Title: How To Be A Subservient Butler
Series: Kuroshitsuji/Black Butler
Summary: In an instant, Ciel Phantomhive finds himself playing butler to his demon. He soon learns how absolute his orders are. Regretful, it may be, but now the young man has to cope with his impulsive decision.
Notes: Please read the description
The Earl Phantomhive squirmed uncomfortably in the brand new plush, crushed velvet chair situated behind his dark cedar desk. It had just been imported from France, after Finny destroyed his old chair in an attempt to rearrange the study. Sometimes, Ciel had his doubts that his servants served any real purpose other than to destroy his manor.
It was taking far longer than he expected to get used to this new seat. It wouldn't be wearing so heavily on his nerves if not for the fact that he had been pouring over documents all morning, with not so much as one break. Not even for tea. Sebastian had insisted that he had far too much work to do and that he should take his tea in the study. A proposal to which Ciel had initially refused. That is, until Sebastian haggled with the boy, offering him chocolate eclairs with his supper, should he comply. So, eventually, the Earl's sweet tooth got the better of him and he agreed.
It wasn't as though he didn't know Sebastian was using his black tongue to persuade him to do something he had no desire to do. He knew all too well that it was a demon's greatest talent to deceive humans. The very premise of their relationship was born on that fact. Even when contracting with Sebastian, at nine years old, Ciel knew that he was catering to a demonic entity that he likely couldn't trust, even with the contract in effect.
However, now was hardly the time to dwell on such thoughts, as there were more pressing matters to see to. He had been neglecting his work for days now and he had much to do. With all the frantic bustle of his useless servants outside his study door, it was growing all the more difficult to concentrate. Still, by noon, Ciel had somehow managed to sort through and respond to the many letters and complaints issued to him from the abundance of Funtom factories around the world. Though, there were still some loose ends he had yet to address.
Just as he was starting to get horribly restless, his demon butler emerged from the noisy corridor carrying a silver platter, on which sat a delicious looking slice of cake, as well as his afternoon tea. The demon seemed to be acutely aware of his master's discomfort the moment he noticed the boy slouching (something he taught him well never to do) in his chair, with his hand resting limply on his chin, looking as bored as ever.
"Master, I've brought you your afternoon tea a bit early. I thought you might require a quick rest. For lunch, I've prepared chilled dacquoise garnished with evenly sliced strawberries and whipped cream. To compliment its flavour, I've brought you a cup of slightly sweetened jasmine tea," the butler recited masterfully. He presented it to the boy, who immediately began to devour it. (Still with all the grace befitting his title, of course)
Instantly, after placing a piece of the French treat on his tongue, Ciel's face contorted into a combination of disgust and annoyance. 'Honestly,' the boy thought bitterly, 'are all of my servants good for nothing?' Sebastian's cooking skills were normally beyond that of anything a human could ever be capable of. This the devil learned by trial and error, however. Being a demon, he had no way of knowing what satisfies a human's palate. Therefore, when trying a new recipe, he often got it horribly wrong. This cake being one such occasion.
Midway through his master's meal, Sebastian leaned down and, with a handkerchief, wiped away a spot of whipped cream from the corner of the boy's mouth. Ciel sat still, allowing his butler to groom him as needed, not removing the disgusted scowl from his little lips.
"Is there something wrong, my lord?" Sebastian asked his master curiously.
"Yes, there is. You've no head for cooking, Sebastian. Your ability to cook is unarguably the most mediocre I've ever had the displeasure of tasting. . ." Ciel growled, taking a sip of his tea, in hopes of drowning away the awful taste of the deplorable cake. In truth, he was being a bit harsh, he knew. But he was far too irritable to care at the moment. He had spent all morning scribbling polite replies on parchment, to matters he honestly cared nothing about. His neck was sore, his head was pounding. Now, on top of everything, his incompetent butler butchered his lunch. Lunch that he had been looking forward to all morning.
"I'm certain you don't mean that. After all, you've had the displeasure of tasting Bardroy's cooking. I'm sure his skills are far more insufficient than mine," Sebastian said confidently.
"Not quite. At least if Bard had made it, it would still have the correct balance of ingredients, though it may be a bit overcooked," Ciel groaned.
"I apologize, my lord. However, I have doubts that neither yourself nor Bardroy could prepare it any better," the butler replied, taking the platter under his arm. Ciel scoffed, turning his head to glance out the window, the brilliant midday sun glistening in his vivid cerulean eye.
"Please, Sebastian. A gopher could manage your duties better than you do," the young man muttered, the hint of a smirk beginning to form on his lips. Sebastian was more than just a little offended by Ciel's outrageous proclamation. No human (or gopher, for that matter) could achieve any of the awe inspiring feats that he is capable of. Especially not this impertinent child, who is good for nothing other than getting himself captured by his enemies.
"You think so? Well then, perhaps we should switch places for the day so you can show me how to properly do my job, my lord," Sebastian suggested, on a whim. Perhaps more out of irritation than anything. His master snapped his head back to face the raven haired man, an incredulous glare about his eyes.
"Are you mad? Why would I agree to a ridiculous proposal like that? Absolutely not." It would seem that the child's mind had been made up. Sebastian knew that. Still, he wondered what it might be like if his young master were to agree to such a thing. So, the demon persisted.
"Of course not. It was only a joke. The young master can hardly button his own nightgown, let alone play servant to someone else. How silly of me. My apologies, my lord," Sebastian teased, bringing his hand to his chest and giving his master a curt bow of his head. The look on the boy's face tells the demon that he has insulted him. He knows his master sees this as a challenge, as he should. He also knows that Ciel Phantomhive is far too proud to turn a blind eye to such blatant disregard for his honor, especially coming from his most trusted servant. The demon knows the boy far too well.
"How dare you! I am more than capable of taking care of myself. Don't assume that just because you can accomplish tasks faster than a human, that a human is incapable of doing them just as well as you," Ciel hissed. It had now turned into a game of demon versus human. Ciel knew he was no match, but was far too arrogant to give in.
"I would hate to disagree with you, my lord, but I'm afraid I must. Perhaps some humans are capable of my abilities, although they could never be nearly as efficient or as quick. However, you are not one of those humans. You wouldn't even know where to begin," Sebastian responded, with a light chuckle.
Ciel let out a ferocious huff through his nose. Quite abruptly, he slammed his palms on his desk, standing up straight, a very vexed gleam in his exposed eye. (though he still stood a good foot shorter than his butler)
"I order you to switch places with me for the day!" he shouted, his voice somehow strong and stern despite his size. Sebastian dropped to one knee, his hand once again resting upon his chest. With his head facing the floor, his master didn't notice the devilish grin he wore.
"Yes, my lord," he said. After which, the demon stood, wearing a suit made of black velvet, complete with a red silken cravat and perfectly polished, black and white brogues. It took Ciel a moment to register that his butler had changed at all, it was so sudden. The boy realized that he felt a bit uncomfortable in his own ensemble, more so than he was prior to his order. He glanced down only to find that he was wearing a tailcoat, quite similar to the one his butler usually wore, though the coattails were a great deal shorter. Also, there on his lapel, was the Phantomhive pin that Sebastian always wore.
"What happened," Ciel found himself asking, although he had a fairly good idea what the answer was. Sebastian took a step forward, now displaying his devilish grin proudly.
"I am your master now, Ciel. You will address me as such, am I understood?" the demon said, grabbing his new little butler's face with one hand and squeezing it gently. Ciel hadn't even considered the kind of things that being Sebastian's butler would entail. But now, all of the possibilities came flooding into his mind.
"Yes," he answered dutifully, feeling the sudden need to vomit. Sebastian squeezed the boy's cheeks harder, pulling him closer.
"Yes. . .?" Sebastian urged, gradually pulling Ciel closer to him until the boy's feet were just barely touching the ground.
"Yes, master," Ciel sputtered through his now concave cheeks. It was then that he realized what a horrible mistake he had made. Sebastian released him.
"Sebastian, I order you to be my butler again," Ciel demanded in vain. Sebastian only let out a hearty laugh.
"You can't order me to do anything, Ciel. You are my butler now. You must follow my orders," Sebastian chuckled sadistically. Hearing his given name on Sebastian's lips was so foreign to Ciel. He wasn't entirely sure whether he liked hearing it or not. Though he was leaning more toward 'not', given the haunting gleam about Sebastian's glowing scarlet eyes.
"My first order, is that you polish all the silver, however many times you must until it sparkles. After that, see to the other servants, be sure they are doing their jobs correctly. Then, prepare my supper. I would like something spicy, I'll leave it up to you to decide what to prepare," Sebastian said in a low, sinister voice. Ciel stood before him, a confused mess. The taller man raised an eyebrow to the motionless boy. "Well. . .?" he asked. The boy blinked away his despair and resigned himself to his fate. He was determined to prove to the demon that he was indeed capable of doing his job, even if he wasn't entirely convinced of that himself.
"Yes, my lord," Ciel said, bowing down on one knee in the same fashion Sebastian always did. It was too strange to speak those words. The demon, under the guise of a man, was so dutiful and compliant that Ciel had scarcely imagined how badly it must wound the creature's pride to bow to a human. Perhaps it scarred Sebastian just as badly as it is scarring him now, to answer to a demon.
"Well, then off with you," Sebastian dismissed with a brush of his hand. Ciel stood and left the study, gladly leaving his power hungry "master" behind. The moment he stepped into the corridor, he became quite baffled. This house was so large that silver pieces were sure to be plentiful. He honestly had no idea where to find them all. Would he really have to search in every room for pieces of silver?
With no time to waste, he began his quest, leaving no room unexplored. Silver plates, silver goblets, silver vases, and every other bit of silver he could find were all polished to perfection, though it took him nearly three hours to finish. He was sure he had missed some, but there was little he could do about that. He had other tasks to see to if he wanted to prove his worth to his butler. Besides, it was unlikely that Sebastian would check every piece of silver in the house just to be sure Ciel had done his job.
So he began to scout the manor for the other servants. It was only then, when he had explored the last remaining place he was familiar with in the manor, that he realized he hadn't a clue where the servant's quarters were. He wandered around aimlessly for the better half of an hour before accidentally bumping into Mey-Rin, quite literally. The two crashed to the floor, followed by a stack of porcelain plates that the maid had been carrying.
"I'm so sorry mastah!! I didn't see you the. . ." she stopped midway through her sentence when she noticed her master's clothes. "Uh, mastah. . . are you wearin' Sebastian's tailcoat?"
"Never mind that," Ciel grumbled, pushing fallen plates from his lap, "Get this mess cleaned up!" He tried his hardest to keep his tone commanding.
"Of course, mastah! Right away!" she screamed as she scrambled to get up and fetch a broom.
"Wait! Mey-Rin!" Ciel cried as she reached the end of the hall. She turned around, seeing only a faint blur of her master's silhouette in the distance. "Where are the servant's quarters?!" The maid was horribly confused, but she couldn't deny her young master his request.
"It's in the west wing, mastah. Just past the drawing room!" she screamed. With that, Ciel was gone. The scarlet haired housemaid stared in bewildered amusement at the retreating boy. In the Phantomhive manor, the strange and unusual was ever present. By now, she knew this all too well.
The young butler reached the corridor that his maid had mentioned in a surprisingly short amount of time, considering the large scope of the manor. He was rather impressed with himself. But now wasn't the time to praise himself for his meteoric speed. He eventually found Bardroy polishing his musket in his bedroom. The moment the American sensed the presence of another, he readied his weapon, expecting an intruder. Only later would he think about how silly it was to assume an intruder would be poking around the servant's bedrooms rather than ransacking the many other rooms about the manor, housing items of far greater value than anything in their wing.
"Oh, it's just you, mastah. What you doin' lurkin' 'round 'ere? And in Sebastian's clothes, no less?" the chef asked his master, promptly lowering his weapon. Though startled, Ciel carried on with his inspection.
"The better question would be why you are sitting in here when there is supper to be made?" the boy inquired.
"Well, Sebastian told me my skills are bet'teh utilized wiff me gun, not me flamefrowah. . . He said he was gonna take care of dinner," Bard explained nervously.
"There's been a change of plans. You will now be helping me prepare supper," the little dictator commanded. Bard, like his pigtailed coworker, was slightly confused by this seemingly random change in routine.
"Pardon me for askin' mastah, but where's Sebastian?" the man ventured.
"Sebastian and myself are caught in the middle of a little game. I will be playing butler for the day. He is your master, as well as mine, until tomorrow afternoon. But I am still the head butler, which puts me in charge of you useless lot. Our master desires something spicy for supper tonight. We mustn't disappoint him," Ciel recited masterfully, as though he had been doing it his entire life. Bard stared on with intrigue.
"The master is sure to be highly critical of our dish, so we must be extra careful not to burn it, or the kitchen for that matter. Understood?" Ciel asked the chef.
"Yes, mast. . . uh, I mean sir," Bard stuttered, giving the small boy a cheerful salute.
"Great. Go relay what I've told you to the others. Tell them to be excessively careful about their duties for the day. My reputation rests on their competence. I'll get started with supper. Once you are finished, meet me in the kitchen," the boy said.
"Yes sir!" Bard screamed merrily, then he ran off to obey his boss' order. Ciel took a quick glance at his pocket watch to discover that it was teetering on the edge of 6 o'clock. If he was to prepare a satisfying meal in time for supper, he would need to hurry.
He rushed off to the kitchen (the location of which he wouldn't even know of, if not for the fact that he had stealthily crept there on several occasions to sneak a few bites of leftover sweets). He figured he would obviously need Bard's help to cook the meal, but certainly he could find a good recipe and gather ingredients on his own. The only skill involved with that would be reading, which he was more than capable of.
So he searched high and low for a recipe book. Lodged between the cupboard and the knife block was a stack of pages, bound together with string and covered with a thick piece of parchment, written on top of which, in giant loopy cursive, was the words; Sebastian's Recipes. Curiosity eating away at him, Ciel flipped the cover back, revealing pages upon pages of scribbles and doodles that Sebastian had been collecting over the years. Clearly, he began taking note of all of Ciel's favorite dishes since his first day as his butler. Next to a few of the recipes were little cartoonish sketches of Ciel, making faces of delight, disgust, and indifference. In places, there were barely legible scratchings, correcting the failed dish.
Ciel was strangely moved by it all. Day after day, Sebastian broke his back to obey his every order. Yet it was this little makeshift book that struck Ciel. The way the letters changed from page to page truly intrigued the boy. Certain pages were neat and easy to read. Then, there were others that looked more disheveled and hurried, as though Sebastian were horribly busy or perhaps even angry. There was something oddly human about it.
Ciel quickly snapped himself back to reality, noting that he didn't have much time left until supper time. So he began to skim through the pages, hoping that there was at least one spicy dish in the book, even though it was unlikely, since this book was made according to Ciel's own preferences and he didn't much care for spicy foods.
Lo and behold! There it was; a recipe (beside which was another crude illustration of Ciel, sticking his tongue out in disgust) for malai kofta curry. Ciel vaguely remembered Sebastian fixing this dish for him a couple years back. He recalled detesting it and demanding that Sebastian never make it again. Hence the erratic scribbles scrawled across the page, Ciel supposed.
He got to work collecting the spices that the recipe called for. By the time he managed to gather them all, Bard had returned and began cooking potatoes and rice. Ciel followed the recipe as closely as he could. Bard too did his very best to prepare the dish as written in Sebastian's book. The two of them finished the stew with only two minutes left until supper was to be served.
In the dining hall, Sebastian (having long since finished the remainder of Ciel's work) was waiting to be served dinner. Demons had no need for human food, nor would there be any satisfaction derived from whatever flavorless concoction his new butler would bring to him.
Just as he began to get lost in thoughts of satisfying his innate hunger, Ciel entered with a trolley, carrying Sebastian's meal for the evening.
"For your supper this evening, I've prepared heavily seasoned malai kofta curry, with a side of spiced chestnuts. To drink, gently spiced claret, primarily with cinnamon," Ciel said, placing his master's dish before him with forced disinterest.
Sebastian said nothing to his butler, only glowered at the sad display of culinary incompetence that sat on the table in front of him. Still, as Ciel might have done had this been a normal day, Sebastian picked up the spoon and consumed a bite of the meal that would not alleviate his hunger. Of course, to him, it had no particular flavour. Rather bland and insipid, as he expected.
Too many days had gone by where Sebastian allowed Ciel to be so insolent as to turn away his food. Most recently, the audacious child's infantile refusal to eat had evolved into ridicule of Sebastian's abilities to cook. And that, now that he had the authority to oppose it, was one thing Sebastian was not willing to tolerate.
Much like he vividly recalls the child doing to him early on in their peculiar relationship, Sebastian set down his spoon, picked up the bowl, and threw it in the general direction of his little butler. Though the bowl did not hit the boy, a great portion of the still steaming curry did find his frail legs on its descent. He screamed in pain as the thick stew rolled wickedly down his calves.
"What was that for?!" he shrieked once the initial shock wore off.
"I decided I should punish you, as it seemed you were punishing me by feeding me that slop," Sebastian explained casually. He knew that he would likely pay for all of this once Ciel regained control of their relationship. Until then, however, Sebastian would do with Ciel what he pleased.
"That wasn't necessary! A simple 'I don't like it' would have been sufficient!" Ciel cried, trying to wipe the molten curry from his pant leg.
"Really? I see. It isn't necessary for me to throw food at you if I don't like it, but it's perfectly acceptable if our roles are reversed, is that it?" Sebastian asked with mild amusement. Ciel stopped moving altogether, staring at the shimmering marble floor tiles, as he sat there, a stained handkerchief in hand. He would admit that he regrets the way he treated Sebastian early in their contract. Co-existing with a demon wasn't easy to accept. It took him longer than it probably should have to realize that demons, though foul creatures of sin, were superior in many ways to humans. While he considered them to be lower beings at the time of he and Sebastian's first meeting, he now understood demons to be divine creatures with magnificent abilities, vile though they are.
Things that seem difficult to a human, are exceedingly easy for the likes of a demon. Though this is true, Ciel knew he worked his butler quite hard.
"Nevertheless, I don't appreciate you speaking to me in such a manner. Compose yourself. You are quite possibly the most disgraceful servant in this manor," Sebastian said with a vicious grin. Ciel stood, fighting back a savage hatred for his butler that he hadn't felt for anyone in quite some time.
"For dessert. . We have prepared. . ." the boy began through clenched teeth, feeling his eyes begin to sting with tears of frustration, only to be interrupted by his ebony haired master.
"Don't bother. Dessert would likely be even more atrocious than the main course was. Please spare me," Sebastian proclaimed, standing and wiping his lips free of any remnants of the curry. "For now, get this mess cleaned and then meet me in my bedchamber." Ciel assumed Sebastian meant his bedchamber, since their duties were reversed.
"Yes, my lord," Ciel nearly growled, once again imitating Sebastian's bow perfectly. He heard Sebastian's brogues clicking noisily as he sauntered out of the dining hall. The boy with noble blood sat, kneeling on the filthy floor, feeling more useless than he usually did. Seldom had he thought of how little he actually knew. He always considered himself so clever. Truly though, what was he good for?
With anguish in his eyes and fire in his blood, he stood proudly and found his way back to the kitchen, where he discovered his three underlings gossiping and adopting theories about their old master and his superhuman butler.
"Mastah! I. . . mean. . . Ciel. . . Sir!" Mey-Rin shrieked when she set her sights upon the small butler. "'Ow was supper?! Did 'e like it?!" The three of them crowded around the boy in frantic excitement.
"Mey-Rin, there is a mess to be cleaned in the dining hall. See to it. . ." he mumbled. They all just stood there, staring at him in confusion. "Now!" he screamed. Mey-Rin jolted back in surprise then went running to fetch her mop. "You two are on security detail. We are a bit more vulnerable than usual tonight, since our valiant knight is busy playing dress up. Be sure the manor is safe," he commanded his chef and gardener.
"But. . . Sir, why are you doing all this. You don't look like you're enjoying yourself. Why don't you just tell Sebastian that you don't want to do it anymore?" Finnian asked innocently, hoping that his master wouldn't be too offended. Ciel turned his attention to the floor, hesitating to answer. He obviously couldn't be truthful. If Sebastian were human, Ciel could easily tell him to stop. But that is not the case. Sebastian is contractually obligated to follow his every order. Should he order him to stop, as he tried to earlier, Sebastian could not adhere to it, since it would mean he would be disobeying his master's previous order. The fact was, Ciel had to suffer this torture until tomorrow afternoon.
"I see it as a challenge. I will see it through to the end," he muttered obstinately. "Now, get to work." The two men scrambled comically in their attempts to do as their master told them, eventually finding their way out of the kitchen, leaving Ciel to stand there alone, in shame.
Rather than feel sorry for himself, as he wanted to, he thought it best not to keep his master waiting. After all, this whole humiliating situation was his fault and his alone. Had he been able to swallow his pride and admit that he was in fact as inutile as his butler had said he was, then none of this would be happening.
He left the kitchen and went to find his bedchamber, which apparently belonged to Sebastian for the night. He knew better than anyone where to find that room, for that he was thankful. In just a few hours, he had explored more of his own manor than he ever had in the nearly thirteen years he has lived in it. His pants were still sticking uncomfortably to his curry encrusted leg. It was, as Sebastian might say, unacceptable for a butler to appear before his master in such a state. At this point, Ciel didn't care. What began as a game of defiance had now become simply a test of Ciel's patience. All he really wanted was for all of this to be over.
He entered his master's bedchamber after finding that the door was open. Sebastian was lounging in Ciel's favorite chair, thumbing through The Divine Comedy. Laughable it must indeed be, for a demon, Ciel thought. And in this presumption he would be correct. Sebastian did find it quite amusing. The very though that a living human would be so arrogant as to try to translate the horrors of Hell into an image identifiable to mankind was more than enough to send the demon into fits of sidesplitting laughter. It wasn't quite so simple as all that. Though, he had to admit, it was a good read. An interesting work of fiction.
"You needed me for something, master?" Ciel announced, gaining his master's attention. Sebastian closed the book and scoffed in abhorrence at the unsightly boy before him.
"You are filthy. You couldn't bother to change your clothes before entering my chamber? You still reek of ill cooked curry," Sebastian teased.
"My apologies, master. I did not have time to change," Ciel said bitterly.
"Come then," Sebastian said, urging his butler to follow him as he led the way to the lavatory.
"Where are we going?" the boy asked, a mixture of curiosity and panic eating away at his conscious.
"It's almost time for bed. I need to be readied for it," the tall man responded simply. Despite having seen Sebastian prepare him for bed every night for almost four years, he still hadn't the slightest idea what to do. "Aren't you going to boil my bathwater?" his master asked with a smirk.
"Of course. Right away, master," Ciel said irritably. He then turned on his heel and hurried to the kitchen to do as his master asked. He was on his own now, after having sent all the others away. So he hesitantly lit the burner and filled an iron pot with water. He watched it intently until it began to bubble. Only after he poured the water into a bucket did he realize that it was not nearly enough to fill the tub. So he filled the pot with water once again, patiently waiting for it to begin to bubble. Once the bucket had been filled, he stuck his fingers in the water to determine if it might be too hot. He found, after scalding his hand, that it was indeed far too hot. He filled the pot with cold water and poured it into the bucket until the bathwater was a suitable temperature.
He resolved that it would have to do and tried picking the bucket up, only to discover that it was too heavy for him to lift. So, with no other option, he scouted the manor for Finny, finally locating him by the front entrance. With the gardener's help, Ciel returned (with lukewarm bathwater) to his bedchamber, where Sebastian had resumed reading out of boredom. Ciel had Finny pour the water into the tub and dismissed the abnormally strong boy to continue his previous duties.
"Alright master. Your bath is ready," Ciel announced.
"It's about time. I swear, you the most inefficient butler I have ever known," Sebastian grumbled as he stood and returned to the lavatory. "Ahem!" he coughed, drawing Ciel's attention to his stationary form.
"What?" Ciel asked, once again failing to be a proper butler. Sebastian chose to ignore his butler's unconcealed disregard for his title.
"Undress me," the demon demanded. Ciel gasped quite audibly.
"You want me to bathe you?! That's a bit silly, don't you think? Your plenty old enough to bathe yourself," Ciel said, terror about his squeaking juvenile voice.
"It isn't a matter of age, Ciel. It is my desire, thus it is your obligation. Hurry now, the water is getting cold," Sebastian purred sadistically. Ciel approached the demon slowly, reaching to undo his master's buttons. He found it to be a bit easier than he expected it would be. The fact of the matter was, not once in his young life, did Ciel ever have to do up his own buttons. As logic would assume, it was a fairly simple task. And in a matter of seconds, the taller man's frock coat was undone and eased gently off of his broad shoulders. Ciel took the charcoal jacket and folded it neatly (rather, as neatly as he knew how to, which in actuality wasn't very neat at all) on the cupboard, then he got to work untying his master's cravat.
Eventually, after much fumbling and failure, Ciel had Sebastian down to his skivvies. The demon cleared his throat, expecting more of his little butler than the boy knew he was capable of. But, beguiling himself to adopt synthetic confidence, Ciel persisted; bravely reaching forward and stripping his master of every last bit of clothing that guarded his false figure.
There the demon stood, looking every bit like a man, in all his accursed glory. This was, by far, the most flesh Ciel had ever seen, belonging to anyone other than himself. He hadn't expected this moment to be with his demon butler, of all people. But, here it was.
Although the teen was quite angry with the creature, he did have to admit to himself that if ever he were to have a moment such as the one he currently found himself in, it would be most comfortably spent with Sebastian. He loved his cousin, very much. But he couldn't imagine himself ever being completely comfortable with stripping her, let alone bathing her. It would be horribly embarrassing and, quite frankly, a bit awkward.
That, of course, didn't mean that Ciel didn't find his current predicament to be awkward. He most certainly did. Though, it was also not completely humiliating. For he knew that he could trust Sebastian to never tell a soul about this night. Yes, Sebastian was his property until the very end of his life. He wasn't sure how long that might be, but he did know that whatever the case, Sebastian would dutifully remain by his side, which was the greatest comfort of all to the forsaken child.
Sebastian lowered himself into the tub, scowling all the while. Ciel approached him, still a bit stricken by the man's perfect physique.
"What's wrong now?" the boy asked once he took notice of Sebastian's expression.
"The water. It's not hot," he replied. The only reason the demon knew this was because there was no steam rising from the tub, as there usually was when he bathed Ciel. He really couldn't distinguish (what humans might consider) hot and cold. Thus, in the past, Ciel suffered a few minor burns.
"You don't know that," Ciel grumbled.
"I know everything, Ciel," the demon hissed, teasingly.
"No you don't. Your powers aren't that infinite," the grey haired boy shot back. Sebastian chuckled fiendishly.
"Oh, but I do. For instance; you would like very much for this little game of ours to end," the demon predicted, with a wide grin. Ciel rolled his eyes wildly about his head.
"Wonderful guess, master. You really don't need to have demonic powers to figure that out. Even Finny knew that," Ciel retorted.
"Hmm, I suppose that one is rather obvious. How about this then; you care much more than you should about me and it is gravely disturbing to you. Was that a fair assessment?" the creature taunted. Ciel's eyes shot open in horror.
"What!? How dare you. . ." the boy began.
"How dare I what!? Do not forget Ciel, you belong to me!" the demon howled, grabbing the boy by his arm and pulling him dangerously close, "Even after this game of ours is over, you are mine! That seal that eclipses your vivid cobalt eye marks you as such!"
Ciel tried to pull away from the rogue demon, whose chains had been temporarily broken, but to no avail. The beast had an impossibly firm grip on his dinner.
"And you are mine, Sebastian! Until I die, remember!?" he screamed, not in fear, but in anger. The demon released him abruptly.
"Yes, I remember," he said softly, relaxing his tensed muscles and sinking in the tub. "But I'm right aren't I?" Ciel rubbed his sore wrist and glared fiercely at the monster before him.
"Right about what?" he spat.
"About what you feel for me?" Sebastian answered calmly. Ciel scoffed, looking away from his tormentor.
"Of course not. Even if it were true before, it certainly isn't now," the boy growled.
"Come now, you can't lie to me Ciel. I can see right through you," the raven haired man began, "You think yourself to be infinitely complex, but the truth is, you are still just a meager human. For a being as old as I, you are not difficult to read." The devilish grin on his handsome face seemed to stretch far beyond its typical boundary.
"If that's true, then why did you need to ask if you were right? Don't you already know everything?" Ciel taunted.
"Oh, I am right. I just wanted to hear you tell me I was," Sebastian said, "So, tell me Ciel, honestly, is my assessment correct?" Ciel hesitated, not sure if he could even face his innermost feelings, let alone voice them. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes tightly. When he opened them, he was once again faced with Sebastian's fiendish grin and sinister vermilion eyes.
"Yes. You are right. I am just a meager human. And like all humans, I am susceptible to feelings of adoration and fondness," Ciel explained, "You offered me honesty, protection, and retribution until my dying day. For that, I do have a strong attachment to you. More so than with anyone else."
"And you are ashamed of this?" Sebastian asked, no longer smirking. Rather, he now wore a deep frown.
"Of course I am. It would be a silly thing to be proud of," Ciel answered.
"Would it?" the demon said.
"Well, yes. To have such a strong attachment to one's butler is strange enough. In addition to that, you are male, as well as a demon. It is a triumvirate of impropriety," Ciel announced.
"I suppose that would be true. That is, if your feelings for me are more than just feelings of fondness. . ." Sebastian stated. Ciel once again turned away from the demon's piercing ruby gaze.
"And what of you? Is a demon capable of feeling love?" Ciel said reluctantly, not even sure why he felt the need to ask. Though the boy did not see it, Sebastian' brow perked slightly at the question.
"Yes, we are capable of it. Unlike humans, however, demons can choose to ignore these feelings. It is a convenient talent that all creatures of the underworld possess." It was not the answer that Ciel had been anticipating. He assumed Sebastian would be ambiguous about it, as he was with most things regarding his kind. All that, and the demon wasn't even finished.
"Additionally, while humans usually fall in love with things which are endearing to them; demons typically favor other qualities," he explained.
"Such as?" Ciel ventured.
"Such as incongruity. At least, that is what I find intriguing. But, like humans, demons tastes do differ. We are discouraged from yielding to feelings of love. It is our purpose to lead humans to sin. These feelings would only interfere."
"Incongruity? Is that all? Almost every human being is incongruous. I was under the impression that it was that very trait that made humans so repugnant to you," Ciel admitted.
"Well then, you were wrong, weren't you?" Sebastian chuckled, "You are right about one thing. Humans are the most inconsistent creatures on this Earth. But it isn't contradiction of the mind that appeals to me; it is contradiction of the soul," Sebastian confessed.
"Is my soul incongruous?" Ciel asked, a tone of amusement about his voice.
"Very much. The most contradictory soul I have ever encountered," Sebastian replied, softly. Although he didn't want to show it, Ciel was quite happy to know that his soul was not only appetizing to Sebastian, but that it was also enchanting. "You have all the innocence of a child, yet you have seen more horrors than the average adult. Your white soul has been blackened more than once, but still, it clings to the smallest shred of virtue that you still have left. Your natural arrogance and noble blood only make your soul that much more appealing," Sebastian concluded.
"And by helping me to avenge my parents deaths you are further blackening it. Is that your goal?" Ciel asked.
"Yes, it is," Sebastian said with a quirky smirk. Ciel felt the beginnings of a smile teasing at his lips. Why he was so thrilled by this knowledge was a complete mystery to the boy. "Well, are you going to wash me, or would you rather I freeze in this arctic puddle?" Sebastian inquired irritably. Ciel glanced over at the many soaps and bottles that sat on a table opposite the tub. He hadn't the slightest idea which to use, he never really paid any mind to those details when Sebastian bathed him.
He took a wild guess and grabbed a bar of Ivory soap, lathered it on a washcloth, and began (very hesitantly) scrubbing Sebastian's back clean. The demon had no need to bathe either, Ciel knew. It was all just the creature's way of tormenting the boy. Ciel did his very best to wash the man thoroughly, however, he found himself unbearably embarrassed when he was forced to cleanse his master's most private bits. After which, the red faced teen rubbed the man's onyx locks with (what he assumed to be) hair oil.
By the time the boy had finished, the water was quite frigid. He was just happy that the demon couldn't really tell that it was so cold and didn't feel the need to scold him for taking so long. The man removed himself from the tub, Ciel toweling him dry. After the boy was satisfied with his master's state, he went to fetch some night clothes for him, only to realize that Sebastian had none. His troubles were eased when Sebastian came sauntering back into his bedchamber wearing a dark charcoal nightgown.
"Where do you think you're going?" the demon asked, slightly amused by his butler's look of confusion.
"I was. . . never mind. Are you ready to retire, my lord?" Ciel sputtered.
"Of course. That is, I would be, if I were human. But , since I am not, there is no need for me to sleep. You, however, are human. I suppose you need to rest," Sebastian sighed, "You're dismissed for the night then. Be sure to return promptly at six, with my breakfast."
"Yes, my lord, " Ciel said with a bow, before leaving his master to his devices. He assumed that Sebastian expected him to retire to the servant's quarters. The bitter nobleman barely remembered the way to that particular wing. Once he did find it, he spent an extra ten minutes stumbling around the Cimmerian corridor, attempting to locate his demon butler's vacant bedroom.
Eventually, though, he did discover the bleak room and made himself as comfortable as he could on the horribly stiff mattress. The atmosphere of the room itself was depressing enough without the circumstances. Not to mention, the lack of any heat in the entire wing was making the situation that much more uncomfortable. The sheets on the bed were scarcely thick enough to warm him, certainly not like the plush comforter he was used to in his own bedchamber.
Still, the boy curled up on the bed, wrapped up tightly in the useless sheets, and tried not to think too deeply about his predicament. The fact was, he was still the property of Sebastian Michaelis until tomorrow afternoon. He couldn't be sure what further anguish the demon would put him through in that time, but he could be sure that it would be miserable. However, after a short time, Ciel fell into a pleasant slumber, while pondering the exquisite torture he would inflict on the audacious demon once this little game was over.