightly for a moment as he struck the reaper, sending him flying backward. "Don't speak of what you don't know, Shinigami!" Rage crackled like electricity through Sebastian's body as he advanced on his foe.

"But I do know it; I understand it! You've lived among humans for a long time. You choose to spend your time on earth rather than in Hell. You're the only demon I know that makes it his style to live on earth pursuing this 'perfect souls.' It's a ploy to disguise your desire to remain here." Spears struggled to his feet, blood oozing down a corner of his mouth. "Don't take your frustrations out on my employees!"

The anger fizzled and Sebastian found himself thinking again about that foreign emotion of comfort, felt a smooth hand stroke his bad. He was light headed. "Be gone."

Spears stared in wide-eyes amazement. "You…you love Grell too, don't you."

Sebastian hesitated for just a moment before opening his mouth to speak.