A/N: Well, basically I wrote this chapter because I love this pairing, and I love this manga arc. I wonder how it's gonna end!
So, the inspiration for this one shot came after I saw a picture of Alois wearing Weston College uniform and Claude dressed like a dorm supervisor. I'd love them in the manga. I'd put the link, but I don't have it:(
Anyways, I hope you like this little story:3 R&R!
The Butterfly Hunter
"We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives."
—Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita.
The first time he saw him, he was in his balcony, and the boy wasn't wearing the uniform.
He was wearing a plum coat and some black shorts that might be a little too short for a boy, but he fit them very well. Brown boots with big, purple bows and black stockings, and a blonde mane that shone in the sunlight. He was all sass and beauty, and Claude couldn't help himself for staring at him.
He was stunning.
Claude thought it was such a shame that he'd have to go down there and scold him for not following Weston College rules, even if he was just arriving. But he didn't even get to take the stairs, because the boy wasn't lost at all and found the way to his dorm soon enough, for he disappeared into the building in the blink of an eye.
Professor Faustus sighed and adjusted his glasses as he thought to himself that this boy must better follow the rules if he wanted to survive to the school.
He left the balcony and went back into his room.
Alois Trancy, Claude learned the second time he saw him. This time he was wearing the uniform, and the crest of Violet Wolf house rested proudly on his chest. The boy had come to Claude's room seeking help to do his homework, he'd said.
—Or more like to check out the dorm supervisor, but Claude didn't need to know that—
Alois was smart and quick, and Claude noticed that he didn't really need his help. He hadn't come for that, he knew. But then, why did he come? What was what he wanted? Professor Faustus found out later that same evening, before Alois retired. He stood up from his chair, thanking him for everything and then...
"Good night, Professor Faustus," the mischievous student whispered as he stood on his toetips so he could be at his height and his hot breath could stroke Claude's ear; and then a soft, tender kiss was placed upon his cheek.
Alois ran away after that, leaving his professor without a chance to say a word of reproach.
That night, Claude found himself thinking about the boy. Maybe he was a little blunt for his liking, but after all, he found that all right. He could be restless and Claude didn't like that, but Alois was still a mystery to him, still so fascinating despite his flaws. Still gorgeous, maybe even more than Maurice Cole, who had fame of being the most beautiful boy in the school. But to Claude, he'd already lost the competition against the new student.
Inevitably, evenings became something to wait for.
It was funny that after such a simple meeting, both the student and the teacher were completely hooked on each other. Alois felt uneasy every night after coming back from Claude's tutoring sessions and excited because he knew that next morning he'd see him again in the classroom.
He loved it. The way he talked, the way he explained things out… His face always remained stoic, but Alois found delight in seeing those golden eyes and hearing that masculine voice speaking the language of knowledge. He looked like an expert, and the boy liked to imagine that there was no one else in the room except for them. He couldn't talk to him, though it was enough just to watch him, because in the afternoon both knew that they would see each other again.
Claude secretly enjoyed it, too. It was as if the empty and boring months he'd had before Alois entered the school were finally starting to make sense after the blonde's arrival. It was his guilty pleasure to watch those aqua eyes shining, widening every time he said something that interested the boy. Alois wanted to learn, he desired to drink every word that fell from those lips.
It was strange how contradictory their feelings could be. They didn't want the class to end, the spell of their eye contact to break. But at the same time, they did. Because that would mean that the evening was closer and that Alois would come searching for his professor's 'help', so that they'd have a chance to talk freely. As their relationship evolved, their conversations about Latin poems and mathematics turned into pointless chats and innuendos, accompanied by stares and subtle touches every once in a while that wouldn't last more than three seconds. Provocative but innocent at the same time, a combination Claude didn't think it was possible until that day. This boy knew what he wanted and he knew how to get it, and that was dangerous and captivating at the same time, because a pretty boy like him shouldn't know about lust. It made him wonder sometimes, how did he get that experience? He wanted to believe that the boy was just acting on impulse and accidentally scoring, because he found the idea of another person touching Alois' tender body unpleasant, yet he didn't know why.
That day, when they finished doing the boy's homework and unusually ran out of conversation, Alois had no other option but to take his leave. And perhaps it was faked, perhaps it was real —Claude had noticed that Alois could be sneaky sometimes, but this once it looked genuine, that fear in his eyes—, Alois stumbled as he tried to stand up, tripping with one of the chair legs.
Luckily for him, Claude stopped his fall. He didn't even move since he'd been standing up next to him all the time, so the boy just had the fortune to fall on his chest.
The little blonde was breathing heavily, still startled.
He closed his eyes trying to calm himself, and involuntarily wrapped his hands in Claude's clothes. Claude remained still, hoping that after a little while Alois would move away like a normal person would… That was his mistake, because nobody in Violet dorm was normal, and Alois was no exception.
Not that he really wanted him to move, but honestly, Claude was doing his best effort to control himself and not take advantage of the situation. After all, he was a professor, for God's sake! He couldn't be attracted to a student, and certainly not one as crazy as Alois Trancy!
But his favorite student certainly had other plans. He lingered there shamelessly as he took a deep breath of Claude's scent and said:
"Mmm… I like how you smell."
Claude was baffled, and suddenly he felt a silent anger seething inside of him. This boy… What was he trying to do, tempting him so easily like that?! He moved away, giving his back to him as he proudly accommodated his glasses.
"Mr. Trancy, go back to your room. It's late already."
Alois shifted. He frowned, but soon enough that expression was replaced by a sly smirk.
"Oh, but professor Faustus, the hallways are too dark. Would you please escort me to my room?"
"Mr. Trancy," Claude growled, turning around with an unusual scowl in his face. It was rare of him to show any kind of emotion.
"C'mon," Alois rolled his eyes. "Do you honestly think I come here just to do my homework?"
"Mr. Trancy, go to your room now," Claude stressed. The little blonde grimaced though he still managed to smile as he approached his professor and whispered seductively in his ear:
"All right. Good night, Claude."
He walked away and closed the door behind him, not looking back and letting out a giggle. As soon as he left, Claude sighed. Seriously, this boy was going to drive him mad someday…
He pictured him as a butterfly. Playful, flying from one side to another, batting his little wings energetically because he knew how beautiful he was and he knew the effect he caused on other people. Free, guided by the wind only… Oh no, but Claude had other plans.
He realized that he wanted to trap him and never let him go. He wanted that gorgeous butterfly just for himself only, like a jealous, ravenous spider that craves to see its prey begging for its life, its freedom. The rules of the school didn't matter anymore as Claude decided that he'd get Alois Trancy no matter what.
And he was completely sure that Alois wouldn't put up much resistance.
It finally happened one day.
Lips parted and tongues met. Moans, pants and touches on fevered skin; the rustle of the clothes against each other…
"I desire you."
Alois smirked, and Claude could feel, taste his smile. He pushed him against the desk, his hands traveling under his shirt, caressing skin and…
"Let me take you," Claude hissed possessively as he kissed Alois again.
Alois moaned as he nodded energetically. He embraced his teacher's neck as he pulled him closer for another messy kiss. Claude got his hands out of Alois shirt and put his arms around him, on his low back and ready to go lower to touch his buttocks. He was thinking of lying the boy down on the desk when…
"Professor Faustus?" There was a knock on the door.
Claude cursed under his breath, breaking the kiss and fixing his clothes. Alois did the same, rubbing his arm against bruised, swollen, wet lips. Wet lips that still tasted like Claude.
"Come in," Claude ordered, his golden eyes never leaving Alois'.
A student entered shyly. "I'm sorry. I need help with today's lesson. Did I interrupt something?"
"Not at all; I was just about to go," Alois replied nonchalantly, staring at his nails. "Professor Faustus and I were just discussing about today's homework. I must admit, that was quite the lesson, professor Faustus."
"Yes," the adult responded in monotone, though his eyes glinted at the statement. Alois licked his lips, not caring about the presence of the other student, who seemed oblivious to the blatant insinuations.
"Professor Faustus is really good. He really knows how to teach, doesn't he?" The boy said kindly. A grin bloomed on Alois' lips.. If only this naïve brat knew what he was talking about…
"You're totally right! I wouldn't miss his lessons for the world."
They kept making small talk and flattering Claude hypocritically —at least Alois, since the other boy was sincere—, yet the adult never interceded, nor did he show any expression. But Alois could see the flame in those golden eyes, and he loved it so much it hurt. After a little while, Alois announced his leave.
Claude gave a curt nod as the blonde gave another of his cunning smiles and walked towards the door, leaving him with the other student. Claude frowned, thinking that the next time they met there couldn't be any kind of interruption; because the desire was killing him, burning inside of him every time he looked at those light blue eyes that really knew what they wanted.
"Good night, Mr. Trancy."
"Good night," Alois left the room and lay on the door, smiling to himself; "…Claude."
Alois didn't show up the next day.
Claude furrowed his eyebrows as he called the roll early in the morning, to find that only one place was empty, his favorite student's place.
It was a long, boring day that reminded him of the months before he met Alois. Thinking back on it, he couldn't believe that so much time had passed already. Alois had been in the school for three months, two of which had been characterized by evening rendezvouses, kisses and touches in his professor's room, though they never got to the next stage.
As the classes finished and the students were leaving the classroom and excitedly talking about the Dormitories' Cricket Tournament that was getting closer and closer, Claude approached some of them to ask them if anyone knew about something about the absence of Alois Trancy, but most of them just shrugged in ignorance or shook their heads. Just one auburn-haired youngster who apparently was his roommate said that the blonde wasn't feeling well in the morning, so he decided to stay in bed.
The answer wasn't even close to relieve Claude's anxiety. It probably worsened it, actually: he felt like he got the need to go to the room and check how Alois was doing. Would he be really sick?
Yet he restrained himself from doing so. It'd look extremely suspicious, if he went searching for the student just because he'd missed one school day. Thus, that was a dull afternoon as well, since Alois also didn't show seeking for his professor's 'help'.
Claude hoped the boy would be fine soon so he could see him again. He hadn't noticed how interesting he'd made his life until that day. But he was sure of one thing: he would never tell Alois how much he craved for his presence.
It had been a week.
An upset Claude wandered around the school pensively, having no specific destination to reach. He felt like he'd been used by a little boy. He didn't think Alois was still sick... No. No one was really worried about the boy nor did they talk about him, therefore that meant that Alois wasn't seriously ill. It had been a lie, Claude knew.
The real question was: why?
Why would Alois use an excuse? Did he just play with Claude, trying to see if he could call his attention? Or maybe he'd gotten scared by how things were growing between them, and he had realized that it wasn't what he wanted and it had been a mistake to flirt with the adult to get his attention, and now he was too embarrassed to face him. Or maybe he'd just grown bored of their little game. Whatever the reason was, Claude needed to know. He even thought of taking advantage of his power as a professor and call the boy to his room so they could 'discuss about his absences' —finish what they had started. But that would be obsessive and there was the matter that Claude wasn't going to lose his pride for him, like a spider would never lose its pride for its prey, no matter how beautiful: not even for a blue butterfly. Not even for Alois Trancy.
He dared to show up after another week, but it seemed like it was a competely different person.
The dynamic blue eyes that seemed to absorb every movement his professor made, were now kept downcast and over the desk, never meeting Claude's. The bright, flamboyant personality was dead, like a candle flame extinguished by the wind. He looked uneasy, nervous, as if he was waiting for something. Or maybe trying to avoid something. He was also easily distracted, always in deep thought or writing something on his paper, perhaps just to keep his mind working on something else.
His professor wondered about the sudden change in attitude. From an energetic, loud boy to a fragile, quiet one. Had he done something wrong?
Needless to say, Alois stopped going to Claude's room to do his homework. He didn't even do it anymore. His grades lowered. So one day, before he could walk away talking with some of his acquantainces, the adult stopped him before he could leave the classroom.
"Mr. Trancy," he said sternly; "we need to talk."
His companion had already left the room as the imposing teacher said so, leaving both of them alone in the classroom.
"About what?" The boy said, obviously on the defensive. Claude frowned.
"Don't play dumb. It doesn't suit you."
Alois chuckled, but it held no glee. "I'm not playing dumb. There's nothing to talk about, professor Faustus."
Why the sudden change in the name? Was he trying to mock him? Calling him by his last name, when he'd been the first and the only one to openly call him by his name… And now there he was, speaking to him so formally, as if cancelling every familiarity between them. As if denying their bond, acting like it never happened.
Claude felt his blood boil, and acting on pure impulse he grasped the boy's wrists and pushed him against the closed door, his leg between the blonde's.
Alois whined loudly as his back crashed against the wooden surface, and crystaline tears began to build up in his eyes as he felt Claude's strong grasp on both of his wrists. He was hurting him!
Alois closed his eyes, shaking intensely. It was such a pitiful sight, it made Claude's rage calm down immediately. Who was this scared, shivering doll in front of him? So helpless, so different to the cheerful, provocative boy he had known. This was not the Alois he knew.
Without a word, he let him go. Alois opened his eyes slowly and stared at him for a few seconds, still trembling. Claude returned the stare, colder than ice, sharper than a blade, and then turned his back on him. When the blonde noticed that he wasn't going to do anything else to him and understood that Claude was letting him free, Alois tried to regain his composure and begged for his legs not to wobble as he ran away leaving the classroom behind him.
Claude kept silent.
"Professor Faustus," a saddened voice spoke. "Can I…?"
"Of course," Claude answered, raising his eyes from the book he was reading to meet with Alois. It obviously had surprised him that after their little moment in the classroom a few hours earlier, and after frightening him to the core, the blonde had suddenly appeared in the chapel asking for a moment alone with his professor. His voice had faltered and he didn't get to finish the sentence, but Claude knew what he meant.
Alois took a seat next to him. His eyes were downcast and looking at his white, feminine hands with shaky fingers fidgeting nervously. Claude adjusted his glasses and looked to the other side, letting the silence sink awkwardly between them. He was still ashamed of what he'd done in the classroom, for Alois looked quite upset about something Claude didn't know and he'd probably just worsened his mood with his impulsiveness. It wouldn't have surprised him if the student would've never talked to him again and maybe had even asked for a change to another dorm. But as always, Alois was completely unpredictable.
Claude started wondering then if his mood swings were actually a part of his artistic temper. After all… He was in Violet Dorm for a reason, right? Artists were always weird and misunderstood. Maybe behind the beauty of the blue wings of the butterfly lay a story so dark and so secret that nobody else knew and probably never would. It was just a theory, of course, but it fitted Alois' wicked and changing personality so well...
—Or perhaps he was just bipolar—
When Claude finally opened his mouth to speak, he was interrupted by an intense sob. He glanced at the boy at his side, eyes widening.
There were tears in his face. He sniffed and wiped them away as he bit his lip, and shook his head desperately as he raised his eyes to meet Claude's. He looked so… Helpless.
"Al—.. Mr. Trancy," Claude corrected himself, not forgetting about the formal tone the blonde had applied before. He felt a pang of guilt when he remembered his reaction to those words. Of couse, he loathed the fact that Alois wanted to keep the formalities between them and forget about their relationship, but if that was what he wanted, there was nothing he could do. He would never go against Alois' desires no matter if that interfered with his own, he knew. Alois had become important to him and the more he thought about it, he was sure that if the blonde was doing this, it wasn't because of him but for other reasons he couldn't fully comprehend. At least it gave him some relief to know that their separation hadn't been his fault, but he still wanted an explanation, so he asked:
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Unexpectedly, the boy smiled: and it looked so heartbreakingly charming that Claude felt the need to kiss him and take him right there, but he kept his professional façade on. Alois shook his head slowly, gazing at his hands again.
"I-I can't. I'm sorry."
"How can you say that?" Alois reproached, his expression the perfect description of despair and anguish.
Claude shifted his eyes to his lap and the rosary hanging from his neck. Not that he believed in God, but as a professor, it was one of his duties to teach religion to his students, even if he thought it was a waste of time. Alois didn't look like the religious type either; however, seeing how forlorn he was and now that they were in the chapel, Claude thought to himself that maybe a little session of praying would help him. He didn't understand why, but he knew people usually found calm and comfort in doing so. Thus:
"Pray," was Claude's only response.
And Alois prayed.
Standing in front of the mirror was one of the hardest tasks Alois had to do in his life. Whenever he saw his face he felt shameful, ugly, and worthless.
And now there he was, shivering like a pitiable little child —but he was a child, for God's sake!—; all dressed up in a red kimono and standing in front of the bathroom's big mirror, feeling lower than a cheap prostitute.
Lower lip trembling helplessly as he bit it, he looked down at his hand that held a brush of hair he was using to untangle his blonde mane. He was pathetic, he thought suddenly. What did other people see when they looked at him? Did they see the same he saw? Did his 'father' see? Did Claude see?
Claude. He hadn't come since Alois visited him in the chapel. It had been days and he hadn't even showed to make sure he was better. Of course, Alois had apprecciated their moment in the chapel, the silent solace he'd given to him; and he'd seen him in class, but it wasn't enough.
Had he grown bored? When Alois had rejected him, had he given up so easily? But why? Wasn't he worth fighting for? Couldn't Claude see, that it wasn't because he didn't want him that he rejected him, but for other reasons that were not under his control? Or maybe he just didn't care anymore...
The thought made his blood boil. Nobody ever care. With a scream, he threw the brush to the mirror causing it to collide in millions of tiny pieces. His reflection was destroyed, and the only thing he could see now as he looked at the floor covered in scattered pieces of glass were glimpses of his self, distortioned and broken like his heart.
He fell to his knees, crying at full volume. No matter how fiercely he rubbed his eyes, the tears wouldn't stop falling. No matter how strong he bit his tongue, the sobs kept getting louder and louder.
Shakily, he took a piece of broken glass within his fingers and observed it attentively. The image he saw was even uglier than before: red eyes, red face, running nose and wet cheeks. He hated it.
He touched the sharpness of the cutting glass with his fingers, and he thought it was time to finish this up. This fight against himself had lasted for too long. Nobody was going to miss him, anyway. The only reaction he would probably get was the rage of his 'father' for he wouldn't have his favorite whore for himself anymore.
He was so distracted in his own thoughts that he didn't hear the door opening rather forcefully as Claude entered the bathroom. He'd heard the sound of the shattering glass, the noisy sobs, and if it wasn't enough, a student had come to tell him that something wasn't right in the bathroom and everyone had noticed, yet they were too scared to see for themselves what was happening —and honestly, they couldn't be as helpful as an adult could. His notification wasn't needed anyway, because as the student went to tell Claude, he was already on his way to see what was happening. There was something inside of him that was telling him that Alois was involved.
Alois raised the piece of the broken mirror to have a final look at himself before he committed the act, and it was then when he saw Claude's reflection behind him. It was until then when he noticed him.
He gave a start and the glass fell to the floor involuntarily, breaking in even smaller pieces.
"C-Claude," Alois whispered breathlessly.
Claude wore a severe expression; golden eyes unreadable as he gazed at the boy on the floor. He was gorgeous, so vulnerable and broken like that, and Claude felt an urgent need to protect him. He knelt down, eyes softening a little but face still the same as he placed his fingers under his chin and raised his face to have a better look at it.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?" He whispered in an almost paternal voice that gave Alois chills.
"I—," was the only thing he could say. The lump in his throat didn't let him add anything more, and he needily searched for Claude's warmth, hiding his face in his chest. After a moment of silence, he said:
"Do you still desire me?"
Claude smiled faintly, embracing the boy. How could he ask that? The butterfly was begging for his attention now. The butterfly had finally been captured in the spider's web, but the spider didn't want to devour it anymore. The spider wanted to protect it.
Funny, a predator trying to protect its prey. But he was so beautiful, inside and out, and he didn't know, he couldn't see. Claude didn't know whether to think if that was tragically sweet or just plain sad, but it didn't matter anymore, because now Alois was in his arms, and Claude would show him just what he was worth of.
"Always," he answered.
A ghost of smile appeared in Alois' face, and he suddenly felt the need of telling Claude everything. He knew he would listen.
"I thought I bored you," he spat. "I thought that you just wanted me like my 'father' does, to satisfy his disgusting desires. I was afraid that you'd touch me like he does."
What? Was Alois saying what Claude thought he was saying? It shocked him to hear that all of a sudden. Was it true? Did his 'father' really use him like that? Such a disgusting idea, such a repulsive person. Now he understood why Alois had evaded him, as he obviously was ashamed of himself. But Claude knew it wasn't his fault, so the dirty secret didn't make him recoil. In Alois' position, he was pretty much hopeless. He probably hadn't had any other option.
"I don't mind that old creep touching me," Alois continued, still hiding his face. "It makes me want to vomit, but I can get used to it. I can pretend I don't care and I can dress myself for him just to be one of his favorites. But it's all a game, a game I cannot lose. If I'm his favorite, I'll have more priviledges. The price I have to pay is high, but it's worth it."
Claude tried to keep himself calm. It was horrible and he hated listening to him speaking like that. What a terrible life, what a shattering past this boy hid! No wonder why he was so emotionally affected!
"Recently, I told him I wanted to go to school. He refused at first, but I ended up convincing him. I told him I wanted to be more 'virtuous' for him," Alois let out a bitter laugh and sniffed; "Of course it was all a lie. I just wanted to get away from him. I know I'm still under his control, but at least here I can be safe for a while."
"But he's coming," he continued, and as he said those words, he shivered. "The Dorm's Cricket Tournament is coming soon, and families are allowed to come to the inauguration and the closing ceremony. He'll come that day, I know, and I was afraid that you'd see him with me and you'd be disappointed of me. I don't know why, but the thought of disappointing you is unbearable to me, Claude!"
Alois burst into an intense crying then. Claude held his thin frame, afraid that he would break. He still didn't know what to say, the story had left him speechless. The only thing his mind could process at the moment was the fury that ran through his veins and the urge to protect the boy from everything, no matter what.
"Run away with me."
"What?" Alois finally showed his face, still crying. Claude didn't respond, but he kept eye contact. "What are you saying?"
"Let's run away from this place. You'll never have to face that disgusting man again."
"But Claude," the boy said, voice choking. He liked the proposal, yet he was still unsure. "That's impossible."
"Why?" Claude inquired. "I hate this school. The only thing that has made my stay here any interesting is you, and I will not let anyone but me touch you again. I won't let anyone hurt you anymore. So let's run away. We can go anywhere you like, start a new life..."
The little blonde looked to the floor, still not knowing what to answer. Of course he wanted to escape, to escape his past, to escape everything. And having Claude's company! It couldn't get better than that!
However, one thought scared him. The idea was so wonderful, so perfect, it frightened him. Happiness frightened him, because he'd never felt it. It terrified him, because he was afraid that it would all be a dream.
Noticing the boy's hesitation, Claude stood up.
"This night. I'll be waiting for you at the Swan Gazebo. We'll leave here and go to the train station, and you can choose the place we're going. If you don't show up, I'll assume you rejected the offer, and I won't bother you ever again, I promise."
Alois said nothing, and Claude didn't pressure him. He would get his answer by the night, so he just carried the mentally exhausted boy in his arms and took him to his room, telling other professors, students and prefects that everything was fine.
As if his mind was split in two, and it was driving him crazy. One part of him was excited, anxious to go away with Claude and leave everything behind, start all over. The other was still afraid, telling him that it would never work, that sooner or later disgrace would reach him again somehow, because it always did.
He rolled on the bed, still in deep thought. The silence of the night was engulfing, and the only thing he could hear were his roommate's soft snores.
He couldn't help but wonder: what would Claude be doing by then? Would he be already in the Swan Gazebo, waiting patiently for him?
The thought was…
He was just about making his final decision, when a loud crash interrupted his thinking proccess.
"What was that?!" Alois shouted, sitting up in the bed. His roommate woke up abruptly, just as startled as him.
"It's a fire!" He could hear some voices shouting from the hallways, impatient footsteps as they tried to escape.
"W-what?" The other boy asked, still sleepy, yet there was a hint of fear in his tone.
"A fire?!" Alois exclaimed, getting out of the bed whilst the other boy did the same, and both exited the room in frenzy.
The hallways were too crowded with hysterical students that walked quickly towards the exit. Alois got out of his initial shock and started following them outside: they had to go to the school gardens where the prefects would take a roll-call. And so, an idea hit him. What if...?
...If he changed his actual way to the gardens and instead went to the Swan Gazebo where Claude said he'd be waiting for him, no one would see him. Everyone was too busy and desperate finding their way out that they wouldn't notice his absence until the roll was called; and if he was fast enough, perhaps at that moment Claude and him would be already out of the school and heading for the train station. The idea excited him. He could feel the adrenaline, the fear of being discovered, but it was good fear. The anxiety to know what the future had prepared for him and Claude, what would be of them? Free of anything and anyone, free of his past and with so many experiences to live by his side.
So he finally decided. He walked through the crowds: it was hard to make his way between them, but he was able to. And so, he quickly reached the Swan Gazebo.
It looked eerie in the moonless night, and Alois shivered with both fear and cold. He was still in his bed clothes, for he hadn't had time to change.
He tossed his head from side to side in silent anxiety, like a lost child looking for his mother. There was nobody at the Swan Gazebo.
He couldn't restrain the whimper that escaped his throat when he caught no sight of Claude, and he could feel his heart breaking. His knees trembled, but they didn't give away to his weight. He wouldn't let them. His eyes stung but no tears fell, and he felt his stomach churning with rage. Claude wasn't there.
The voice in his mind chanted a cruel 'I told you so'. He knew it was too good to be true, the bastard hadn't showed up! He'd backed off!
Or maybe he wasn't planning on going from the very beginning. Maybe he just wanted to see if Alois would be naïve enough to believe him and go there. Maybe he pitied him in the bathroom, and he'd just been playing with him all along! Of course, what did he expect? He was always a game for everyone, a little child that no one really loved!
And suddenly, before he burst out crying or hitting everything in his way, he felt a soft touch on his shoulder. He turned around with trembling lips and reddened eyes, and he saw…
"Shh," Claude hushed. "I'm sorry I'm late. This whole fire thing—"
Alois' features softened and he hugged Claude with all his strength, interrupting his apology. Tears started falling freely down his cheeks. "You scared the bloody hell out of me! I thought you wouldn't come! Don't ever do this to me again, Claude! Please, please, please! Don't ever leave me again!"
A baffled Claude stroked his blonde hair, smiling warmly. Such a reaction had been completely unexpected, but he liked it. He liked the feeling of being needed by someone he cared about.
"I'll never do," he promised. "But we have to go now. We need to rush, or else they'll catch us."
Alois let him go, cleaning his face of the tears and nodding.
"As long as you're with me, it's okay."
Claude nodded back and held Alois' hand tightly, guiding him safely as they both sneaked away and into the night.
A/N: Oh, just another quick thing, in case you don't know/haven't noticed. The fire in the last part, is the one caused by Ciel in the latest manga chapter. Hope you liked it:)!