The mouth of wisdom, just imagine

And tongue shall speak judgment

He is not truly one of them, lying with one eye still stained, staring at the starless night in a bed of blue roses. No, he does not belong to them, he is purely himself whatever that may or may not be.

He is the unclean, the unnecessary, and the unwanted. He is the empty doll devoid of soul. He is the Prince of Denmark standing above the corpse of Claudius, Laertes, Ophelia, and so many others. He is the stranger in a strange land having forgotten his past and his name. He is the fallen king standing above his kingdom sown with salt. He is that which is prized above all other things. He is the Holy Grail, that eternal promise of salvation that can never truly be reached. He is temptation. He is that which has been stretched and twisted until he is no longer recognizable to himself. He is the demon.

The demon… and yet he is not.

"Tell me, Sebastian, is there a name for what I am?" He asks the starless sky listening to the crash of waves beneath the cliff face. That ocean contains his human heart, ripped out by a demon in rage of desire unfulfilled.

And then there were footsteps and a voice, as Sebastian came toward him. Ciel did not turn but merely listened to those patient footsteps that he heard and recognized through so many hallways and forsaken buildings.

A hand appeared before his eyes, the seal drawn in dark ink upon the hand, Ciel took it and pulled himself up so that he was standing before the demon. How was it that after all this time, after all the blood, all the pain that Ciel could still see compassion in the demon's eye? Still that soft almost affectionate smile, his hand still holding Ciel's.

"If one exists then I have yet to hear it, young master." Sebastian says his expression never wavering, and Ciel knows that it is this place, the realm in which the demons traverse. The world of blue roses holds many strange wonders, some which are illusion and others which are merely metaphors.

The night is filled with blue and white roses, stars trapped and interwoven in the green earth, if Ciel closes his eyes he can smell them and though his mind tells him that it smells of roses he only smells the poppies. Only the illusion.

"Shu dreamed he was a butterfly one night…" Ciel quotes thinking of a man, bleeding, surveying the waves and the ship and seeing instead a field filled with red flowers and butterflies, "I've grown tired of this butterfly's garden."

"Then why do you insist on coming back?" Sebastian asks even as Ciel retakes the hand bearing the seal in preparation to leave the surreal realm that lay between life and death.

"You buried my heart in the ocean," Ciel says calmly thinking of his fall into the waves, "It sings to me and I dream of such strange things when I hear it whisper…" He sighs, "I never used to be so philosophical, I've misplaced my sense of pragmatism here, my sense of purpose… I miss it."

"To be fair as a human you had a decidedly clear purpose, I hear that when one has achieved their single goal in life they often find it difficult to live with the same conviction." Sebastian comments lightly brushing back some of the stray hair that had covered Ciel's still-sealed eye.

How often had he been goaded like that, how often had he heard such similar words from the demon's lips?

"Don't indulge my existential crisis, demon." The young demon who wears one blue eye demands, "You have nothing to gain from my madness."

Sebastian Michaelis smiles in amusement, "There you are, young master. There is your pragmatism."

"Yes." He responds softly but his eyes are on the flowers and the stars in the grass, his ears caught by the rhythmic pounding of the sea (the forgotten thumping of that delicate human heart) and he could never quite believe those words.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation

He shall accept the crown of life

Sebastian is not always grateful for the gifts Ciel gives to him. He does not say this openly but Ciel knows, he can smell the scent of resentment, fear, and a sorrow older than words. These things are left silent, drawn in blood upon Sebastian's hand as he seeks out other victims, other souls to chase.

Sebastian had considered himself cursed. In those first few years they had remained as they were, master and servant, a constant acknowledgement of the soul Sebastian could never possess and the souls he would be forever starved for in years to come. A butler for eternity, slave to a contract never fulfilled, servant to an ungrateful human master.

Except that Ciel had never been ungrateful.

Only a few years after the death of Ciel Phantomhive the fledgling demon began a project through the drawing of lines. The lines seemed to draw themselves from his hand, with eyes closed listening to the music of the flames he let his mind and hand wander, he'd open his eyes to see the flame there upon the page staring back at him. There was power, such power in the symbol, in the idea of things.

He covered thousands of pages in these dancing drawings, these simplified caracatures of true reality, and it was on the third night that he realized he was designing his seal. His own hand had remained empty after the transformation, no star drawn in his own dark blood upon it, and he had wondered often at its absence.

It was then that Ciel had an idea, an elusive butterfly making its way across his vision, and the scent of poppies. He smiled and set aside the drawings of the flame, the flame that would one day find its way to his own right hand, and drew the pentagram forever etched into his own eye.

How it twisted and writhed beneath his pen, changing shape, screaming as it suffered all its pawns dropping one by one. He saw it then, upon the tower bridge, holding on by its fingers its throne already fallen and it lets go, yet it is twisted and twisted beyond its own death until it is something unrecognizable to itself.

He finished covered in ink and shaking, laughing at the sight of it, and thinking to himself what a strange butterfly filled world he truly lived in. Sebastian found him there, laughing, stained in ink as if he had been stabbed.

There had been a pained terrified expression in Sebastian's face, as if seeing that other human Ciel covered in blood over his desk, as if he had finally decided that revenge was taking far too long.

"Sebastian, I believe I have found a solution to your curse." Ciel said the smile disappearing from his face to leave that familiar sober emptiness. Ciel passed the drawing to Sebastian gingerly.

"What are you talking about?" The demon asked sharply not even looking at the paper but at Ciel, "What curse?"

"Forever contracted to a child, to never touch another soul, I've solved it." Ciel said with a smile and that terrfied look in Sebastian's eyes remained as if he were hearing other words entirely (or perhaps the same words but with a mortal master covered in blood instead of a demon covered in ink), "Look at the paper."

Unwillingly Sebastian's eyes fell on the finished symbol, "What is this, Ciel?" (And that name, that name held so much power, especially when said by him in that haunted voice.)

"Your new seal," Ciel said tracing the invisible lines with a finger through the air listening to the music, "I've changed it so that it might better adapt, form multiple bonds, a web with you at the axis…" He trailed off still tracing the seal over and over still seeing the dancing flame, that singing fire that called so desperately to him.

His hand stopped and he looked up toward Sebastian, his false blue eyes fading into their true garnet color, "But it will hurt, you will suffer, and you will change. Sebastian Michaelis will no longer be slave to the whims of a single child, a single contract, but rather the master of many."

"And so young master, I will be able to leave you even while having claim over your soul." Sebastian finished for him.

"Yes. You were a little too quick before to claim eternal damnation. Next time try to save it for a better occasion."

And then his smile returned, though less effortlessly, and he bowed saying, "Of course, young master I will wear it with pride."

(That was the first night Ciel had ever heard Sebastian scream in agony, their shadows cast against the curtains by the candlelight, and Ciel watching his servant with impassioned eyes as his own hand drew and redrew stretched and twisted until Sebastian Michaelis was free of that poppy filled butterfly garden.)

Afterwards as they both lay bleeding, the pen finally dropped, Ciel closed his eyes so that he would not watch as Sebastian stood, turned toward his master, and walked out the front door with soft patient footsteps.

Oh Lord, Fire Divine, have mercy

Oh how sacred, how serene how kind how lovely

He sits upon his throne of corpses and surveys his kingdom of dust in distaste. He is lord of the underworld in five major cities, Tokyo, Hong-Kong, London, New York, and Chicago. In those cities they have learned to scream his name in terror. He sits in a now lifeless room of those who dared raise their guns to him, who mistook him for something with a fallible heartbeat, soon the story will spread and he will become a god where he had once been a king. How many times has he seen this play now? How many times has he seen these dead pawns spilled out beneath his feet, in worship of a false idol with the sign of the beast inscribed on his hand? What an elaborate farce he's created for himself, he wonders dimly if anyone else has noticed or if he truly is the only sane actor in the play. Perhaps he'll ask, next time.

His tongue runs over a blood ridden finger as he watches the dead bodies with a stark apathy that manages to surprise even him. He tastes the cold blood and muses on the texture of their soul, such a dull flavor; they all taste the same to him. He wonders how Sebastian stands it.

He has tried contracting, a few times now, but in the end he only encountered the abyss in their eyes. Soul, what is a soul? It is the testimony to human endurance or so he believes. An endurance beyond all limits and obstacles and yet all the blossoms seem to wither in his hand by the end.

(He steps on the bones of gangsters without hesitation, breaking their dead hands as he makes his way out of the building in order that he might find a new throne room. One less filled with the stench of emptiness.)

His first was a child. A starving child abandoned and orphaned in the chaos that was China after the fall of Qing dynasty. She had called him with such strength as if she had been sitting next to him in his darkened chamber and whispered his name in his ear, "Ciel". Of course he had run to her.

He had stood before her as the child he himself used to be, his right eye carefully covered by that old eye-path, his gaze that of a frozen ocean. They stood upon an empty chess set though she did not appear to recognize this. She had wished for safety and happiness.

He showed her the wonders of the butterfly garden, taking her hand in his and leading her through the red poppies and the dancing butterflies. She had smiled and thanked him. (What bitter useless words to offer a demon.)

Her soul was so light, so terribly light, a sweet thing that tasted distantly of ash and wild roses. When he finished he found that there was nothing left of her, only the empty husk of a girl with that ghost of an appreciative smile still on her lips. He had held her to him then, that empty shell, and felt the forgotten tears falling from his own eyes.

A pawn, simply a pawn… That was all they were in the end.

They all taste so terribly empty, these children of men, who call out to him in such desperation. They call out to him crying, their angel of mercy, their angel of fortune, their own petty versions of deus ex machina and he replies in kind. They all taste of charred rubble, but then he can expect no less, for he is the one who draws the fire in their skin.

So he is the gangster again, the lord of the underground. He lays waste the world around him, stares at its bones, and thinks of how empty the world feels when one can see past the patterns of revenge and redemption. How boring it is when one is both the director and actor in the eternal play with looping acts.

He stands covered in blood, unwilling to change costumes quite yet, outside in the street only to spare a glance back at the building behind him, yet another shrine to the wasted dead; to those empty suffering souls he knows so well.

Looking in the glass of the window on the other side of the street he recognizes that he no longer looks like that boy he was, Ciel Phantomhive. He has grown. He is taller, his eyes sharper, and in black he looks just like a demon; looking like Sebastian as he smiles and says yes to another pointless order if only it means ambrosia at the end.

Sebastian never does seem to taste the ash, but then Ciel doubt he has given it that much thought. Sebastian has always been himself, always been clear, his association with Ciel only a small diversion in his path. Ciel is many more things than a demon, and thus when he wears the mask that is the soul-eater it does not quite manage to define him.

On this particular street citizens have learned to divert their eyes from his face, from his blood soaked gloves, they pass by with their heads facing the ground almost running as he stands there in the midst of them all. He hears the on the streets he is known as the hell hound and on his better days it makes him smile. Most of the time though it just reminds him of great towers burning away in the wind.

"This stagnation will be the death of me." He says to his reflection in the mirror and knows that the other throne room will look exactly the same, so many dead drug pushers surrounding him, and in his mouth he will still taste the ash.

He looks instead out to the street, at those people with ducked heads, and says, "What a pathetic waste of time my life as a demon has been."

And the hell hound leaves his five cities to burn and seeks out new means of purpose.

O Lily of Chastity

Ciel knows that Sebastian is very careful about when he visits. There are times when he stays often, years even, playing Ciel's right hand once again but soon enough the hunger calls to him and he leaves in search of a decent meal and plaything. When not in contract they remain as they were, Sebastian appearing one day on one of Ciel's many doorsteps with a slight smile and a small bow. It is the contracts that form the rift.

Ciel doesn't mind, he finds it amusing sometimes, that Sebastian feels he must hide his meals from his immortal master. (Ciel himself is rarely if ever in contract and shows an alarming distaste for eating anything.)

The first few times Ciel assumed that Sebastian was guarding his meals, having been thwarted once by Hannah and Claude; Ciel wouldn't have blamed him if he had taken to storing his meals in an underground bunker. No, it wouldn't have surprised him at all, Sebastian had been very possessive of the human Ciel after all.

But then, one time, Sebastian did bring one of his masters to Ciel's apartment.

Ciel had been painting one of his walls with a mural of the world of blue roses, it was one of the days where he wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do with himself, business was slow and the drug market slower, Europe was on the verge of war that had seemed so likely in 1889 (though for an entirely different purpose) and Ciel knew that eventually he'd have to do some nudging but at the moment he was content with the state of the world as it was.

Then there was a knock on his door. Ciel turned with raised eyebrows at the noise, normally people didn't have the nerve to knock on the door of the hell hound whom they might very well owe their money or their soul. Expecting something out of the ordinary and therefore entertaining he made his way down to the door and opened it at a normal human pace.

He found Sebastian instead and beside him a young girl with the tattoo of an elaborate star on right arm. When she saw him her eyes widened and she moved to cover the seal but Sebastian stopped her and slowly but surely shook his head. She was young, not quite as young as he was but close enough, there was stone in her eyes but it shook ever so slightly in the face of Ciel. She looked utterly ordinary but underneath that ordinary visage Ciel could hear the fire of her soul singing throughout the room.

"Well, I suppose if you've come all this way uninvited you may as well come in." Ciel said turning back from the door and leaving it open for the pair of them.

As they entered Ciel heard the pause in Sebastian's footsteps as he surveyed the wall but it was only a moment, not even noticeable to the human girl, who still walked cautiously and silently forward.

Ciel looked down at himself to see how presentable he looked. Covered in blue paint, ungloved hands with the seal decorating one and black nails on both, casual black clothes wrinkled and stained. Well, the earl of Phantomhive had seen better days and he hadn't really been in need of a reputation since he had become god of the underworld.

"Would you like tea?" Ciel said casually as he made his way toward the kitchen already anticipating the answer, "I believe I might have some around here if I know where to look."

He returned a few moments later to see Sebastian and the girl sitting on the couch in the middle of the room that faced a mostly unused fireplace. Ciel placed the tray of tea on the table not bothering to follow Sebastian's habit of announcing the brand or flavor, he'd also to his surprise managed to find a stale cookies around and had placed them on the tray with a half-hearted smile.

Sebastian eyed the tray dubiously and finally said his first words to Ciel that day, "Needless to say that you are not one hell of a butler."

"I never claimed to be," Ciel said, "You're far more suited to it."

The girl was still looking at Ciel, large grey eyes attempting to assess him. She looked well-fed but more as one who had recently become healthy, as if a large amount of food had been stuffed into her and she wasn't quite sure what to do with it yet. Sitting next to the demon who still wore a suit she looked very lost, Ciel almost smiled.

Taking one of the tea cups and looking at it thoughtfully said in a musing voice, "I suppose this is not merely a social visit then, Sebastian?"

"To the point as usual, Ciel," He said and Ciel had to stop himself from blinking at the use of that name so uncommon between the two of them, "No, this is not purely a social visit."

He went on to introduce his new master, Elizabeth Wright who really went by Lizzie. When she was young her mother had taken her and left her father who had become involved in the drug dealing business for some time. He was a rather nasty piece of shit, or so the girl said when Ciel asked, and she hadn't seen him since the day they left when she was six years old. She had no interest in whatever had happened to him but something must have gone bad because a few months ago strange men had appeared on her doorstep.

Her mother, aunt, uncle, and cousins were now dead she the only survivor out of pure luck. She had been out late, having missed curfew, and breaking the rules had saved her life.

Ciel nodded thinking of that other Lizzie he had once known, she was still alive slated to marry another noble but Ciel liked to think that her thoughts strayed to him every once in a while.

"I don't just want to kill them, I want them to suffer." She said, "I get why they killed my father, he was a worthless scum bag anyway, but they didn't have to kill the rest of us too. I will not be remembered as their message to other reckless dealers. No, I won't have their deaths be so worthless and humiliating, I won't."

"Interesting." Ciel commented drily looking now at the unfinished painting on the wall and thinking of those flowers that smelled so thoroughly of forgetfulness.

"Sebastian's told me you're a demon." She said with narrowed eyes and a grim mouth.

"Yes, though I'm sure it's fairly obvious." He said holding up the sealed hand with an apathetic glance at the dancing flames inscribed on his hand.

"Are you after my soul too?" She asked her tone surprisingly bitter. Or rather, he himself would never have asked that question. To him there had been an honest transaction between him and Sebastian, it had been a trade of services for goods, and there had been nothing to be bitter about.

"No." He said with a finality that managed to change the girl's expression into one of shock, "I've tired of that particular game."

"So it's a game to you." She said then with a small smile that look of bitter resignation returning.

"Chess, to be exact." Ciel said his eyes drifting to one of the cupboards where he stored the chess board, "Though it's been a while since I've played."

She looked as if she wanted to say something but instead looked to Sebastian who was looking at Ciel with that familiar smile.

Sebastian then said, "There've been a few too many attacks for my liking, they're a rather persistent group it seems. Despite my best efforts I cannot be in seven places at once, though I can be in five. I'd like her to stay with you while I clear out the rats' nest."

Sebastian was looking at him not in expectation so much as with intensity. He was not expected to say yes, he could give any answer he desired. He looked toward the wall for inspiration his eyes meeting those blue flowers with what he assumed to look like disinterest. The hell hound taking in a stray; what would they say to that?

"Very well, I'll set up a room and try to find something edible." Ciel said still staring at the wall, at that starless night he had trapped on plaster. "How long do you think rats take to die?"

"A few days at most." Sebastian said with an almost relieved smile. Ciel nodded shortly and turned his attention back to the girl who looked grimly and unhappily up at her servant.

It turned out to be only two. The new Lizzie never did quite learn to trust him in that time, always watching for his entrances and exits, never quite believing when he said that she would have to leave the room as a guest was arriving. It was as if she was waiting for him to slip, for those blue eyes to turn red and that hellish grin to appear.

Eventually though he managed to coerce her into playing chess.

"I've never played." She said glumly as she sat across from him on the other side of the board.

She was wrong, she'd been playing it all her life, ever since that day all those months ago when she summoned a demon to her side. Ciel said nothing but instead inspected each figure, "It is a relatively simple game, you'll learn."

"Really, I heard it was hard." She said, "Besides, demons are good at everything. You don't count."

Ciel looked at his pieces, all those familiar pieces now scattered across the board and with them names came into focus. Madam Red, Elizabeth, Lau, Ran-Mao, Sebastian…

It was a clever mask, a good one but a mask none the less, demons were far from perfection. He never had quite lost the sense of nostalgia. Of course he was also a practiced liar and would never say these words to a child who was slated to die.

"If you haven't tried you'll never really know." He said instead, "Now, let's start with the pawns."

Her revenge was accomplished by the next morning. Complete with photographs and two live captured men. Ciel watched as they were dragged onto the carpet shaking their heads and screaming behind their gagged lips. He watched indifferent as the girl was given a knife by Sebastian and with shaking limbs went up to the pair. Sebastian explained that one was the men who had ordered the hit and the other who had done it.

It took her a minute to drop the knife and order Sebastian to do it instead. (So much blood on the carpet, it would take ages to clean out.)

There was a moment of silence afterward, where the contracted pair stared at the growing stains on the carpet. The girl's expression was empty as if she was not quite sure what had just happened, that her purpose had abandoned her and whatever future she had was now gone, in the hands of a demon.

"So then, Elizabeth Wright, this is the end." Sebastian said as he stepped from their dead bodies, "Your revenge is complete."

"Wait," She said and looked desperately at Ciel, "Not yet, not… No, I don't… I don't want to…"

"Then you shouldn't have asked." Ciel said from his position on the couch his eyes another steel knife that would never be used by her hand. She backed away from him and into Sebastian who smiled.

She looked as if she was going to scream, she reached out for him desperately the beginning of his name on her lips.

And then they were gone leaving two corpses on the floor in their wake.

Oh Lord,

Fire Divine, have mercy

Sebastian returned soon enough. Ciel was at the window staring as the stars had come out of their hiding places wondering if there was anything else so eternal. When the footsteps materialized Ciel turned to greet him with an apathetic expression.

"So, how does she taste?" Ciel asked.

Sebastian only smiled, "She's no prince of Denmark, but she is adequate enough."

"Adequacy, I find it unfulfilling." Ciel said his eyes drifting to the stain in the carpet, "I do hope you have the decency to clean this up. You may no longer be my fulltime butler but I'll be damned if I let you drag the trash in and leave it."

Sebastian smiled, "Damned?"

Ciel blinked confused for a moment and then grimaced, "The old habits die hard, don't they?"

Then on a whim, his eyes on the demon, he decided to ask an honest question, "Sebastian, why did you bring her here?"

"I believe I have…"

Ciel cut off his no doubt well-versed explanation before it began, "You never bring your toys over, I'm curious, why so desperate this time? Did you know that perhaps, I wasn't quite in the eating mood today?"

The façade seemed to fall for a moment leaving them closer to their true selves; the demon and the boy no longer smiling at one another but rather regarding with cold narrowed eyes. These were rare moments and Ciel found that he was never quite sure what to think of them.

"To be frank young master, my other contracts are none of your business." Sebastian said slowly.

"No, of course not." Ciel said quickly holding up his hand as if to ward off suspicion. Still he frowned, his mind turning. Yet, there was nothing more to say because Sebastian was right, it wasn't his business anymore. Ciel had gone out of his way (very far out of his way) to make it no longer his business.

"She had much room for improvement, in the realm of chess at least." Ciel commented drily his mind caught on the girl again, Sebastian's eyes narrowed at the comment.

"She was never one for games." Sebastian said his eyes carefully storing away any emotion other than boredom.

Had he been in a better mood that would have made him smile, an amused terrible smile that would have looked all too familiar to the demon, however Ciel was feeling tired and there was blood in his carpet. "We're all in it for the game, and if we do not recognize that we are destined to be pawns."

"But then, I suppose this doesn't particularly interest you." Ciel continued with a frown moving toward the butler and away from the window, "I'm the only one who seems to grow tired of it."

(And there was that look again, that look Sebastian had given him when Ciel had offered him his freedom. That look that almost seemed to be terror, as if he was seeing another world entirely, a world in which they were far more honest with each other; Sebastian saw the world in which Ciel abandoned his cleverly crafted masks and appeared in his true form.)

"Oh." Ciel said, almost silently and his eyes drifted upward to where a small chandelier hung in small splendor, a terribly superficial thing that sometimes made him laugh, "Were you expecting to find me hanging from the rafters?"

A small silence as Ciel's eyes took in those suspended crystal stars, so far from the true thing, hung upon golden antlers that glinted just a little too brightly. Yes, he probably would have found it amusing to be one more superficial thing hanging from that ardent waste of money.

"There was no need before; none of my other masters have been quite so enthusiastic to provoke the attentions of the mafia, besides perhaps you."

(Ignoring a statement does not make it false, Ciel noted in his mind dimly.)

They never had managed to master the act of master and servant, even when those lines had been so clear. Now dimmed and marred as they were there were moments when they forgot their roles, if only for a small moment. What were they supposed to be anyway? The boy and the demon? That farce had long since expired and yet why did he have the feeling that he wanted nothing more than to be that imperious little lord, so sure, so terribly human.

Things were certainly easier then.

Still, Ciel attempted to play his newer ill-defined role (the master, the boy, the old friend, the associate, the rival…) and with a small smile he walked until he was standing right in front of Sebastian and with a glint in blue eyes he said, "Suicide, while an interesting past-time, seems rather dull and ineffective. Besides, what would I do without this lovely chandelier?"

(And so they both smiled, reading from their respective scripts, even while thinking other thoughts entirely all the while that false chandelier hanging above them in such artificial bliss.)

Oh how sacred, how serene how kind how lovely

O Lily of Chastity

They are now sitting on the edge of a building tall enough to scrape the sky, down below automobiles rush this way and that the pace of life becoming altogether blinding. They watch the dark red butterflies of the tail-lights recede into the distance to be lost among the metal jungle and they watch the people scurry this way and that upon the sidewalk bumping into one another casually and yet never quite stopping to apologize.

They are both between contracts at the moment. Sebastian having finished one recently, a young street-rat who decided to become a drug lord, and contentedly full for the moment and Ciel still waiting for that perfect shot to win the billiards game. And so there they were, the not quite butler and his not quite master, wearing their well-worn roles like familiar comfortable clothing.

Ciel allows himself to smile loosening the black collar of a formal shirt for a moment to feel the bare wind buffet his skin.

Sebastian's eyes watching him, curious, "You seem to be in a rather pleasant mood."

Blue eyes open to stare down at the people below his smile never leaving as the waft of souls drifted over him, "A storm is coming."

Sebastian looks down lazily at the people below and then to Ciel, "Is that so? You make it sound as if somehow you won't be responsible."

"Of course not," Ciel says glancing sideways at the butler, "If I was the only one playing the game it'd get dreadfully dull."

"So, it still is a game of chess to you." Sebastian says looking more pensive than usual perhaps thinking of Ciel's past life or of his other masters who never seem to share the same point of view.

"Not just to me, the game remains the same whether we view it as such or not. It has never changed." Ciel trails off surveying the world surrounding him and adds almost absent mindedly, "Or so I choose to believe."

"What a strange god to have." Sebastian mentions with a small smile.

"A better alternative to the other." Ciel replies with a shrug.

In times like these Ciel often has unspoken questions running through his mind. These are the words he'll speak later, at the end of eternity, when the earth has burned and all the souls are well and truly dead. Only then will he allow himself the humiliation of frank and utter honesty.

There are many things he can ask Sebastian. He can ask on the true nature of their relationship, he has never truly been sure what they are. Father and son, brothers, master and servant, rivals, acquaintances, lovers… There are so many names and they all seem so very inadequate, far too human to describe them.

No, he will ask nothing so meaningless. He already knows there is no name, just as there is no name for the nature of Ciel himself, it would be a waste of words to ask the demon anything so useless.

In the end he will ask Sebastian only one question.

Does he regret it?

Looking back, the wasted effort, the pain, the years, and that final disappointment does he regret it?

But this isn't the end, the people still scurry about, still suffer and live and offer their souls to demons. So Ciel contents himself to hide these thoughts between amused blue eyes; to stare at his butler with a fondness that has grown only stronger throughout the years and watch as his butler stares back with the same expression.

So instead he says in an almost musing voice as his eyes drift down to the unsuspecting people below, who so often become his source of entertainment, "Androids…"

Sebastian glances at him sideways with a slight raise of an eyebrow, "What about androids?"

Ciel smiles benevolently down at the people, "I've been reading science fiction recently, I find the idea facinating. Imagine replicated sentience, being born into a world knowing the faces of your gods and your origin, what kind of a nightmare would that be?"

(And in the place of a mechanized doll they both see a thirteen year old Ciel Phantomhive bargaining his soul away to the devil after losing faith in incompetent gods.)

"I've decided that my next project will be androids, I'm starting to wonder if one can manufacture a soul, what an interesting game that would be. Don't you think so, Sebastian?" Ciel asks finally looking over at the demon with scarlet eyes.

Those eyes always seem to glow when they smiled, "You always do seem to have the most creative ideas, young master."

Such clever painted masks, and yet, even Ciel isn't quite certain he wishes to see the charades come to a close.

Author's Note: Because they wouldn't remain the same. Thank you for reading, reviews are appreciated. The lyrics are from the song Lillium, the opening to the anime Elfen Lied but translated into English.

Disclaimer: I do not own Black Butler.