Well? What to say- this oneshot was lying around for a while so I'm going to go ahead and post it. OK, I am very, very sorry for how long it turned out. It's one the most experimental fics I've done and I hope everyone's in character (for the most part anyway; Lizzie's a bit more "mature" for age's sake).
Anyway, it's a semi-AU because it's one of those post-"canon" things. I just wanted to try my hand at a Sebastian/Elizabeth thing with credibilty and to do some "pretty" prose. Tell me if it worked or not.
Warnings for non-canon pairings, Elizabeth/OC (though probably not the way you think, hehe), and a rather disappointing (?) ending.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kuroshitsuji.
Death in itself is nothing; but we fear,
To be we know not what, we know not where.
- John Dryden, Aurene-Zebe
The Viscount of Druitt has never been rejected by a woman. She was the first to ever do so. Her name is Elizabeth Ethel Cordelia Middleford.
She was the most sought after wife in London. Elizabeth Middleford had received more callers than any other noblewoman that memorable year. Almost every lord, baron, earl, anyone of noble stature, had tried to vie for her attentions.
She says no to them all.
She had the finest education and an array of mesmerizing talents. She was the best fencer of her age and the most beautiful maiden among her circles. She had an aurora of elegance about her and a polite, cheerful disposition. A duke once asked for her hand.
She says no to him.
The Marquis never pressured his daughter to accept a suitor, and neither did his son, nor his wife.
They understand her.
Elizabeth was not a sunflower. She was not a delicate plant that needed care and watering. She was not a shallow child that made frivolous demands. She was not the child of sunshine she once was.
Elizabeth Middleford is the youngest widow in London.
She is the center of the biggest scandal that memorable year.
She ran away with her late husband's butler. She left no word behind, she took nothing with her. Every dress and every purse was exactly where they had been the day before.
Edward Middleford woke the manor at dawn, howling and roaring like a madman. There was nothing left of his sister save an open window and gauze curtains billowing in the wind.
Sebastian Michaelis was the most likely suspect. He was hard to forget, a man of fine stature and statue-esque features, all coal-black hair and ash-white skin. They must have been more than a decade apart.
"Damn him! Damn him to the bloodiest depths of hell!" Edward would chant.
Paula was Elizabeth's most trusted maid; she knew all her lady's secrets, all her joys, all her sorrows. Under the Middleford's fierce interrogation, under the pressure of the Yard, in the spotlight of the tabloid's most perverse story, she revealed the name:
"You have to understand, sir. Please, my lady, she's not used to this kind of pain."
Ciel Phantomhive lay in a bed of white roses, as cold in life as he was in death. The coffin was clean and delicate, tailor made for the young man's height. His wife found him dead the day after their marriage. He had gone to that church three times in his short life: once for his marriage, once for his aunt's death, and once for his own.
Elizabeth had cried the hardest that day, sobbing louder and longer than the youth's servants, than anyone who had ever known him. Paula wrapped her arms around the black-veiled girl. And for the very first time, she was pushed away.
"Please, lady Elizabeth! Please!" she called.
Elizabeth would have none of it. She ignored her maid, her attendants, even the priest trying to pry her away. Her dress fell over the roses like pooling blood as she rolled in the white bed. Her veil dripped over the corpse's soft face. She kissed the man in the coffin, she pressed her lips against his, she tangled her hands in his, moaning and sobbing as she all but threw her heart out.
"It took so long to calm her down. It must have been near midnight when we returned home, not her home. The late earl's."
The Phantomhive butler shed no tears that day, and if he did, no one was there to see. At the funeral, he had arrived as if his master was among the attending. There was no change in the way he spoke, the way he dressed, the way he walked.
Elizabeth Middleford had returned to the Phantomhive Manor to collect her belongings. They were her books, photographs, clothes, swords, and a variety of other things she would never have the chance to share with her husband.
She lingered until midnight.
"I will prepare some tea, lady Elizabeth."
Those were the only words Paula heard Sebastian say that night. Her lady had requested his presence alone- the maid was not to join. But against the girl's wishes, she had- she had kept in the shadows, following the pair into the veranda, dyed blue by the twilight sky.
They spoke in voices too soft for her to hear, but one thing she did hear was a resounding crack. The crack of her lady's palm against Sebastian Michaelis' face. Followed by another. And another. And another.
"Mr. Michaelis left the next day. My master offered him a job here- he didn't take it. The earl's other servants, they didn't come work for us either. I hope you can understand this thought, sir. As servants, we're all very tied to our masters; I suppose, if they did take the job, it would feel like a betrayal."
In the days that followed, Elizabeth took to writing. She developed a fancy for poetry and short stories. They were not very well-written, according to her friends.
"But they weren't really stories," Paula says guiltily, "they were disguised letters."
"Paula, what shall I say to him today?" the girl asked half-heartedly, gazing at the birds outside the window.
"I don't know, whatever you want, my lady."
"Birds. I'll tell him about the birds."
There was a young bird. She had many eggs. Then some cracked. But not all. Besides, she is waiting for her mate.
Folding up the paper, she handed it to the maid, in a gesture that ordered its delivery. It was their routine, an odd little thing that Paula felt a need to uphold because it seemed that nothing made Elizabeth happier than this strange correspondance.
For as many days as there were in a month, Elizabeth wrote as many poems and stories.
No one ever replied.
"Then she started seeing him... I went with her. Sh- we would lie to the others and say we were going to see her friends."
Moss covered the Phantomhive walls. It was as if the whole house was decaying, as if it was slowly burning itself away. The manor was empty, cold, and dreary; it emitted a feeling not unlike a haunting. Elizabeth Middleford showed up as if nothing had ever changed.
Sebastian served tea as if Ciel Phantomhive was sitting right beside him.
"Did you like my story, Sebastian?" Elizabeth would ask.
"Yes, very much so."
"I will write you another," she would reply, cold and biting.
They repeated the same conversation for the next few weeks, occasionally changing the subject to the state of the manor or the weather. Sometimes, Paula would catch little insults muttered under their breath. Most of the time, they sat in silence.
"Sit with me, Sebastian," her lady once said.
It started stiffly- he would sit with her for tea, about a foot apart. By the time the month had passed, he was sitting a few inches from her. At the end of the next month, there was barely any distance between their chairs.
Paula once saw her lady's fingers in his gloves. She said nothing.
"My lady used to be so happy. You see, master Ciel's death really did affect her. Maybe that was why she wrote to Mr. Michaelis. But then- then she stopped doing it, she stopped writing."
"Paula, do you think he likes women in red or white?"
Elizabeth smiled, twirling about the room in her wedding dress, the veil carelessly swinging behind her. Paula giggled nervously.
"Milady, maybe we should change you into some more appropriate clothing."
"Hmph! You're no fun, Paula. Can't a widow have fun?"
"Milady, please, you shouldn't-"
"And since when can I not do anything? I can do anything I please! Now answer the question."
"I- I think he likes women in black."
"Then I shall wear white."
Elizabeth was a flower coming into bloom- she had always been beautiful, but around that time, Paula remembered her mistress as absolutely stunning. A tall, proud figure, shining golden locks, and innocent red lips. It was no surprise that so many suitors cropped at her father's manor.
Elizabeth refused to marry.
"But don't you want children, milady?" Paula would ask.
"Edward will have enough for both of us. No, I shall remain as I am."
Then Elizabeth Middleford had disappeared. The first place Paula had gone to upon finding out was the Phantomhive Manor. There was nothing there save broken china, stained marble, and tall grass.
"I have nothing more to say... I- I'm sorry, I'm sorry. What? Oh, yes. Yes, right away my lord. I- I'll leave."
The young woman put down the paper, sad eyes staring at the pattering rain as the raindrops littered her face with little shadows. The rain was so thick, coming down so strongly that she could barely see the trees outside.
"Your tea, my lady."
Elizabeth picked up the cup and blew at the steam. Her butler bowed, setting the kettle on the table and taking his place beside her. She took a sip and tried to imagine herself drenched in rain. Washing, washing away our sins.
"Sebastian, they fired Paula."
"It's my fault."
"Would you like to return?"
"I can't. Not now... How long do we need to stay?"
"Until the rain lets up... that is, unless you allow me to pursue him on my own."
"Then we stay."
"Your maid is following," he whispered lowly, eyes cast on the ground.
The girl clenched and unclenched her fists, trying to hide beneath the brim of her hat. "I know that."
"What is it you wish to say, lady Elizabeth?"
"I saw what happened."
No sound escape. He didn't seem to breathe.
"Sebastian, that was the Undertaker."
Her heart pounded. Thump. Thump. Thump.
The blood pounded in her ears. Throbbed. Beat.
"His eye, your hand."
The teacup shook in her hands.
"What are you?"
Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.
"Damn it! The rain!" she shouted before covering her mouth. Embarrassed, she took back the action.
"I don't see why you should be ashamed at swearing, milady," Sebastian taunted, pulling back the covers, "I think there's more to worry about at this point."
The sound of raindrops drilled into her ears. The swoosh of a death scythe. And not a drop of blood. Elizabeth pulled at the lace of her gown.
"Should I hate you, Sebastian?"
"With every fiber of your being."
She watched the lace unravel itself before the gown's collar slid down her shoulder. Bare, soft skin covered with flowing gold.
"Don't pull the curtains. Leave them."
The shadows drifted in and out, over and under the bed. They melded with the tangle of blankets and cased pillows. The rain pounded as thunder boomed in the distance, a flash of lightning slicing the room.
Hot breaths and violent kisses. Elizabeth buried her head in Sebastian's chest, hands clawing at his shoulders.
"Don't say a word, Sebastian. You smell like him," she whispered, "of course you do. You smell the way he wants you to."
She traced his neck with her mouth, fingers playing along his form. "So don't say anything and pretend."
"Let me call you Ciel."
In the dark, she could pretend. It was a late night and her husband was home.
"Ciel, you bastard. Ciel, I love you."
He glared at her from outside the window. A crow in a branch. She said nothing, simply staring at him from her spot in the bed.
"Why do you send me these atrocious pieces of prose?"
She replied calmly. "So you understand my message?"
"Unfortunately, I do. Death threats are useless against me."
She pulled the covers up to her chest.
"I can't bring him back," he said curtly, a flash of red in malicious eyes.
"I thought you two had a contract."
He said nothing. She returned his glare.
"He must uphold his end. Sebastian, if that's still your name, I know you'll try to make him. You've always been one for principle."
He looked away.
"If a grim reaper stole his soul, then it's only natural for a Phantomhive servant to get him back."
"Or I could just kill you now, milady. I have no more obligation not to."
She shivered. "No. I want to help you, I want to help you get him back."
"And why should I entertain you?"
"Because I will give you my soul in return."
It was his turn. Elizabeth closed her eyes, trying to think about nothing but the sound of the rain. A flash of lightning lit the room. Sebastian buried his nose in her hair. He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her to his chest.
They sat in the center of the bed, the covers in an unkempt pile. There was no more movement.
"You have his blood," he muttered, "and sometimes it almost seems as if you have part of his soul."
She felt the boom of thunder. Sebastian seemed to shake beside her.
"Let me pretend, child. Let me pretend that you are his soul."
She let his head rest in the crook of her neck.
"I'm starving," he growled, "oh, I've been hungry for so, so long."
"Why are you still here Sebastian?"
She circled the dead parlor, eyeing the man before her. He said nothing.
"I had to sneak out tonight. Tomorrow, I will come again, with Paula."
He said nothing.
"I... I'm still offering you my soul. You can have us both, me and- and Ciel."
He spoke at last, growled at last.
"A soul like yours would surely cause me indigestion."
"Am I not tainted enough?"
"Far from it."
"Regardless, tomorrow we shall come. And the day after. And the day after that. If you refuse to help me, Sebastian, then I shall haunt you for as long as it takes. I shall be the demon's personal demon."
"You cannot outlive me."
"But I believe I already have."
He clenched his fists, sucking in a breath of annoyance. One knuckle brushed against the greening wall and a singe of gray took its place.
"You haven't even tried, have you, demon?"
She ventured forward. "Are you afraid? Do you fear death?"
One step. She pulled at his glove and the butler stood like stone. "Or perhaps you're too attached to my husband?"
Hellfire burned at her- she could feel the gaze branding her. She knew she struck a chord at last.
"I assure you, it's nothing of the sort."
She tugged, pulling the glove off at its tips. The etched marking stared up- she resisted the urge to chop the hand off.
"The contract is still valid- I may not know about the workings of creatures like you, but I have a feeling that as long as it remains this way, you can't possibly form another."
The heat was unbearable.
"Do you want to starve, Sebastian?"
Her lips half-parted, Elizabeth struggled to pull her locks upward. Lightning interrupted her vision, the beat of thunder in tune with that of her heart. "I've always prided myself in beauty," she whispered.
Sebastian held up the pair of shears, the candlelight glinting on the blades. He pushed them into the young woman's grip, gently winding her fingers around the handle, and closing the thumb in its loop.
"I said I wanted to be 'cute' for him, always."
"You were quite the one for cuteness, my lady."
The lovely strands of gold curled and fell in her hand. They were locks her mother combed- locks she once loved so much; her friends would each take a handful and part them. Games little girls would play- braiding and curling and brushing. Ciel used to sniff her locks, placing a kiss on each shiny curl.
The shears pulled apart. She pressed. Yellow clumps fell at her feet, the strands tickling her toes and littering the ground with glinting gold.
"And what exactly is your plan, Lady Elizabeth."
"I need to get away. We need a way to leave."
He paced on her windowsill, the tailcoat like a swallow's tail in the wind. "Then leave."
She fell silent, the implication not lost to her ears. He smiled down at her, cold and spiteful.
"We could make it look like an affair, my lady. You loved my young master so much you just couldn't bear to part with him- I was the closest to him. Perhaps you felt the connection."
Sweaty hands clenched the sheets in balls of fabric. It was a risk, a risk on her father's name.
"And I am but a lonely butler. No family, no wife. Oh, my life revolved around that boy! And you, my lady, were so close to him."
"We'll do it slowly," she announced, "make Paula believe it. Each day, the 'tea party' will continue. And you, Sebastian, will start sitting with me."
"How do I look?"
She grinned at him, green eyes wild in the shadows, messy hair barely going past her ears. The shears hit the ground.
She hugged her chest, feeling the breasts. "Fetch me the gauze."
"Why do you love him so?"
He sat on the Middleford gate, gazing down at her, a face unreadable. She shivered, the translucent gown flowing in the twilight breeze, beams of moonlight barely illuminating their forms.
"I always have."
"Do demons not love?"
"Child, I am older than you can imagine. There is not a single feeling I haven't indulged in- and I can tell you that there is no such thing as love. Lust, that I will attest."
"I can tell you that I love."
"Affection, perhaps. Fondness. Fancy. But why love? Why do all this for one damned for the start?"
"Because... he is my cousin. He is my beloved. I have seen him cry, seen him laugh."
"That explains nothing."
"It doesn't matter. Stop pestering me, Sebastian! You agreed to use me- I will pretend to be your mistress and the grim reapers will leave you be. Now let us go. Tomorrow, they discover our affair."
He extended both arms and pulled her up. She closed her eyes as they fell back, the cloth of his uniform was as soft as it had been in her adolescence. And for a moment, it was as if she was fourteen and being taken to a picnic. It was as if she could smile at him again, as if Ciel Phantomhive was alive and Sebastian Michaelis was just his butler.
They landed on their feet. "I don't like to pretend."
Kneeling, Sebastian took her hand. "Lady Elizabeth, this is not the tale of Faustus. I am not hungry for you and you will not have to reject your faith. This is a business affair- we do this on human terms. Do you wish to form a contract with me?"
"Yes, I do."
Bright irises reflected in the mirror. Elizabeth felt her chest, the cushion of gauze binding and propping her breasts back. She fingered the bowtie, smoothed the collar and ran her hands down the edges of the jacket, the square shoulders uncomfortably large.
The adrogynous face of fair-haired Adonis stared from the mirror. A strange weight seemed lifted from her neck and head.
"Trousers are rather comfortable," she commented.
"Are you ready to take our leave, my lady?"
Turning away, Elizabeth stared the demon down. "My alias- my name is Ethelwine Edward Marchionere."
"That's quite a mouthful, lady Elizabeth."
He placed the top hat on her head. Careful to walk with a masculine swagger, she took the walking stick. "Come, Sebastian."
"Yes, my lord."
"Ethelwine," she muttered, placing her mouth over the youth's. "I- I love you."
"And I you, my dear."
Fluttery kisses and fingers in dark hair. The maiden fell back on the couch, powdered cheeks flushed and ruby lips ready for more. Slender arms curled around her lover's neck.
"Take me away from here."
He pressed a finger to her mouth. Long lashes blinked and a sad smile formed. "I can't, my dear, I can't."
"Then take me here."
She pinned him back, hands groping at the necktie. He pushed her back. "Not now, Ninnian."
He was above her, the bright green eyes staring down. "You have work, later, dearest."
"Love, I 'ate that job! I 'ate the corpses! I 'ate that man!" she whined.
He rolled his lips over hers. "The undertaker- what was his name? I'm sure he values you."
"I don't know 'is name. Value? He just needs someone ta do the dirty work- he goes off everyday doing who knows what."
More kisses. "It's the best thing that's happened to you, darling."
"No, you're the best thing that's happened to me."
She was lost in his embrace.
"I must admit, my lady, you really are quite determined."
Elizabeth smiled as Sebastian dabbed the lipstick off her lips. He unbuttoned her shirt and began unwrapping the gauze. "Indecent," he muttered.
"You don't complain about our nightly revelries, do you?"
"Point taken, milady."
She sighed, the taste of Ninnian's perfume still stuck on her mouth. "I'm very charming- how long did it take her to fall for me?"
"A week, no less."
"Lord Marchionere, prince charming."
Her eyes darkened and the girl slumped. "I feel guilty, Sebastian. I'm playing with another's affections for my own goals. I'm terrible."
Ciel, was I to you what she was to me?
"I'm sure you can't be worse than me."
He lingered beside her. Lids shut, Elizabeth took the butler's hand in her own. "I'm scared, Sebastian. We finally found him and now what? You told me she worked for him- even he has some new shop, like none of this ever happened."
"Have her take you to him. Was that not the point of this seduction?"
Red eyes loomed. "Don't tell me you're scared, my lady. I'm not ready to starve."
Ninnian Parfain was an orphan. She was raised in a parish and had spent a good portion of her life doing rather unsavory things. But she was blessed with good looks, ivory skin and dark waves of hair.
And as luck would have it, she had the chance to leave her occupation of the unsavory and the smell of dirty men, when an undertaker came to the city. He seemed to build a shop overnight, and as luck would have it, she demanded a job and received it.
The Undertaker was an odd man; he went by no name, laughed at inoppurtune moments, and had hair too long and old for one who appeared so young. Ninnian never actually saw past his bangs.
And it seemed her mundane life would finally change when Ethelwine Marchionere arrived. From the start, he was attracted to her- that strange man with an abnormally soft voice. But he was beyond handsome (and quite rich).
As far as Ninnian knew, Ethelwine was the one good thing that had ever happened to her.
And as far as Elizabeth Middleford knew, Ninnian Parfain was the Undertaker's assistant, his personal mortician, and the one that knew the way to his lair. So what better way to a woman's knowledge than through her heart?
"Do you regret it, young master?"
"Then, my lord..."
Voices low and edgy. A trembling wife dared to enter the garden. Ciel Phantomhive sat in the stone chair, mismatched eyes shining in the darkness, a figure with glowing slits for eyes crouching over him.
"Ciel," Elizabeth squeaked, too cold to move on.
A hand tapped her gently. Startled, she looked upwards- he was long white hair cloaked in black.
"I thought you didn't believe in love."
"I don't, but you certainly do, milday. And so does she, apparently."
Elizabeth stroked the sleeping face of Ninnian Parfain as the butler removed the young woman's shoes. "She'll take us there tomorrow."
"She loves you," Sebastian repeated. "I wonder- when do you plan to tell her who you are?"
"Lying is a human skill," he sighed, "even one as pure as you can do it."
"Sebastian, did he ever mean anything to you?"
He ignored the question, busying himself with clearing the small table and blowing out the candles. He held the candlebra to his mouth.
"I'm selfish," she said, "I know that now. I'm doing this only in part because of love. I want to save him because I want us to go back, to go back to that world of pretty parties and laughter.
He blew out the candles.
"Answer me," she demanded.
He was long white hair cloaked in black. Long nails barely brushed her curls. The scarred visage looked down, a beautiful and broken smile in his eyes.
When Ninnian Parfain died, she looked into the face of an angel. This wretched existence had finally ended and her love was before her; she fell into the bruised arms of Ethelwine Marchionere, his handsome face contorted in sorrow and tears.
She smiled her with her last breath. Dulling, her eyes said "I love you. I love you. I love you!"
The pain was nothing, the agony meant little- when that large scythe came down, there she was over her lover's body. Torn, jagged, the blood gushing and pooling.
"Mum, don't leave me!" the blue light called. "Oy- whore!"
"I am the Undertaker, he laughed.
The tears fell, a bubble of blood popped. Moving pictures- she had never believed in moving pictures.
"I am Lord Marchionere."
Her lover's breath and tears. She hoped heaven was ahead, in that head of gold.
Sebastian Michaelis poured her tea. "I..." The beating wouldn't stop. Oh, how mad her customer was. "love..." It was the best thing that had happened.
And Ninnian Parfain would say no more.
He stood over her, the bloodied scythe still reeling with the woman's record. Undertaker stood deathly still, looking sadly down.
"I warned you," he said, "there's no one left to hinder you now. I can save you."
"By killing me?" she croaked, hugging the dead woman to her chest.
"You demanded a fight and I gave you one."
He smiled that soft smile. And her tears wouldn't stop falling. She shouted in frustration.
She screamed when he lifted the weapon, the gigantic blade and thrust.
They barely looked. The demon was too slow, arm barely within reach when it cut down, nearly sliced him in half and struck the young man.
Ciel convulsed and spun- he saw his life pour out and in and out. He felt himself dwindle into nothing.
And Elizabeth saw his soul fly under death's cloak.
"Sebastian! Sebastian! Seb-"
"I'm here, my lady, I'm here!"
Glowing crimson and the aurora of hellfire surrounded them. She clutched at him. "Where were you?"
"Slow. I was too slow."
"I see one earl wasn't enough for you, butler," the Undertaker said flatly, pointing the scythe at the demon.
Sebastian's arm blocked her, his hands pushing her behind him slowly... slowly.
"Where is my master?"
They clashed. And Elizabeth struggled to see, struggled to stop trembling in bloodstained clothes. Sebastian dodged and flipped, blocked and struck.
It didn't take long for Elizabeth to see how slow he had become, his steps always a little behind. Had he always been this slow? His knives fell harmlessly; he barely dodged the blade.
And soon it was nicking him left and right.
"Answer me," she demanded, "did he ever mean anything to you?"
Elizabeth ran forward, ignoring the hurling debris and fierce wind.
She loved Ciel Phantomhive- she was too slow for him, always. She was a child when he returned a man. She had not the courage to force him out of his depression. She had not the courage to find out why. She had not the speed to fight for him that day.
"I thought you didn't believe in love."
Undertaker panted and cried out, ready to bring the weapon down one last time.
"Demon, I will send you back to hell!"
Lying was a human skill.
She hated Sebastian Michaelis with every fiber of her being. She was lying. She had been lying.
Tumbling, Elizabeth fell, hands outstretched.
She saw him with a glass of lemonade, she saw him pouring tea, she saw him ironing the sheets, she saw him smirking, she saw him glaring, she saw him smiling, she saw him at his master's side.
She had been too slow to save Ciel Phantomhive. She would not be so for Sebastian Michaelis.
The records splashed out, blowing away and tangling her in. The demon gasped and sputtered, reeled and fell.
"Ciel. Ciel Phantomhive." The blue light danced about them, violent crimson splashing against their faces. "Then, young master."
"You did well today," the boy said. "My name is Ethelwine Edward Marchionere." "Answer me." "Yes."
"Ciel, you bastard," she said. "Your name is Sebastian."
It reeled too fast, flew past him and in. It rushed out and poured. Poured. Poured.
"But it seems you only make the earl miserable." "Sebby darling!"
"Nequeo!" the general cried. "J'taime," she mumbled. "A- arigato," he said in that dying breath. "This is Ninnian."
"Bu yao," he said softly. "Do you fear death?" she asked.
Crimson. Red shades. Madame Red stepped out. The blood leaked and exploded.
"Sebastian!" She caught him, barely breaking the demon's fall.
He gasped and sputtered in her arms, the blood painting her and soaking their clothing. She pulled at him, tugged at his hair, patted his face.
He coughed, all scarlet, black, and white. The red spread and spread. Elizabeth didn't let go. She couldn't.
"I'm here. I'm here."
Slitted irises stared above, the fire receding and burning. And Elizabeth finally saw their age. "I'm here," she whispered.
He was pitiful, old, tired. In those dulling eyes, she saw- a creature yearning for what it could not have, an old thing long plagued by spite and sorrow, a hungry meaningless thing.
Sebasitian's blood blanketed the ground. The Undertaker's footsteps.
He saw no reason to keep the manor. The boy was gone. It felt warm.
"I'm here," she mumbled, "I'm here."
"Shut up, Sebastian," the boy ordered, wearing a frustrated frown.
"You should get up, Sebastian."
"Let me live until my wedding night. I owe her that much."
"Lying here... it's not cute at all, is it?"
Everything was Ciel Phantomhive. The scent of tea and flowers, the pieces of the chessboard, the satin sheets. He was everywhere. And for a moment, it was as if the demon felt an aching twitch in that ancient pathetic excuse of a heart.
"I'm not crying... I'm strong now... I don't cry anymore... it's not cute anymore."
"Sebastian, stay with me until I fall asleep," he ordered softly.
It was warm. "I'm not scared of death, grim reaper!"
She was scared of what she knew not. And he was scared of what he knew too much.
The scythe retracted, crimson dripping down its hilt, entering the sockets of the skull. Death stared down, that same soft gaze.
"I am quite used to death," he said wearily, "I have seen much- demons, earls, all the same."
She shielded the demon's form, returning the Undertaker's gaze, so defiant and full of life that he was taken aback.
"It's rare to have such a genuine goal."
In those golden orbs, she saw layered rings of age- that same pity and centuries of spite and sorrow.
"You immortals... you're all such children."
He said nothing, tattered cloak falling to the ground. "The earl is with me- I can't leave him to his fate."
"Then I bid you goodbye- I hope you know how pointless your venture was." That same broken smile.
The girl inhaled loudly. She shook, jade eyes glistening. "I'll get him back," she declared.
He turned away.
"I'll defeat death for him! Do you hear me, grim reaper? I will do what I say!"
It had been such a long time since the Undertaker had been overtaken by life. The life brimmed, a bullet in the side of death.
"I hear you."
She cut her hair, the locks falling and falling. It was something he had never expected she would do. So full of surprises, he thought.
"Sebastian, I love you."
The demon's vision returned; there she was, lady Elizabeth, messy short hair and wet eyes.
"Ethelwine," he grumbled, the world a mass of spinning colors and pain.
She cupped his face and trailed down, grabbing his hand and bringing it up to her own blood stained cheek. "I am."
He felt empty. There was nothing left- perhaps for a moment, the girl had convinced him to hope. It meant nothing- Ciel Phantomhive was lost.
"Did you love him?" The young master.
"I did not lust."
"Was seeing him smile enough?" she asked, voice breaking. "Was teasing him fun? Was- was it soothing to- to see him sleep? Was his voice enough?"
"Sebastian, was- was it... enough to make his tea? Was it?"
It hurt to think, it hurt to move, it hurt to lie.
Ninnian Parlain was as beautiful in death as she was in life. Ethelwine placed one last kiss on her bloody lips.
Elizabeth turned back to Sebastian, squatting beside him. She hoisted one arm over her shoulder and pushed him up, the clumps of red dropping in plops as he moved.
"Let me die," he muttered. She shook her head, dirty locks swaying in the wind.
"We can try again."
"I'm afraid too. I'm afraid of what happens next."
She took one step, urging him on. Gasping, he hobbled forward.
"We'll make it through... I know we will- and when we find him..."
Her mouth curved to form a gentle smile. And the corners of his lips twitched to the point where they formed some semblance of a smile.
For whatever lay ahead, for whatever lay behind, it mattered not in that one moment.
And they walked on.
That was so, so, so long. Thank you for having an epic amount of patience if you read all that! And please review to let me know how I did.
Also, the format (not content) of the cinematic records doubles as a shout-out to MaidenoftheMoon's "Diligo Victum Nusquam," a very well-written but horribly, horribly sad story.
That being said, I hope I'm not the only one who liked Ninnian.