Series: Black Butler
Prompt: #04: Cheat
Word Count: 906
Characters, Pairings: Sebastian, Ciel
Summary: “Tis my opinion every man cheats in his own way, and he is only honest who is not discovered.” - Susannah Centlivre.
Warnings: irony, mild violence, spoilers for the end of season II.
Notes: Sometimes, my Ciel (especially the demon version of him) can be an ass. XD;
In the span of a heartbeat, there is no Alois, there is no Claude, there is no Hannah, and there is no Sebastian. There is only Ciel and the darkness and his free-flowing thoughts – his Cinematic Record, his life flashing before his eyes, whatever the hell it’s properly called – and he wonders if Alois was wrong; he wonders if Sebastian will be along at any moment to steal his soul (because a promise is a promise is a promise, no matter how dark or deadly or insufferable).
There is one memory that stands out above the others, and it is not his parents’ death, nor Madam Red’s death, nor his time spent as the plaything of creatures far beneath himself.
This memory is a particularly silly one, and he doesn’t understand why his mind (heart, soul) decides to focus on it, for it bears no real significance—not now.
It was the summer after his abduction, the summer after his entire world had changed, and Lizzie was with him on this blisteringly hot day, trying her best (as always) to turn back time, to mold him into the boy that he used to be. Her efforts were futile, and all in the Phantomhive manor knew so, but that did not stop her from trying.
She wanted to play hide-and-seek, which was a game that Ciel no longer cared for, but he humored her all the same because he saw it as part of his duties as her fiancé.
He had put away childish things; she had not.
After a few moments of debate, it was decided that Sebastian should be ‘it’ – primarily by Lizzie herself, who was busy giggling over the chance to go hide with Ciel – but before any counting or searching for decent hiding spots could even begin, Sebastian pulled Ciel aside.
His butler whispered, “I can pretend to look for you, Young Master, but thanks to our Contract, I know where you are at all times. Have you forgotten?”
Ciel crossed his arms. “Because of the mark on my eye.” He paused then, thinking. “You always know my location, even when this eye is covered?” he asked.
Sebastian nodded. “That is correct. It is a special mark—because of it, I will always be able to find you.” His voice deepened then, sending a shiver down the boy’s spine: “And you must also know, my Lord, that the bearer of such a mark can never escape.”
Ciel knew very well what that meant, but he refused to gaze at the bigger picture for a prolonged period of time, and instead decided to focus on the issue at hand. He stomped his foot (for pouting was something that he had yet to outgrow) and flippantly declared, “That’s cheating! You can’t play hide-and-seek like that!”
Sebastian bowed, an overly-polite (and twisted) smile playing on his lips. “Even a demon has aesthetics: I neither lie nor cheat. Therefore, it is not cheating, my Lord—it is simply the way of things.”
The memory is fleeting—gone in the blink of an eye (though Ciel doesn’t remember blinking, doesn’t think he can blink now), and there is something cold all around him. There is also the sensation that he is sinking, and then there is the warmth of two strong arms around him, halting his descent.
He knows this. He’s done this before, hasn’t he?
Ciel forces his eyes to open, but his field of vision is nothing but a blurry mess. He tries to speak, but he can’t—all he does is drag water into what must be useless lungs at this point.
But he knows his butler is with him, and so he can relax, because a promise is a promise is a promise, isn’t it?
(Alois was wrong, after all; he had to have been.)
There is pain (just as he knew there would be), and then there is nothing but red.
… And then there is nothing but black.
He awakens later, now on a small boat instead of in frigid waters. He is in no pain whatsoever, and he lifts his shirt to find that he is without injury.
(As luck would have it, Alois was right.)
Ciel looks at his butler and he connects the dots, just like that. He now knows why that memory stood out to him. In the wake of his rebirth, he understands.
“I thought you didn’t cheat, Sebastian,” he remarks as he raises a perfectly-arched brow.
His butler glances up, but does not look at him. His voice is cold and his eyes are filled with anything but kindness. “It is only cheating if you’re caught.”
Ciel chuckles softly—he expects no less of Sebastian, who has always bent the rules to suit his favor, but that has proven to be quite ineffective this go-around. “Caught you,” he murmurs as he lightly caresses Sebastian’s cheek. It is not meant to be tender or gentle or sweet, and he knows that the elder demon does not take it as such.
He places two fingers beneath his butler’s chin and tilts Sebastian’s head up and back, forcing that blood-red gaze to meet his own.
In the depths of those eyes, he sees a mix of discontent, disappointment, and barely-restrained anger.
Ciel feels himself truly smile for the first time in years (and it is twisted and it is cruel).
Forever is already proving to be quite interesting.
Nothing special, but there you have it. XD