You Will Rule The World – VII .:His Butler, That Master:.
Ah, you're out here again. I thought I might find you here.
Sebastian drew level with his young master, and Ciel Phantomhive turned to face his butler.
It's a very nice evening, isn't it, young master? I've brought you some Chamomile tea, sir, to suit the temperature today. Here – wouldn't you like to sit?
Sebastian arranged the small outdoor table and chairs for Ciel, and the boy took a seat as his butler set out the assortment of evening supper that he'd brought with him.
I thought you might like an early night tonight, my Lord – you do of course have that important business meeting first thing tomorrow with the share holders of the Eastern sector of the Funtom Company, don't forget.
The tea was poured with grace and finesse, and the small boy sipped with appreciation, a small smile on his face as he waved away Sebastian's schedule recital. Sebastian nodded courteously.
Of course. It can be left until tomorrow. Shall I have the servants prepare for bed? They've run themselves ragged today to keep the mansion running smoothly while I was out in town fetching what we needed for dinner. And if I may say so, they've done a fine job.
Ciel was hardly listening – there was a docile expression across his face, his gaze wandering across the slowly darkening Phantomhive mansion grounds. It wasn't often that he sat in silence like this, seemingly content. Sebastian knew that the boy was aware of his presence, but the child seemed incapable of forming any words for speech at that moment. The young Earl was dressed simply this evening – nothing fancy, simply one of his pressed white shirts, ties, deep blue jackets and matching shorts and knee-high socks, and brown shoes to finish the comfortable look. His hair was neatly combed, ruffled only slightly by a cool, passing breeze, and the tight knot he'd discovered in his eye patch string the other day had been expertly untied by Sebastian.
There isn't a thing troubling you tonight, is there, young master? The Underworld can wait for its Watchdog another night.
There was a sliver of moon beginning to edge around the clouds, and soon, it grew, as if proudly stepping out from behind its curtain of clouds and into the clearing night sky. A brilliant dim glow cast shadows about the garden before them, moonlight illuminating the white roses on the hedges.
How very beautiful…
'Sebastian?' Ciel had risen, and held his hand out to his butler. Sebastian glanced down, and realized what his charge wanted.
Oh master – however could I refuse? The usual smirk was replaced by a genuine, pleasantly surprised smile, and Sebastian reached down, slid his arms under Ciel's, and hefted the boy up onto his hip. Stepping down the stone steps, he began to hum, a soft, familiar song, making his master smile too. Illness be damned – whether it was a cold or something more, nothing would stop butler and master from dancing that fine night.
Setting Ciel down, Sebastian took the boys hand, and the boy rested his head against his butlers chest as they began to move together, slowly. First it was a sway, then Ciel and Sebastian stepped in unison across the finely trimmed grass of the garden.
Surely you weren't this good at dancing the last time we danced? Goodness, my Lord, I'd say you're definitely getting better at it. Of course, I suppose you and I have danced more than you and anyone else. Sebastian resisted a soft chuckle as he remembered how he could count on one hand how many times Ciel had danced with another person.
But now…maybe sometime in the near future, he would run out of fingers to count on how many times they'd danced together. And the young master seemed to be genuinely enjoying himself.
Look at our shadows, master – look at how they dance, too. Gently, he scooped his master into his arms, and took a leap over a hedge and deeper into the garden. He began to hum again, Ciel nestling into the crook of his neck. The usual words of contempt that the young master usually had to say about his butler babying him were completely absent tonight. They seemed entirely at peace.
Perhaps it is because there is no one watching, no crime to solve and no one to look down on you, young master, but perhaps you enjoy my company more than you let on?
Reaching down, Sebastian gingerly plucked a white rose from the rosebush, and settled it into Ciel's hands. The boy smiled a little, stroking one of the petals absently with a thumb. Perhaps it wasn't as suiting as a little blue flower ring, but Sebastian felt that one rose could make a world of difference.
Listen, my Lord! There's a cuckoo singing – can you hear her? Her song is the lullaby for her young ones before they sleep. Her nest must be nearby – let's not disturb her, shall we?
They headed back towards the mansion, Ciel content in Sebastian's arms and his eyelids slowly drooping to the rhythmic rise and fall of Sebastian's breathing, of Sebastian's footfall, and the gentle song his butler hummed to him. Sebastian took a careful leap back over the hedge they'd first gone over, waking Ciel slightly. Simply for his own entertainment, Sebastian danced and frolicked his way back across the grass under the light of the moon, twirling and performing perfect turns as Ciel yelped in surprise – but soon, his surprise turned to soft laughter, marvelling at how perfect a butler Sebastian was. There wasn't a thing he couldn't do.
And now, young master – Sebastian came to a slow, gentle stop at the base of the stone steps. I think it is time for you to be in bed. A big day is coming tomorrow.
But Ciel had been rocked back to sleep – and he was dozing in Sebastian's arms, not listening to a thing his butler had said. Sebastian shook his head and smiled.
There was only one call for him in the night – he had been reclining in the narrow bed in his narrow room when he'd heard his master's urgent cries. The other servants would never be able to hear such a terrified call – only Sebastian's ears picked up on the child's distress. In a flash, Sebastian had pulled his tailcoat on and was taking the steps from the servants quarters and back into the manor silently and three at a time. Seconds later, he arrived at Ciel's door in time for the boy to wake from his fitful nightmare with a startled sob. A moment after, he was at his master's side, holding him and hushing him, calming the boy as Ciel gasped for breath.
Please, young master – it's all right now. I won't let the nightmares make you unwell again. You have my solemn promise.
But Ciel wasn't satisfied – the calm, content boy from the evening before was replaced quite suddenly by the fretful child who wouldn't let go of his butler's lapels.
You're safe now, my Lord; you're awake and I am by your side. There is nothing to fear.
The boy was trembling, shuddering and drawing in heavy breaths. Sebastian made him sit up properly and to breathe deeply to avoid an asthma attack – and everything had been going so well, too. What could possibly have the child so terrified?
The he'd given Sebastian…it was like a heavy weight in Sebastian's tailcoat pocket ever since Ciel had handed it to him. Never to be read until the time was right. And Sebastian had dreaded that coming time for the past months. It wasn't just any message, however. The words inscribed upon the paper were undoubtedly gut-wrenching, and Sebastian suddenly came to the terrifying realization as to why they were so important.
My Lord…it can't be true. I've done everything possible; everything in my power. Your orders, my work…hasn't it been enough?
'S-sebastian…' Ciel's quiet voice was still shaking, but demanding, and Sebastian slowly drew the piece of paper from his pocket. It had stayed there, taken out only when he'd wash his clothes, and then it would be replaced into that same pocket, but the paper had become soft and slightly wrinkled and was tearing a little at the edges from being moved about. There were tears in his young masters eyes, and Sebastian could almost not bear to unfold the paper.
This is…this is not the end, young master. It shouldn't have to be.
Ciel took the paper from Sebastian, and read it aloud, the words slowly drifting through Sebastian's senses as if they were feathers; but as soon as they hit his heart, they fell like lead weights to the pit of his stomach. When the words finally went silent, the demon butler hardly dared to breathe, his young charge still trembling. Now was the time; to act or to speak. Very gently, Sebastian took his charge's hands into his own, holding them to his heart, the cursed piece of paper crumpled between their interlocked fingers.
Feel my heartbeat, young master. It beats to serve you and you alone. This…this confession, this conclusion, this terrible injustice that would stop your heart would most certainly see the cease of my own. And so, for the very first time, I refuse this order, these vulgar words, and I will refuse to simply take what may be rightfully mine. I have worked too hard, become far too attached, and so I will not take your soul tonight.
The look of surprise that dawned across his young masters face was exactly the reaction he'd been expecting. What he hadn't been expecting, however, was how Ciel curled his fingers all the more tightly around his own, the surprised expression replaced with a determined one, one that saw the sense in the silent words left unsaid.
'Very well, Sebastian.'
A crow sat outside the window. If it could have frowned, it would, but facial expressions were beyond the creature. Instead, it merely observed the demon and his boy from its perch on the tree branch, watching as the boy accepted the butlers defiance to end the life they shared, and the boys acceptance to continue on until the very end. The end, which was no longer fated to be on this moonlit night. The end which would come another day; when there was no more fighting the sickness, the nightmares of the darkness or the horrors of crime and injustice of the daytime. The end that would only come when there was no more hope, when there was no more energy or zeal left to fight with; it would only come when both boy and his butler were incapable of fighting side by side anymore. But so long as one thrived, the other was still able to survive, too.
Most disgruntled, the crow spread its wings and took flight as the butler settled his charge back into bed and stayed beside him for the rest of the night, singing a lullaby to help him sleep. The piece of paper was crumpled and set ablaze in the hearth by Sebastian the next morning, and he watched disdainfully as the words burned and charred to join the coals. Soon, the only visible words were still the most painful he'd ever heard before they faded away forever:
The Will and Offering of His Soul of One Ciel Phantomhive.