Black Butler: Demon's Payment

Content:

Rating: Mature

Flavor: Romance/Angst

Language: some

Violence: just a bit

Nudity: implied (m)

Sex: foreplay, post-coital cuddling, segues (all m/m)

Other: transvestism, a homosexual is reviled

Author's Notes:

First up, this is NOT smut. If you were looking for that, sorry. There is a lot of sex as part of the plot of the story, but it is all off-camera. There is, instead, a lot of sensuality.

If you like fluffy, fuzzy, shiny, happy Grell and Sebastian holding hands and dancing tra-la-la through the tulips, you will enjoy this, up to a point. The point when it is irrevocably ruined for you. If the fluffy part really all you're after, you want to stop before they get to dinner, just after the hairdressing part.

If you hate fluffy, fuzzy, blah blah blah, love angsty demon evil, and are going 'hairdressing? wtf!?' right now... don't worry. You'll like it. Trust me. Am I not Evil?

Disclaimers:

Minimal research done on Paris geography and period fashion. No research done on proper butlering, multi-course meals, wine, or what time the sun sets in England. It's all made up, for entertainment purposes only.

Thoughts and opinions of the characters are not necessarily those of the author. Well... technically they necessarily ARE, but you know what I mean!

Includes MUC. I "Make Up Crap" about Grell, Reapers, immortals, demons, etc. That thing about Sebastian's scar? That's my brain playing with a concept it thought up in regard to Black Butler, and has no bearing on canon or any sort of reality.

Setup:

Takes place directly at the end of... that episode where Lady Elizabeth is kidnapped by that guy turning girls into dolls - you know the one. Ciel gets Grell to help him out by promising him Sebastian for a day. It's been a while since I've seen that (or any eps), so chalk any inconsistencies up to artistic license.


Demon's Payment

==={(0`

Grell was quite proud of himself. Oh, he was going to catch hell for it later; his boss was such a stickler. Reapers don't help mortals. But where's the harm? Lady Elizabeth was young. Plenty of time to die, later.

The boy had promised him Sebastian. Nothing could make that demon give in to Grell's desires; he was like a rock, like an impassive wall. Like Pygmalion's statue, beautiful perfection, but cold and unmoving. Ciel had the power to move him, to make him warm flesh. Grell licked his lips and swallowed, his mouth suddenly too wet.

Then Sebastian himself appeared outside the mansion. Grell smiled his shark-toothed grin. As always, the butler was completely unruffled, neat as a pin. Perfection unmarred.

The look the demon gave him made his grin falter. "My lord, do you wish me to dispatch this... person, now? You did give me a standing order to kill everyone complicit in Madame Red's death."

That doused Grell's ardor! The demon could tear him apart, and Grell didn't even have a proper scythe to defend himself with. Pinking shears! Will had given him pinking shears! "Oh well, look at the time! Boss likes me to keep a tight schedule, you know!" He turned to spring away before the demon could strike. Discretion being the better part of ardor and all that... "Got to run! Ta-ta!"

"No."

Grell froze. The demon and the Reaper looked down at the boy who commanded so strongly.

"I've promised your service to Grell for one day," Ciel told Sebastian.

Grell's smile sprang back onto his face, threatening to split his chin right off. His glasses started steaming up. And oh! The look on Bassy's face was priceless!

"My lord?" the butler asked. "Surely you don't mean-?"

"The Earl of Phantomhive never breaks his word." The boy's voice was cold steel.

"But Master-!"

Ciel overrode him. "Sebastian, these are your orders..." Violet witch-light began to glow from beneath his eyepatch; it was the demon's mark. The same arcane symbols burned on Sebastian's hand, sealing the command. There was no possibility of him disobeying. "You will serve Grell as your Master until sunset. You will obey him and do as he wishes. Make him happy."

Grell felt giddy as the breath squeezed from his lungs in a high-pitched exhalation. His heart leapt behind his breastbone; his whole body quivered in anticipation.

"I will attend to Lady Elizabeth myself," the young nobleman said, once again cutting off Sebastian's protests. "I will not require your services while you are... occupied." He shot Grell a glance, then hefted his walking stick and strode inside.

The demon and the Reaper stood alone in the chill grey predawn air. Grell ran his tongue over the sharpened points of his teeth. "Shall we, my dear Bassy?" He tipped his head and peeked over the tops of his glasses, the lenses now almost completely opaque from the fog. He held out his hand to the shell-shocked butler.

Sebastian blinked slowly and seemed to come to himself. His face smoothed and took on a faint neutral smile. "As you wish," he said, laying his white-gloved hand in Grell's; "Master."

Grell's heart did another little caper as he gripped Sebastian's hand in his and drew him closer. "Anything I want?"

"Everything you want, Master." Sebastian leaned even closer, lowering his voice. "Just tell me how you like it."

==={(0`

Grell drifted in a state of bliss. Immortals didn't sleep- it was one of the great ironies of the Beyond: only those who had a finite existence spent one-third of it oblivious to it. Eternity marched away before the immortals without respite. Though if it ever proved too much for them, they could enter a state of fugue, disconnect their minds from every thought and just drift.

Grell's eyelids were half-closed, too heavy to open fully. His whole body felt heavy, exhausted, and still tingling with satiated contentment. It was warm here, cocooned in the down comforters of the huge bed. Warm and soft and oh so peaceful.

He turned on his side and spooned himself against Sebastian's back. Reapers were perforce cold-blooded, they generated very little body heat. Demons, on the other hand, burned with hellfire. Sebastian's skin was incandescent under Grell's long, cool fingers. He explored the landscape of pectoral plain and the interleaving ridges of rib and muscle, all under skin so smooth, so perfect, it was like touching ice afire.

Grell buried his face in the nape of Sebastian's neck. His black hair was thick and soft, like fur, like feathers, like silk. Grell inhaled the demon's scent: the dust of time, the strong musk, and underlying it, the faint trace of brimstone. A warning for all those who would heed it. But Grell needn't fear. The demon was his, now. He pushed his tongue between the long locks and licked Sebastian's neck.

He exhaled softly and pulled away just a bit so he could look along the length of Sebastian's back. He slid his hand up over the long smooth curve of Sebastian's bicep, the round hump of his shoulder. The scratches and bites Grell had put on him in the first frenzies of passion had long since vanished without a trace. Yet there was something else the Reaper had thought he'd seen. Sebastian's skin looked like flawless alabaster, but... yes, there. When Grell ran the ball of his thumb down along the crest of his shoulder blade, he could feel it. The faintest ridge of imperfection. Did demons scar?

Grell opened his mouth to ask about it, but just then, Sebastian rolled over to face him. Nose to nose, belly to belly. The demon captured Grell's parted lips in a lingering kiss. Now Sebastian's hand ran slowly over Grell's flank, radiating a trail of heat down to the crest of his hip. "Are you happy, Master?" Sebastian breathed, slowly drawing away so his words brushed Grell's lips.

"Oh, Ba-" he began, but stopped before the crass nickname could form. He'd started calling Sebastian 'Bassy' mainly to annoy the hell out of the demon. It seemed the only way he'd have a hope of getting a rise out of Sebastian, though the hot-blooded denizen of hell had a very cool temper. Grell brushed Sebastian's hair aside, so he could look into those deep maroon eyes. There needn't be any games here, between them now. "Yes, Seb." Grell let the silken strands caress his fingertips as they fell back into place. "Very happy."

He was rewarded with a provocative smile from the demon. Not a mouth-curling grin; his mouth dropped open a fraction and the triangular pink tip of his tongue appeared between his teeth. The very sight of it made Grell's heart tingle. He made to capture that naughty tongue with his lips, but the demon was too fast. Sebastian pressed him back into the thick mattress and straddled him, hard against his hip.

Grell gasped, taken by surprise, but didn't resist. He didn't have to tell Sebastian what to do, the demon lavished him with attention. He felt... wanted. He surrendered himself willingly to the demon's lust.

==={(0`

"Are you planning to stay in bed all day?" Sebastian nibbled at Grell's ear.

"Such a tempter you are," Grell teased him lightly. He kneaded Sebastian's neck at the base of his skull, and the demon closed his eyes and purred.

A sudden thought struck Grell, and he thrust himself up on one elbow, making the demon's eyes fly wide in startlement. "We should go to the Champs-Elysees!"

A little frown line marred Sebastian's perfect brow. "In Paris?"

"Yes! Bright, sunny France, not dull old England. It's so dreary this time of year." Grell's grin widened; he became downright buoyant at the idea. "We can walk beside the river- and picnic in the park! Oh, I have the perfect dress to wear." He sighed wistfully. Then he frowned at Sebastian's expression. "What's wrong, lover?"

"How shall we get there? I can carry you, surely, but even I cannot get all the way to Paris so quickly."

Grell laughed. "Silly! I can take us there in the wink of an eye." He winked then, just for effect. "I am, after all, one hell of a Reaper- oh damn!" His face fell. Damn, damn, damn! He was supposed to be at work.

Sebastian soothed him with soft strokes. "What is it?"

"It's my boss!" Grell flopped back into the pillows. "He'll be wondering where I am, probably even looking for me. If I use my powers... damn!"

This time, Sebastian chuckled lightly. He placed a gentle kiss on Grell's brow. "Don't worry, I can shield you from him. He won't spoil our fun." He sealed the promise with another kiss.

"You can do that?"

Sebastian grinned cockily. "If I couldn't protect my beloved from an irate and overbearing boss, what kind of lover would I be?"

==={(0`

The Parisian day was light and airy, the sun a dazzling gold coin in the sky. The few clouds didn't mar the perfection of the cerulean expanse, they only enhanced it, like a beauty mark artfully applied to draw the eye.

The Reaper and the demon drew the eye as well. Grell's gown was crimson and maroon, enhancing the bright scarlet of his hair and eyes. His face was framed with a modest bonnet, his neck ensconced in a rounded collar cinched with a ruby brooch. The gown's shoulders drew outward into points, blurring the difference between a woman's sloped and rounded shoulders and a man's breadth. The ruffled front, the judiciously stuffed brassiere, and the corset circling his waist further transformed his figure. The dress fell from his hips in crimson waves; the top layer, edged with gold embroidery, folded back like a stage curtain. And oh, the bustle! Capped with a starched, oversized bow, it really showed off his best assets!

Upon his left lapel was the rose Sebastian had given him before they'd left. The butler had gone to acquire suitable attire and returned as Grell was finishing the last touches of his makeup. Sebastian watched with intense silence as he drew the brush sensuously across the bow of his lips. The demon seemed enraptured for a moment. Grell finished and smiled up at him in the mirror, then turned.

"Beloved, this is for you." Sebastian bowed and extended the most perfect red rosebud from his black-gloved hand. It was on the cusp of unfolding into full bloom, its petals thick and silken-soft.

Grell brought it to his nose and inhaled the sweetest scent he'd ever known. He closed his eyes. His heart quivered. His lover had brought him a gift, completely unasked for. And Sebastian had called him 'beloved,' not once, but twice now. Not 'master.' Grell had to wonder, but he dared not ask. Not now. Not until the time was right. He drank in the scent of the rose again. "Pin it on me?" he asked softly.

Sebastian bent close, his warm breath a ghost caress on Grell's cheek. He affixed the rose with a gold stickpin. Then he turned slightly, his eyes meeting Grell's. It was Grell's turn to be enraptured, frozen in the cusp of time between one moment and the next.

Then he felt Sebastian's fingertips pressing lightly under the point of his chin, lifting his head so he demon could claim a kiss. A soft kiss, quiet and gentle. Not a kiss of passion, but one... one that left Grell breathless all the same.

Still breathless and giddy, Grell walked the Avenue de Champs-Elysees. The high heels of his tall, button-up shoes barely made contact with the cobblestones. On his left arm hung the basket, covered with the traditional red-checked blanket. On his right, his handsome escort in a blue-black three piece suit. The trousers tapered to show off his trim, long legs. The frock coat hung to the backs of his knees, open at the front to show the deep indigo vest. It was shot with crimson thread, tying the ensemble to Grell's gown. The fine gold pocketwatch chain dangled seductively over the crest of Sebastian's narrow hip. His shirt was classic white, his cravat deep maroon that highlighted his eyes and again echoed his companion's haute couture. This was no servant's uniform, but the clothing of a fine, well-to-do gentleman, including the top hat and ebony cane.

The pair garnered a great many looks. The gentlemen nodded and bobbed, the ladies dripped green with envy. Sebastian wore a faint bemused smile and nodded in return, angling his cane up as he passed, in a subtle wave of greeting. Grell did his best to emulate that smile. It wouldn't do to burst out in a manic grin- the pointed teeth would completely ruin the effect he was going for, here.

Paris was at its finest today, looking bright and freshly-scrubbed. The trimmed chestnut trees lining the avenue were so perfect, Grell felt as if he were in a picture book. The immortal couple continued along the Seine, where straw-hatted boaters poled their way across the sluggish currents.

They entered the pristine emerald grounds of Tuileries Garden and walked the promenade. Of all the young couples strutting and preening, Grell and his demon lover were surely the most striking. Sebastian kept his smile tame, not at all a superior smirk. As for Grell, he reckoned he was glowing so much, they must think him pregnant.

Yes, that's right, you cow, he thought as he met the jealous glare of a petite blonde. He and I have been having fabulous sex together, and you? You, dearie, are destined to spend the rest of your days with that dreary lump of a mortal husband. His smile went a bit far, revealing a fang tip, and she hurriedly turned and scurried away.

Grell looked at Sebastian to see if the demon had noticed. Sebastian just gave him an indulgent look. Grell wrinkled his nose cutely. Then Sebastian steered him to a quieter area of the park and the Reaper pouted.

They set the basket down on a bench beneath a shade tree and went to the edge of a small pond. The water was smooth as glass and shining like an aquamarine stone. Sebastian surprised Grell with a little paper sack. Grell frowned at it a moment, baffled. At that, the right side of Sebastian's mouth curled further. Without a word, he put his hand into the sack and flung out a handful of breadcrumbs over the water.

Within moments, a raft of ducks appeared, almost as if magically teleported. Grell laughed and took turns with Sebastian, tossing them morsels. They pushed and squabbled, always with one eye on where the next crumb would land, jockeying for position. They gobbled each bite so quickly, you'd think they were starving.

Beside him, Sebastian chuckled softly, a nearly breathless laugh.

"What?"

"They're so like mortals." Grell stroked his chin, contemplating this. Sebastian continued, "Scrabbling for the slightest crumb of happiness. And in an instant, it is gone, leaving them desperate for another taste." He flung a handful of crumbs far over the ducks' heads. Those at the fringe of the crowd turned and raced for the prize. A few close to the shore didn't bother, but only eyed the demon with sad, begging eyes. Sebastian laughed again.

"Not like immortals," Grell said. He laced his red-gloved hands together around Sebastian's elbow. "When two immortals find happiness, there's nothing to keep them from enjoying it eternally."

Sebastian turned his head, his sly smile turning warmer. "Is that right?"

"You know it is," Grell said quietly. "But... only if the immortal can keep ahold of his prize." On a sudden, wild impulse, Grell let go of Sebastian and fled.

For a brief moment, a cold sliver of reality intruded on Grell's mind. What if he doesn't...? But then Sebastian was on his heels, and Grell led him on a merry wending chase up the hillside, back into the sun. At the crest, Sebastian caught him around the waist, startling a very unstately laugh out of Grell. Unstately, unladylike, but a laugh of pure joy. Sebastian spun around with him in a mad dance until they tumbled down the hill, rolling in the springy grass.

They landed in a heap, breathlessly laughing, with Sebastian on top. Grell's bonnet was askew, and his bustle was crumpled, but he didn't care. Sebastian tugged the bonnet off so he could comb his long fingers through Grell's hair. "I claim my prize," the demon purred, lowering himself down to capture Grell's lips in a kiss. Grell flung his arms around Sebastian and kissed him back fervently.

The long kiss was making him giddy, as he hadn't fully caught his breath from the laughter and exertion. When Sebastian released him, Grell collapsed back, panting. His elbow bumped something and he frowned. He turned his head to see what annoyance could possibly be marring this perfect moment, only to find their picnic basket. He laughed. "Oh, Seb... you are just perfect!"

Sebastian grinned. He lifted Grell up from the grass and set him on his feet with surprising ease. "We can't have you all mussed and covered in grass, my lady. Allow me." He brushed one hand lightly over Grell's shoulders, back, and bustle, and within a few moments, the Reaper's hair and clothes were once more in picture-perfect order. His cheeks hurt from keeping his lips closed on his smile.

Sebastian pulled the checked blanket from the basket and laid it smoothly upon the grass. With a gentleman's hand, he helped Grell settle himself and his skirts down. Grell gave a little tug on Sebastian's hand, eager to have the demon close to him again. Sebastian knelt, his knees against Grell's leg. He brushed Grell's hair back from his face with one black-gloved hand, turned it into a caress down Grell's cheek. The Reaper leaned into the soft, warm material, his eyes half-closed.

Sebastian studied his face for a long moment, his dark eyes searching Grell's for... what? The demon leaned in, slowly, his lips parting. Grell tipped his own head up, opening his mouth to accept the demon's kiss. Sebastian gripped him gently, his mouth hot on Grell's. He pushed his tongue inside, braving the Reaper's sharpened teeth. No, daring them: he curled his tongue and stroked it down the back of Grell's teeth, then under the tips, letting them graze along the soft flesh. He did it over and over, tempting Grell to bite. But he didn't want to. He didn't want blood in his mouth. He could feel the stroke of Sebastian's tongue from the roots of his teeth down to the root of his spine. He moaned in pleasure, never wanting it to end.

Sebastian slowly withdrew. Grell gripped his arm. "Seb," he said, his voice husky and low. "I want you to ravish me, right now. Oh, ravish me with your mouth," he pleaded.

Sebastian quirked one brow. "Here?"

"Yes!"

"I know this is France, but still... in a public place? There could be children present."

Grell blinked. "You can't seriously be concerned... what? About corrupting some children?"

"Actually, I'm concerned about being arrested. Being chased by policemen is not really my idea of a romantic adventure."

Grell huffed in annoyance, but Sebastian only glibly removed a bottle of Chardonnay from the basket and set about filling two glasses. He handed one to Grell and raised his own by the stem. "To...," his eyes unfocused as he prepared to toast, "eternal beauty."

"Eternal bliss," Grell added softly. The glasses chimed as they touched. The wine was clear and cool, only a faint ghost of sweetness to it, that lingered on like an old memory.

"You do know," Grell said, fixing the demon with a look; "I can shield us from mortal awareness."

Sebastian only tsked at him. "You'll spoil your appetite." He playfully tapped the Reaper on the nose with one gloved finger.

Grell opened his mouth for an annoyed retort, but whatever he was going to say flew right out of his head. He stared as Sebastian lifted his hand before his face and slowly stroked the tip of his pink tongue up the length of his middle finger. When he got to the tip, he closed his fine white teeth on the cloth of the glove. His eyes smouldered as he slowly, sensuously, drew his hand out.

It was the most seductive strip-tease Grell had ever seen. The silk and lace knickers he was wearing suddenly felt a lot tighter.

Sebastian reached into the picnic basket and brought out a sliver of cheese, held loosely between his first and second finger. His thumb trapped a wafer-thin cracker underneath. A shiver of anticipation rippled through Grell's body as he realized Sebastian was going to feed him. He licked his parted lips and leaned forward. Sebastian slipped the morsel into Grell's mouth, and he bit down gently. The sharp and creamy tastes exploded across his tongue. Grell closed his eyes in pleasure.

Sebastian kept feeding him little tidbits, the demon's long fingers brushing Grell's lips. Grell closed his mouth over those talented digits. He gently sucked the crumbs from his lover's skin.

And for dessert, fresh, chocolate-dipped strawberries. Grell moaned at just the sight of them, the firm, succulent red fruit. The chocolate was dark and faintly bitter, only emphasizing the sweetness below. Grell licked the juices from Sebastian's fingers. Sebastian obliged him by putting his fingers into Grell's mouth, gliding them over the Reaper's slick tongue.

The whipped cream was the last straw. Grell plucked up a strawberry and ran it through the dish of fluffy confection. Then he began feeding Sebastian. The demon closed his eyes and moaned in appreciation. His mouth was hot on Grell's fingers. Then Grell's grin turned quite fiendish. He 'accidentally' got a dollop of whipped cream on the demon's lips, just so he could watch that amazing pink tongue lick out. Mischievously, he yanked the morsel away from Sebastian's questing mouth. The demon bit air and opened his eyes, brows drawn in a mild fit of annoyance. Before he could recover and try again, Grell thrust forward and smeared cream over his closed lips. He followed immediately with his own mouth, and before the demon could react, Grell was the one licking it from his lips. Cat quick, Sebastian's tongue tried to catch up, and then it was a wrestling match. Grell took Sebastian's head in his hands and pushed his tongue into his mouth. Sebastian held Grell by the waist, pulled him close. The demon's mouth was so hot.

Grell managed barely enough space to breathe desperately. "Now?"

"Have you cloaked us?"

"Yes, yes. Yes!"

Sebastian pushed him back onto the blanket.

==={(0`

The sun was warm on Grell's bare skin. The brilliant light suffused his closed eyelids with a red-orange glow. If a painter could capture this day, the diamond sparkle of the water, the emerald and sapphire of the earth and sky, the golden light; if a musician could capture the whisper of a zephyr, the distant ringing of children's laughter, the gaiety of a songbird's notes; if a poet could capture it all with the magic of his pen, then mortals might have an inkling of the bliss the Reaper felt. Sebastian's tongue explored the landscape of Grell's body, sometimes ravishing, sometimes teasing, always discovering secret hidden pockets of pleasure Grell didn't even know existed: in the crease of an elbow, the arch of a foot. Grell could lie here in a warm fugue all day, and Sebastian could pleasure him for just as long. The demon was tireless.

But time marches on. Perfection is fleeting. The sun shifted, more clouds moved in, that tickling little zephyr perked up and manifested more of a bite.

Sebastian stretched himself out along Grell's flank, tracing his naked torso with one finger. "We should return to the estate," he purred. "I will give you a massage, then draw you a hot bath while I prepare dinner."

"Mmm," Grell hummed agreeably. He carded his fingers through his lover's hair, brushing the raven locks back from his cheek. Sebastian entwined his fingers in Grell's long tresses and pulled him close for a deep kiss. There was no rush.

==={(0`

The sauna seemed a new addition to the Phantomhive manor. Grell lay on his stomach on the padded table while Sebastian kneaded his shoulders and back. The demon's elegant fingers were strong. As they pressed into Grell's flesh, he became more and more aware of his body, as if he were a spirit of air, and Sebastian was forming him from clay, bit by bit. He felt more solid, more present. More physical. He grew attuned to the weight and interlocking structure of his bones, the play of skin sliding over musculature. It was wonderful, so sensual.

Grell turned his head to watch Sebastian work. He wore nothing but a white breechclout, some sort of oriental style. He managed to make it seem as prim and proper as his tuxedo and tails. The steam would have ruined that uniform of course. Or actually, considering this was Sebastian, his uniform would likely have remained pristinely unaffected. Grell let a silly little grin spread across his face as he imagined Sebastian had decided not to defy the laws of physics for the sole purpose of giving Grell the chance to look at his body. The sculpted perfection put the works of the Great Masters to shame. Grell watched the light and shade play across the planes and curves of muscle as Sebastian leaned into each stroke, and then drew slowly back, draining tension from Grell's body as if literally pulling it out of him. How easy it was for Sebastian to get Grell to sink into yet another deep pool of sensual bliss.

Lazily, Grell reached out with one hand and brushed his knuckles against the swell in Sebastian's breechclout. No, he hadn't been imagining things; the demon was aroused. Grell partly turned so he could look up at Sebastian's face. "Does that come with the massage?" he asked coyly.

Dark lashes fanned down over Sebastian's cheeks. "If my beloved so desires," he whispered.

Grell slowly ran his tongue across his upper lip. He let his smile grow. "If it comes with hot oil," he purred. Sebastian moved slightly, and of course, there was a rack of scented oil bottles warming up over the heater. "Oh, Seb," Grell drawled, trying not to chuckle; "you know what I like."

Sebastian's lips parted, and that provocative tongue appeared once more.

==={(0`

Grell had been both utterly relaxed and completely wrung out. He'd made no protest as Sebastian picked him up and carried him to the tub. Nor when Sebastian had gently lowered him into the steaming water. Grell couldn't relax any further, the heat just made him melt. Sebastian laid a gentle kiss on his brow as he positioned Grell's head on the edge of the tub.

He rose, but stopped as Grell's hand trailed after him. "Do you have to go?"

"I must see to the dinner preparations."

"Doesn't Phantomhive have a cook?" Grell complained.

"Bard?" Sebastian tilted his head and glanced sidewise. "Let's just say that as a cook, he makes one hell of an artillery man." He lifted Grell's hand and planted a warm kiss to the inside of his wrist. "Enjoy your bath, beloved. I'll be back before you know it."

Grell sighed and let himself sink neck-deep into the frothy hot water. It was scented with rose and honeysuckle, reminding Grell of the flower Sebastian had given him. His mind drifted, back to the sauna, back to that incredible massage. He bit his lip, fretting about what had happened.

Had he really said those words? Out loud? Just three little, simple words, but... that just wasn't done.

Sebastian had been panting hotly on the back of his neck. You feel soooo good, the demon had told him. Grell, caught up in the throes of passion, had cried out his lover's name and... those words. Grell would have been mortified, but something else had happened. The moment those wild words escaped his lips, Sebastian had lost control and released inside him, flooding him with heat directly from the demon's innermost core. That meant...

Grell's heart fluttered, but was it excitement? Or fear? Because... well, because it was impossible. He was a Reaper, a neutral entity in liaison with Heaven. Sebastian was a demon, an evil denizen of Hell. Sebastian had a master, a boy without one whit of geniality. And then there was Grell's boss! Will made the boy look positively giddy in comparison.

But, dammit, mortals fell in love all the time! They had jobs, and they didn't have eternity. Sebastian's master was demanding, but young though he was, his time on this mortal coil was short. Sebastian would be free. And as for Will... well, between Sebastian's powers and his, Will never need know what was going on.

They could make it work. It would just take time.

Grell hummed a tune and began lathering up with the thick, creamy soap. Because time was something immortals had aplenty!

==={(0`

It did seem almost no time at all before Sebastian was back to attend to him. There were thick, heated towels. Sebastian helped Grell from the tub and wrapped him in one. With his arms around Grell's shoulders, he drew him to the blazing fire. Grell sighed in contentment.

Sebastian nuzzled his ear. "Shall I play for you, while you dry, and dress?"

"Oh yes, please."

Sebastian produced his violin. The elegant instrument was well-suited for his hands. The bow drew an exquisite note from the strings, followed slowly by others. It seemed a mournful tune at first, but then it became more lively, brisk.

Grell let the towel fall open so the fire's heat could lick at his hips and thighs. Water disappeared from his skin. After a few minutes, when he'd absorbed enough heat, he turned around to let his hair dry. He watched Sebastian play. The demon's eyes were half-closed, faint crescents gleaming as he watched Grell. The music slowed, became more sultry. The sound filled the room. Grell swayed slightly, his heart keeping time.

His clothes were laid out there on the divan, orderly, clean, and neatly pressed. Grell began dressing, a contented smile on his face. Not only was Sebastian a fantastic lover, but everything he did was perfect, down to the tiniest meticulous detail. The rose Sebastian had given him was there too, resting on its own cushion with its gold stickpin.

Grell lifted it gently, cradling it in his hands. The petals had loosened a bit more since earlier today. It looked on the verge of bursting into full bloom. Just like their love. Grell closed his eyes and lost himself in the sweet scent. It brought to mind all the joys of the day.

The song came to a bright, shimmering conclusion, and a few moments later, Grell felt Sebastian at his back, holding his coat open for him. Caught up in sweet reminiscence, Grell barely opened his eyes to thrust his left hand into the coat sleeve. He switched the rose to his other hand to complete donning the coat, the demon butler matching his movement so precisely it was as if they were one being.

Grell carefully pinned the rose to his lapel while Sebastian gathered his thick hair and pulled it free from the coat collar. When down, Grell's hair was quite long. Sebastian gasped softly. "Oh beloved," he asked, "please let me do your hair."

Another smile split Grell's face. And so there was nothing to be done but to lounge back on the divan while the demon brushed out one thousand strokes. Grell luxuriated in the attention. His scalp tingled pleasantly, and when he felt those long, dexterous fingers in his hair, gently stroking and tugging, manipulating the locks into place, the tingle went all the way down to the base of his spine.

"There," Sebastian said finally, coming to stand before him with a hand mirror. "Does it please you?"

Grell tipped his head this way and that. The bulk of his hair Sebastian had left loose to tumble down his back. His face was framed with decorative braiding that Grell could now see had been cunningly woven with a thin gold chain dotted with fire opals. A great many strands artfully escaped the tight braids to soften the edges of Grell's cheeks and jaw. "It's perfect, love," Grell cooed.

Sebastian dimpled. "I'm glad it pleases you." He set the mirror aside and offered Grell his hand to help him up.

Grell didn't move to take it, however. He only smiled and cocked one eyebrow devilishly.

Sebastian pursed his lips. That little frown line appeared again between his brows as he looked down. "Beloved," he complained patiently; "we'll be late for dinner."

Grell wet his lower lip and thrust it out in a pout. "But Seb," he wheedled. "Isn't it better to be dashingly late than on time and walking rather awkwardly? With an unsightly bulge in one's immaculately-pressed ensemble?"

Sebastian sighed indulgently, then knelt down to unlace Grell's trousers.

==={(0`

Lord Phantomhive was already seated for dinner in the smaller dining hall. The drapes were drawn back from the bank of windows to let in the light of the westering sun. Beyond the panes lay the estate acreage, rows of cultivated trees standing in regimental ranks. Behind the darkening tree line, the sky blazed with colour, warm gold, beaten copper, and deep royal blue.

Sebastian led Grell to his seat at the earl's right hand, holding his chair for him. "Good evening, my lord," the Reaper said politely.

"Good evening, Grell. I trust Sebastian is making you happy."

"Immeasurably, your lordship."

Sebastian wheeled in the serving cart and placed the soup course before the diners. "Tonight's meal will start with a fine consomme," he announced mildly.

Ciel said, "Dinner seems uncharacteristically late."

"My deepest apologies, Master," Sebastian replied, his head bowed. "Something came up that I needed to attend to." Grell smiled like the cat in the cream. Of course, Sebastian was perfectly deadpan, as always. "It won't happen again, my lord," the butler assured his master.

Ciel did not reply. There was no need. He had rebuked the servant's tardiness, and the demon never lied. The matter was settled. The young earl took up his spoon and glided it across the surface of his soup, then touched it to the far side of the bowl before bringing it to his lips to sip daintily. Grell followed suit.

Sebastian went to the sideboard. "Tonight's vintage is Chatea du Trois, 1782, a light white wine with a fragrant bouquet." He decanted the wine into long-stemmed glasses and placed one at each setting, the Master's and the guest's.

Grell glanced up at him, and Sebastian crinkled his eyes in a secret smile. Grell's heart fluttered again, its wings gaining strength. He took up the glass of wine and held it to the light. The last golden rays of sun made it shine, reminding Grell of that afternoon in the park. He closed his eyes and brought the glass under his nose, rolled the wine stem in his fingers to encourage it to release its scent. Sweetness and sublime clarity came to his nostrils. He smiled warmly and opened his lips to taste the full bounty.

Suddenly, the glass was plucked roughly from his fingers. Grell's eyes flew wide, his mouth dropping open even further in startlement.

"That's quite enough," Sebastian said, his voice hard. "Get out."

Grell blinked at him, feeling befuddled as if waking from a dream. He shot a glance at Ciel; the boy paid them no mind, only continued to blow upon his soup. Grell's eyes darted back to Sebastian. "Wh-?"

The demon butler set the wineglass firmly on the table. "The sun has set. Your payment is complete."

Grell laughed, a bit shakily. "Sebastian..." He looked askance at his lover, but only got a stony glare in return. "Seb," he insisted, "we don't have to stop. We don't have to pretend."

It was the demon's turn to look utterly baffled. "You're not serious?" A faint, bemused smile spread across his face. "You actually think... that I enjoyed debasing myself to you?" Grell struggled for words, but they caught in his throat. "You're not only demented, but delusional as well!" Sebastian's face twisted into a sneer. "You're a disgusting and vile creature. Your perversions are sickening. It will take a long bath before I can feel clean of your filthy touch- preferably with quicklime!"

Grell staggered to his feet, stunned. He bumped his chair, knocking it askew. "How can you-? Don't say such things!"

"Grell," Ciel said calmly, his attention still on his meal; "you've overstayed your welcome. Leave now."

That little beast! He'd orchestrated this! "You son of a-!" Grell's hand flew of its own accord. In a blink, Sebastian was between him and Ciel, his hand a vise of iron around Grell's wrist. The demon's eyes gleamed, their deep maroon glowing like an awakened ember. Grell drew back, but the demon held him fast.

The boy earl's voice was ice cold. "You neglect your other duties, Sebastian. The room grows dark and the lamps are not yet lit."

The demon's eyes flared, blazing fiery red. In response, every lamp and candle in the room ignited with a flash. Grell gasped and pulled back again, but he could not break that infernal grip. The earl was letting him go, why wouldn't Sebastian release him?

"Shall I kill him now, sir?" The demon's voice was low, deadly. Grell's breath deserted him.

"No."

Sebastian turned his head, lip curled in a snarl.

"I said, let him go, Sebastian."

The demon released Grell's wrist, then his hand flew towards the Reaper's face. Grell cried out and tried to duck. Sebastian didn't hit him, however. His hand snatched the delicate chain braided into Grell's hair. He ripped it free as Grell fell back in an awkward heap. The demon looked down at him, lip curling in disgust.

Grell clenched his teeth. "You don't fool me," he growled. "You wanted it! You wanted me! When I-" He strangled that train of thought. "You c-!"

"Oh, please!" Sebastian sneered, his voice dripping with disdain. "I'm a demon. I have complete control over all my sexual functions." He took a step forward threateningly. "Now get your filthy carcass off my Master's rug."

Grell fled.

==={(0`

Will was quite close to losing his unshakeable composure. How in Eternity did one misplace a Reaper? Especially one as... flamboyant as Grell? Yet the impossible had happened. Grell had vanished without a trace.

And what did one do in such a circumstance? There was no protocol. This just didn't happen. Will couldn't report it to a superior- he quite frankly had none. So it was up to him to untangle the latest mess Grell had gotten himself into.

Will strode to the Library doors, intending to scour the earth for the wayward Reaper. Just before he reached them, they burst open, and there was Grell, all flying scarlet hair and red clothes.

"Where in the Name of-?" Grell shoved roughly past Will, barely slowing down. The Head Reaper staggered, shocked. "Are you-?"

Will turned and stared in disbelief. He honestly hadn't thought Grell capable of any... serious feelings. In confusion, he pushed his glasses more firmly onto the bridge of his nose, setting them straight. He really didn't know how to deal with this. But, since he now knew where Grell was, he supposed that would have to do.

==={(0`

Grell burst into his private quarters, sobbing. How could such a beautiful, perfect day end like this? Disgusting filth, the demon had called him. A perversion. A demon, of all things! And then threatened to kill him. Though how you could kill an immortal whose heart was already ripped to shreds, Grell had no idea. He shuddered with the agony and clenched a hand over his heart. He cried out as a sharp pain lanced the base of his thumb. He opened his hand and pulled out the gold stickpin. The rosebud fell into his palm. Burning with rage, Grell's first impulse was to hurl the thing away.

Instead, he cupped it gently in his hands. He snuffled and blinked back tears, took a steadying breath. He closed his eyes and brought the rose close to his face. He breathed deep of its sweet scent, trying to bring back the memories of the day, the feelings of deep contentment, warm happiness; the electric feeling of Sebastian's tongue on his skin. If he could just recapture one of those moments!

But no. They were all broken and tattered, marred by the demon's sneer, his words filled with loathing. Tears spilled once more from Grell's eyes. His hands trembled. One of the outer petals of the rose shifted, went lax. It fell from the stem. It was then Grell realized that the rose wasn't blooming, it was dying. Sebastian had killed it the moment he'd cut it and given it to Grell. All its potential for full beauty would never be realized.

"You bastard!" Grell hurled the bloom to the floor and sank to his knees amidst the petals.

==={0)_,


( `._. ( Epilogue ) ._.`)

Demon's Rebuke

-===##-oOo-##===-

"Why did you not let me dispatch him, my lord?" Sebastian's brow creased in true puzzlement.

"He has his uses. As do you."

"You should not have given me into his service." The demon's voice had a faint edge, the only inkling of his ire with his master. "You have no idea of the things he wanted."

The clang of the silver spoon in the ceramic bowl was jarring in the staid silence of the dining room. Ciel's blue eye glinted beneath his bangs. "I am not a child, Sebastian." The demon bowed his head, rebuked. Lord Phantomhive continued. "If you had been available to do the job I required, I would not have had to rely on Grell. But since you were not there, the only use you had was to whore yourself to him in payment for services rendered."

Sebastian pressed a hand to his breast and bowed low. "My apologies, Master." A slight smirk tickled the corner of his lip. "Though I expect he is no longer so eager to avail himself of my services."

"Is it true that you can destroy him?" Ciel asked.

"Yes, Master. He is no match for me."

"Then I expect the only way he can exact vengeance from you is with your complicity. Is that not also true?" Ciel's icy gaze pinned the demon.

A spark was struck within Sebastian. It was quickly swallowed by darkness. In dismay, he lowered his gaze. "You are entirely correct, Master." The boy was pitilessly ruthless. Damnation twined tightly around his soul.

Ciel steepled his fingers and leaned back in his chair. "The consomme has grown cold. Bring the next course."

"As you wish, my lord."

"And Sebastian... before you bathe tonight, make sure you burn everything you and Grell touched today. I will not have such things sullying the estate."

Sebastian bowed low. "It shall be as you command, Master."

"See to it that it is."