Series: Black Butler
Prompt: #11: Broken
Word Count: 1,948
Characters, Pairings: Sebastian, Ciel, mild hints of SebaCiel
Summary: “Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.” - Bern Williams. (Sebastian watches him break, over and over again.)
Warnings: season II spoilers. Does that even count anymore? Haven’t we all seen it by now? XD
Notes: Well, this is certainly different, I guess. ^^;
He did not typically meddle in the sordid affairs of humans (unless the need for nourishment bid him to do so), for he considered such actions to be beneath him. He did not enjoy involving himself in human troubles, for humans were fickle things. They loved one day and hated the next, and one bothersome thing often led to another (and to another, and another—a trail of breadcrumbs which humans apparently took it upon themselves to follow).
On very rare occasions, one’s voice would rise above all the others and he would hear it—a wail of frustration or agony or betrayal or hatred, and on very rare occasions, he would listen.
The little boy’s voice was hoarse, his body bruised and battered, and even if the humans who had done this to him could not hear his pleas, the demon heard them loud and clear.
He had not been there to witness the breaking of the boy’s heart or his spirit (which was a shame), but he was there to witness the moment when hatred and the thirst for revenge began to override all else; despair and heartache took the back burner, and the boy stopped praying and he stopped waiting for God.
It was then that he was summoned, and he was able to witness the breaking of the boy’s faith.
It was then that ‘Sebastian’ was born, and the (devil of a) butler re-baptized his new master in unholy light, and took him home.
The boy grew older and stronger with each passing day, week, month, year—though not too terribly strong… he was still just a child, after all, and he relied on Sebastian for much of his manual labor (but he was a nobleman as well, and considered such dirty work to be beneath him despite being the Queen’s Watchdog, and such a job required him to frolic in England’s underworld).
He was a skilled marksman, though, and he was capable of protecting himself.
He just preferred to let Sebastian do it, and the demon excelled at his job (it was part of the Contract, after all); he did not mind proving it again and again, which worked out well for the both of them.
Ciel nurtured his own festering hatred and Sebastian nurtured his master, a rather vicious cycle in its own right, and it showed no signs of ending.
But Sebastian and the (breaking, shattering, fragmenting) little boy that he tucked in every night knew better, for (almost) all things came to an end, sooner or later.
He was there when his master’s resolve wavered-splintered-shattered, and that moment of hesitation nearly cost the boy his life. It would have, had Sebastian not been there to shield him, to save him.
“Was it because she was your aunt?” Sebastian asked later, after one-half of Jack the Ripper had been buried six feet under.
“It was because she hesitated first,” Ciel replied, and his voice broke just as his determination had on that night.
The boy straightened and continued moving forward – ever the brilliant strategist, ever the most resilient of children – and Sebastian dutifully followed.
Perhaps, in another place and time, Sebastian would have followed without the Contract prompting him to do so, for he had to admit that even he found it quite fascinating—how this boy could fall to pieces and abruptly put himself back together. Humpty-Dumpty in reverse.
A worthy soul, indeed.
Sebastian shielded and he carried; he cradled and he held. His arms were the infallible ones that wrapped around his little master—the ones that pulled him out of harm’s way and yet put him in direct contact with it.
For the most part, Ciel did not shy away from Sebastian’s touches, though he was quick to attempt evading any touch that others would give him. Broken – or at least always on the verge of breaking – though he might have been, Ciel was not ignorant.
“I find it foolish and somewhat admirable that you would allow me – the one who will most surely bring your death – to remain close to you, while you turn others away,” Sebastian commented one humid afternoon.
Ciel only glanced at him. “You heard me when no god would listen. You were there when no god attempted to find me.”
Sebastian lightly brushed gloved fingers against his master’s pale cheek.
Perhaps it didn’t explain everything, but it explained enough.
Sebastian had not been there the first time Ciel’s spirit had been broken, but he was there for the second go-around.
He could not imagine what it must have been like for his young master to be forced back into the past, to have to face his (dead) parents, to choose between peace and continued torment.
What the damned angel offered the boy was not a true chance at peace but a false one, and Sebastian could not tell his master this—could not interfere at all, lest he make things even messier than they already were.
It was the child and not the angel who triumphed; Ciel fought his way out of the false peace that the angel was trying to give him, and all Sebastian could do was catch him when he fell.
Yes, Ciel was reckless and arrogant and bratty, but as the demon butler gazed into one slowly-blinking sapphire eye, he saw the boy’s spirit crumble, and he saw how the little nobleman struggled to piece it back together all on his own.
Sebastian never expected anything less of his young master.
Fingers brushed curiously along the expanse of an exposed shoulder, and the demon softly murmured, “How many times can you break? How many times can you put yourself back together?”
The Earl – who was sleeping – did not hear the questions and thus did not answer.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men….
Secrets were discovered and master and servant were torn apart only to be thrown back together once again. London burned, not to the sound of a madman playing the fiddle, but to the sound of an angel gone mad, a demon who refused to lose, and a child who had been lost for years.
The battle ended with injuries on one side, and death on the other. Of course Sebastian did not lose, for if he could not defeat an angel for his master, what sort of butler would he have been?
And the boy was tired—Sebastian could see it in his eyes. The boy was tired of falling apart and tired of piecing together the tiny shards (of what was left) that no longer fit properly. He was tired of holding on, but it was still a surprise to see him let go.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men…
But Sebastian was neither a horse nor a man, and he would not let the pieces merely lie where they fell—not yet.
Ciel was brave even as he gazed into the face of death. Sebastian promised to be as gentle as possible, but Ciel did not want that, and Sebastian almost admired the little one’s strength and courage.
He caressed his young master’s face for (what should have been) the last time, but when he leaned in to feed, he discovered that somewhere between one breath and the next, the child’s soul had somehow already been taken.
This time, it was Sebastian who did the breaking.
Sebastian realized that there was a vast difference between a master who was falling apart (already broken) and one who was a vacant husk. The emptiness wouldn’t do—it simply wouldn’t.
Almost all leads resulted in dead-ends, but one proved to be truly promising, and ultimately exactly what he was looking for.
He entered the parlor of the spider and the fly (and he took careful note of the tigress and the three wolves not-hidden in the shadows) with one goal in mind, and he achieved said goal with little difficulty; his master would have been (would be) proud, even though the young nobleman wasn’t one to express such things as pride. Annoyance and impatience, on the other hand….
He would not keep his young master (nor himself) waiting any longer.
Sapphire and silver were once again placed exactly where they belonged, but Sebastian came to realize that things would not be as simple as that.
For the moment that Ciel opened his eyes, Sebastian understood that just because something was made whole did not mean that it was not still broken.
Everything from that point on was linked back to the Trancy household—to that disgusting arachnid and that whore of a child. Claude weaved a web (full of deception and treachery), and all of them wound up caught in it, one way or another.
Even his young master.
Claude spun beautiful and horrific lies with a tongue fit for a serpent as he carefully intertwined the souls of two young boys—both with tragic pasts, both lost and frightened, both shattered almost (entirely) beyond repair.
Sebastian had not expected that particular move, and therefore, he arrived too late.
“Get out of my sight!” Ciel (who was not at all himself) screamed at him, and the acrid scent of betrayal was thick between them. The young Earl’s trust in Sebastian had been torn asunder, and the order that was just given prevented Sebastian from ripping down the cobwebs Claude had so deviously constructed.
Even as he dutifully followed his master’s order, he was already devising a plan. He would take back what was rightfully his. There was more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying went.
Or in this case, there was more than one way to squash a spider.
Sebastian learned entirely too late that even though the spider weaved the strands of deception… in the end, it was the tigress who truly pulled the strings.
She warned him, but it was not a warning that he chose to believe or accept—at least, not until the moment when once-sapphire eyes opened and were ruby-red. Sebastian dyed the water red as well—red with his (now-forever) young master’s blood.
Those haunted eyes opened once again when they were on the boat, and Ciel rose like a dark phoenix from the ashes—reborn, remade, renewed, and never to be whole again.
What Sebastian saw before him was nothing but the breaking of his young master’s humanity—something that he had believed he would never have to witness.
Ciel’s soul was forever beyond his reach now; perhaps it, too, had shattered in the same moment that his humanity had.
Judging from the little smirk playing on Ciel’s lips, the possibility was not at all improbable.
Some strange, familiar ache resonated within his empty chest, and if Sebastian were not what he was (a devil of a now-demon’s butler), in that moment, he would have perhaps done something unthinkable.
He would have perhaps mourned his loss, and it would have had nothing to do with the loss of a meal, and everything to do with the loss of a truly resilient spirit.
However, because Sebastian was what he was and was not what he wasn’t, he mourned nothing.
(Devils never lied to their masters—only to themselves.)
Ciel, already comfortable in his new (undying, eternal) skin, made no move to fix what had been broken, and Sebastian was given no choice in the matter: he let the pieces of what had once been his young master lie exactly where they fell, in shambles all around them.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this one. >.<; I wanted to show that Sebastian changes while with Ciel—that he has been truly tamed, in a sense. Also, a brief porn-ish scene wanted to fit in somewhere, but I wouldn’t let it because I figured it would break the quiet intimacy that I (hopefully) created between these two.
I hope you all enjoyed, and I’m so sorry if you didn’t! :(