Disclaimer: Haven't checked for a while, but I'm still pretty sure I don't own anything. 8D;
Author's Note: Yes, I know that this is disgusting. But has that ever stopped me before? No. No, I contend that it has not.
Warning: SebaCiel. Religious allusions. A random quote from Kuromyu 2. Inappropriate use of a dead body. (I mean it.) Takes place after episode 24. I'mma just ignore season II for a while, m'kay?
Dedication: For Nene, who has been enamored with this idea since I (for some ungodly reason) first conceived of it. 8D;
"I smell the blood of an Englishman…"
I. The press and push of pliant lips; a lolling head, energy sapped from its various orifices. Saliva oozes enticingly from the gaping slit of his cavernous mouth, as if an overripe berry that had been vigorously sliced open. Delectable little morsel. The contrast of his porcelain flesh and the darkness of that yawning abyss seem to the devil a beautiful metaphor... And he greedily ravishes that moist blackness, that smoldering void, so reminiscent of his hellish home— tugs skinny shoulders closer, holds shuddering forearms tighter, plunges himself in deeper. Deeper. More. Laps it all up and sucks it all down: spit and screams and soul. Nostalgia and lachrymose make for a bittersweet elixir of life.
Twenty one grams of logos later, and the demon is still hungry.
II. Aperitif and antipasto, delicacy and dessert. Even the savior's Last Supper had featured more than one course, and what sort of demon would he be if he failed to indulge in gratuitous gluttony?
His malleable lordship has been splayed across the granite bench, slender fingers woven and lacy lashes lowered. An extravagant piece de resistance—and oh, resist he had, the saucy little creature. Vim and vinegar had spiced him most delectably, up until the very end… up until his final moments, when the child—of his own volition— had walked over to the makeshift table and sprawled himself atop it: as pretty and pleading as one of Alice's sugary cakes. Eat me. Eat me now. And yes, the demon plans to.
Pants and shirt are shucked like husks; undergarments peeled like the skin of a fruit. Ribbons unwound, bootlings removed, rings replaced by pursed and puckered lips that slide past nail, joint, knuckle…
He nibbles the tips off of toes and fingers, licks languid paths down the inner cords of a crooked knee. The diamond daggers of his ivory teeth pop the taut drum of a belly with a passionate kiss; a fairy ring of red rosebuds blossom beneath the concave curve of straining ribs. Blood no longer beads—the petals do not unfurl. Delicacy, dessert, and decoration, now… He yearns for the juicy sweetness of a liver sautéed in long-fetid wines; for spongy lungs half-collapsed and sodden in the wake of drowning. Aches to slurp down squirming spirals of jellified intestines, gelatinous and yellowed by lipids. Desires to hold his master's withered heart in his hand.
…the questionably worded musing gives the demon reason to pause. Or rather, gives rise to the realization that his unhinged jaw has—quite without his knowledge— clicked back into place, and has fallen still atop an inanimate chest. Claws and gaze lose their feral sharpness.
The unblinking beings stare at one another.
And when the devil next remembers to swallow, it is difficult to ignore the way his mouth tastes more of memories than of meat. Distantly, he wonders if a coil of Record has caught in his throat, and if that is the reason for the lump he feels. Disgusting, either way; it easily puts a stopper on his appetite. Appropriately, his stomach longer growls.
Yet hunger remains.
III. Christ rose after three days.
The little boy does not.
Instead, the devil assists the condemned corpse as it begins the idle process of decomposition: one day dedicated to flailing and relishing each layer of pallid skin. With a twisted sort of reverence, tongue and talons trace the whorls, folds, and ridges that crease and crumple countless joints; he plucks sensitive hairs from nape, arms, and legs, only to savor them singularly, like pieces of candy floss. Canines sheathed— lest savage inclinations overwhelm him once again—, the demon moans and suckles at his master's tender flesh, shuddering with delight as the boy's confectionary coating disintegrates, melting like sugar and snowflakes on the tip of his tongue.
The Isle echoes with the whispered hiss of Eden's snakes.
For all the while, the effervescent acids in his crystalline fluids have been eating as ravenously as the one who discharges them: perforating peeping muscle and fraying stringy ropes of ligament. Voracious and insatiable, starvation feeds into both speed and sapidity; he poises himself on parted knees, lifting the child's hands-rump-clavicle-mouth to his maw with the same slovenly desperateness as a toddler who'd yet to master the knife and fork. With no need to break for breath, only surprise manages to stop him, and it is short lived: eyes faze from vermillion to scarlet in the wake of a flickering bat, watching as a dainty mandible detaches itself with a clack and a pop. A muffled groan of resistance, and the translucent remains of his skin surrenders to gravity with a series of papery rips.
The curved bone tumbles. Lands with a clatter, with a squelch. Rolls down the length of the child's rotting torso, finally settling against the demon's hardening groin. Crusting flakes of bloody rust leave a dusting of amber upon bindings of glossed leather; another groan echoes through the crumbling castle—one accompanied by squirms and dapples of sweat. Like a morbid pink carpet, the boy's once-confined tongue unfolds itself between them: the sagging weight of the serpentine muscle tears through the flimsy vestiges of his esophagus, flopping limply against his breast.
The gaping wound caves inward to form another dark chasm, satin-soft and tempting. It would be a shame to let it go to waste.
Christ rose after three days.
The devil likewise.
IV. Gradually, white skin gives way to ruddy pink muscle, accentuated by veiny streaks of navy, violet, and bile-green. Time and the demon have eaten away at the apple plump of the boy's cheeks, leaving them gaunt and hollow; his scalp has been shorn of its coal-blue locks in much the same way his eyes have lost their frail gray lids. Sans a few love-bites that have pared bejeweled earlobes, the corpse more closely resembles an old acquaintance's macabre mannequins than it does the earl's own photograph.
It won't stay that way for long.
Beneath the sinewy surface, despite the pervasiveness of its veneer, there lurks a second pallid stratum… the frame that had given the carcass shape. And as wiry lattices of tissues and tendons snap and split, fragmenting into nothingness, the encompassing darkness of the tenderly eviscerated body is replaced by a solid, yet brittle pallor. Silently, the demon laments the loss of those virgin cavities swathed in shadows, the black-velvet tightness that has since grown lax. Loose and limp as the child has become, the devil feels almost… empty? No. Disjointed. As if a part of himself no longer fits properly— shaved puzzle pieces butting futility together. It grates a bit on the edges of his thoughts.
But all is not lost.
The braided nerves of the boy's spinal column have become little more than a plated piece of yarn, now, his chattering vertebrae but beads upon that chain. If he wanted, the creature could wrench the upper half of that bitty skull clean from his neck, and serenade himself with the chiming rattle of raining bones. Instead, the delicacy of the situation moves him—literally, as his scissoring thighs shift to loom over a vulnerable throat. Poised like a guillotine. Willowy hands cradle twin temples upon which the final wisps of hoary hair cling to a calvous cranium. And as the corpse's head is gingerly lifted, withering orbs of gelatinous fibers are repositioned to stare down a length as thick and hard as any of its bones.
The lilac seal warps when prodded, wrapping around his tip like a spiderweb. And how appropriate that it should, since all of this started with a single strand…
A gasp; a moan. His own back arches and bows, and he curls in upon himself— bites down on the blunted crests of the cadaver's exposed spine. Viscous tears, pearled and oily, are leaking from the violated socket: slipping down cheeks and thighs like sticky, sallow tears. Beneath his clamped palms, the devil can feel the plates of the boy's head begin to shift and groan—bulging outward to accommodate his intrusion. And he thrusts, and he snarls, and the milky film on which his Contract had been inscribed is pounded into jelly against the boggy base of an unseen brain.
And it doesn't matter, really, because their covenant is over.
V. There are two hundred and six bones in the adult human body. Two hundred and six fragile cogs, wheels, and sprockets that, when meshed together, make up mankind's most basic piece of equipment. And though the skeleton before him hardly seems "adult" in any other sense, the meticulous devil finds himself counting to two hundred and six nevertheless. Twice, thrice, four times. Spreads the shards out before him, categorized and grouped into careful piles: humerus, radius, ulna, trapezium, sacrum, ribs, coccyx, patella, tibia, tarsal, calcaneus, talus… the mortal's elegant stapes reminds him of the wishbones he used to carve from turkey dinners, and how his master would scoff in derision whenever they were offered to him for play. (But still, in the dead of night, the butler would find the broken bones lingering atop a moonlit desk, and he would smirk and wonder what his charge had hoped for, and if it had come to pass.)
There is an odd honesty to the body, now—now that it is in pieces and parts, stripped of all guises and pretense. It makes sense, he supposes; the haughty young earl no longer has anything to hide behind: neither airs nor lies nor skin-fat-muscles. There is nothing but the bare-boned truth. That is all he is; that is what he has become. Truth and bare bones, drained even of marrow.
The core of everything.
When he wets them, the demon can still taste that sweet nectar on his lips. When he wets them, the demon can still taste lingering traces of life on the knobs and shanks of the femur he holds. When he wets them, the demon can still taste the residue of pride— an acidic sourness that he has begun the long process of choking down, having realized that he acts more and more like his namesake every day. Loyal little doggie, a bone protruding from his mouth... It's nearly enough to make him loathe himself. But instead, he thinks of how he would have been teased—imagines condescending sneers and scathing witticisms spat in revulsion—as he keens and falls onto all fours.
We are all animals, in the end.
Slobbering and suckling, licking and lapping, the creature notices things that he hadn't before. Like how a human's porcelain bones are bedecked in as many chinks, cracks, and fissured designs as their equally porcelain flesh. Huh. Boring, boorish beings, aren't they; all the same, through and through. And weak. And temporal. Silly to get attached, honestly… Yet, beneath the starkness of the stars, the devil finds himself missing such deplorable transience. And if he misses, he must have… cared. Appreciated. Aesthetically, at least. Perhaps the fleeting nature of his tamer's body (his tamer's life) is what made it all so very beautiful. ("Yes, nothing but beautiful.") Like those translucent outer layers— the feel of whorled fingertips as they ghosted over his cheek. Over his Seal. Beautiful.
Their covenant is over.
And perhaps that is the problem. A thread has been cut, a bond has been broken, and he is left with nothing but a shorn strand of red yarn. Despite himself, despite who and what he is, the devil had grown used to, dependent on, the presence that had once resided both within and without. Was it not natural, really? Defused as his power had been inside the boy, and as the boy's had been inside of him, they had essentially become one in the same—an amalgam of spirits, deviltry, and humanity that death had since cleaved in two. He is missing half of himself; what is a butler without a master? He is in fragments, much like the skeleton he plans to puzzle back together. He feels lonely. He feels hungry—for what is hunger if not an aching emptiness?
He is empty.
And though his tiny tamer's consciousness is no longer able to fill him, there are other ways for the earl to perform such tasks. Face flush to chilled stone, gaze locked with the sightless skull's, the demon positions the slickened femur before a wide and waiting entrance. A breath, a shudder.
Then he welcomes it inside as a good servant should: with eagerness, reverence, and appreciation.
VI. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
The devil sits upon the icy bench, ankles primly laced and a skull pillowed in his lap. As if it were the head of a slumbering child, he calmly strokes from temple to cheek, temple to cheek. To his left, down the length of his dinner table, a reassembled skeleton crumbles slowly— flakes into sands that will someday race through invisible hourglasses, marking the insufferable passage of time.
Or would, anyway. Were he to allow such a thing. Were he the sort to share. Instead, he plucks each mite and mote of his lord from the air—snatches every glittering globe of grit that dances about in indigo moon-glow and pops it into his mouth, dragging him down when he tries to float off to Heaven.
Every bit of you is mine.
And the boy does not resist. Does not, cannot, would not if he could. For, while long ago they had been two, an eternally-binding Contract has made them one. Though death has since separated them, such impediments are trivial. Temporary. (After all, as a servant of Phantomhive…) There is no need to rush. There is no need to worry. They will be one once more. Piece by piece. Bite by bite.
He will be full again.
He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:24