***THE FINAL CHAPTER***
Disclaimer: Kuroshitsuji belongs to Yana Toboso. I only own my OCs and ideas not seen in the anime/manga.
Sailing deep into her thoughts, her gaze wandered through the kitchen window though she wasn't seeing anything. Her sky blue eyes looked almost opaque. Coupled with her equally pale hair and complexion, one would have thought she was a wandering ghost. Absentmindedly, her hand grasping the wooden spoon stirred the simmering pot. Other than that single motion, her body was as stiff as stone where she stood.
That is until her drifting thoughts finally came across something she had been trying to remember. At the same time, that was when she stopped moving all together.
The woman blinked, and from there, she dropped the spoon, smothered the flame, and wiped her hands off on her apron. With no other thought crossing her mind other than what she intended to retrieve, she briskly exited the kitchen.
Meanwhile, her husband was resting on the bench near the piano in his personal room. Sheets of music littered the hardwood floor and random, old bottles of liquor scattered all around the large instrument. If he still chose to follow his bad habits, he would have been downing multiple shots of whisky right then, especially at times when his mind drifted in the dark.
But he wouldn't give in. He knew better; his health was still fragile compared to before, despite his stronger-looking physique. The aged man heaved a deep sigh, closing his eyes momentarily before opening them again to stare down at his folded, rough hands on his lap. The deafening silence was setting in, weighing heavily on his shoulders. His fingers clenched and rubbed over the back of his hand. His facial wrinkles remained prominent the deeper he frowned.
Just as his hand grazed over the white keys of the old piano, he felt a draft but didn't bother turning around. Light footsteps approached him and soon, he felt his wife setting herself comfortably on his side. Her hand rested on his shoulder, rubbing the tension away.
"Landis…I have something to show you," Inez spoke quietly. Her knee nudged his, urging him to look at her.
He took in a sharp breath and from his peripheral vision, spotted something held out in her hand. Finally giving her his attention, he took hold of what he realized was a photo. Studying the picture, Landis found himself staring at his daughter and upon seeing the true smile on her face, he couldn't remember the last time he had seen her as happy before. Beside her stood the tall, dark butler, who had her in his arms, the side of her face pressed warmly against his chest and his chin rested on top of her head. Neither of them was looking at the camera; in fact from the way the photograph was taken, it was definitely candid.
"You can't imagine how extraordinarily difficult it was for me to finally snap a picture of these two, while being as inconspicuous as possible. I was sure Janelle didn't mind, though Sebastian seemed a bit reluctant about it…and every move he made was much too quick!" his wife explained with a small chuckle.
When she saw her husband beginning to crack a smile, she went on. "Then I saw her helping him wash the dishes one day while you were at work. I heard her laughing and when I went to see what was going on, I saw that they were just 'play-fighting'. He was splashing her with soapy water; she was trying to get back at him..."
Landis felt the heaviness leaving his body.
Inez inched closer to her husband. "I had a feeling he knew I was watching the whole time. But…I suppose he allowed me that one chance…"
She kept her eyes on him, watching any change in his expression. After what seemed like the longest while, Landis met her gaze and she smiled warmly at him as he did the same, his dark blue eyes watering slightly.
She brushed her hand through his hair, using her other to grasp the side of his face. "Landis, don't be sad. It'll be okay…"
He shook his head and wrapped his arm around her small waist, letting her lean on his shoulder as he enjoyed the warmth from her body.
"No, you're right, sweetheart. I'm fine." He squeezed her arm in a reassuring gesture. "We'll be fine," he added as he placed the photo on the stand above the piano keys where sheet music would usually occupy. The both of them stared at the young couple for a while longer.
"Play something, won't you, dear?" Inez coaxed him, her eyes glittering with new found peace.
He grinned and cracked his knuckles in an almost dramatic matter as soon as he released her. Recalling the pieces he knew by heart, his fingers hovered over the keys.
The voice of the piano sounded throughout the house as he played. As soon as he heard the first tune, his spirits lifted higher. Missing his daughter was hard, but this time, it wouldn't hurt him as badly as before. He had his wife, and most importantly…
In their hearts, she would always be their girl. No matter how far away they were from each other or the years that would continue to pass, nothing could ever change that fact.
The flamboyant reaper crossed his arms in impatience, gritting his razor teeth together as he tapped his foot repeatedly. His death scythe rested against the brick wall of the alleyway he was standing in, along with his fellow subordinate, who was doing most of the inspection on the day-old corpses. Gore still stained the walls and ground, the metallic smell thick along with festering flesh. Hearing the other reaper humming in an exaggerated manner as he thought deeply, the redhead was just at his wit's end.
One more hum and Grell whipped around, glaring at Ronald Knox's crouched form. "Well? Have you finished up inspecting these putrid bodies? I'm getting sick of just standing here waiting for you to hurry up!"
The young man with half-blond, half-dark short hair rolled his eyes, but kept up with his carefree mood. "Ya know you could have done your share of the work. Would've made the whole process a lot faster."
Grell scoffed and flicked his hair over his shoulder with a melodramatic wave of his hand. "Oh, please, Ronald, it's for your own good."
Ronald stood up straight, turning to the redhead while rubbing the back of his head in confusion. "For my own good? What about you? If the supervisor ever found out you've been slacking again-"
He stopped when Grell suddenly approached him, taking hold of his shirt and bringing his face close to his. "Dear William won't have to know anything about this. You know that right, Ronnie~? This'll be our dirty little secret, hmm?" he stated almost suggestively before releasing his subordinate. He turned around so fast; his long hair promptly smacked the blond reaper in the face.
Ronald shuddered slightly and then flipped through the day's death list. Scrunching his nose in concentration, he tapped a finger to his chin. "Well, just as you suspected, Sutcliff, the souls of these humans are no longer intact. Nothing, absolutely gone." He closed his eyes in thought. "This has got to be the work of some bothersome demon again…"
"A demon, you say?" Grell stopped grumbling to himself and turned around at the mention.
A sly smile crossed Ronald's lips and he shrugged nonchalantly, closing his notebook. "I dunno…You don't suppose it's…" He chuckled. "Well, you know…"
Grell blushed at first as he thought of the certain demon butler but brushed the silly assumption away. "Don't be ridiculous, Ronald! It can't be my darling Bassy. He's far better than that. He wouldn't viciously steal souls like a savage, let alone leave such a bloody mess!"
Ronald laughed at his co-worker's expected reaction. "Gee, Sutcliff, when was the last time you saw him again? Who knows, he may have finally lost it. He's starving, right? Maybe he decided on snatching a little snack on the side." The blond reaper approached his lawn mower serving as his death scythe, leaning against the handle.
The redhead grinned deviously and wrapped his arms around himself, imaging the butler holding him close. "Oh~ If Bassy's craving for a snack, he could have just come crawling to me! I'd satisfy his hunger in any way he pleased. I'm far more fiery and enticing compared to any lowly tramp that comes his way, right Ronald~?"
Instead of a reply, he heard his subordinate let out an abrupt wolf whistle. He grinned at the appreciative sound, thinking it was directed at him. But hearing Ronald moving past him, his happy demeanor faded and the redhead snapped out of his reverie to direct his attention towards the blond. Ronald had his eyes latched on a certain figure in the distance, a flirty grin appearing on his face. "Mm, speaking of 'tramps', check out the gal over there." Holding a hand above his eyes, he continued watching her. "Oh yeah, she's not bad looking…no wait, she's gorgeous!"
Grell rolled his eyes while placing a hand on his hip. "Oh shut up! Who gives a damn about some stupid woman?"
Ronald groaned in annoyance and walked over, grabbing the sides of Grell's arms. "Oh come on, Sutcliff! For once, just pretend you're straight and agree with me that the girl over there is one heck of a beauty!"
The redhead scoffed in offense and roughly shrugged himself away. "How dare you! I'll have you know that I am also a lady! Watch what you say!"
"All right, but still, just pretend you like girls and check her out before she's gone!" Ronald insisted and forcefully spun him around.
Grell gave an exasperated sigh, shaking his head with his arms crossed before sparing a measly glance at the woman in the distance. Yet as soon as his eyes landed on the girl, he gasped loudly and pushed Ronald off him, his jaw dropping at the sight of…her.
Noticing the red reaper's gawking expression, Ronald grinned. "See what I mean? What did I tell ya?"
"Tha-that…" Grell barely stuttered, holding up a shaking index finger.
"Sutcliff, you okay? Didn't think you'd be that stunned!" the blond stated with a laugh, clasping a hand on the redhead's shoulder.
"That…that whore!" Grell spat with pure rage, immediately turning to retrieve his chainsaw off the wall. Before Ronald could say or make another move, the furious reaper stormed off out of the alleyway, leaving the blond in the aftermath of his angry 'flames.'
Ronald raised an eyebrow while grabbing for his lawn mower again. "Gotta hand it to the supervisor for watching Sutcliff all this time…" He sighed and grasped his forehead. "Do I really want to follow? Guess I have to make sure he stays outta trouble…"
It was no mistake. I sensed something far too familiar here; in the exact same place I had seen Ciel just a while ago. I returned to see if I could track the young lord down, but instead, I came across something I should have expected.
He had killed those men after all, and dead bodies meant the inevitable appearance of none other than them.
The Grim Reapers.
So once I heard the cursed revving of a chainsaw, I was ready to dodge the insane reaper's dangerous move. Gritting my teeth, I quickly jumped out of Grell's reach, barely escaping from the shredding blade. Keeping a good distance between us, I looked up, meeting the menacing glower of the redheaded reaper.
"Oh wonderful…" I muttered to myself, not caring if he heard me or not.
Grell growled and raised his chainsaw at me. "You little pest! I knew one day I'd find you again and here you are~! Have you come to finally accept a beautiful death committed by yours truly?"
A beautiful death, huh? I smiled, an emptiness filling my insides. It was something I once desperately wanted before I had met him, before this second chance at life happened. I had even wanted it more than Percival's love. It could be so easy…
But even if I were to end up alone again, I wouldn't let myself fall like that anymore. Not a chance.
I shrugged, putting on that fake smile. "Sounds tempting, Miss Sutcliff. But I'm afraid I'll have to pass on that offer. Perhaps next time, hmm?" I chuckled bitterly. "Or wait, maybe never."
"Silence, wench! You know where my Bassy is! Tell me where he is right now! I'll steal him away and it'll be as easy as slicing that ugly head of yours clean off!" Grell stepped forward with his aggressive words, his heels stomping hard against the dirt ground.
I leaned my head back and gave an aggravated sigh. "There you go again. This is going to be routine between us, isn't it? You and I are in the exact same boat right now." I stared him straight in the eye. "I don't know where he is. And maybe I'll never know."
Naturally, the redhead refused to believe me. "You're nothing but a filthy liar!" He charged up his death scythe again. "Anyhow, your days are long overdue to end. It just so happens I came across your wretched name on the list!"
I scoffed. "Oh boy and you say I'm the liar? What's my name then?"
Grell answered by charging his weapon at me again and I acted fast by untying my cloak and throwing the clothing right at him. The brief distraction slowed him down a bit, enough for me to make my escape.
Once the redheaded reaper effectively ripped through the cloak, he spotted my form already dashing far ahead. He growled lowly and made to chase after me until he heard his name being called.
"Sutcliff! What are you up to?" Ronald hollered as he came up to his side.
Grell huffed before answering. "It's about time Ronald! I have a little assignment for you. Help me pursue and kill that nasty rat scurrying off!"
"Pardon? Am I hearing correctly?" Ronald questioned while clearing any wax out of his ear. "Sutcliff, do you honestly want to risk getting suspended again? You may never get your precious death scythe back this time, ya know!"
Grell gripped his weapon, stomping his feet in place like a child before calming his fury back to a manageable level. "Oh, fine! I just want to bash that wretched face of hers! I could make her so unattractive, Bassy won't want her anymore! He'll want me!"
Ronald snorted. "That's your brilliant plan?"
"Yes, yes! It's genius, darling~!" Grell pinched Ronald's cheek before running off ahead of him. "Let's go, Ronnie! I'll show you a real thing or two about dealing with pesky women!"
"Ugh…I'd rather stay out of this…" The blond reaper sighed again, smacking his forehead in disapproval.
The demon Earl continued to stare in disbelief at his butler, the one who had so diligently followed his every order throughout all the years he had served him. Yet right then, his servant had just refused. There were no words to describe what Ciel was feeling. All he did know was that an eminent burning energy was rising inside him. His large eyes glowed into that ominous magenta.
The butler stood still, his posture unwavering. No fear existed inside him and any fury he had was caged at the moment. He simply remained normal and unfazed. Ciel detested that.
"Say that again, Sebastian. I demand you repeat what you just said," Ciel commanded darkly, his fist clenching.
The demon butler narrowed his eyes and once again, refrained from following his order. With his resistance, he could feel the shooting pain in his left arm grow worse. Yet he continued hiding any sign of weakness.
"Say it. Say it again," Ciel snapped, slowly approaching him.
When he heard no response or reaction from his butler, Ciel's eyes darted to the side, finding something to appease his anger. Sebastian noticed what his master retrieved off the ground but it didn't bother him.
"No, you said no. You dare refuse an order? You dare go against what I say? Answer me!" the Young Master's voice grew in volume.
Sebastian still did not utter a word.
"You are my butler! You are to do as I say without fail! Don't try and rebel against me!" Ciel shouted and once he was a few feet away, he used all his force to launch the projectile clutched in his hand.
Sebastian eyed the ragged stone aimed at his head and he didn't move an inch from where he stood. The force of his master's throw was indeed harsh, especially with his newly acquired demonic strength, and so once the rock struck his forehead, a throbbing pain erupted through his skull. Warm blood immediately spilled from the fresh wound as soon as the stone fell to the ground. The demon blinked away the few drops of red that began to seep over his eyes. He could still see his master, whose shoulders rose and fell with his breathing.
Ciel then froze for a moment, almost not believing he had let his anger get the best of him like that. His demonic blood had boiled to the point where he couldn't control his impulse. He hadn't adapted completely just yet.
But when he saw that damn smirk appearing on his butler's face, he could feel that furious energy surging through his veins again.
"Pleased that you were able to strike me, master?" Sebastian asked. He forced himself to sound less mocking than he normally would.
This time, the Earl chose not to answer, trying hard to compose himself and not lash out like a lowly fool.
Blood continued trickling down over the butler's face, and he willed himself to heal faster. "I refuse, my lord. I refuse to leave her behind a second time."
Ciel glared, though he felt the energy simmering down a bit. He slowly shook his head. "Of course, I should have expected as much. But think about it, Sebastian." He kept his butler's firm gaze. "Do you sincerely believe it will last? That she'll stay happy following you to the ends of the earth? You say she's your mate but with your current position, you're not doing her any good."
Sebastian scowled and he could feel his own pent up frustration rising when he heard what his lord spoke next.
"You're only breaking her heart, Sebastian. Spare her any more pain. It's the last gracious thing you could do. Let her go," Ciel declared plainly, his hands clasped behind his back as he turned away.
The demon butler stared at the ground, pondering over his master's words. He could, he could let her go. Everything that had happened would become a fleeting memory he would no longer bother to remember in his lingering lifespan.
He would have, if not only for the fact that it was more than what he had initially thought. The bond he had formed with her had always been unintentional.
But it happened anyway.
All the demon butler could think about then was getting what he wanted.
The chase never seemed to end. One moment, I thought I had lost the reaper and in the next, he would appear out of nowhere, nearly beheading me far too many times. I wasn't about to give in, though. The red reaper could pursue me for as long as he wanted, but I wouldn't allow myself to die by his hands.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are~! I promise to color your entire body in glorious red! Wouldn't that be delightful?"
I heard his theatrical voice echoing in the vacant, late hours of the night. I sucked in a deep breath before heading off again, making sure not to attract too much attention to where I was. I needed to move faster.
The moon was shining brightly, making it harder for me to maneuver through the shadows. Racing blindly through the town, it was all a blur to me, almost like a dream. I ran, and ran, and ran. Seemed like it was the only thing I was good at in life.
Running away from everything.
Maybe I was tired of chasing after people. Trying to find him. Find the happiness I yearned for. Maybe it was enough.
My footing began to lag and I stumbled forward, falling to the ground and earning scraps on my arms. Getting onto my knees, I wanted the stinging pain to last but it was gone in the next second as my skin healed. I didn't want to move anymore, but I had to.
The distant revving noise of his chainsaw haunted my ears again and I quickly pulled myself together and continued running. I wasn't sure whether or not I imagined the sound. I just moved on, keeping my breathing even and senses alert.
Momentarily, I halted again, grasping my chest and hoping I had a longer amount of time to rest without worrying about getting mauled. I had no idea of where I was or how far the reapers were from me. For now, it was too silent.
Someone caught up to me. In a split second, my arm was pulled back and on instinct, I tried yanking myself away. I kept shouting in my head protest after protest, motivating myself to escape this person's grasp. Just as I intended to vocalize the words swirling in my mind, the person forcibly pulled me again with such great strength, dizziness overtook me. In the next moment, I was trapped, my head pressed hard against the person's chest and an arm squeezing my waist in a vice grip.
Then that was when I quit struggling, because his unmistakable scent overwhelmed me. His familiar embrace crushed me, something I wanted every time. I could already feel the heat rising in my face from the emotion beginning to swell inside me. His warmth was the only thing that could slip through me and stay there forever.
"I found you…I have you again," he whispered, mostly to himself. According to the way he was panting, he had obviously just run a long way from wherever he had been.
My body was frozen and I couldn't react right away. I never wanted to leave his arms. He seemed to feel the same, his grasp tightening on me further. I stopped breathing.
He pulled back enough to see my face, his arms remaining around my waist and back. My eyes immediately connected with his bloody red orbs, always piercing through mine and refusing to break away.
I urged myself to speak. "Y-you…"
His left hand that rested on my back raised up to grasp the side of my face. "What on earth are you doing out here? Shouldn't you have returned to your parents by now?" His voice sounded mad and tense though his touch said otherwise.
My eyes searched his for a little longer before I swallowed, licking my lips. "I did come back to them. But I couldn't stay. I…" I laughed lightly and he narrowed his eyes at me. "You're…actually here?"
He furrowed his brows. "Of course I'm with you. You doubted I would return?"
I placed my hand on his chest, intending to pull myself out of his grip yet he wouldn't budge. His arm only tightened and I winced at feeling his fingers jabbing into my hip. Still, I tried to break free.
"Stop that…" he whispered. His tone grew irritated and he refused to let me move an inch. He clenched his jaw and allowed his fingers to trail down and grasp my chin. His face drew near. He was too close.
"Sebastian, you're only making it harder…" I began but he cut me off in an instant.
"What exactly? Why are you acting like this?" he demanded in a harsh tone. It hurt, the way he held on to me stronger than ever.
I smiled and looked into his eyes again, seeing something in those vibrant orbs of his that I rarely saw. "We're…done, Sebastian. It's over now."
The demon froze at my words, eyes widening slightly. His hand slowly dropped from my chin and I fought hard not to let my feelings get in the way.
"I…I'm ready to let you go and…I just want you to know that you made me so happy."
Don't shed tears.
"We can both go our separate ways. I'll be okay and I know that-"
I couldn't say anymore. The oxygen was knocked out of me when Sebastian abruptly pushed me back with one swift motion. He slammed me against the wall of a nearby building, right below the dim lamp light that shone down on us.
Too stunned to move, I wasn't able to anyway. Next thing I knew, he had both my wrists in his hands as he pinned my arms on either side of me. Bruises were surely going to develop and his intense glare forced me into submission. His irises began morphing into their demonic color, burning like fire.
"You make me so angry, Janelle," he snarled. "How could you say such things? You're lying to me." He spoke with such fury and venom, I shivered. His fangs were more visible the angrier he got.
"What about what you said to me before? You're going to brush it off like it was nothing?" he continued, pressing his body into me and keeping me immobile.
I shook my head, frowning. "Of course not. I meant what I told you but-"
"Then don't say another damn word. I don't ever want to hear you say those words." His face hovered closer, our noses brushing and lips barely touching. "You're not leaving and I won't either. I won't say goodbye."
My breathing grew faster, along with my pulse drumming against his fingers. "You won't go?"
He pushed his body against me again, leaving no space between us. "I only want you."
His lips collided on my parted mouth without another word to spare. His kiss was rough and fast, showing me that he truly meant what he said. My lips moved along with as much burning fervor. Breathing hard and heavy. Tongues tying with unending desire. Fangs grazing, teasing, and biting onto lip, tongue and flesh. Drawing blood. Mouths connecting like magnets over and over again.
His knee nudged between my legs, eliciting the sounds of pleasure he wanted to hear. My eyes opened halfway; his lips continued to bruise me. My wrists were still bound by his hands and once he parted briefly, I tried to speak.
"Sebastian-" Another kiss. "I want…"
He realized I was trying to break free from his grasp and without interrupting the lip-lock, he let me go, moving his arms to grasp my body instead. My hands immediately caressed his shoulders, back, chest, running over his body and brushing through his raven black locks. I felt him smile against my lips. He hummed in content when my fingers massaged his scalp and lightly pulled on his hair.
My tongue rubbed hard against his and when the demon gripped me harder, a loud shriek of distress broke the sounds of heated breathing between us. The demon growled at the interruption and we were forced to part as we turned our attention to the source.
"No, no, no, no, NO!"
Sebastian gritted his teeth, sensing the disturbingly familiar presence and immediately jumped back with me in his arms, efficiently avoiding the attack and return of Grell Sutcliff.
The redhead twirled in place, his chainsaw roaring louder than ever like it was matching his boiling demeanor. I grasped the front of Sebastian's suit as he kept me close, his chin grazing lightly over the top of my head. His deadly glare was now directed towards the red reaper, who gawked at us with what looked like crocodile tears in his glimmering green eyes.
"B-B-Bassy! How could you! Despite all the love and dedication I give you, you choose this filthy tramp instead?! Why?!" Grell wailed, his razor teeth bared and utter disappointment clear on his face.
"Aww…" I couldn't help but feel genuinely sorry for the reaper. Sebastian heard my empathy and scoffed, only stepping backwards as the red reaper approached us.
The demon butler gripped my shoulder. "How could I, Grell? I fail to understand why you cannot see that I never reciprocated your otherwise 'flattering' feelings for me. I believe I made it clearly obvious time and time again." Sebastian sighed and a devious smirk crossed his lips.
Grell frowned deeply and turned his attention to me. "You get your hands off my Bassy this instant! My Bassy's been brainwashed because of you!"
I gave an awkward chuckle. "Well, I would if I-"
Sebastian clamped his hand over my mouth before I could finish; his close-eyed grin appearing as he continued moving us away.
"I'm afraid she just can't keep her hands off me. You see, she's quite a naughty girl…"
"Mmph!" I tried to shout my protest but Sebastian merely shushed me, sending a sideways glare my way. I met his gaze with as much menace but decided to keep silent anyway.
The three of us turned our attention upwards to see that Ronald was also making his dramatic appearance. Descending down upon us from on top of one of the buildings, his lawn mower crashed into the ground, causing sparks to fly.
"Yeah! Now that's how an entrance is done, Sutcliff!" Ronald cheered, striking his signature pose with a proud grin.
"Get out of the way, Ronald!" Grell merely barked, causing the blond reaper to deflate in dejection.
Sebastian clicked his tongue in annoyance at the sight of two powerful reapers. As soon as they began arguing about priorities, the demon's smirk widened and he whispered in my ear, "I believe this is the perfect opportunity…"
"Indeed, sir," I replied with a smile.
With that, Sebastian wasted no time to make our escape, his hand gripping tightly on mine while he pulled me along. I bit back a laugh and quickly tried to match his gait, not daring to look back at the chaos that would ensue.
"Ahh! Don't leave me dear Bassy!" Grell hollered after us.
"Oh come on! It's not worth it; Michaelis is way too fast!" Ronald exclaimed uselessly.
Sebastian only increased speed and I followed suit. This time I couldn't hold back my laughter while I heard the reapers pursuing us again. When the demon heard my amusement, he couldn't help but smile. His hand never slackened and his fingers laced through mine.
They couldn't catch us anymore.
Ciel wandered about the other side of town, taking his time to trail after his butler. His ear twitched when he detected the cawing of a crow and the fluttering of its wings as it ascended above him. Watching the black bird, his sights were also drawn to the luminous moon, its white light casting an enchanting glow on the earth.
His hand then wandered up to where his contract symbol resided, feeling the sharp pain in his right eye again. It was numb to him now; it didn't bother him.
Walking forward, the Earl recalled what he had told Sebastian before the butler was dismissed another time.
Earlier that night
"Let us make another deal then, Sebastian," Ciel proposed, turning back around to his butler.
A hint of interest dashed across the demon's crimson eyes, the sudden words shaking him out of his thoughts. Meeting his master's gaze, he waited.
"You swear she's important to you, enough that you can't leave her?" the Earl clarified.
The butler paused for a moment before nodding, placing a hand over his chest. "I swear, my lord."
The young noble thought for a minute longer, making sure he wouldn't regret what he was about to say. "Sebastian, I better not hear you refuse an order from me another time. You understand? Never."
"As you wish," Sebastian replied shortly.
Exhaling deeply, Ciel shut his eyes as he spoke. "You may return to Janelle. I…give you permission to bring her along with us."
The demon blinked in surprise at his master's rare showing of leniency, though he knew better not to say anything just yet. One tease could change his mind in an instant, and he could tell his master was hesitating a bit on the matter.
Just as he thought, there was a condition. Sebastian knew by the stern look reflected in Ciel's eyes.
"If I see that you are still slacking on your duties like before, or if I see that your bond with her proves no good for the both of you, you'll have get rid of her." The Earl crossed his arms. "I'm positive you know what I mean when I say that."
I would have to kill her, the demon thought bitterly.
Sebastian lowered to his knee, as he once did more often in the old days. Ciel almost let loose a smile at seeing his butler's act of respect.
"I understand, my lord. You have my word." Lifting his head from his bow, the butler gave a small smirk.
Ciel scoffed, a smug expression appearing on his own face. "Let's just see how long this will last…"
The butler chuckled and then got back on his feet. "I intend to prove your premonitions wrong, master."
The Earl merely nodded and in a flash, Sebastian was gone once again.
It must have been a sign, this physical pain he felt more frequently. Still clutching his right eye, he gave a bitter smile.
As if he hadn't experienced enough, more changes would inevitably occur in the years to come. With the week that passed without his butler at his side, he proved to himself that he could indeed survive. Of course, it wasn't something he could conclude completely by just a brief amount of time. Yet perhaps as he continued to advance his skills as a demon, things would change.
Eternity suddenly seemed shorter.
It was thrilling like a ride, like we were flying though space. I didn't want it end. I could have run with him for as long as he wanted to, his hand holding mine and taking me wherever he wanted.
Surrealism could describe all the things I felt whenever he had me with him. It was just overwhelming, those feelings flooding me and transporting me to another realm.
I had to make this last.
It seemed too fast when Sebastian finally stopped our tracks. We were far away from the town now, even farther from my home. A human would barely catch sight of the buildings in the distance. The two of us stood in the middle of a grassy plain serving as the outskirts of civilization.
He turned around and I saw him smiling. Before I knew it, he was pulling us down to the ground. I gasped in surprise, not able to keep my balance from his abrupt move. I ended up lying right on top of him as he purposefully fell backwards onto the soft grass. His chest gently rose and fell with his breathing and soon, I felt light vibrations against me when he chuckled at my shocked expression.
Hearing his laugh brought a smile upon my lips again and I laughed lightly. "Oh Sebastian, are you exhausted now?"
The demon smirked. "I have to admit it took a bit more effort to run like that. If I had successfully attained sustenance, however, it would have been nothing."
A hint of worry knotted my brows and I made to move off of him, but once again, he wouldn't let me. I watched his eyes shift upwards, his left hand wandering up to pat the top of my head and his other arm staying in place around my waist. From there, his long fingers lightly traced down over my forehead, brushing along the vivid fuchsia strands of hair flowing over my left. His gloved fingertips tickled the side of my cheek and his eyes landed on my lips once his hand met its destination. Seeing that he paused, I took the opportunity and parted my mouth, gently biting on his fingers as they teasingly rubbed over the soft flesh of my lips. Latching onto his index, my teeth pulled on the digit of his glove, slowly removing it until his bare skin was in view.
Letting his glove drop onto his chest, his warm hand continued moving downwards. I sighed in bliss when his touch met the cold skin of my neck, rubbing softly over my collarbone and breasts. Seeing him lock eyes with me again as his hand lowered, my head fell onto his chest. Just as my cheek rested against him, I felt his body shifting. He began to sit up, adjusting his hold on me as I was able to move and sit right beside him instead. While I brought my knees up to my chest, he kept me close, his right arm now resting over my shoulders.
The two of us gazed up at the moon in a comfortable silence. The night breeze occasionally blew past us, and with every minute that passed, I feared he was going to disappear any second. His warmth never left me though. Every now and then, I would feel his fingers rubbing against my shoulder, assuring me of his presence.
Looking up at him, his expression held no trace of ill feeling. In fact, he looked rather peaceful, his crimson eyes holding a distant gaze. I rested the side of my head against my knees.
"Sebastian, what are you thinking?" I wondered in a quiet tone.
A small smile graced his features and he turned his attention to me. "I was just thinking about the very first time we met."
I returned his expression. "Really? Why is that?"
"Because I had never imagined we would meet again after that single encounter. Back then, the idea of finding a mate had not existed in my mind. You remember, don't you?"
I nodded once. "Yes…we were at the Viscount's gathering."
Sebastian stroked my hair. "I was in disguise for my master's case, and I distinctly remember you were wearing a white mask that obscured half your face."
A wry laugh escaped me. "That's right…I absolutely hated being there."
His eyes gleamed in amusement. "I could tell you weren't comfortable…and you were quite strange compared to the rest," he added with a hint of teasing.
I felt my cheeks warm up at how he was suddenly staring intensely at me.
"And then I asked you to dance with me."
My blush came in full force. "I thought that was such a sweet gesture."
Sebastian smirked, twirling my hair around his finger. "When we danced, nothing else seemed to exist."
My eyes widened. "You felt the same way? It was like were in a different world…"
"Somehow, I'd like to think we were invisible to the human eye. No one else could see us. Every waking moment, we are merely spectators of mankind. Watching these mortals live out their fragile lives and then watching them die in various conclusions."
I let his words sink in. "Invisible…I always thought I was so, even as a human."
The demon butler placed his hand on the back of my exposed neck, rubbing the tender skin there. "Not to my eyes. I shall always be the one to see you, Janelle."
I smiled. "Same to you, Sebastian. Always."
He leaned over, gently kissing my neck and then moving back a bit to see my eyes were tempting to close.
"Tired, my dear?"
"Mm hmm," I responded, though I was trying to stay awake.
"Don't resist it, Janelle. Sleep now, I'll watch over you," Sebastian chuckled, inching closer so that his warmth enveloped me even more.
"Will you still be here when I wake?" I asked him with slight uncertainty.
"I promise. Now go to sleep," he insisted, guiding my head from my knees to his shoulder.
I burrowed myself as close to him as possible, fingers clenching onto his suit for dear life.
"I'll be here…" he repeated. His nose buried into my hair and I allowed myself to finally shut my eyes.
The butler had indeed kept his word, for the next time I awoke, dawn was upon us. The first few rays of the sun colored the sky a warm pink and purple. His arm was still secure around my body.
It must have been coincidence, because at that very moment, a certain someone had appeared behind us.
"We shouldn't be dawdling here any longer."
I felt Sebastian shifting once again as he got to his feet, his back facing me when I looked up. Brushing off some grass, I stood up as well. I made sure my face remained completely free of apparent emotion.
Ciel exchanged glances with his butler before his sights settled on me. Barely able to guess what he was feeling or thinking, the Earl turned, already walking ahead.
"Time to go, Sebastian. You too, Janelle."
Ciel didn't bother to looking back a second time, but if he did, he would have seen that I failed to hide my shock at hearing his statement. Were my ears deceiving me? Was my mind playing tricks again?
The butler's back was still facing me, but as soon as the Earl was a few feet away, he turned to me. The calm glow of the sunrise contrasted perfectly with his crimson irises, his gaze towards me held genuine joy.
He reached his hand out to me. "Stay with me, my love."
The demon admired the beginning sun rays shining through my wavy hair and the wide smile that lingered on my face. Nodding, I stepped forward and rested my hand in his, watching his fingers curl around mine safe and sound.
He may be bound to his master. But because we were together, it was almost easier to bear for him.
When we were at each other's side, it was like he was unchained. Or at least, we could pretend.
I supposed it could be our own type of freedom, something known to us and us alone.
After all, that was what we were. A demon and a vampire: visible and invisible at the same time.
Wow. After two long years, this story is finally complete! This is amazing.
Thank you so very much to all those who have stuck with me on this journey, despite how long it took me to update. Your patience and loyal support is much appreciated; there are now words. Thank you to those who have reviewed, followed, and faved this story! It means so much, honestly. Feel free to leave your final thoughts about this last chapter or the story overall. I would love to hear what you think now that it's done.
As for now, I bid you all farewell. I hope you have enjoyed reading this story, as I have had so much fun writing this piece and continuing to learn. Goodbye!