Throughout Ciel Phantomhive's life, death seemed to loom over him like a violent storm just waiting to unleash its fury. It was always there. Ciel could not escape it. Every bit of happiness in his young life had been swallowed up by it. Death was not only an unwanted friend to Ciel, but to those around him. It liked to tease and taunt the boy by ripping anything and anyone that held some importance in his life away from him just when he thought he finally had a grasp on something good in his otherwise miserable existence.
It was on this very morning that dear old death had come to pay Ciel Phantomhive another visit. One by one, death picked off those who Ciel held close to his heart. His family had started to dwindle in size quite rapidly over the past few years. Just when he thought that everyone was safe and things were returning to as normal as normal could be, death swooped in like an angry hawk to pick off what it could grasp its cold talons around. His parents, his childhood, his beloved aunt. They had all been taken away, nothing more than victims of Ciel's constant companion.
As always, Ciel had been lulled into a false sense of security. He had finally started thinking that things were looking up for him. Perhaps not looking up, but remaining exactly as they were without getting any worse. Yes, that was a much better way to describe the lonely world he was living in. Death had decided that the boy had gone long enough without any tragedy. Where was the fun in letting young earl have a period of serenity?
The moments of peace that death offered him abruptly came to an end just a few short hours ago. Ciel's day had started just like any other. The same mundane routine. The same dull lessons. The same repetitive paperwork. As much as he hated these necessary priorities, having his whole world thrown off kilter in such a manner was not how he wanted those things to change. The world was a cruel place that enjoyed playing cruel games with him. Ciel was nothing more than a pawn in the grand scheme of things.
This was the morning that death had made his move, taking the young earl's precious finacee away from him. Just like with the others in Ciel's past, death silently moved in and took her without warning. She could have at least met her betrothed's hated friend in a more gradual, less tragic manner. Perhaps it would not have been as bad if she had been lost to an illness or injuries from a freak accident. At this point something like a tragic carriage accident would have been better. Instead death had chosen the feared form of itself known as homicide.
Why Elizabeth of all people? That was the question that had plagued Ciel's mind ever since he had been given the devastating news. She did not deserve to die in such a brutal manner. Elizabeth Middleford had been such a happy-go-lucky, cheerful, sweet girl who only wanted nothing more than Ciel's happiness. As much as the boy tried to ignore her, she always gave him something to think about, distracting him from the dark memories that weaved their way in and out of his head on a daily basis.
He had begun to regret ever letting the girl have such an effect on him. Even though they were expected to be married when they were of age, Ciel and Elizabeth's relationship was nothing more than a fondness for each other and a friendship between cousins. Despite that, he loved her. The peppy little blonde might have gotten on his nerves more than once, but that was just to be expected of someone with her personality. What hit him the hardest was not the fact that he had lost someone he loved, but the fact that he had lost a friend. A friend was something rarer than a loved individual in Ciel's lfe. He loved his parents, he loved his aunt, but with Elizabeth he had both lost a person he cared for and a friend. Ciel did not have many friends and the few people he considered to be one always ended up leaving him. Nothing was different today. Nothing would be any different for the remainder of his life.
Ever since hearing the news of Elizabeth's death, Ciel had locked himself in his study. Sebastian, as well as the rest of the Phantomhive servants, often came to the door in attempt to persuade him to open up. No luck. The boy just wanted time to himself. He wanted to lose himself in his own thoughts and pass the time by trying to make sense of everything. As always, his attempts at trying to figure out the whys, how comes, and what ifs failed. He had even tried drawing on a piece of parchment as well as reading a book, only to end both activities minutes into starting them.
The hours crept by as the young earl remained in his catatonic state of thought. It was so strange how time could go by so slow, yet so fast at the same time. By the time the minutes started to feel like hours, Ciel decided that he could do with something in his stomach. Whether it was a gourmet meal or a cup of tea, he did not care.
Moments after Ciel crossed the room and opened the door, Sebastian appeared with a hot cup of tea in hand. The demon silently set the tea in front of Ciel and took a step back. Instead of leaving the boy in peace, Sebastian remained glued to his spot. His strong gaze was set on Ciel's colour drained face. "How are you feeling young master?" he finally asked.
The boy did not even look to the butler as he answered. "To be honest Sebastian I feel... I feel like shit." Ciel mumbled as he placed his face in his hands. "I just..." he trailed off, leaving the demon to look at him expectantly. "Can you draw me a bath?" the young earl asked, finally lifting his head and meeting Sebastian's gaze.
Several minutes later Ciel was being stripped of his clothing as he fixed his mismatched gaze on the water in the tub. It almost felt as if today had been nothing more than a dream and he would soon wake up from this strange nightmare. As he got in the tub and rested his head against the side, Sebastian took the liberty of placing his large hands on the boy's narrow shoulders and gently massaging them in an attempt to soothe his devastated charge.
As the demon's hands caressed and worked Ciel's suddenly aching shoulders, the boy's mind began to race. What if it was Sebastian who he had lost instead of Elizabeth?This was not a thought that had occurred to him until now. Just the thought made Ciel shift uncomfortably a couple times. He would rather have everyone else left around him dead than Sebastian gone. He knew that it was a very unlikely possibility that the demon was going anywhere, especially to the realm of the deceased, any time soon, but there was that small 'what if?' that always ran through Ciel's head.
Ciel stole a glance at the subject of his current thoughts while his mind continued to race on. Why was it that the mere possibility of losing Sebastian made Ciel feel the way he did. He was afraid of how desperate he was feeling. He soon became overly conscious of the demon's hands on his wet skin. The more he thought, a shiver worked its way through his lithe body. He needed Sebastian. Without him he would be nothing. Without him he would have nothing. As much as he hated to admit it, Ciel would rather have Elizabeth murdered a thousand times over than have to live one day without a familiar presence of the raven haired man at his side.
When Ciel stepped out of the tub, Sebastian draped a large towel over his shoulders and began to dry him just like he did every other night. Only to Ciel, this time was different. Never before had he been so aware of every little touch, every single trail left by the pressure of Sebastian's hands. Thanks to the thoughts running through his head, Sebastian was the only thing he could think about. Elizabeth's death was now a second priority. He could deal with losing her. It would take some time but he would overcome it. Losing Sebastian was out of the question.
Mismatched eyes were locked on the demon as he slipped Ciel's nightshirt on and combed out his damp hair. "Sebas-" Ciel trailed off, quickly falling silent just as he had started to speak.
"Yes?" the butler asked, ceasing his movements.
"It's nothing. Just a stupid question that I figured out for myself." Ciel said, quickly making an excuse.
The demon raised a brow and continued to finish taming Ciel's unruly hair, not prying any further into the matter for now. Sebastian's gentle touch had caused the boy to close his tired eyes and let out a small sigh. Just as soon as Ciel closed his eyes, they snapped open at the absence of the butler's hands.
"You look confused." Sebastian observed with a mildly amused grin.
"Ye-no, I'm not. I just have a lot on my mind right now." the boy answered with a frown. "Besides, I think I need sleep before I confuse myself any more." Was that not the truth? Every thought about his lost fiancee had been taken over with thoughts about Sebastian. These were things that would never come to mind. Well most never would. Come to think of it, Sebastian invaded his mind quite a bit, during the day and when he was asleep. Was this why the prospect of losing Sebastian was so unbearable compared to Elizabeth? The girl never found her way into his dreams or his conscious mind most of the time.
Ciel climbed into bed as the butler pulled the covers over him and began to extinguish any burning flame in the room. Ciel watched the graceful movements of the demon as he went back and forth across the room, tidying up what was left of the small mess in his room. Why was this something he would miss so much? Nay, why was this someone he would miss so much if death decided to claim him? That was still the question cycling through his mind.
"Goodnight young master." Sebastian said as he snuffed the last source of light and headed for the door.
The darkness had finally settled in, leaving Ciel all alone with his thoughts. A few seconds more and Sebastian would be gone. Sebastian would be gone. That was the moment it hit him. Darkness had swallowed up another person that, dare he say, loved. That had to be the only reason for the emotions he felt when thinking about Sebastian.
"Sebastian..." Ciel said, almost wishing he had not opened his mouth. Upon speaking the demon's name, he heard Sebastian stop in his tracks.
"Don't leave me." Ciel quietly said, turning toward the demon even though he could not see anything through the blackened room. A few seconds later Ciel heard the butler's soft footsteps as he approached the bed. The boy did not not even have to turn over to try and see the demon through the darkness that had enveloped the room. He could feel his presence. Sebastian was standing right next to him. The demon was always next to him as any humble servant should be. There was just something so different about Sebastian that separated him from the average loyal servant. The only thing Ciel could think of was the bond formed between them the night he had formed the contract with the demon. He was sure it was because of that he was so strangely drawn to Sebastian. It was the only logical explanation around.
"Don't leave me. Not tonight, not ever. I can't... I can't bear to lose you." he whispered in a barely audible tone. Luckily Sebastian could hear every word. "My parents are gone, Elizabeth is gone, but if you were to go I don't think that I would be able to go on." Why was he saying this? It was as if his lips were speaking on their own accord. "Please just stay with me tonight. Just stay."
"Young master, you will never lose me. Even if you tried you could not get rid of me. I am your humble servant until the very end. Until that time comes I shall remain by your side." Upon Sebastian finishing his statement, Ciel felt a gloved hand touch his cheek before the bed dipped under the butler's weight. No matter how many times this had happened before, Ciel still felt a flutter of something inside him when Sebastian would sit with him like this until he drifted off into a peaceful sleep. Usually the demon would leave after Ciel had fallen asleep. Not tonight. He wanted Sebastian to stay throughout the night and into the morning when the sun poked its glimmering head over the horizon. It was not because he wanted him there, he needed him there. After today, Ciel just wanted to be able to know that what he treasured most was still there, and would still be there, when he woke up.
"Sebastian?" The demon's name tentatively left the boy's thin lips as the comfortable silence that had fallen over the room was broken.
"Yes young master?"
"Lay with me." he asked in a meek voice, making him sound like the child he actually was. Ciel did not care that this was improper for more than a few reasons. It was the only thing that made sense for him to ask.
Not another word was spoken as Sebastian carefully positioned himself next to the young earl. Ciel's eyes widened as he felt those strong arms pull him close to Sebastian's warm torso. Instead of protesting as he normally would, Ciel leaned into the warmth. His small hands gently gripped the fabric of the butler's shirt as he rested his head on Sebastian's chest.
It did not take long for the boy's eyes to grow weary with much needed sleep. By the time he had closed them, Sebastian was gently moving his fingers through Ciel's soft hair in almost the same manner he would stroke a cat. Any other time, Ciel would have swatted his hand away and said he was not some animal. There was no need for that tonight. If anything the deft movement of his now ungloved hands were soothing, ultimately drawing a content sigh from the tired earl's mouth.
When the boy was halfway to unconsciousness, he pushed himself closer to the demon, nuzzling his face into Sebastian's shirt. It did not take long for him to drift off into a dreamless sleep. Along with the rhythmic movement of the butler's fingers against his scalp and the scent that was uniquely Sebastian, Ciel had no trouble finding himself falling into darkness. Just knowing that he would always have Sebastian was enough to put his young mind at rest. Death could not touch the raven haired man. He had promised that himself.
Perhaps something good could come from Ciel's old friend death. Without death being present in his life, he never would have had the chance to have Sebastian. It was all because of death he had made a deal with the devil. It was because of death he had found a man who he could not live without. It was because of death that Ciel Phantomhive was able to fall asleep in the arms of someone he might possibly love.