Series: Black Butler
Prompt: #75: All I Ask
Word Count: 1,477
Characters, Pairings: Sebastian, Ciel
Summary: He watches and he waits; he can grant (almost) all of your greatest wishes, and he doesn’t ask for much in return, really…. (And so this is how it begins).
Warnings: non-graphic descriptions of the torture of a child.
Notes: The beginning of the Contract.
It is by mere happenstance that he stumbles upon the human vermin and their captive… or perhaps it is not chance at all that has propelled him here—perhaps Fate exists even for creatures such as himself, though he puts little trust in anyone or anything outside of himself.
Nevertheless, his search for an easy meal has taken him down either a very wrong turn or a very right one, and he won’t know unless he waits it out, now, will he?
So he stays concealed within the darkness (easy enough to hide shadow within shadow) and watches with a strange, disconnected sort of curiosity as the captive (a young boy, who can’t be more than a decade old) is cruelly tortured.
The demon finds it rather ironic—how very inhumane humans can be. Demons do not steep to such low levels; then again, demons are of a different variety altogether, aren’t they?
The boy is bound and blindfolded for a time, but they do not gag him, no: They tell him that they want to hear his pretty cries as they rape him. Angry purple bruises are already forming on pale, previously unmarred skin, and the demon can’t help but wonder why such ugly creatures would want to defile such an innocent, helpless little thing.
Then, he hears the name ‘Phantomhive’ and recognizes it as one of nobility, and he doesn’t really need any further reasoning. These vermin – no better than rats, than roaches, than flies – are obviously enemies of the child’s family. Perhaps the child has been kidnapped for ransom, or perhaps the child no longer has any parents to speak of.
There is the lingering smell of smoke, and it further piques his curiosity. The demon decides that there can be no harm in sticking around for a little longer, and so he does just that.
He stays, even when the blindfold is undone (the boy opens his eyes only once and there is a flash of brilliant sapphire, but then he tightly closes them again); he stays, even when the child is branded and the smell of burnt flesh permeates the air; he stays, even when the child begs his tormenters to stop; he stays, even when the child calls out to his parents, to his servants, to various other relatives, and even to God.
He stays, even when the boy stops calling for God and starts calling for Darker Things.
(He stays, but he doesn’t intervene just yet, because that isn’t part of the game, is it?)
He stays, even when the child stops crying out altogether. He stays, even when the vile creatures have left him for dead.
The demon supposes that he could have (could have, but shouldn’t have) claimed their souls, but no…. He smiles, and knows that there is something much better in store.
“Do you wish to form a Contract with me?” he queries, not yet stepping away from the shadows.
The boy’s eyes open to mere slits. “Con…tract?” He is weak, but he is alive, and panic flares in those sapphire eyes of his. “W-where… who?!”
“Those who have wronged you are gone,” the demon says softly, soothingly, and it does placate the child, even if for but a moment.
“Then who are you?” the boy demands to know, and his voice is strained; his movements are feeble as he sits up and searches his surroundings. The demon remains unseen for the moment, for he wishes to converse with the boy a bit longer before revealing himself.
“I am one who can grant at least one of your desires,” the demon answers, choosing his words carefully. The little one is frightened, timid, and if he is not cautious, he just might miss his chance.
The child makes a sound low in his throat and closes his eyes again, settling back against the filth of the floor. “You, whatever you are, cannot bring my parents back. You can’t give me my home back. You can’t exact revenge upon--”
And the demon smiles, for now he can show the Ace under his sleeve. He expected the boy to want revenge, and he almost admires him for it. “Ah, but you are wrong on two counts. I can restore your home. I can make sure that those who wronged you are brought to justice. Is that your ultimate goal, then? Revenge?”
The quiet hum is an assertion.
Smiling, he takes the form of something quite familiar to him and he hops (as it were) away from the shadows, black feathers rustling. “I can give you that and more.” He can be tempting, alluring, even in this form, and especially to a little boy who’s lost everything.
“A crow?” the little one asks, clearly affronted and puzzled. “What are you playing at?”
“I can take any form,” the demon murmurs, “be it man, woman, child, or beast.” He thinks it is a pity that he cannot smile with a beak, but he can still lower his voice, deepen it in warning: “But do not expect me to be the nice shepherd that leads the stray sheep back to the flock, child. That is not my nature, not in the slightest.”
“Demon,” the Phantomhive boy murmurs, and said demon would perhaps quietly clap for him if he were not currently restricted from doing such. The child isn’t stupid, after all.
“Correct,” said demon smoothly agrees. “I came here for what I believed would be a quick and easy meal. I stayed because I am who you called out for after you already expended the majority of your energy crying out for others.”
He has other reasons, of course, but he does not speak of those just yet.
“… What would you require in return?” the boy eventually asks. Ah, of course, this one wants to get straight to business, doesn’t he?
“I ask only one thing in return,” he intones. “Of course, the price is a steep one, given who and what I am. I will require your soul when our Contract has ended.”
There is a long silence. The boy’s eyes are closed yet again, and the demon must wonder if he’s passed out once more, but no… his breathing suggests otherwise. The demon supposes the boy must be considering his offer quite carefully (how wise of the little one).
“Tell me child,” the demon-turned-crow whispers, blood-red eyes shining brightly for a millisecond (blink and you miss it, and the boy’s eyes are closed), “Do you fear me, now?”
Azure eyes open, widen, and the boy shakes his head. “No.”
The demon doesn’t know whether he should admire this little one’s courage, or scoff at it (because in his line of work, courage will get a human killed—then again, perhaps the child thinks he has naught much left to lose).
“Bear in mind that the gates of your Heaven will be closed to you upon your death if you do this,” the demon informs, and he does not sugar-coat it. He will not (does not) lie. “Your God will reject you, and your soul will reside with me in hellish darkness.”
Again, the boy falls perfectly silent, and the demon continues speaking, filling the silence: “With that knowledge before you, I will ask you just once more: Do you wish to form a Contract with me?”
The child’s voice is stronger as he answers, voice unwavering. Even now, before anything has truly begun, there is the hint of a command in his tone (perhaps a warning of his own: don’t you dare reject me now): “I do.”
The demon chuckles, pleased. “Very well, then. Let us discuss the finer points of this Contract, shall we?”
Several moments later, they emerge from the damp darkness of what had been his young master’s makeshift prison, the battered boy cradled gently within now-very-human-looking arms (ah, but looks are deceiving).
“I feel as if I have no soul left to give you,” the boy quietly and tiredly admits, head tucked underneath the demon’s chin.
“Oh, but you do,” the demon promises, lips curving into a small smile. He takes the time to press his nose against the child’s dark, unruly locks and he inhales deeply. Being what he is, he is able to catch a whiff of the young one’s very essence: despair, misery, hope, tainted innocence, determination, anger, and at the core of it all… a thirst for revenge.
What a lovely bouquet.
This one would definitely be worth the wait—just a little time allowed for ripening.
He will have to bide his time, that’s all, and waiting is something that the demon is very good at.
He has eternity, after all, and the boy does not.
Sooner rather than later, the scales will tip in his favor, and at that time—
At that time…
“Well then, Young Master….”
There’s not really any cuteness or sweetness to be found in this one, but granted what’s going on, I don’t think cuteness or sweetness would fit.