Tears and a Forgotten Glove
Alois Trancy could never sleep during snowstorms. The cold brought so many memories of his disgraceful childhood in that town where he had been neglected and humiliated. He still remembered the cruel winters, his cracked and bluish skin due to the cold, his teeth chattering to the point of almost breaking, the violent trembling of his body. That's how days and nights passed, and he could only rely on…
"Luca… What are you doing?"
The little boy raised his eyes, dedicating the blond a warm smile. "I didn't want brother to be cold."
Luca had embraced Alois —or rather Jim Macken—, so they could share the little heat their bodies produced.
"Luca," the surprised blond whispered at the sudden gesture of affection, and even if it wasn't very useful, he was actually starting to feel his brother's warmth... In his heart.
He stroked his hair, hugging him tighter.
The redhead gave a hint of a smile and closed his eyes, feeling safer in his brother's lap. "Yes, your Highness."
That night was no exception, and Alois found himself tossing and turning in the bed uneasily. Those memories were devastating, and just the thought that outside there was people suffering the same he had suffered was…
Oh, please. You're not telling me you feel bad about them. Humans are disgusting creatures who just fight for their own interests...
That was true. How often had he not experienced it? Nobody had given them roof, food or solace since they'd been orphaned. They were just another plague in that rotten city. If it were for Alois, humanity could expire in the most painful way possible.
And even so, he couldn't get to sleep yet. No matter how fancy his life was now, no matter how many blankets covered him now to provide him warmth, no matter how soft, springy and big his bed was. He didn't want that sensation of artificial peace. The only thing he wanted was…
He rolled over in bed again, facing the window. He felt like getting up and opening the curtains to look at the night sky, but immediately he thought that wouldn't make sense since he wouldn't see anything. He pictured the full moon, hidden behind the thick black clouds. For a moment he felt identified: both of them were lonely, always surrounded by darkness.
A silent tear ran down his cheek as he thought of the simile. He smiled, feeling pathetic for crying, but not even he could understand himself. Alois had always been sentimental, but lately he was even more. He didn't even know if he was happy, angry, sad or everything at the same time, because his emotions changed from one minute to another. He sheltered himself behind a façade that hid his weakness. Because even if he didn't want to admit it, he knew it very well: he was weak.
He was dependent. After all, he was no more but a scared child. He wished with all his strength to stop being scared, to become stronger, but he didn't understand how to change it. The only thing he understood was his fervent desired of feeling comprehended and loved. But after all, how could he expect everybody else to understand him, when he himself didn't? How could he expect to be loved, when he himself didn't feel worthy of it?
All the time he feared to be alone, but perhaps… Perhaps he had been alone since the beginning. Since —that person— had come into his life, Alois felt lonelier than ever… Because although sometimes he looked like he cared, Alois knew everything was false; and when the end came, Claude wouldn't be merciful to him…
Claude would be the end of him.
And nonetheless, Alois didn't care. He knew well Claude didn't love him, didn't care about him, but why Alois loved him so much was a mystery. Yes, he was in love, obsessed with Claude. Intoxicated by his cold lies that didn't mean anything. After all, he preferred having him tied to him at least by the contract than losing him forever.
What Alois was too blinded to see, it's that you can't lose someone you've never had.
The room was in almost complete silence, except for the low clinking of the window due to the wind. And soon, that sound was accompanied by the blonde's sobs too. Alois let pain take him, he allowed himself that moment of self-pity. Just for that once.
Suddenly, the room's door was opened. Immediately, the blond fidgeted in bed to hide his reddened and tearful face into the pillow. He bit his lower lip deeply so it would stop trembling and his sobs would be silenced, and he tried to hold his breath.
The voice was soft, masculine and... Monotonous. Well, almost completely, because Alois swore it held a faint hint of concern. Or at least that was what he wanted to believe.
But oh, dammit. He'd been caught.
Alois didn't move. He didn't want Claude to see him like that.
The black-haired man just raised an eyebrow when he got no response. He'd sworn the boy wasn't asleep, but maybe he was just moving in his sleep.
Claude left the candelabra on the night table. Letting out a sigh, he put on a thicker bedspread to cover his master. He knew Alois had trouble sleeping during cold nights, though he didn't know the reason why.
However, he'd felt a little worried when he thought the boy might be cold, so he had opted to look for a blanket to cover him well. After all, to take care of every detail and to solve every single problem, no matter how insignificant, was the duty of a good butler. Besides, humans were incredibly fragile creatures that easily got sick.
Having finished his job, he was walking towards the door when a soft whisper stopped him:
The adult turned round at the mention of his name.
"S-Stay…" Alois said in a broken voice. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself and sitting up in the bed. "Don't leave me alone."
Claude's expression barely changed. He was used to his master's mood swings and emotional vulnerability. He gave a few steps forward, approaching the bed so Alois could relax with his closeness.
"Yes, your High.." it was then when he noticed the blonde's moistened eyes. He had perceived the youngster's uneasiness, but he hadn't thought he'd reached the extreme of crying.
"Master…" he muttered softly, not being able to help it. He leant towards the boy, looking straightly into his eyes. Alois was paralyzed. Claude rarely looked at him like that, and his golden eyes were so intense Alois felt hypnotized, as if with that stare Claude could look at every piece of him.
Delicately, Claude took the boy's face in his hands. His touch was nearly imperceptible, cold, but warm at the same time… Just what Alois needed. Leaning into the touch, he closed his eyes, causing the accumulated tears in his eyes to fall down his cheeks.
Claude took off one glove with his hands, exposing the hand of the contract. The glove fell to the floor silently, and Claude wiped away one tear with his finger.
Perplexed blue eyes opened then, observing the demon staring at the little drop in his index tip, analyzing it. And then, he took it to his mouth.
"Claude.." Alois susurrated, bewildered. A slight blush dyed his cheeks. What the hell was Claude doing? Maybe… He was trying to offer him… Comfort?
Claude, what do you want from me? You can have everything. My body, my soul, because I…
And almost as if he had read his mind, the demon smiled, and his eyes turned red and bright.
"I but want to devour you… In one hell of a bite, your Highness."
Alois couldn't help being left open-mouthed. That attitude coming from his indifferent butler... Wasn't normal at all.
The raven-haired male didn't say anything else, and his smile soon vanished. He adjusted his glasses and took the candelabra again. Then, he turned round to leave the bedroom. When Alois had regained his composure enough to speak, the demon was already opening the door.
He turned around. Alois' bemused expression had been replaced by a frown.
Claude nodded slightly. "As you wish."
And then, he closed the door.
Alois made himself comfortable under the blankets, and closed his eyes. He knew the word 'gentle' didn't exist in demons vocabulary, and probably Claude wouldn't follow his order and he would keep playing with him, giving him false hopes until the last hour came…
What he didn't know was that the bitter end was closer than he thought.
He had felt an immense urge of telling him to stay, that the bed was big enough and he could lie next to him. But that would never happen. Demon or not, Claude was no more than his butler and to sleep in the same bed as your master would be unacceptable, impossible. Alois knew.
And he also knew that in the morning a new day would come, where Claude would act as apathetic as always and pretend like nothing happened. And Alois wouldn't mention it either. That night would be a secret, a taboo subject for both, and yet they'd never forget it.
The blonde sat up in the bed again, and he gazed at the lying glove his butler had 'accidentally' forgotten.
Don't be ridiculous…
But he couldn't help it.
And that night, Alois could finally fall asleep, with the glove warmly hugged to his chest.