And here it is: the epilogue of Falling in the Rain! Disgruntled Minion and I would like to thank everyone who reviewed/faved/alerted this story. We're thrilled with how well it did, and we hope that you all enjoyed reading this story as much as we enjoyed writing it!
Also, just a quick note for those of you who read this lol. I've been trying to think of songs that match certain scenes or chapters for this story, and I was going to add the song titles to the author's notes for each chapter. If you can think of a song that would go with a scene or chapter, feel free to leave the song title and artist in a review or PM me. Thanks!
Disclaimer: Neither Disgruntled Minion nor I own Kuroshitsuji or its characters.
A frown crossed Sebastian's face as something prodded his cheek, and he shifted to the side, wanting to get away from the touch. It went away for a moment and Sebastian relaxed under the covers once more, his arms tightening around Ciel as he continued to sleep away.
Until the poking feeling returned, and Sebastian felt his leg twitch in response as annoyance started to fill his body. He didn't know what the feeling was, but it was too early in the morning to have to deal with it. And Sebastian didn't want to wake up. Not after the long, pleasure filled night he'd had with Ciel.
"Dad," came a soft whine before something tugged harshly on his hair.
The action had Sebastian's eyes snapping open, and he rolled onto his back, his eyes slowly focusing on the small figure that kneeled next to his pillow. Dark brown eyes gazed back at him, and Sebastian reached up to run his fingers though long hair.
"What's wrong?" He croaked.
"I had an accident," was the shaky answer, tears forming in brown eyes.
Sebastian blinked, feeling more awake now, and he sat up carefully, making sure the blanket still covered his lower body. His eyes trailed down, taking in the wet pajamas before he leaned forward and pressed a soft kiss to the child's skin.
"It's okay, Joyce," he murmured and wrapped his arms around her. "It happens to everyone. We'll let daddy sleep while we clean this up, okay?"
Joyce nodded and jumped off the bed, rubbing at her eyes and trying to put on a brave face even though Sebastian could see the faintest quiver on her chin. He waved her out of the room so he could get dressed and waited until she was gone before slipping from bed.
Ciel shivered as the warm body next to him vanished, and a blue eye peeked open. "Sebastian?" Ciel murmured drowsily. "Something wrong?"
Sebastian shook his head. "Nothing, go back to sleep," he answered and leaned over to press a kiss to Ciel's temple. He shifted the blankets up higher to keep Ciel warm before padding out of the room and down the hall. After last night, the only thing Ciel would want to do was sleep all day, and Sebastian could handle their daughter.
He found her standing in her room, clutching a stuffed toy to her chest as she tried to keep from crying. She had been doing well since they had adopted her, and it was her first accident since leaving the orphanage.
"Let's get you cleaned up first," Sebastian stated. "Maybe a bubble bath?" He suggested.
Brown eyes lit up at the suggestion, and the toy was set to the side as she reached for his hand. Sebastian gave it a small squeeze as they walked down the hallway and into the bathroom. The water was turned on, and the tub slowly filled up as Joyce grabbed the bottle she wanted before passing it off to him.
"Will you stay?" She asked as Sebastian started to take off her night clothes. There was a small hint of worry and fear in her eyes that she would be taken back to the orphanage because of the accident.
The clothes were set in the sink, and the water was turned off. "I'll stay," Sebastian answered, helping her into the tub. He reached forward and tickled her sides, making her giggle in delight. "And maybe we can play with the dinos?"
"Yes!" Joyce said happily and leaned over the tub to grab the bucket of toys. A dinosaur was pulled out and pushed into Sebastian's hand before Joyce grabbed one for herself. It was set on the edge of the tub, and she looked at Sebastian. "Rawr," she said seriously.
Sebastian chuckled, finding his daughter's antics amusing. Instead of dolls and ponies, Joyce was into dinosaurs and action figures, a true tomboy at heart. She had been teased for it at the orphanage, but Sebastian had been drawn to the different attitude, and he hoped that she would keep it even as she grew.
She was the only girl for him (just as Soot was the only female feline for him), and Sebastian adored the child, even though she had only been with them for less than a year. She was his, just as Ciel was his, and Sebastian wouldn't have it any other way.
It was nine in the morning by the time Ciel rolled out of bed, his body protesting every little movement. He grimaced, a few choice words slipping from his lips. He could tell that it was going to be a rough day, with Joyce wondering why daddy wouldn't join her in playing on the floor.
With a sigh, Ciel walked into the bathroom and turned on the water for a quick hot shower to relieve the tense muscles. The spray felt good on his body, and he stood there for a few extra minutes, eyes closed as he enjoyed the feeling. He then turned the water off and grabbed a towel, quickly drying off and getting dressed.
Ciel made his way downstairs, where he knew his family to be. He smiled at the use of that word. He had a family to call his own now, and he loved them so much. Leaning against the doorway, he watched Sebastian pick Joyce up and hold her upside down, much to her delight if her squeals were any indication. He stood there silently, content to just observe for the moment.
It was Joyce who noticed him first, and she wiggled in Sebastian's grip. "Daddy's up! Daddy's up!" She yelled.
Sebastian glanced up, noting Ciel standing in the door and he smiled slightly. "So he is," he murmured, swinging her to the side. "Should I let you down though?" He questioned, still swinging her back and forth as though he was contemplating the thought.
Joyce giggled. "Let me see daddy! I have to tell him good morning." She laughed louder when Sebastian reached down and tickled her, squirming and kicking her legs in an attempt to escape.
Ciel frowned slightly. He always got nervous whenever Sebastian played with Joyce like this. He was afraid of something happening to her, and he couldn't stand that thought. Stepping forward, he smiled. "Good morning, honey. How are you?"
"I'm good," she chirped happily, her face flushed. She laughed as she was flipped right side up, and she stumbled forward to Ciel so she could toss her arms around him. "Morning, daddy," she murmured, pressing a soft kiss to his cheek.
"Morning," Ciel replied with a kiss of his own before ruffling her hair slightly. "Did you sleep okay last night?" He hoped that he and Sebastian had managed to keep their lovemaking quiet enough so as not to disturb Joyce. The first time that had happened, Joyce hadn't been able to sleep for a few nights after, convinced that there were monsters inhabiting the house.
She nodded her head, glancing over her shoulder to look at Sebastian. Her dad winked at her, and Joyce turned back to Ciel with a large smile. "I slept great," she answered, knowing that the accident was her little secret with her dad. "But I'm hungry now."
Sebastian chuckled. "Then let's make something real quick before I have to go to work. What are you in the mood for, sweet pea?"
Joyce frowned thoughtfully. "Chocolate chip pancakes?" She asked hopefully, big brown eyes staring at Sebastian.
"I second that," Ciel piped up, raising his hand with a smirk.
"Now why should I make you something?" Sebastian teased Ciel, his eyes dancing with amusement as he started to grab the ingredients he needed. "You're more than capable of making them yourself. You're an adult."
"That may be true, but you know how inept I am when it comes to cooking. I would just end up burning the house down, and that wouldn't be any good." Ciel crossed over to Sebastian, kissing his cheek. "Besides, I adore seeing you in that 'kiss the cook' apron," he said with a wink.
Sebastian smirked. "I'm sure you do," he answered and started to mix everything together. The pan was heated up, and the batter was poured into a dinosaur shaped mold for Joyce with a few extra chocolate chips tossed in. Sebastian would never admit it aloud, but he spoiled their daughter at times because she was his pride and joy. Who wouldn't want to spoil that adorable face?
Joyce watched her dad work from where she sat, bouncing in her seat. Like her daddy, she had a sweet tooth and they were hard pressed to keep sweets away from her, not wanting her teeth to rot. There were special times when she was allowed to have sugary foods, and Joyce often complained that it wasn't fair because daddy got to eat as many sweets as he wanted.
Ciel glanced at Sebastian. "Are you eating with us?" He asked as he reached for the plates.
A low hum left Sebastian's mouth. "If I have time. But I still need to shower and get ready for work. I have a meeting this morning, and I can't be late to it." A pancake was placed on the plate, and Sebastian turned back to the stove. "But I'll be back for sure tonight for dinner so we can all eat together."
Ciel nodded and pulled out an extra plate just in case. Before they had adopted Joyce, Ciel had made sure that Sebastian was willing to sacrifice some of his time to help raise her. He didn't want their relationship to end up like his parents' had, with both of them hardly seeing each other.
A twinge of pain flared up inside of him, and he sucked in a sharp breath. Although it had been six years since he'd been disowned, it still stung at times to think that his father didn't love him anymore. And that was why, Ciel decided, he was going to make sure that he always accepted Joyce, no matter what decisions she made in life.
"Table's set," Ciel informed Sebastian, with just the slightest tremor in his voice.
Sebastian glanced up at the tone, catching it easily. They had been living together for six years now, and Sebastian knew Ciel far too well to know when the younger male was hurting. He moved the pan off the hot burner and placed the bowls in the sink before moving towards the table.
"If you wash the dishes for me, I'll have time to eat with you," he stated, kissing Ciel's temple and trying to soothe whatever was on Ciel's mind.
Ciel smiled. "Sounds good." He sneaked a glance at Joyce, who was preoccupied in playing with Soot, then casually gave Sebastian's ass a pat as he walked by. He couldn't stop the smirk that spread across his face as he looked back at Sebastian.
Sebastian smirked. "Be careful who you tempt," he teased as he reached for a small pancake and set it on his plate. It was covered with butter and syrup before a piece was cut up. He chewed thoughtfully as he watched Joyce dig into her own dino shaped pancake, letting Soot go.
The cat bounded away to his side and curled up against him, happy to be some place quiet and safe. Soot enjoyed playing with the child, but syrup in her fur was something she didn't want right now.
Ciel merely hummed in reply, taking a pancake for himself. He listened to Joyce chatter about what she was going to do during the day and shook his head with a smile. The five year old girl brought laughter and joy to their household, and even though it wasn't always easy raising her, Ciel wouldn't have it any other way.
"What do you have to do at work today?" Ciel questioned Sebastian when Joyce paused to take a bite.
"I have a meeting this morning with some clients, and then I'll start planning everything once they leave. They're a little...high maintenance," Sebastian said and rolled his eyes slightly. "But I've already smoothed out most of what they need and want, so I'm hoping the meeting will go smoothly. No matter what, I'll be home for dinner though." He finished, wanting to make sure that Ciel knew that.
It was a challenge to balance work and family, and there were some times when Sebastian had to work late in order to finish a project. But he always made it up later in the week by spending that time with Ciel and Joyce. He knew how Ciel had been brought up and how his father had treated him, and having no parents of his own, Sebastian wanted to give Joyce a better childhood then they both had.
Ciel nodded and finished his pancake. "Sounds good. Hope everything goes well for you." While Ciel still had his job at the catering company, he worked from home most of the time. Occasionally, he had to go the shop for something, but even then Joyce went with him. He refused to put her in a day care, no matter how convenient it might be. He was her father, and he was going to be the one to raise her.
Standing up, he took his plate to the sink and rinsed it with water to prevent the syrup from sticking until he washed it. He looked back at the table in time to see Joyce grabbing another pancake, and he frowned. "Finish that one, and then that's enough. You're going to get sick if you eat too much."
"But they're good," Joyce whined, sticking her lower lip out as far as it could go, and crossed her arms.
"Listen to your daddy," Sebastian said and gave her a quick kiss before standing up. He needed to shower and get dressed so he could make it to the meeting on time. If he had his way, Sebastian would stop working to spend more time with his daughter, but bills needed to be paid, and a little time away from Joyce made returning to her and Ciel that much nicer.
"Okay," she grumbled. Quickly, she finished up the food and took her plate over to Ciel, who thanked her. She then skipped off to the living room to play with her dinosaurs, and soon growls and roars could be heard.
Ciel chuckled, shaking his head. "Never a dull moment with her. You taking your shower now?" He asked.
Sebastian nodded and placed his plate in the sink. "Yeah, I'll be back down in a bit. Think about what you want for dinner tonight," he said and moved into the hallway. He missed being able to have Ciel with him at work but found that the time apart was also good for them. If they constantly saw each other, there was nothing to talk about when they came home.
Ciel quickly washed, dried, and put away the dishes, then made his way to the living room and sat on the couch. If there was one thing he missed, it was the freedom to join Sebastian in the shower. But with Joyce, the two had had to cut down a lot on their sex life. There had been several times when Joyce had almost walked in on them having sex, but thanks to quick thinking, they'd been able to avert disaster.
He soon became preoccupied with watching Joyce play in her own little world, a satisfied smile on his face. He couldn't imagine life without her and Sebastian, and he reveled in the fact that he had a family - a real family - to call his own. One that loved each other unconditionally and didn't care who you were or how much influence you had or what your last name was. Ciel hummed softly, twisting the gold band that rested on his left ring finger. The name Michaelis was quickly becoming synonymous with the best catering one could ask for, and Ciel was proud to have that name as his own, as well.
Sebastian padded into the living room, struggling with his tie while a toothbrush poked out of his mouth. He was running late on time, and would have to leave as soon as he finished brushing. "Can you fix the noose around my neck?" He asked, scowling at the thing. He hated wearing ties and only wore them when he needed to.
Ciel laughed and crossed over to where Sebastian stood. "You never have been able to do this." He deftly tied the tie, then pulled on it to bring Sebastian closer. Eyeing him, Ciel frowned. "I can't kiss you with that toothbrush in your mouth."
The toothbrush was removed and Sebastian leaned forward to capture Ciel's lips, giving him a proper, if not slightly foamy, kiss of the morning. They had shared plenty the night before, but Sebastian always enjoyed giving them to Ciel. "How's that?" He asked when they parted.
"Better," Ciel replied, but didn't release him. Instead, he leaned up to whisper in his ear. "You know, that noose reminds me of a leash, so I guess that makes you my bitch."
Sebastian shivered at the words. "Don't start something that we can't finish," he murmured. "No matter how good it sounds. Perhaps a rain check, though."
"Mm. I'll call you when you're on your lunch break and Joyce is napping," Ciel murmured before dancing out of reach from Sebastian's grasp, laughing lightly. "Now go finish getting ready, or there will be no chance of you leaving this house at all today."
"Tease," Sebastian answered as he moved to the kitchen. There was no need to go back to the bathroom when he just needed to finish brushing. He spit in the sink and set the toothbrush to the side before walking towards the door. "Time for me to go," he called and grunted as Joyce tackled him.
She gazed up at him with brown eyes. "Have a good day at work, dad." She reached up and gestured him closer. "And bring me back something sweet." She grinned widely at him before giving him a peck on the cheek.
Ciel joined them and scooped Joyce into his arms, settling her on his hip. "Have a good day, Sebastian." He tilted his head for a kiss, mindful to keep it simple with their daughter so close by. There was just a quick flick of his tongue at Sebastian's lips, just enough to give him a taste of what was to come that night.
"Yuck," Joyce stuck her tongue out and squeezed her eyes closed. "That's gross."
"You'll think differently when you're older, Joyce," Ciel replied, then added, "But not until you're at least thirty."
She shook her head. "Nah-uh. I'll never think so. Boys are icky, and only dinosaurs are cool. I wanna marry Alexander," she stated, referring to the plush dino that rested on the living room floor.
Sebastian chuckled. "I'm fine with that for now. Don't want you to grow up too fast," he answered and gave Ciel one last kiss. "Have a good day."
"You, too. Love you." Ciel followed Sebastian outside so they could wave goodbye. The warm spring air brushed over them, and he smiled. Now that the weather was getting nicer, they could start doing more things outside together.
"Bye, dad!" Joyce hollered, frantically waving her arms.
"Joyce, why don't you wait until he's in his car before you do that?" Ciel said, chuckling at her antics.
Sebastian gave a wave after he shut the car door and carefully backed the car down the driveway. He waved one last time before heading down the road so he could make it on time to work. The faster he made it there, the quicker he would be able to come home.
Joyce let out a heavy sigh and slumped in Ciel's arms. "I miss him already."
"I do, too," Ciel said softly. "Come on. Let's go back inside, and you can play with Alexander some more while I do some work."
"Okay," she chirped, squirming to get down. Once her feet were safely on the ground, she took off running towards the living room and her beloved dinosaur.
Ciel sat down with his laptop and pulled up the file he'd been working on. Scrutinizing what he had finished so far, he plotted what he wanted to do next and set to work.
Fifteen minutes later, the doorbell rang, and Ciel looked up. They rarely had company, and as far as he knew, they weren't expecting any deliveries. Probably just some salesman trying to sell something. With a heavy sigh, he rose and crossed over to the door. He unlocked it and opened it enough to see who was on the doorstep, and he froze.
Tired eyes gazed at Ciel and the figure cleared his throat, looking slightly awkward. "Hello, Ciel," the man murmured and shoved his hands in his pockets. A quick glance was given over his shoulder to make sure Sebastian was gone before speaking again. "Do you mind if I come in? I'd like to talk."
Now you want to talk, was what Ciel wanted to say to Vincent, but he bit his tongue and only opened the door wider. "We can talk in the kitchen," he said with a sideways glance at the living room. He could still hear Joyce talking to herself, and he hoped that Vincent would think enough to keep his voice down. Ciel didn't want Joyce to get scared.
He pointed the way for Vincent, and when the man's back was turned, he pulled out his phone and typed out a simple message for Sebastian. It consisted of one word, Vincent, but Ciel knew that the red-eyed man would understand.
The younger male motioned for Vincent to have a seat, but remained standing, on the defensive in case something should happen. "...You said you wanted to talk?"
"I did," Vincent answered and looked uncomfortable standing in the kitchen. Dark bags rested under his eyes, and his shoulders lost their proud stance. "How are you doing?" He asked, trying to keep things simple for now.
"I'm doing well," Ciel replied carefully. "I work for Sebastian as his marketing advisor. How are you?" Sharp blue eyes noted that Vincent looked old and tired, and he wondered just how little rest the man had gotten without Ciel there to carry some of the burden of Funtom Company.
Vincent nodded. "That's good," he answered and rubbed his arm. "I'm glad to hear that you found a job and seem to be doing well for yourself. I heard that you married a few years back, to that man, Sebastian if I'm correct?"
"Yeah, we got married." Ciel fingered the ring, a soft smile on his face as he glanced down. It was a fond memory, one that he thought of often. "One of the best decisions of my life," he said quietly.
"You're sure about that?" Vincent asked. "You don't think he's going to leave you in a few years down the road? You've only been married for a short time, you know." He sat down in a chair, feeling tired and worn out.
Ciel gave him a sharp look. "Sebastian spent ten years of his life waiting for me to realize that I belonged with him. I don't think he would have done that unless he really loved me. So I don't want to hear you saying shit like that about my husband." His blue eyes flashed, and his tone was even with just the faintest hint of a sharp edge.
Vincent grunted but backed down from the fight without another word. "I didn't come here to fight, Ciel," he said, holding his hands up to show that he came in peace. "I just wanted to talk. It's been a while since I've seen you and I know that's my fault."
Taking a deep breath, Ciel tried to remain calm. He glanced quickly at the front door, wishing that Sebastian were there already. Being alone with Vincent was making him nervous, even if he did say he came in peace. "Six years. It's been six years." He closed his eyes as he tried not to show how much it had affected him. He couldn't afford to be seen as weak in front of him. "How's Mom?"
"Missing you," Vincent answered and looked away, knowing that it was his fault as well. He shifted in his chair, trying to figure out his next words. "I won't say I'm sorry. At the time, I did what I thought was right, and I know that even now, saying those words won't change anything."
Ciel clenched his fists. With seeing Vincent again after so long, it was like ripping a scab off. The resentment and hurt and anger all returned with a vengeance, and it was all he could do to not lash out. "Damn right it won't," he muttered. "So if you didn't come here to say you were sorry, then what exactly did you come for?"
Vincent shifted. "To see how you were doing," he admitted quietly. "I can admit that I've made mistakes in the past, but I'm too stubborn to say sorry just yet. Not that you want to hear that anyway. But I've had plenty of time to think about everything in the past few years and well...you're my son. I still care about you."
Pausing, Ciel studied his father. He seemed to be sincere in what he said, but he wasn't sure if he should believe him or not. "Forgive me if I have a hard time believing that statement. After all, you were the one who disowned me," he said bitterly.
"I know," Vincent said and looked away. "I did what I felt was right at the time, even though I knew it was wrong. I just had a hard time accepting everything, and I had hoped that things would be better if I couldn't see the problem."
"'Problem'? And what exactly was the problem?" Ciel crossed his arms, eyes staring Vincent down. "The fact that I'm gay?"
Vincent closed his eyes, trying to figure out his words. "Everything, Ciel. Everything was the problem. I like having control, and you shattered it just like that." He snapped his finger for emphasis. "Do you know what it's like to find out that everything you thought was true was actually just a lie?"
"Maybe if you'd been a real father, I wouldn't have had to lie to you," Ciel shot back angrily. "But no. You were so concerned and obsessed with your reputation that I couldn't confide in you! How do you think I felt knowing that my father cared nothing for me? That he wouldn't even hesitate to disown me?"
A small flinch went through Vincent but he didn't back down. "I regretted my choice at the time, Ciel, I truly did. It killed me to see your mother in so much pain, but I had hoped that it would make you see sense. I know it was wrong." He ran a hand over his face. "It's not easy to admit to yourself or anyone else that you weren't the best parent ever."
Ciel raked a hand through his hair, obviously agitated. Where the hell was Sebastian? "Well you definitely didn't win father of the year," he muttered darkly. "So you were just hoping that I would once again drop Sebastian for you, to live under your shadow and be controlled by you for the rest of my life." Here he shook his head. "I should have left long before then, but I didn't because I was living my life for you."
Taking a deep breath, he continued, "But now I'm free. I can make my own choices. I can be my own person, regardless of what other people think of me. And you know what? Most people accept me, even those who recognize me as the Phantomhive heir. And the ones who don't? I don't give a fuck what they think, because I am finally being true to myself and not lying about who I really am!"
The whimper was quiet, but Ciel heard it clearly. Regret washed over his expression as he realized that he'd been raising his voice as he'd been talking. He quickly turned to the doorway and knelt in front of Joyce. "Yes, honey?"
Big brown eyes welled with tears, and she sobbed, "I'm scared. Are you mad?"
Ciel pulled her into his arms and hugged her close. "No, I'm not mad. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." He rocked her gently back and forth, resting his chin on the top of her head, and gave a sideways glance towards Vincent warning him not to continue the conversation just yet.
Vincent opened his mouth to question what a child was doing in the house, let alone one that had called Ciel 'daddy,' but was interrupted by the door flinging open. His eyes settled on Sebastian and was unsurprised to see crimson eyes narrowed. They filled with anger at the sight of him, but it passed as Sebastian turned his attention towards Ciel instead, choosing to focus on him.
"You okay?" Sebastian murmured, drawing both Ciel and Joyce into an embrace. Tears still trickled down Joyce's face, and Ciel was tense in his arms. They were Sebastian's main concern, and he was content to ignore Vincent for now.
Ciel gave a curt nod and leaned against Sebastian, drawing strength from him. He was trembling slightly, and he toyed with the idea of having Sebastian throw Vincent out the door. Before he could get a word out, though, Joyce was speaking.
"Daddy owes me two dollars, dad," she whispered. "He said a bad word."
Sebastian leaned back to look at the little girl, an amused smile flickering across his lips to help ease the fear in her eyes. "Is that so?" He questioned and pressed a soft kiss to her forehead. "Then we'll make sure he pays you later tonight, okay?"
She nodded and looked over Sebastian. "Did you bring me a sweet, dad?" She asked, leaning forward in hopes of getting something special from Sebastian.
"Not yet, sweet pea," Sebastian said, tapping her lightly on the nose. "You have to wait just a little bit longer."
Joyce pouted, but nodded. "Okay." Twisting in his arms, she stared at Vincent. "Who's he?"
"That's someone daddy used to know a long time ago," Ciel replied softly, running his fingers through soft brown curls to soothe her. He made a move to stand up, but halted when Joyce tugged on his arm.
"Daddy, is he being mean to you?" She asked in a loud whisper. "Does he need to have a time-out?"
Ciel tried to stifle a laugh, but failed. "He's a little too old for time-outs, honey. And he's not being mean. He and I are just having a...discussion, okay? You don't have to worry," he assured her.
Joyce didn't look convinced, but her thoughts were pushed to the side her dad picked her up and spun her around, making her giggle. She was settled on his back, and she looped her arms around Sebastian's neck before gazing at Vincent.
"Is she...?" Vincent breathed and went to take a step forward but was stopped by a cold glare from Sebastian.
"She's our daughter," Ciel stated proudly, chin held high. His blue eyes shone, and a smile bloomed on his face. "We adopted her last year." He watched Vincent as he stared at Joyce, obviously wanting to move closer but unable to due to Sebastian.
"She's beautiful," Vincent spoke.
Sebastian tightened his grip around Joyce. "She's ours," he stated, wanting Vincent to know right away that she wasn't going to fall into his clutches. Joyce wasn't going to become another child for Vincent to brainwash.
Vincent stepped back, allowing them space. He could tell that Sebastian was protective of her, and at sixty-two, Vincent wasn't as young as he used to be. So he wisely kept his distance. "I'm sure you'll be wonderful parents."
Cruel words were on the tip of his tongue, but Sebastian swallowed them for the sake of their daughter. She didn't deserve to hear his anger, and Sebastian calmed himself down. "Thank you," he said simply, taking the proper and mature route no matter how much he wanted to shove his fist in the man's face. "We love her very much."
The tension in the air was thick, and Ciel was at a loss as to what to do. Part of him wanted to ask Vincent to leave, but the other part wanted him to stay. Glancing at Sebastian, he caught his eye and inclined his head, silently asking if they should move into the living room.
Sebastian sighed slightly, knowing that look, and he gestured to the living room. "We should go sit down," he stated, even though it was the furthest thing he wanted to do at the moment. Even after all the years, Sebastian still couldn't stand Vincent and having him in his house rubbed him the wrong way.
"Joyce, honey, why don't you take Alexander and play in your room," Ciel suggested.
She pouted, clearly wanting to stay with the stranger who seemed to be intrigued by her, but relented. "Okay." She wiggled out of Sebastian's arms and, with one final glance at Vincent, skipped off.
Once Ciel heard her running up the stairs, he murmured, "Let's go." The three men moved into the living room and settled into their seats. Ciel and Sebastian took the couch while Vincent chose a chair across from them. Ciel leaned his head against Sebastian's shoulder, not caring if Vincent disapproved. He had no sway over Ciel anymore. "Anything you care to say?" Ciel questioned him.
"I know I do, if you choose not to say anything," Sebastian said coldly. Now that Joyce was out of the room, the anger that had been burning low in his stomach was a roaring flame that was ready to leap at Vincent in a moment's notice.
Vincent held up his hand. "I have plenty to say, thank you." He watched as Sebastian huffed but didn't say anything against him, choosing instead to let him talk. "I will not interfere with the way you two decide to raise your daughter. She's yours and not mine, therefore I have no right to stake a claim to such a thing."
Ciel nodded. "Joyce is a Michaelis, not a Phantomhive. Legally, she's not even your granddaughter." He paused, lacing his fingers with Sebastian's, before saying quietly, "I'm not even sure I want you anywhere near her. I'm afraid you'll end up poisoning her, like I was for so long."
A small flinch worked its way through Vincent's body. "So you took his last name instead of keeping your own." It was hard to believe that Ciel would do something like that, but in the end, Vincent supposed that he hadn't left Ciel with much choice. But he had always assumed that Ciel would still keep his name out of honor at the most.
"Give me one reason why I should have kept the last name of the man who disowned me," Ciel spat, blue eyes hard and cold. "All that damn name ever did for me was hold me back, preventing me from being who I am. Ever since I was young, I was told to always remember that I was a Phantomhive. I had to act the way a Phantomhive would act, talk the way they would talk, and live the way they would live."
Ciel turned his gaze to Sebastian and smiled. "Then Sebastian came along. For the longest time, I resisted what I felt towards him, because I knew you wouldn't approve. Then I couldn't take it anymore, and I finally acknowledged the fact that I liked him." He returned to looking at Vincent. "Sebastian taught me things you never did. He taught me how to love and how to live. I love Sebastian, and I can't imagine one day without him by my side. He's always been by my side, and that's more than I can say about you."
Sebastian hummed and turned his head to nuzzle the side of Ciel's face. "And I will always stay by your side for as long as I can," he murmured. There would be things that would keep him away from Ciel, but Sebastian would never willingly leave the younger male.
Vincent watched the exchange silently, feeling a mix of relief and despair at the sight. He was happy that Ciel had found someone who cared about him so strongly but at the same time, a part of him was upset to have missed out on those times in Ciel's life. "You two truly care for each other," he said softly.
"We're in love," Ciel stated simply. "We accept each other regardless of what happens. More so in Sebastian's case than mine, since I left him twice just to uphold the Phantomhive name and honor." Regret tinged his tone, and he lowered his eyes to stare at the floor. Even though many years had passed and Sebastian had forgiven him, Ciel still felt guilty for having treated Sebastian so wrongly.
Sebastian gave Ciel's hand a small squeeze, silently letting him know that everything was still okay. "I still love you no matter what," he whispered against Ciel's ear. "Never doubt that at all."
Ciel tilted his head to the side and brushed his lips against Sebastian's. "I know. But even if you didn't love me, it's too bad. You're stuck with me now," he said with an impish grin and a chuckle.
Vincent looked away, feeling awkward as he witnessed an intimate moment between them and noticing that the two of them were in their own little world. The way they were acting reminded him of when he and Rachel had first been married. It made Vincent wonder if maybe he truly had been wrong all those years ago about Ciel and Sebastian. Able to see the two of them together like this was eye-opening, and it allowed him to see that they really did love each other, as Ciel had said.
A small squeeze was given to Ciel's hand, and if Vincent hadn't been sitting there, Sebastian would've done something inappropriate. As it was, he had to restrain himself and turned his attention back to Vincent. "Is there any other reason why you're here? Other than to see how Ciel was doing and secretly hoping that his life was miserable without you?" He asked coolly.
"I may have disowned Ciel, but that doesn't mean I stopped caring about him," Vincent replied with a frown. "As I've said before, I did what I thought was right. Perhaps I was hoping that he'd be miserable with you and come back to his family. Apparently, though, I was mistaken. You two are married and have a daughter, and Ciel has shown no indication that he would like to come back."
Sebastian's eyes narrowed slightly and he felt a brief flash of fear race through his body. "Are you offering Ciel the chance to come back?" He asked, his voice calm and steady despite the emotions he was feeling. Even if the chance was offered, Ciel wouldn't leave him and Joyce, that much Sebastian knew.
Ciel gripped Sebastian's hand tightly, hardly breathing. What had Vincent meant by that? He felt Sebastian stiffen slightly and brushed his thumb against his skin in an attempt to soothe whatever was on his mind.
Vincent paused, debating his next words as he scrutinized the two other males. "I'm not getting any younger," he finally said. "Rachel had difficulties getting pregnant, and we were both almost thirty when Ciel was born. After that, the doctor said not to have any more children. We could adopt another child for an heir, but Rachel is adamant that Ciel is her only child, and no one can replace him. Besides, I'd rather have Phantomhive blood be the head of Funtom Company."
"So what are you saying, exactly?" Ciel asked slowly.
"That I would like Ciel back in the family," Vincent answered, his gaze on Ciel. "Your mother has missed you greatly, and I know she came to visit once or twice, but that doesn't make up for all the lost time to her."
"You're going to accept me back?" For a moment, a feeling of hope spread through Ciel, and he sat up straighter, intently staring back at Vincent. This was what he had never allowed himself to dream of. He'd told himself countless times that he was no longer a Phantomhive and would never be one again. But now, Vincent was offering him another chance, and second chances were hard to come by.
Second chances. Ciel felt as though the breath had been knocked from his lungs as he deflated. Sebastian had given him a second chance, and a third chance. There was no way in hell that Ciel was walking away from him again. "What about Sebastian?" He inquired.
Vincent paused and looked at Sebastian. Cold crimson eyes glared back at him, daring him to split up their family, and Vincent swallowed. He knew now that he couldn't tear Ciel away from Sebastian no matter how much he wanted the man out of the picture. But if Vincent wanted Ciel back, then Sebastian would have to be included.
"Sebastian is welcome as well," Vincent answered, forcing a small smile on his face.
Ciel gave a slow nod. He could tell that Vincent was still reluctant to have Sebastian around, but at least he hadn't left him out. Closing his eyes, Ciel thought about his options. He could go back to Funtom Company and take over for Vincent. Being in charge of the family business had been something that Ciel had dreamed about for so long, and now it was within his grasp once more. All he had to do was reach out and accept it.
However, running a business was not an easy job. It took time and energy, and one had to work long hours at times just to keep everything running smoothly. If Ciel were to take the position, then he and Sebastian would have no choice but to put Joyce in day care. Not to mention, Funtom Company headquarters was in England. Of course, Ciel could always change the location to New York, but a lot of the trusted people who worked for them lived in England. There was no way Sebastian would leave New York, especially since Simply Divine was prospering here.
Two paths lay before Ciel, but he hardly had to debate which one to choose. He knew what he wanted.
"I'm afraid I have to decline."
Sebastian blinked and looked surprised, as did Vincent. Returning home and back to Funtom was something Ciel had secretly been hoping for, even if he never said it outright. And now that the chance was there before him, with everything Ciel could hope for, he was turning it down. Sebastian's heart pounded painfully against his chest as he swallowed and turned to look at Ciel.
"Are you sure?" He murmured. "It's what you wanted for so long." Wasn't there a saying that if you loved someone or something, you should let them go? Would it be for the best to let Ciel go and have what he wanted, even if Sebastian had to lie through his teeth that it was okay?
"I'm sure. I'd love to accept, I really would. And maybe once I would have." The blue-eyed male took a deep breath. "But now, I have other things that need my attention. I have my husband and my daughter. I can't - I won't - leave either of them behind." Ciel spread his arms out, encompassing the room. "This is my life now. This is where I belong now." Unshed tears sparkled in his eyes as he spoke the words. There was a part deep inside of him that cried out for him to take the offer, but he refused to bow to its wishes. Sebastian and Joyce needed him, and he was not going to abandon them just to follow some dream he'd had years ago.
Sebastian's hand tightened around Ciel's at the words and he felt his heart clench, happy to hear that Ciel was turning down the offer. It meant that Ciel was content with his life now and didn't want to change anything they had. He tilted his head to the side and pressed a kiss to Ciel's temple. "Thank you," he murmured.
"I'm offering you a chance back, Ciel," Vincent said, even though he could already see that Ciel was set in his ways. "Are you sure that this what you truly want?"
"I'm positive. Thanks for the offer, but this is more important to me now." Ciel smiled brightly, a peaceful expression on his face. There was no turning back, but he didn't care. He had Sebastian and Joyce. There was nothing else that he needed.
Vincent swallowed. "Your mother will miss you," he said softly.
Sebastian clicked his tongue. "We can always visit, just as she can always visit as well. Just because Ciel didn't accept your offer doesn't mean that she still can't see him."
"I would love to visit Mom," Ciel replied softly. "And I'm sure she'd like to meet Joyce." He chuckled. "We had better be careful, Sebastian, or she's going to end up being even more spoiled than she is now."
"So long as she doesn't try to put a frilly dress on Joyce I think she'll be fine," Sebastian answered, remembering the day they brought their daughter home. The orphanage had tried to dress Joyce in a dress so she looked cute for the trip home. The dress was left at the orphanage in rags, and Sebastian had carried her out of the building wrapped in a blanket while Joyce giggled the whole way. And Sebastian had smirked the whole drive home.
Ciel smiled. "We could probably take a vacation to England sometime this year. I think it would be a nice surprise for Mom." He glanced at Sebastian out of the corner of his eye, waiting for his approval.
Sebastian hummed. "I don't have a problem with it. I just need to look at my schedule to find the best time that I can take off. I'd prefer to go for longer than a few weeks, so I'll have to shuffle things around to best fit that."
Vincent nodded. "Just let me know when you decide, and I'll be sure to keep our schedules clear. She'll know that something is going on, but she won't know what exactly." The clock on the wall chimed eleven, and he blinked. "I have a lunch meeting in an hour that I need to prepare for, so I best be going." Standing up, he hesitated. "It was good to see you again, Ciel."
"Same here," Ciel replied as he also stood. He and Vincent shuffled their feet awkwardly before Ciel extended his hand. "Thank you for accepting us."
Sebastian watched from the couch, but didn't bother to stand up or offer his hand in a handshake. He wasn't there yet with Vincent, and it would be a while before he was able to stomach the man. But for Ciel's sake, Sebastian would force a smile.
Vincent gave a polite nod to Sebastian. "Take care of Ciel," he said, the words sounding strange coming off his tongue. He then walked over to the door, Ciel trailing behind, and waved goodbye one last time before heading down the street to where he'd parked his car.
Ciel leaned against the doorpost, watching him leave. He was still in shock over what had transpired during the visit. The two things he was most excited about was his father accepting Sebastian, albeit somewhat reluctantly, and that he could go see his mom once more. A grin spread across his face, and he had to fight the urge to dance in place. He couldn't stop himself from lightly bouncing on his feet, though.
As soon as the care was gone, Sebastian slumped against the wall and ran a hand over his face. "Finally. I thought he would never leave," he murmured. The man put him on the edge even though everything was fine between them. Old habits died hard.
Ciel whirled around. "Sebastian," he breathed, "can you believe what just happened? Vincent... He just came here, and..." He found that he could say no more, as his words were all jumbled together. Without warning, he pressed Sebastian against the wall and smiled up at him. "Hey, you know what?" He murmured, nipping at his ear.
"What?" Sebastian asked curiously and looked down at Ciel, wondering what had gotten him in such a good mood; other than the fact that Vincent had just left. That alone was enough reason for Sebastian to be in a good mood.
"I love you," Ciel replied huskily, placing small kisses along Sebastian's jaw.
A low hum left Sebastian's mouth, and he tilted Ciel's chin up to capture his lips in a deep kiss. His hands cupped Ciel's cheeks, his thumbs running against the skin until they broke apart. "I love you, too."
Ciel sighed and rested his head against Sebastian's chest. "That was entirely unexpected, but it turned out better than I thought it would. Thank you for being there for me. I really appreciated your support."
"I'm always there for you," Sebastian answered and glanced out the door as the sun vanished behind the clouds. "But if you want me home in time for dinner, I need to get going. Claude is covering for me now."
"Okay. I'll walk you to your car," Ciel offered, lacing their fingers together and squeezing gently. The two slowly walked outside, where a light rain had begun to fall. Ciel glanced up at the sky and chuckled. "Rain again."
Sebastian smirked. "Always rain," he stated and brought Ciel's hand up to his lips, pressing a soft kiss to the back. "Rain always seems to bring us together," he murmured.
Ciel tilted his head, considering Sebastian's statement. "You're right," he whispered. "So perhaps our song should be "Singing in the Rain"?" He laughed, leaning up to press another kiss to Sebastian's lips.
"Please, no," Sebastian answered and shuddered at the thought. "That's the last song I want in my head whenever I think about you or whenever it rains. And we don't need a song. We have the rain, and that's all we need."
A small hum was Ciel's reply. "We've been through a lot together, Sebastian. We've had our moments of drought, and yet the rain always came to replenish us and help us grow our relationship again. Some people don't like the rain, but I say let it fall. I think it's a good reminder to us of how everything got started between us." His arms wrapped around Sebastian's neck, and he buried his face in his chest.
Sebastian ran his fingers through wet locks. "Aren't you being very poetic today," he teased but didn't deny the words as their lips met once more. The rain always brought them back together, and just as Ciel liked the rain, so too did Sebastian. It was something special they shared, and they would always have it. For as long as the rain fell, they would have each other.