A/N: Happy New Year! Have this epilogue.
"You are an impure man," Ash says one day when they are still each other's muse. He's lying on the couch, his notebook resting against his propped up knees, and he is using Sebastian's lap as a pillow.
"Can't say I haven't heard that before," Sebastian answers.
"I'm serious," Ash says. The pencil in his hand flies over the paper, sketching a figure with horns. Sebastian continues watching telly.
That doesn't make Ash happy. He turns around, his sketchbook falling to the floor, his hands grab Sebastian's thigh unnecessarily harsh before he props himself up, intently staring at the raven-haired artist. "You think I'm joking. I'm not joking. I'm not."
"I believe you," Sebastian answers.
Ash shakes his head. "There are other people who know that I'm right. Purity is what we all must attain. They understand that." He sighs. "It would be horrible if I couldn't save you from your own black soul."
"I don't mind," Sebastian says, just to tease Ash a little. He can hardly believe that there are people who fall for this silliness. "I can be Mephistopheles. And you shall be Dr Faust."
Ash stares at him. "I am in no need for your services."
Sebastian picks up the sketch that has fallen to the ground and waves it a little. "I believe you are."
Ash has drawn a demon. The demon is Sebastian.
"I want to introduce someone to you," Aleister says with a wide smile adorning his lips. "He is a very talented sculptor, and he has expressed his wish to get to know you."
"Really?" Sebastian mutters. It's been a month since Aleister has become his benefactor, and he has attended four of his parties so far. He's tired of meeting new people, but he does it for his career. If it's an artist Aleister wants him to meet, then it's not that bad.
"Yes, really." Aleister leads him into the room and looks around. "Ah, there he is." He waves. "Ash! Would you mind coming over?"
Sebastian stares as he sees the white-haired man emerge from the colourful mess of well-dresses people, a colourless blur that moves with almost predatory purpose.
"Nice to meet you," Ash says as they shake hands and there is a strange light in his eyes. He leans in close. "Again," he adds, whispering it into Sebastian's ear.
Sebastian has always seen himself as Mephistopheles. But in this moment he feels what it is like to stand before someone like him: The roles are reversed for this short second, and Sebastian wonders silently about Ash's definition of purity. The way the sculptor's so-called purity oozes out of every pore makes it seem like the filthiest goal that man could ever attain.
They visited their graves a few months after their deaths.
Aleister's grave was just as hard to visit as Ash's grave, but Ciel had told Sebastian to bring him to both graves, and Sebastian had not refused.
"It's really over," Ciel murmured. "The ones who tortured me have paid the price."
"Are you satisfied?" Sebastian asked.
Ciel hesitated. "Yes," replied. "Yes, I am." He reached for Sebastian's hand, his own small hand cold and clammy despite the summer heat.
"Let's go," Sebastian said.
And they turned their backs to the gravestones, shedding the skins of their pasts.
Five years later, December 15th
The sun was shining when Ciel parked his car in the middle of Sebastian's driveway without a care for the fact that there was a garage just twenty metres to his right.
Sebastian waited for him by the door, smiling when Ciel got out of the car and approached him with a wide grin. He was moving in with Sebastian.
Sebastian could have been happier, though. Ciel seemed intent on bringing Edgar and Maurice with him, and Gregory was also in the young man's car, looking out the window with a bored expression.
"Let's start the party," Edgar said when he got out from the car.
"It's eleven a.m.," Sebastian retorted. "There will be no party."
The other thing he was unhappy about was the fact that many other people had invited themselves into his house. There was Undertaker, William and Grell (engaged by now), Ronald, and Alois in his house. It was just a good thing that Claude had decided to stay back. He and Sebastian still weren't getting along, but Sebastian was able to live with that. Even Lau and his Ran Mao were there, along with Snake. Sebastian didn't feel very sure about having a criminal at his house and among his friends, but Lau had told everyone that he was 'running a business', and everybody who wasn't aware probably thought he was the chef of a brothel. That, however, was Ran Mao's fault, who had decided to appear in the shortest dress she had in winter.
Sebastian had to admit that he'd been surprised when William hadn't blurted out the truth.
"We didn't get to celebrate his birthday," Edgar said.
"Yeah," Gregory agreed. "You had him all to yourself that day."
"Well, there was a lot to catch up with," Sebastian muttered. Ciel threw him a poisonous glare. While they hadn't exactly waited that long, Sebastian was still glad that he could fully come out with their relationship now.
(Although he honestly doubted that his acquaintances hadn't guessed by now what had been going on behind closed doors.)
"Oh, I believe that," Edgar said, waggling his eyebrows in a very annoying way. "Tell me about it. All the filthy details."
Sebastian rolled his eyes. "Why, pray tell, are you so interested in my love life?"
"He's interested in everyone's love life," Gregory explained, shooting Edgar a sidelong glance. "Things that really shouldn't interest him as much as they do. He's not getting any. Maurice, do something about that."
Maurice flushed red at the last statement, but Gregory merely raised his eyebrows in inquiry, waiting for the comeback. Possibly for an agreement. He had practically been raised by Undertaker, after all.
"But I am getting a lot," Edgar said with a wide smile splashed across his face. The younger blond male next to him flushed a darker shade of red, trying to silence Edgar with no success at all. "You know, Maurice does this incredible thing with-"
"Those are things I do not want to know," Ciel cut in.
Sebastian regarded him with a smirk. "What? Do you not care for tips?"
Ciel frowned at him, a blush staining his cheeks. "Who are you, Lizzie? We're not going to have small-talk about Edgar's love life, you hear me?" When nobody at all – less of all Sebastian – answered, Ciel rolled his eyes. "This is stupid. I'm going inside."
Sebastian watched the young male approach the house before he turned back to the other three in front of him. "Since you are here already, just get in. The others are here, too."
Edgar smiled widely and slung his arm around Maurice, pressing the younger male close to his body. Maurice had stopped working as a model the moment they had come back into the public, deciding to do something else. He was learning photography under Undertaker and Gregory, for which he truly had a talent, and Edgar who had resumed his career as a model usually insisted that Maurice take the first pictures during shootings so that he would learn faster. If they hadn't been co-dependent before the abduction, they definitely were now. And to a serious extent nevertheless. Edgar would only eat what Maurice handed to him and Maurice would panic when Edgar was gone for too long, but it seemed as if they were getting better. They were still healing, and their wounds were deep. They had been a lot worse when they had come out of Ash's house, wide-eyed and loathing to touch anyone but each other. Edgar had holed himself up in his apartment for six months, until Gregory and Undertaker had almost broken in the door, because Undertaker had really, really wanted to give Edgar 'Cheer up' cookies and go to the mall with him and Maurice.
Nobody ever mentioned Aleister or Ash these days. It wasn't a taboo, but they had talked about them enough during the month after they had been saved. Sebastian had quickly decided to move on, as he usually did when a (former) muse died, and after a while, Ciel had followed suit. Alois had simply become a lot clingier, following Claude everywhere, beginning from business meetings to interviews. Now that Alois had finished school, things looked grim for Claude in that aspect.
Inside the Michaelis estate, Ronald had brought along a few CDs ("This is real music!" he had shouted over the noise, and Sebastian had tried very hard not to call it trash), and he had decided to play them at top volume, letting harsh chords ring through the house. Ciel pulled a face.
"You wanted to celebrate," Sebastian said. "There you go."
"If it's going to be like that, I'm so going to go have cake with Lizzie," Ciel threatened, but surely he didn't mean it.
"You always forget that you dislike your cousin in moments like these," Sebastian said.
"I simply see the lesser evil in her." Ciel shrugged. "Compared to all of you, she's simply an angel that talks too much."
The musician flinched. "Oh, god. You didn't invite Soma and Finny here, did you?"
"I think I did," Sebastian said as the mentioned two appeared by the stairs, running so fast that Sebastian feared they would fall anytime soon. They didn't, and when Ciel realised that they wanted to glomp him, he turned to run away. He'd never been very athletic, though, and Sebastian laughed when Soma and Finny finally reached him, squeezing him as if their lives depended on it.
They were even crying. Sebastian didn't understand why, and neither did Ciel apparently, who gaped at them in bewilderment.
After Ciel had finally gotten rid of his two school friends, they all went upstairs together, where Undertaker was telling a rather embarrassing story about Sebastian. Sebastian hurried to shut him up. "Do you ever run out of stories like that?" he asked.
"Never," Undertaker asked. "Your little boyfriend should know what he's at."
"Just tell Gregory all the embarrassing stories about Undertaker," Grell suggested from the couch, practically lying on top of a very unhappy-looking William.
"I've heard them all," Gregory said, entering the room behind Sebastian. "They were funny," he deadpanned.
Grell and Undertaker burst into shrieking laughter. As he watched his redheaded partner, William's expression clearly said, 'Why the hell do I even put up with this person?' Sebastian couldn't help but ask himself the same thing. William was always very annoyed when it came to Grell and constantly ignored him, and Grell liked to make inappropriate comments about Sebastian's backside, preferably in front of his boyfriend, and yet they were going to get married in spring. Sebastian was going to be William's best man, and he still didn't know how that had happened. William also didn't seem to want to remember this particular event when being asked about it. Sebastian still suspected that it had been for the family image's sake or something like that. William honestly approaching Sebastian about this because he liked him seemed too far-fetched, no matter their current truce.
Sebastian returned to the Michaelis family, though, and maybe that was why William had asked him to be his best man.
Ronald had lifted a very pliant Ran Mao from Lau's lap in order to dance with her to the loud music. They seemed to have a lot of fun, Sebastian thought, and somehow he liked it that people occupied this room in a large, lone house. He wouldn't be alone in this house anymore because Ciel was going to live here now, but the contrast to his life five years was quite harsh now that they had all grown impossibly close. Lau and Ran Mao would also find their place in the circle, even though they probably shouldn't mention their actual profession.
Lau, who didn't have anybody to occupy his lap, looked at Grell in a questioning manner. Grell got up, straightened, and said, "I can totally do that!" before letting himself fall into Lau's lap who nodded in satisfaction and continued sipping his tea.
"Why do we know people like this?" Ciel asked.
"I really don't know," Sebastian muttered.
"Ciel! CielCielCielCielCielCielCiel ! Let's dance!" Alois, despite being nineteen years old now, was pretty much still the very annoying fourteen-year-old that Sebastian had met. He pulled the younger male away, and Soma and Finny followed suit, all of them joining Ronald and Ran Mao. Ciel looked incredibly unwilling, but Sebastian figured that this was his standard expression when dealing with their friends, so he left them to it and sat down between Undertaker and William, who now was very Grell-less.
He looked even more constipated than when he had Grell around him.
Maurice had joined Gregory on the couch, and now that pretty much all of them knew sign language to various extents, he could converse with Gregory without any problems. Since the music was so loud, Gregory didn't answer verbally but also spoke with his hands. Maurice kept shooting glances towards Edgar who was also dancing with the others, and Edgar usually caught his glance, smiling deviously or reassuringly depending on his momentary mood, and Maurice – still very much the schoolgirl around his boyfriend - always looked away very quickly.
"We should do that every year," Undertaker piped up.
"Oh god, no," Sebastian said.
Later, when they had realised that it was late in the evening already, Undertaker grabbed his camera before anyone could go, focusing it on Ciel. Everyone else gathered around him, and Undertaker also joined before the flashlight went off. The snapshot was a pile of people grinning and/or hugging Ciel, who – alongside William – was the only one who looked unhappy. Even Sebastian could manage a formal smile despite the headache that his friends always left behind.
"We should do that again," he said when they waved at the last car leaving the driveway. Ciel's things had yet to find their places in the Michaelis estate, but he was nevertheless officially living here.
"Over my dead body," Ciel grumbled and Sebastian smirked. He put an arm around Ciel's shoulder and kissed his temple. "Are you always going to be this affectionate?"
"Sure," Sebastian said. "Why not?"
Ciel huffed and shook his head, but he was smiling.
The photo landed on the photo wall that had expanded over two walls of Sebastian's music room. Ciel would practise there every day, when he wasn't giving a concert in another country, and when Sebastian came to watch him, he would see the full lips curve at the ends as Ciel played in front of a vast amount of pictures.
Sebastian had once said he could love Ciel.
And, well, now he couldn't describe how he loved him. There were many portraits of Ciel in the house, painted in different styles, and many others that Ciel had inspired. His works were famous all over the world, but there were always some that he would never sell. Those would hang in his house, waiting for Ciel to notice them. And sometimes Sebastian would hear a melody that would only fill the rooms of the Michaelis estate; melodies painted by Ciel's violin, and Sebastian would sit down and lift a pencil to a sheet of paper, or maybe a brush to a canvas.
From now on he would always know what to paint.
It's done! Finally. xD It did become a bit longer than expected. The finale didn't quite turn out the way I'd planned it, but it still has the original ideas, so I'm not going to change it.
I hope you enjoyed this fic. Thank you, thank you so much for all your reviews and your favs and your alerts. They did keep me motivated.
And a shout out to my beta Carrie2sky. Thanks for your patience and for motivating me to keep writing this fic when I contemplated putting it down.
For now I just feel happy to say that this fic is off my table and here on ffn for you guys to read, enjoy and/or get angry at. I guess I did that quite a few times with this one, didn't I? XD
So. Tell me how you liked this chapter/this fic. Share your thoughts with me, you know I like it. I'll appreciate your reviews, each and every one of them.