Disclaimer: I don't own any of this! (See Chapter 1 for full list)
I am terribly sorry that it took so long to get this chapter out. I really have no other excuses than Real Life and writer's block. :-) On the upside, I've already started the next chapter. I just hope it doesn't take as long to finish it as it did this one.
WARNING: This chapter has a major info dump about Harry — mainly his life as Alice. Enjoy!
Sebastian Michaelis stood watching his young master sleep. Because of his exhaustion after summoning that Light spirit into his body (Sebastian dearly hoped that an explanation on that incident would be forthcoming soon), Ciel had not been coherent enough to direct his butler to the bedroom, so Sebastian had just made up a bed for the boy on a couch in the sitting-room.
At some point while his bocchan was sleeping, the child's appearance had altered itself again. Ciel now had black, unruly hair that fell almost to his shoulders in waves. Amusingly enough, he had not gained any height. The demon had also noted that the lightning-bolt scar which he had noticed earlier was still present. The scar looked red and fresh, and Sebastian wondered where it had come from.
Sebastian's eyes narrowed as he ran a finger over it. He could sense the taint of Dark magic sealed within it—magic that belonged neither to the demon or his young charge. In fact…the dark power had a purely human feel to it that belied the deep demonic blackness of this enchantment.
The black magic seemed to be restrained by a love-shield, an old blood-based ward grounded in the power of sacrificial love. This thin membrane of Light magic encased the Darkness of the other witchery, sealing it away so that the blackness could not infect the child who hosted it.
As Sebastian continued to ponder this strange mystery, Ciel began to stir.
I groaned, burrowing deeper under my covers. My head was pounding terribly and the light in the room was searing my eyes. 'Did I get drunk with Al and Roy again? God, I hope I didn't do anything embarrassing this time. Kissing the Füher while in a drunken stupor was bad enough… and Winry reamed both mine and Mustang's arses out…'
"I see that you are awake now, my lord," a refined voice said smoothly. I bolted upright, startled. My unruly black hair stood up in a tangled mess, but I didn't pay it any mind. The memories of the previous day all came back in a rush as I saw my demon standing there.
I processed Sebastian's words and answered automatically, "Harry."
Sebastian blinked, mild surprise visible in his reddish-brown eyes. "What was that, young master?"
I rolled my eyes. "Call me Harry. Or Ciel, if you prefer. I don't wish to be called master or lord or anything. My name in this life is Harry Potter. I understand it's a habit, but considering my reputation in this life I think it would be more trouble than it's worth explaining why you treat me like royalty."
Grinning at him sheepishly, I added, "Besides, my last few lives were common folk. The titles just feel awkward now, I guess. I mean, in my most recent life I was just a common Japanese citizen—well, until I met Rukia, anyway…" I trailed off, suddenly aware that I had begun rambling again. I did that a lot.
Sebastian nodded slowly. "As you wish, my—Ciel."
I smiled cheerily at him. "You see? That wasn't so difficult." I paused for a moment, looking guilty, and then said, "I am sorry about this, by the way. I didn't know saying the name I gave you would reactivate the contract…"
The demon started in shock, bewilderment quite clear now on his face. I was surprised to see a minute amount of hurt as well. "You…did not intend to reinstate the contract?" he asked.
I exhaled noisily, running a hand through my unruly hair. "Honestly…" I began hesitantly, "I didn't think that you would want the contract renewed. I'm just as immortal as you, you know—I didn't think you'd want to be trapped in servitude for the rest of eternity, especially since you can no longer take my soul."
I was astonished to see Sebastian laugh aloud with genuine mirth. He smirked and told me, "Even after a century's absence, you are still the most interesting soul I have ever met, Ciel Phantomhive. I have never been bored in your service—why on earth would I wish to lose such an entertaining existence, bocchan?" The smirk grew. "Besides, if you do not wish my servitude yourself then it isn't truly binding, now is it? If the master lets go of his dog's leash it is no longer chained, after all. Is that not correct, mas-Ciel?"
An ironic smile curled my lips. "I guess not." I shook my head a bit, murmuring, "And you certainly won't be bored now."
At the demon's inquisitive look, I elaborated, "It may have only been a century to you, but I have lived through ten lifetimes and some million-odd years since I was Ciel Phantomhive." I sighed. "By the gods, I sound like an old man."
Sebastian stared at me in fascination. "So how many lives have you lived in total?" he probed curiously.
I grinned, asking playfully, "Don't you know that it's rude to ask a lady's age, young man?"
"Ah, yes," he rejoined. "But you are not a lady, are you? You're just a little boy."
My eye twitched slightly. Even though it had been eight lifetimes since I was Edward Elric, some ticks remained, and I was still rather sensitive about my height. My brief stint as a below-average sized fairy elf didn't help, either.
"Don't call me little," I gritted out before managing to shake off my aggravation.
Then, smirking slightly, I shifted to my eight-year-old Lucy form. "And I can be a lady whenever I wish to be," I proclaimed. Snickering, I added, "Actually, I was a girl in my first life, so my soul is inherently female, regardless of the gender of my current 'container'."
Sebastian blinked. "I see," he said in bemusement.
I giggled. "You've already met her, remember?" I prompted, shifting to my Rapunzel form. This was why I usually preferred dresses. They were more comfortable when switching between bodies.
He eyed my form curiously. "This was your identity in your first life?"
Nodding, I replied, "Uh-huh. Queen Rapunzel of Corona," I said, curtsying. My long blonde hair waved around me. "I was happily married, had two children, and ruled a prosperous little kingdom. I died after ninety-eight very fulfilling years of life. Pleased to meet you!"
Sebastian laughed again and I grinned cheekily at him, somewhat in awe of my newfound ability to incite such humour in my demon. After a few moments of companionable silence, I said, "So how long was I out?"
He gave me a close-mouthed smile. "You have slept through the night and most of this morning. It is ten o'clock now."
I jumped. "Ten o'clock!" I exclaimed. "Raiden will be here in an hour! I'm still in yesterday's clothes!" I dashed out the door, using airbending to enhance my speed. I forewent the stairs, instead flying up the walls. Sebastian followed me, clearly intrigued by the supernatural abilities I had displayed. He arrived at my bedroom to find me in my Harry form again. I was rummaging through my closet, throwing discarded outfits left and right.
"There it is!" I said in a relieved tone, holding up an outfit of all-black that was strongly reminiscent of the ensemble I had favoured as the Fullmetal Alchemist. This was the getup I usually wore during my training sessions with Raiden.
Disregarding the demon standing in the doorway, I began to change swiftly. I started in surprise when I felt large hands slip the long-sleeved black jacket over my shoulders, fastening it at my throat before nudging me into a seated position so he could put my shoes on.
I didn't fight, knowing better than to try and physically stop the demon once he had set his mind to something. I grinned at him, my cheeks tinged pink with embarrassment. I cleared my throat. "You—ah, you don't have to do that; I can dress myself perfectly well—"
"I am aware," he cut me off smoothly. He was tying the laces of my black combat boots now.
I blinked at him and then said awkwardly, my cheeks still flaming, "So, what—you just like dressing me or something?"
"Or something," Sebastian agreed amiably. "There." He stood, giving me his usual smile.
I stood as well. "It's just—odd now, I guess. I am very different from how I was as Ciel, you know," I tried to explain. I felt that I was not doing a very good job.
He smirked at me. "I can see that," he replied calmly.
I huffed, rolling my eyes. I grabbed my hand-made red jacket with the Flamel symbol on the back and pulled it on. I held out my arms and twirled around. "Well? How do I look?" I inquired in an amused tone.
Sebastian looked me up and down. "Exceptional, as always," he answered simply. I grinned. "Who is it you are meeting?" he asked me curiously. "…Raiden, wasn't it?"
I nodded. "Yes. His surname's Kurosu. Raiden has been my tutor for nearly two years now."
Sebastian blinked in surprise. "Why would you need a tutor?" he asked curiously. "I know your education as Ciel Phantomhive was exemplary, and it must have been extensive in your life as a monarch as well."
Grinning at him, I said candidly, "It's true that I don't need much academic education—honestly, I sometimes feel like I have too much information stuffed into my brain—but I certainly needed to get my body in shape, and my fighting up to form." Shrugging rather noncommittally, I added, "Of course, the fact that he knows how to wield both blades and firearms (and is willing to teach both to me) is only a bonus."
Sebastian nodded silently, and I skipped past him to bounce down the stairs, oddly content for once in this life.
The meeting with Raiden was…awkward, to say the least. Sebastian was friendly enough, but whatever sixth sense Raiden had used to determine my own magical nature seemed to warn him of the danger present in my friend's unassuming figure. He was not hostile, but the tutor certainly treated Sebastian with great caution.
Amusingly enough, my hunch concerning Raiden's reasons for wanting to meet were completely accurate. We spent the entire two hours I usually worked through discussing my trip to Diagon Alley. He provided me with a bit more information on my fame from "defeating" this Dark Lord fellow, which piqued my interest.
Apparently I was revered nearly to the point of deity status by the magical society of Britain due to my supposed defeat of the Dark Lord Voldemort. Because of this near-worship a large market of Harry Potter products (dolls and books and the like) existed within the community. I decided to have the gnomes investigate that—they would relish the work, I felt, and I would be able to profit off of a very ludicrous franchise through careful use of copyright laws. I also planned to have Sebastian find me a lawyer who could help me regulate my fame.
While I had been (insanely) popular in other lives, it had never been to this extent in as modern a society. That thought made me wonder how the muggle public would react if John Tolkien spontaneously rose from the dead and began wandering around London. I had noticed that my books had gained an even greater following than they had enjoyed during my lifetime as John Tolkien. It still made me feel happy whenever I ran into someone holding a Lord of the Rings novel or a copy of The Hobbit.
Knowing exactly how much influence I had on the society I would be expected to enter would prove to be quite useful. And, judging by what Raiden was telling me, I had a massive surplus of influence over the magical community just waiting to be exploited. I immediately began plotting the best way to turn my notoriety to my advantage—it wouldn't do to have other people benefiting from my fame, after all.
It was during a lull in conversation that I recalled Grimclaw's mention of Sirius Black. I wondered if Raiden knew anything about my imprisoned godfather, and decided to ask. "Have you heard of a man by the name of Sirius Black, Sensei?" I queried curiously.
Raiden looked up at me, seemingly a bit startled. "Sirius Black?" he parroted.
I nodded, my wild black hair waving about my face. "Yes. The gno—err, goblins mentioned that he was my godfather." I cocked my head to the side, gazing at him wide-eyed. "Do you know who he is?" I asked innocently.
My tutor nodded his head slowly. "Yes, I do," he replied cautiously. "Sirius Black was a big supporter of Voldemort. He was the person to betray the…your parents' location to the Dark Lord. He was also reputed to have killed thirteen people with one curse. Why do you ask?"
I hesitated before answering. "The gn-goblins are…unsure as to the veracity of the Ministry's official report. Sirius Black also never had a trial. From what my account manager told me, I believe he suspects a cover-up to illegally imprison the man."
Raiden gaped. "Illegally—" He shook his dark head in amusement. "The press would have a field day with that." He looked at me hard. "Are you going to try and push for a trial for Black, then, if only to determine whether he was really the person who betrayed your family?"
I smiled at him innocently. "Now why would I do that?" I mused aloud, tapping a finger to my lips. "It would be quite tedious work, after all. If there has been a cover-up it is unlikely that those covering their tracks would allow me to reveal their crimes without a fight. Besides, a legal battle would be bound to draw attention to my…unconventional living arrangements and that would just be inconvenient."
Kurosu frowned at me, his greenish eyes bewildered. "So…you're not going to figure out whether there's an innocent man imprisoned illegally in Azkaban?"
I shook my head, still maintaining that air of innocence. "Did I say that?" I asked in mock-confusion. I turned to the demon sitting next to me. "Sebastian, did you hear me ever say that I wouldn't investigate Sirius Black's innocence, or lack thereof, as the case might be?"
Sebastian's lips quirked in an amused smile and he answered me. "No," he said simply. The demon continued in a rather mocking tone, "I only heard you say that you did not wish to go through with the complications that would result from reopening Black's case officially."
Raiden's eyes widened with sudden understanding. I turned a cuttingly dangerous smile towards him. "Now, you don't plan to say anything, should Sirius Black disappear, do you Sensei?" I breathed chillingly.
The thin man frowned indignantly. "Of course I won't." He grinned playfully at me. "I wouldn't want my favourite student to be sent to prison, now would I?"
I rolled my eyes, threatening aura gone. "I suppose not," I muttered. I then went back to discussing the various businesses Raiden was aware of that were marketing products with my name.
It was after Raiden had left that Sebastian brought up the subject again. "So…what do you intend to do about Sirius Black, ma-Ciel?"
I sighed, resting my chin on my hand and staring contemplatively into the distance. "Nothing, at the moment," I replied.
He frowned at me. "Nothing? But earlier you said—"
"I know what I said!" I snapped in annoyance, interrupting him. I sighed again, this time in regret. "I'm sorry, Sebastian. It's just…right now I'm this mad mixture of over a dozen different people, and it's very hard for me to control myself and my powers. I…" I shook my head.
"I didn't recognize you and Faustus until you began speaking," I whispered. "There is so much information in my head—it's pure chaos, and I can't seem to find an order. I've lived through at least three lifetimes in this world—maybe more, because it's hard for me to tell in the more mundane lives," I muttered, thinking specifically of Lucy Pevensie and John Tolkien. How odd, that I'd lived a life as a book character, and then had been reincarnated as a friend of my own author (I still needed to find out if Susan existed in this world).
I shook my head, clearing my mind and returning to the subject at hand. "In every life I've ever lived I made both friends and enemies. I'm afraid that…that next time someone else will recognize me first—and they will come after me."
Sebastian's frown deepened as he listened to me. "Is there any way for you to…'find an order', as you put it?"
I exhaled. "Yes, there is," I admitted, "but I'm reluctant to do it. You know, the reason I'm not a drooling lump right now is because of my fifth life."
"Your fifth life?" my demon parroted. I nodded to him in answer.
"In that life I was born Alice Liddell in early Victorian England—I actually lived about twenty to thirty years before the time of my fourth life as Ciel Phantomhive." I fidgeted, my green eyes still gazing off into the distance.
"When I was seven, I fell into a faery Realm of Thought due to my own insatiable curiosity." Sebastian's eyes widened. Even demon-kind knew about the faery folk, and treated them with the caution they deserved. "Somehow, I managed to escape Wonderland and return back to my own world, but not without a small price. Faery magic changes everything it touches, and little girls are no exception. Only months afterwards I was drawn back into Wonderland, this time by design."
Michaelis' eyes narrowed now. "What do you mean, 'by design'? The Fäe were trying to bring you back into their realm? I thought the faery folk hated trespassing humans."
I grimaced, playing with a lock of black hair. "Ordinarily they do," I replied. "But this was no ordinary situation. Wonderland is a Realm of Thought—a world created through faery magic that is connected to a certain group or faction of humans who give the world its shape and design. Wonderland was imbedded in the minds of young human children."
Sebastian scowled. "That still does not explain their interest in you."
"Well, I got out," I said candidly. "Like I said, faery magic changes things. Usually a person who stumbles into a Realm of Thought is changed so much that they become part of the world and can never leave. I only changed a little, and I even managed to escape back to my own world. The faerys knew that this was incredibly significant, because it was so rare."
"The main problem with Realms of Thought is the fact that each one is connected to a very diverse group of people—and with children this is amplified greatly. Children are mad little things, after all, so any world connected to the psyches of children would be mad by default. So Wonderland was a mad, chaotic place with everything changing constantly—people in it were always being pulled this way or that by the conflicting messages of millions of childish minds. While faerys like a touch of madness, they don't really appreciate true chaos. If there must be chaos, it has to be sensible nonsense." I grinned at the bemused look on Sebastian's face.
"The faerys saw a reprieve from unadulterated chaos within my psyche. During my first journey through Wonderland I had been changed a bit: I had gone just a touch mad and my mind had begun leaning towards chaotic thought rather than true order, but I still had a semblance of reason and logic. During my second visit to Wonderland they put me through a test. In the end I was turned into a faery, and Wonderland was fused to my psyche. Sections of it were still connected to the world at large, but the greater portion of it was solely a reflection of my mind."
"There was backlash, of course," I said, looking at Sebastian calmly. The demon was watching me with absolute astonishment, which I supposed was understandable—it wasn't every day that the reclusive faery folk allowed a human child to both become one of them and then to rule over them.
"Backlash?" Michaelis repeated cautiously. I smiled in amusement at my friend. Demons really didn't like anything to do with the faerys because the Fäe were the only beings which were totally unaffected by demonic magic. His worry was almost cute.
"Well, obviously." I explained it concisely, "Wonderland was already so beyond mad; to fuse it to my psyche meant that my psyche was also fused to it. I lost all sanity—but I still retained my humanness and my sense of logic, which was all the Fäe had wanted anyway. I was logical, but I was logical about madness which, if you think about it, made me the most dangerous sort of lunatic." I gave him a slightly insane grin.
He nodded slowly. "Yes…and what does this have to do with bringing order to your mind?"
My grin faded, my expression falling into seriousness once more. "Because the faerys live so long, they have quite strong memories—similar to those of a demon," I clarified. "But demons don't have to deal with the added confusion that comes with time-travel and all the other millions of mind-twister magics which the Fäe perform as a matter of course. In order to cope with the negative side-effects of faery magic, the Fäe have a 'room' in their minds, I suppose you could say that stores every extraneous memory and time-twisting fact until the moment it is needed. When I was transformed into a faery I first noticed that my 'room' already had some memories in it—those of my previous lives."
I paused to take a breath before continuing, "In order to have better control over my memories, I need to re-create the faery 'room' in my mind so that I can sort through all of my past experiences, storing what I do not need and organizing what I intend to use—rather like tidying up a sock-drawer." I beamed at my demon.
"Like tidying up…a…sock-drawer…" Sebastian repeated, seemingly rather perplexed by my choice of words.
"Exactly!" I declared; glad that he appeared to understood at least a little bit. "And to re-create my 'room', I need to revive the connection between my mind and Wonderland, since it is dormant right now—like my bond with you was. The main reason I have been reluctant to awaken Wonderland is because if it is awake again I will have to deal with business there too, and I have been so busy here just trying to make a home for myself and getting my body back into fighting form. Of course," I said thoughtfully, "now that I have you things will be easier. I won't have to deal with things away from home if I don't want to—I can just send you in my place!" I smiled happily at him, beaming again.
Sebastian nodded, his worry over my faery magic melting away to be replaced by amusement (hey, I'm adorable!). "Naturally," my demon rejoined smoothly. He paused. "How will you…awaken…Wonderland?"
"Why, with a faery rhyme, of course," I replied, a wicked smirk growing on my face at Sebastian's visible discomfort.
He swallowed. Demons really didn't like faery magic. "Of course," he repeated with trepidation.
I stood fluidly in front of the couch I had been sitting on, closing my green eyes. I exhaled slowly and softly began to chant a melodic poem:
One morn among the waving blooms
The oddest sights I had espied;
An evening in my sitting-room,
From there I crossed the mind's divide.
Journeys I took through Wonderland
I gyred and gimbled in the wabe;
My mind was made like shifting sand,
And whimsy thoughts outgrabe.
I fell, I crossed, I tumbled down
Into a land all turvy-round;
I searched and looked but could not find
A sense of sense in any mind.
Logic broke and light, it fled
With uffish thought left in its stead;
I frickered and whisughed through that world,
Dancing with maddened sense I twirled.
Lost was I there in that place,
Until I saw a friendlier face:
A lonesome grin hung like the moon
Was joined by feline body soon.
A Cheshire grin gave mad advice,
Words tumbling o'er themselves like dice;
All mimsy was he, that forshiffing Cat
As on a high bough he smiled and sat.
The babe, it did become a pig
Though Cat mistook my word for fig;
A Card of games, croqueting Heart—
Did the Knave truly steal her precious tart?
The Queen of Hearts did wish me dead
A roaring cry: "Off with her head!"
Fruminous cards flew all around
And myself asleep I confusedly found.
The Looking-Glass House is a curious place:
The clock has an old man's smiling face;
Chess-pieces wander all 'round in ash—
Two-by-two on the hearth they dash.
A game of chess, White Pawn to play,
Take Lily's place just for today;
Second to Fourth, and then through to Sixth,
Tweedles Dee and Dum are full of tricks.
Humpty Dumpty fell off of a wall,
Looking-Glass cake served backwards to all!
Unicorn and Lion were drummed out of town,
Goodbye White Knight; hello golden crown.
Red Queen and White Queen sound asleep,
Examination ends in a snoring heap;
"Can't serve a dish after introductions with it,"
And then the whole room into chaos was lit.
Red Queen into a black kitten was shaken
And from Wonderland I did then awaken;
The dream was either Red King's or mine
But from black kitten no answers to find.
As I continued to tell my story of Wonderland I began to transform from my head down to my toes. My hair lightened, falling in blonde waves down to my mid-back. A black ribbon appeared, tying my hair back from my face with a neat little bow atop my head. My black street-clothes morphed into a blue-and-white Victorian pinafore dress.
"Journeys I took through Wonderland/I gyred and gimbled in the wabe/My mind was made like shifting sand/And whimsy thoughts outgrabe," I repeated. My eyes flew open, their vivid green changed to a bright cornflower blue. I stared blankly at nothing for a moment as if in a trance, and then I jumped up with a shout.
Laughing gaily, I pranced about the room. I had totally immersed myself in the Fäe mind of Wonderland, and it was visible in my every movement. I called out, "Come along, Sebastian!" I smiled sweetly and joyously at him as I danced about excitedly, my blonde hair waving behind me.
I darted to and fro, surveying my familiar surroundings with childish and innocent new eyes. My open gaze roved the room, coming to rest at last upon the large looking-glass hanging over the mantelpiece of the fireplace. I laughed again, skipping over to it. "Let's pretend, Sebastian!" I exclaimed. My tongue seemed to savour that once oft-spoken phrase as it rolled off my lips.
I clambered precariously up onto the mantel, turning to look at my demon again. He stood just behind me, his eyes glinting with curiosity and amusement as he watched my daintily-clad figure balancing on the mantelpiece. "Let's pretend!" I repeated, and I placed my small hand on the mirror.
The glass seemed to billow outwards from my hand like water, flowing in waves. My delicate white limb appeared to sink through the mirror as though the glass was made of mist. First my hand, then my arm and shoulder, and then the rest of me followed as I clambered through the mirror.
When I saw that I was alone on the mantel of the Looking-Glass House, I stuck my arm back through the still undulating glass and gestured beckoningly. Sebastian reluctantly climbed through the mirror, shuddering at the cloying sensation of faery magic brushing over his skin. As the demon alighted on the mantelpiece beside me the glass abruptly returned to its immobile and rigid state of existence.
I clapped my hands, laughing in delight. "We shall have a wonderful tea-party. Come along now!" Leaping nimbly, I alighted on the hearth, gesturing for my demon to follow me.
I smiled at Sebastian, my previously friendly and childlike air hardened into a razor-sharp, chillingly mad grin. "You must be careful here, child of Darkness," I warned him. "Nothing in Wonderland is as it seems. Be wary of security, and suspicious of safety. There is no safety in a world of madness."
Sebastian blinked at me in surprise, at a loss for words for once in his time with me. Suddenly I was all smiles and affection again. "Come along, Sebastian!" I said. "We will be late for the party at this rate." Before the demon could react I had skipped merrily away.
It wasn't until I had reached the garden (by walking towards the house, naturally) that I realized my demon was not with me. "Sebastian?" I queried, looking around at the giant flowers surrounding me. The tall man was nowhere to be found.
"Lost something, 'ave you?" a daffodil asked.
A sheepish smile appeared on my face. "Oops."
After his young master had run off, Sebastian had stood motionless for a moment in perplexity. Shaking himself a bit, the demon began walking down the corridor Alice had taken, trying to locate his wayward little lord. To his vast bewilderment Sebastian found that no matter how much effort he seemed to put into reaching the end of the hallway he always ended up back at his starting point.
The demon recalled his bocchan's warning. "Nothing in Wonderland is as it seems," she had said. Sebastian did not know much of faery magic (having never paid the blasted things any mind before), but he did know of the Fäe's love for turning rules on their heads.
While pondering this, Sebastian decided to return to the mirrored sitting-room and wait for his young master to call him. The distracted man was absolutely stunned to find himself suddenly standing in the garden he had been trying to reach for the past hour!
Sebastian stood dazedly, staring around him. He was in a perfectly ordinary Victorian-style English garden. The only oddity seemed to be that the demon had mysteriously shrunk to only a few inches in height. The dark-haired man began walking cautiously down the small cobblestone path, gazing up at the bushes which towered above him like the trees of some mammoth jungle.
The vegetation presently shifted from neat, ordered arrangements of domestic shrubberies and blossoms to a wild jumble of flowers and foliage. Sebastian continued to follow the little stone path. As he did so, the demon began to feel as if he were being watched.
As he passed a particularly eclectic collection of flowers he heard a small giggle. The man froze. All was still and quiet; his surroundings were perfectly innocuous. The demon began walking cautiously, going slower this time.
Soft laughter reached his ears. He could hear the quiet tittering of female voices all around him, but he still saw no one. Sebastian then began to hear quiet whispers amidst the giggling.
"Do you see what he's wearing?"…"Just look at that physique!"…"And that face!"…"Isn't he dreamy?"…"His clothes are disgraceful, though."…"Well if you can ignore that then he's a rather fine specimen, isn't he?"
The demon continued walking, his back stiff as he listened to the tittered murmurs. He suddenly realized that his path had vanished from beneath his feet. Sebastian stopped walking and started wondering idly if it wouldn't be less trouble to turn into a crow and locate his young master that way. He would have done this already, but demon powers did not mix well with faery magic and he was wary of trying any of his own magic in this Fäe realm. A feminine voice spoke.
"Excuse me, young man. Are you lost?"
Sebastian nearly jumped out of his skin. He looked around wildly, but he still saw no one. Then a large red rose that was in full bloom leaned down close to him, repeating the question, "Are you lost, young man?"
He blinked for a moment in astonishment, and then gathered his wits enough to reply, "I…am, lady. I am searching for my master."
"An' 'oo's that, then?" a bright yellow daffodil asked.
"Haven't you noticed?" an iris queried, holding up a vine woven into spectacles up to its eyes. "He's a darkling. The only way a darkling could get in is if a human lets it in."
The entire flowerbed gasped with feminine horror. Michaelis noticed that a crop of marigolds was inching away from him, and a few violets were peeking out from behind a patch of daisies. He stifled an exasperated sigh.
"Trust me; I did not come here willingly. I prefer to avoid the Fäe, thank you very much. Now, if you could just tell me where I might find Alice—"
"Alice?" the large rose repeated in confusion. "That little flower summoned you here?"
Sebastian scowled. "I was bound to her in a different lifetime. She insisted on bringing me here—something about a tea party."
"Ss'll be at the Hather's, ten," a tiny little red rosebud lisped.
The large red one placed a leaf over it, whispering a sharp, "Hush, little one. Don't talk to the nasty darkling."
The iris, meanwhile, had been working herself up into a fine snit. "Alice brought you here, you said?" she sniffed, looking down at him through her 'spectacles'.
"Um…yes?" he answered. Sebastian could tell instantly that it was the wrong answer.
"I knew it—I knew it! I knew that she was no good!" The enormous purple flower was in fine form, nearly stiff as a bean-pole with indignation and fury. "Didn't I tell you? Didn't I? That Alice is nothing more than a common weed—and what's more, she had the audacity to bring a darkling here with her! He'll likely infect our beds with some pestilence or other!" the blossom shrilled, waving her leafy limbs around.
The other flowers reacted with shock and dismay once again, whispering in horror to one another and pulling away from Sebastian almost as one, leaving a wide berth around him. The more daring ones began shooing him out of their bed. Trumpeting daylilies blasted at him, knocking him over backward with the force of their blasts. Multi-coloured dandelions snarled and leapt at him, growling like angry cats. A snowdrop puppy was yapping angrily at him. The demon managed to scramble up, feeling horribly undignified as he was buffeted and chased by a load of shrubbery. As he stood and brushed himself off he neglected to notice a pair of daffodils giving him nasty looks—just before they upturned a large flower filled with water over him.
The enormous wave of water knocked him down and then lifted Michaelis up off his feet and washed him down past the tumultuous flower-patch.
So how was it? Do you think I should torment Sebby-chan some more, or should I put him out of his misery and let him find Alice already?
Review and tell me your opinions!
By the way, I wrote that poem about Alice on a whim. Do you think it was any good?