For Claudia.

His lips were as red as any child's, though where another's might have been flushed from nervous biting at the thought of dragons or mother's whipping hand, his were stained by wine: just a sip, a celebratory gesture, for he hadn't yet acquired a taste for it. Mind drifting past the ruddy Moulin Rouge wrought beneath his window, he thought of Father - Father, who had looked a god with his skeletal fingers wrapped around a glass stem. He frowned down at the pool of scarlet in his chalice. Perhaps time would bring an affinity for it.

He could hear Sebastian's

(normally feather-silent, but now as audible and clumsy as any mortal's, and oh, that was an oddity he could become accustomed to)

footsteps approaching from halfway down the hall. "I trust you are well, young master?" he asked, tongue as silver and poison-tipped as ever.

It was an annoyance Ciel had tolerated for... ages, it seemed, but no more; he felt the suppressed outrage swell in his chest like some hollow concerto, and a twisted caricature of Cheshire's grin wrought itself upon red-stained lips. At once a sliver of gratefulness that his chair faced the window rather than the door swept through him. "Quite," he replied, and he felt like laughing, like flying, like –

"Something wrong?" A change of atmosphere; Ciel felt spiderweb-cracks begin to spiral throughout his patience. "You made quite a spectacle of yourself today, you realize – all those men lost in that fire you started, undoubtedly as part of one of your manic plans." His tone did not once deviate from the trademark condescending politeness, but all the same there was a fire radiating from him, now, threatening to melt the veils of ice that spun themselves between them. Ciel's grin widened. "You could have died yourself, you know. Tell me, do you think yourself a hero? A vigilante, perhaps? Because from here you look like little more than a kicked dog cowering beh–"

"You'll take care," he interrupted, the rebuke grating his throat like a promise held just beyond his fingertips, "not to speak to me like that – especially considering that you were the one to leave my side for so long that you couldn't maintain your end of the contract."

His eyes remained locked on the Paris cityscape; for all that, he could still see the smirk on that idiot's face. Perhaps a reflection in the glass. "Oh? You seem quite alright to me. If you have evidence to the contrary, of course, I'll be glad to... repent..."

And his grin grew wide enough that he finally couldn't take it any longer, a ghastly imitation of some storybook horror; the chair splintered upon the floor as he jerked upright and swiveled around, clawing the eyepatch from its place until it fell limply to the floor. An echo of a white narcissus faded into terror in Sebastian's eyes as he saw it – a pentacle, but not the pentacle, a promise that whomever found themselves on the receiving end of that glare would drink from death's chalice.

As though reminded by the train of thought

(and perhaps he was)

Ciel picked up his glass and pressed it to his lips, staining them with wine or blood. When the last trickles had bled down his throat, it snapped between his fingers – a child's fingers, the fingers of an innocent. "On your knees," he ordered idly, like some schoolboy playing Lord with his friends. "I suggest you start with that repentance, now."

"A slip of a child like him?"

"That is no child. That is the devil himself."

For those of you wondering, as I do have a tendency to trade in coherency for brevity – Sebastian was, for whatever reason, not with Ciel when he died in the midst of a scheme, and Ciel was in turn able to attain a more powerful demon. But that demon brought out his darker nature, and as such his willingness to deal with Sebastian was nullified. Unlikely? Most certainly, but I thought it fitting for theatrical reasons.

~*~The more you know.~*~

In any event – hope you enjoyed it!