Apples Slices and Needles

AN: If you watch the anime when they show all the cultists, there are women too. I wanted to touch on Ciel's fear of women, since a lot of fics seem to focus on his male tormentors, I've noticed. Also, he doesn't seem have his ears pierced in the flashbacks, so I was thinking he probably did get them done after his parents died. Also, they used to use an apple slice or a potato piece when they pierced someone's ear, just holding it behind the ear so that it doesn't poke your neck. I don't think they do that anymore, it's probably not sanitary to use food haha.

Ciel was not keen on holding onto the past, and being sentimental was weak at best in his mind, if not unforgivable. However, he allowed himself some moments of weakness. He had naturally kept the ring that his Aunt had given him at the hospital. She had placed it into his open, filthy palms, saying that it had survived the fire. He had to have some sort of proof that he was the head of the family now. He needed some sort of proof that he was his father's child. He only took it off of his thumb to sleep, and he always kept it right by his bed, ready to see the moment he woke up. As it were, he didn't get much sleep these days.

Sebastian had used his demonic powers to restore the mansion to the way it had been, and although his parents had perished, the room looked just the same as it always had. Ciel had a bedroom of his own, the bed was large, and the furniture luxurious, but he sometimes found himself sleeping in their bedroom. All the clothes were still in the wardrobe, the trinkets still out and displayed, it was like a museum of his parents, a tribute to the dead.

He grieved silently whenever Sebastian washed the bed linen. When he had first come home after the attack, he could still smell his mother's perfume, his father's shaving cream on the sheets. Now it was gone, and it just smelled like Ciel, pungent from sweat whenever he had a nightmare and tangy from the blood that still leaked from some of his deeper wounds. His newly acquired demon was stoic and professional, but whenever he noticed blood on the sheets he always seemed to get a slight look of upset, and if it was for his Master's poor condition or the fact that the stain would be hard to get out, Ciel didn't know. He preferred to think it was the former.

Ciel had been exploring the room in a moment of nostalgia. It was weak and he hated himself for it. Holding onto trinkets from the dead served no other purpose but to make himself miserable.

He found a pair of his mother's earrings in her jewelry box. She had worn fancier and more elaborate pairs whenever she and Vincent went to parties or events, but she wore these all other times, most likely just to keep the holes from healing over.

They were small and simple, and the color was very similar to the shade of his father's ring. Ciel finds himself putting them into his pocket, and he is both embarrassed and happy, glad to have them, and regretting his attachment to them all the same.

He has an appointment for a tailoring after lunch, and he has began to learn that he is slowly gaining back the weight that being a captive has taken from him. MeyRin had taken the trousers he was wearing before the fitting so that she can iron them before he wears them again, and he is somewhat surprised that the newly hired maid actually manages the task. She may be good at firing a gun (which is why he and Sebastian had hired her) but she seems to fail miserably at the smallest domestic task.

She pauses at his doorway and hands him the earrings that had been in the pocket.

"They fell out. Young master should put his Mother's earrings in a safer place."

"I… How'd you know…. I don't have a good place for them!" He is embarrassed to have been caught in a moment of such childish sentimentality by the maid of all people.

"You could always keep them in your ears. I've seen men with earrings." She shrugs and bows, ready to make her leave, but Ciel stops her. He's seen girls with earrings, and he knew that pirates and foreigners wore them, sometimes even slaves wore them apparently, but a rich Earl like him had no reason to be wearing jewelry like that.

"It's hardly proper for me to wear them."

"I'm begging your pardon, but if Young Master like them, I believe that with your status, nobody nowhere ought to say anything about convention."

Ciel pauses. She was right. He was the Earl of Phantomhive, if he wanted holes in his ears, nobody would dare ask him questions about it.

"How do you put earrings in?"

"You have to make a hole in your ear first. I could do it for Young Master if he likes."

"Okay. Do it then." He's not sure why he agrees to let this bumbling idiot put holes in his earlobes, but he likes the idea of having the earrings close, and he does find them to be rather nice looking.

MeyRin has him follow her to the kitchen, and he watches calmly as she boils water to sanitize the long sewing needle she had found in her room.

"I should probably make them even, yes?"

"Naturally." He rolls his eyes. She used ink on his ears to mark the spots to pierce and she even takes off her glasses to double check. Her eyes are very sharp and surprisingly enough, intelligent beneath the thick glasses.

"Alright, then Master. Be just a pinch." She leans over close to pierce the lobe, and the piece of apple she is holding to the back of his earlobe is cold and wet, and suddenly Ciel is afraid, not because she's holding a needle, but because he's not used to being close to other humans. The maid has to put a hand on his shoulder to steady her hand and he does not like being touched. The women of the cult had been just as bad, just as cruel, oftentimes being the ones to hold him down for the male members, sometimes even doing things to him as well.

The needle goes through, and he tears up. He doesn't like men, he doesn't like women. Nobody is safe, everyone is a threat.

She mistakes the tears as pain from the procedure, and she looks rather guilty and runs to the ice box. She wraps a tiny piece of ice in her hanky, and she holds it on the ear.

"Shall I stop, Master Ciel?"

"No, it'll look silly if you don't do both of them."

MeyRin looks thoughtful.

"They're very tasteful. You're mother must have been a classy woman."

"She was." How he missed his mother so. Ciel lets her hold the ice on his ear for a few moments, before he urges her to hurry up and pierce the other ear. He fingers the blue stones, and he winces when he finds the lobes tender.

"Clean them well, alright then? They'll get dirty if you don't. Although they do look nice, if I do say so myself."

"They feel tender." She frowns when he says this and leans forward. She kisses one, then both ears with a smack. He is startled by her boldness, by the breath on his ears, and most of all from the affection. The idea of 'kissing something better' is so ridiculous, so foreign now that he has survived through such torturous abuse that he doesn't see how he used to put so much stock in it.

"They'll heal fast enough. Let me get you a mirror so you can see how nice you look." She darts off, nearly running into the stove as she goes and Ciel is happy and confused. After a month of being touched in ways designed to be painful and humiliating, in ways that were sexual in nature, he doesn't know what to make of this strange behavior. Sometimes he forgets that people can touch other people to comfort them, that people can touch you in innocent ways, that there are physical gestures that don't hurt or shame.

She has treated him like a child, and while he should scold his maid for taking too much liberty with someone like him, so far above her own status, but for the moment, he is content to play the role of a child, who is maybe a bit nervous of the thought of a needle in his ear, who perhaps wants to believe that a kiss on a freshly pierced ear will make it heal faster.

MeyRin returns, mirror in hand, and interrupts his thoughts.

"Here we are! Do they look even enough?" He accepts the mirror. The skin of his ears is a tiny bit pink, but nothing to be concerned about.

"Perfectly even." He has to admit, she did a nice job. She beams and curtsies and Ciel escorts himself out of the kitchen, absentmindedly playing with the foreign metal in his ears and feeling pleased.