Sebastian stepped over the threshold into the dining area and placed his empty plates in front of his young lord and watched in silence as his master lifted an empty fork to his mouth and chewed and said, "Thank you, Sebastian."
He was surprised to hear that, as ever since Ciel had become a demon, he had never acknowledged Sebastian as anything more than an object that served him.
He covered his surprise by smoothly saying, "You're welcome, my lord."
Throughout the rest of the evening he waited on him, and as soon as he had fallen asleep he stepped out of the mansion, again warning the servants to keep an eye on the Master while he was out. He had a visit to pay to William Spears, head of the Reapers.
He had a feeling that the man wasn't entirely aware of what was going on…and, besides that, he wanted to know what had happened to Grell.
It took him longer than he'd wanted, as he had to make several negotiations with some unsavory characters, but soon he was walking through the front door of the library that he'd been in just once before.
A man with glasses and a book in his hand greeted him, so Sebastian assumed he was a Reaper.
"And might I ask what you are looking for, Demon Michaelis?"
Sebastian looked at the man in surprise, and he let out a low chuckle of amusement.
"Oh, yes, demon…we know all about you, here," he said, his eyes glittering darkly, and his British accented voice echoing in strange ways off of the walls and bookcases throughout the massive space, making his voice sound as though it were coming from several different places at once.
Sebastian shrugged the feeling aside and said, "I'm here to see William Spears."
The bespectacled man nodded.
"Right this way then."
He motioned with a hand for Sebastian to follow him, so he did, the entire time carefully on his guard. This wasn't a place that he had all of his powers in and that made him uneasy. He did not like feeling at a disadvantage in any situation.
Soon, however, they walked through a set of massive doors, which the man opened easily with an almost casual shove of his hand on the carved wood.
They walked into a large private study and a petite blonde woman sat in the corner of the room, her legs slung over the arm of the chair, randomly flipping through a massive volume. She wore unconventional clothes. Black, tight-fitting trousers adorned her legs and a slightly low-cut white blouse that was also fitted rather snugly around her body.
At closer inspection he saw that the trousers were leather, as was the jacket that was slung over the other arm of the chair that she lay against.
His eyes then went to the center of the room, where there was a massive desk, behind which sat William Spears.
"Ah…Sebastian. So good to see you again," he drawled, slowly standing from his chair and making a slight, but obvious, dismissive gesture to the other two in the room.
The blonde nodded, and quickly sat up, placing the book on the table next to her chair and then briefly stretching, her shirt riding up and exposing skin. The man gave her a chastening look, but she just flashed him an unrepentant smile, to which he rolled his eyes. She grabbed her coat and slipped it over shoulders and followed him to the door.
The two of them were about to leave, but then William stopped them.
"Oh, Rupert…" He picked up a book from his desk and walked over to where they stood by the door. "…Before I forget, I found the volume you were looking for. I hope that it helps."
The man that Sebastian now knew to be named Rupert smiled.
"Thank you, William. It is much appreciated, I assure you."
And with that, the two of them left and Spears turned around to face the demon butler once more, his gaze more serious and less at ease than he had been when Rupert and the young woman had been in the room.
"So, Sebastian…how may I help you?"
He cut right to the point.
"Grell has been taken by a Guardian who is determined to use him and his powers to free her from her confinement. Can it be done?"
At that, William froze, his hand hanging in the air where it had been in the process of reaching down to pick up the book from the end table that had been placed there moments before. His eyes went dark and the temperature in the room dropped several degrees.
"Did you say…a Guardian?"
"Yes. I did."
Spears eyes darkened, and Sebastian watched in fascination as the Reaper walked over back behind his desk and leaned on it, his fingers easily dug into the thick wood of his desk as if it were butter, leaving jagged splinters of oak sticking up from its' surface, as well as in the Reaper's fingers.
William stood up and carefully removed the splinters of wood from his hands and then looked over at Sebastian as he took a kerchief from his pocket and absently wiped the blood off.
"Tell me everything."
Realizing that things were very grave indeed, Sebastian gave Spears all of the information he needed, which included everything that had happened in the past two days. He wanted to make sure he knew exactly what was going to happen.
After he finished explaining it, he saw William's eyes darken a second time.
He let out a sigh.
"Oh, Grell…I can only pray that your ineptness will keep you from accomplishing your task too quickly," he said, leaving Sebastian quietly confused, but the Reaper seemed to sense his confusion and quickly explained the problem.
"You see, Sebastian, a Reaper can lightly influence the between world of Lost Souls because of their viewing capabilities. With those viewing capabilities, we are granted another talent…one that is rarely used, mind you."
"And that would be…?"
Spears cleared his throat and, with the middle finger of his right hand, adjusted his glasses.
"We can return a soul to their body back from their resting place. We don't use this gift because of the danger involved…to the Reaper." Sebastian raised an eyebrow at that, and Spears clarified. "We have to use certain…aspects of our gift that are very unstable that are directly linked to our own souls. And if a Guardian is involved…"
He shook his head.
"…Well, they can use our own souls against us to control us. As leverage. You see," he explained, "A Reaper must have some semblance of a soul in order to cast judgment. If a Guardian gets their hands in it and mangles it badly enough, or if the Reaper resists too violently, it can permanently damage a Reaper's ability to judge, rendering them useless. And unable to go to their proper resting place at the end of their assignments."
At this, Sebastian finally understood what he had seen in the clearing earlier that day and he nodded.
"Ah, I see. A Reaper's soul is bound for one place, then, if left intact, but if it is harmed in any way, then…to Hell?"
Spears averted his eyes.
"A Reaper's soul in Hell…there is no worse fate imagined for our kind. A Reaper will be tormented for all eternity for the souls that they have put down there who feel that they were put there unjustly. Imagine going to a prison where your profession was the reason why nearly every single person was in there…"
He raised his eyes back up to Sebastian and the demon tilted his head in acknowledgment.
"Understood. In that case…what are we to do for Grell?"
Spears looked surprised at the butler's question.
"Why, nothing of course. You did as you needed to, and from what I've heard of this Guardian and your bargain with her, she has an obligation to fulfill, or else her own soul is forfeit. Had you not been involved, I would have been worried, but I think that your…arrangement with her should keep everything in line. I must admit though," he added, looking down at the nails of one hand, absently rubbing his thumb across them. "I am slightly worried that Grell might put up a fight."
He absently reached down and tugged on the edges of his dark grey vest and then adjusted his glasses once more, glancing down at his pocket watch, letting out a soft sigh of resignation.
"Oh well. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have an appointment to keep."
He stepped out from behind his desk, and Sebastian turned slightly as the Head Reaper made for the door.
"William…" Spears paused. "Who were those two who were in here before I was? Was the man a Reaper as well? Who was the girl?"
At that, the Reaper chuckled, a low and ominous sound that resonated strangely off of the walls in the room, and his eyes turned pale gold behind his glasses, and then he gave Sebastian a grin that was almost identical to Grell's and was very unsettling.
"Oh, Rupert is no Reaper…he's a Watcher, and someone that I greatly respect. As for the girl…well, let's just say that many of the prisons in Hell are full because of her. But I doubt you'll ever see them again…"
And with that, he turned and left the room, but then tossed over his shoulder, "You can see yourself out, demon. And by the way…I'll be with you when you go to fetch my Reaper in seven days. I want to make sure that he remains intact."
Sebastian was now alone, but now was much less worried and instead much more at ease.
He knew Grell well, and knew that he would do anything to save his own skin…or soul, as the case may be.
Taking this in mind, he walked out of the library, his journey back to the mortal realm much faster than it had been going the opposite direction. A wry smile crossed his lips as he walked up the back steps to the mansion, his thoughts still lingering on everything that the Reaper had told him.
In seven days he would have his Master's soul back.
In seven days.