Hands, stained and black. Spine, curled then shattered. Lips, dusty in their slumber.

He is calling.

Holy water

cannot help you now —

Taut, thin ropes strain at Sebastian's neck as a thunderous chuckle booms out. The laugh is deep, buried in the ribbed depths of his chest— sharp from ages of wear spent hollering in the pits of Hell. The ropes burn, singing his skin, which bubbles up anew so quickly again. They leave raw, raised welts as he struggles in vain, chuckling amidst his torture, tearing leafy shreds of flesh away. Slicing lines of red across his throat with each rough giggle, another wiry thread coils itself around his abdomen and squeezes.

Oh, how teasing regret seems now, grabbing with her eternally greedy fingers, never-ceasing her scorn nor pausing for pity's sake! Calling her a cruel mistress would be an understatement.

Tendrils of smoke escape the demon's mouth as each laugh turns into a choked gasp, and from there on to an anguished cry. Blood and tears well over his crimson eyes and pour into the void below dangling feet. With screeching and howling, the demon's hands release from their bounds and he claws at his chest with jagged, noir nails until an open gash is left just across where his heart shall be.

Voices trickle in from below, picking and peeling at his wounded mind until he shrieks out a name that could only be heard from his cavern in the Underworld.

"Ciel!" The demon draws it out, breath hitching and cracking under the weight of such crushing shadows, seemingly never-ending in their torment.

But once the name is sound, all else begins to crumble. A sense of satisfaction, not his own, envelops Sebastian's mutilated body. Smug, proud, undefeated.

The darkness and thick smoke that latches its bitter paw around him melts away, escaping with the draining thoughts. Sins and consciousness pour from out of his ears in the form of black sludge, dribbling into endless, container-less pools somewhere amidst the crevices below.

The noises Sebastian makes are far from either human or devil— less than an animal, more than a void, yet somehow existent and audible all at once. His voice is the breathy wind on an October night and the scraping tree needles in a pine forest; the muddled moon above purple oceans and murky, brackish lake water that a wolf laps from lazily; sugar that coats children's lungs as they choke and sputter; snowflakes burying themselves into a nobleman's flesh.

Through the being, once known as Sebastian, flows new words from an altogether different source.

"As a new soul, you are born. Human heart, human eyes, human veins, human hands. You have been given emotions and a true mind— You are of humanity."

In less than a moment, everything imploded around Sebastian and he is nothing. His demon body, the darkness that shrouds him, the pools of sludge somewhere beneath his bloodstained feet— all of it. Nothing.

Stuck in limbo. Not quite anything, but at the same time, everything. He can see every sin and every miracle; every thought and every action; every time there ever was and wasn't. Every time there could've been.

And then he's something. A body; human, in every right. Emotions and senses and physicality and mentality and opinions and so little hunger compared to before.

Ciel sits in front of his fireplace, velvet cloak draped over his slender shoulders. He watches a blood-soaked man lay in the center of his room, breathing heavy and wet. A newborn baby, in a way.

A smirk tugs at those petal pale lips. Sapphire and fuchsia eyes glowing, the Earl looks directly into the new mahogany ones that open.

"You've kept me waiting long enough."