Series: Black Butler
Prompt: #06: Believable
Word Count: 6,511
Characters, Pairings: Sebastian/ Ciel, one-sided Lizzie/Ciel; focuses on Lizzie.
Summary: How wonderful it is to be young and carefree and to believe in everything you’re told—but we all grow up at some point, and the truth can be just as ugly as the vilest falsehood ever uttered.
Warnings: angst, angst, and more angst. And some sexual content, oh my!
Notes: Okay, so this completely ignores season II of the anime, and also ignores more recent chapters of the manga. This is more a ‘what-if’ exercise. It’s also my first attempt at seriously writing Lizzie. You’ll get to see all kinds of sides of her here. Enjoy!
At the age of eleven, she is sunny and cheerful and she has the entire world to explore, in her opinion. She is optimistic and she looks forward to the future (to her future with Ciel), girlish anxiousness blossoming into pure joy at the thought of her wedding day.
Ciel does not smile anymore; not at her jokes, or her talk of their future adventures, or her recollections of their simple and untroubled past.
Instead, he gazes at her wordlessly, mouth set in a thin line. The fingers of his right hand drum against his desk even as he listens to her, as if he is impatient, as if he doesn’t want her in the room with him, as if he has better things to do than spend time with her.
She continues, undaunted, emerald meeting sapphire without hesitation. “What happened to your right eye, Ciel?” she finally has the courage to ask, and he frowns at her, hand moving to touch the eyepatch that now covers his right eye.
The silence lasts for several moments, and it is broken only by the sound of a quiet knock.
“Come in,” Ciel says, and the door opens to reveal Sebastian—Ciel’s butler, his second shadow nowadays.
Sebastian bows politely, and when he glances at Elizabeth, he smiles kindly. She smiles back even though she is quite frustrated with Ciel’s lack of an answer to her very important question.
“Young Master,” Sebastian says as he offers yet another (perhaps apologetic) small bow, “I am sorry for interrupting, but I came to inform you that supper will be ready soon.”
“Very well,” Ciel replies with a dismissive, disinterested wave. He resumes drumming his fingers on the desk, though now he is not looking at her at all, and that bothers her even more.
“What happened to Ciel’s eye, Sebastian?” she blurts, and Ciel’s visible eye widens and then narrows as his gaze flits from Elizabeth to his butler.
The servant smiles again and answers without hesitation: “It is not the same as it was, Lady Elizabeth. That is why he wears the patch over that eye. You see--”
“It was injured,” Ciel hurriedly interrupts. “I can’t see out of this eye anymore.”
“I see,” she murmurs, and the explanation is enough for her (because she trusts him implicitly, and she doesn’t want to push him so—he is tired and tomorrow is another day).
Later, when Paula has tucked her in for the night, Elizabeth says, “He doesn’t smile for me like he used to.”
Paula gently strokes her cheek, her touch featherlight. “Give him time, my Lady. You’ll see—he’ll be back to himself again soon.” Her words are kind and soothing.
And Elizabeth believes her, because at the age of eleven, she is innocent to the ways of the world and she is a stranger to debauchery; she is naïve and she is so very unaware—oblivious to the fact that absolutely everything has changed, and nothing will be the same ever again.
At the age of thirteen, she realizes just how truly selfish she is capable of being, and then she realizes that she will go to incredulous lengths to redeem herself, and to make him smile again.
She will never forgive herself for destroying his ring in the midst of one of her childish temper-tantrums—especially after hearing from Sebastian just how important said ring is to him.
She almost wishes that the butler wouldn’t have stopped Ciel from slapping her. She deserves his anger, she knows. She does not deserve even a morsel of his kindness, and she most certainly does not deserve his forgiveness, but those are exactly the things that he offers her.
His soft smile (how long it’s been since she’s seen it!) makes her heart flutter and makes her ache in ways she hasn’t even begun to understand yet, but his cheer is contagious and – no matter how upset she is with herself – she cannot help but return the gesture as he twirls her around and around to a beautiful and haunting melody that Sebastian plays for them on the violin.
In spite of his brave words and in spite of the fact that he’s reassured her that all is forgiven, she cannot let it go, and she is as stubborn as she is relieved. She vows to make up for her grievous and stupid error by finding him a ring even more beautiful than the one he’d formally worn, not that it’ll share the same meaning or memories of course, but perhaps Ciel will see it as an opportunity to make new, happier memories, and perhaps he’ll let her help.
But of course, she fails in the task that she has given herself, because even though she finds a blue and silver ring of unmatched, exquisite beauty that is simply perfect for him, her efforts amount to nothing when she learns that his old ring has been repaired, and by none other than his butler.
She doesn’t know how it could have been humanly possible, but Sebastian has proven to be quite skilled in many different areas, and perhaps it really shouldn’t be a surprise, the fact that he’s made Ciel’s ring whole and perfect again.
(Perhaps this is when it starts, but she doesn’t realize--)
She knows that it isn’t right to be angry with Sebastian, because he hadn’t known of her plan. Instead, she turns that anger on herself, and tries to think of something equally wonderful that she can give to Ciel for his birthday.
Her newest attempt at Operation: Spectacular Surprise lands her in a whole lot of trouble, though, and of course it is Ciel and Sebastian who wind up getting her out of the mess she’s managed to get herself into.
Later, when the rest of the household are merrily celebrating his birthday and she is busy worrying over her lack of a present for him, Sebastian surprises all of them.
She furiously blinks back tears when Ciel spits the ring – the one she’d gotten for him – out, gaping incredulously at it before semi-glaring at Sebastian. The hiding of the ring in the pudding had been his doing, but the guarantee of happiness….
Suddenly, she is ashamed for even thinking - even if only for an instant – of bearing any ill will towards Ciel’s most kind and considerate butler.
Sebastian is busy clearing away the plates and silverware when she softly admits: “I wanted you to be carefree, especially on this day. You deserve it, Ciel. I wanted it to be wonderful for you, and I wanted to get you the best gift ever, but I only wound up causing you trouble again.”
He’s not looking at her (but instead is watching Sebastian) when he replies, “You’re here and you’re all right, and that is enough for me.”
And she believes him, because right now, she doesn’t know how not to.
At the age of thirteen, her eyes have not yet opened (she cannot see), and she is immersed in the darkness of ignorance; she is adrift, unmindful. Unaware.
At the age of fifteen, with their wedding only a year away, she is overjoyed to make plans—to pick out colors and to chatter for hours about where each individual should stand and about how happy her mother will be and about how proud Ciel’s parents would be if they were still with them.
She is not at all overwhelmed by the prospect of planning her wedding; instead, she is overly-eager and she is as giddy and giggly as she has ever been. She is so caught up in her own happiness, in fact, that she doesn’t regard Ciel’s lack of input in regards to their wedding day with the gravity that such a matter deserves.
Of course, his silence is a little unnerving, as is his lackluster gaze, but she rather easily chalks it all up to wedding-planning being for girls, and the fact that he’s so tired lately anyway… of course it’s not uncommon for him to remain fairly quiet. He has his own planning to attend to—planning that concerns the Funtom Company and planning that concerns what should be done today (and the next, and the next).
She is not worried; she is not uncertain. She does not seek reassurance from her fiancé because she doesn’t need it. Just the fact that he is listening to her makes her happy; just the fact that he does not tell her to leave the room because he has other more important matters to attend to makes her happy, too.
“Perhaps Lady Elizabeth would like to feel as if she isn’t speaking to a wall, my Lord,” Sebastian smoothly suggests, and Elizabeth gasps in mid-sentence, for she hadn’t even seen the butler enter the room. Not surprising, she supposes, since she’s been chattering away, hardly pausing to even draw breath.
Ciel, on the other hand, does not seem at all taken aback by his servant’s sudden appearance—further proof that Elizabeth herself simply hadn’t been paying much attention to anything aside from the two of them.
“I’m listening,” Ciel replies curtly, his visible eye cutting towards Sebastian, all but glaring. “I didn’t want to interrupt her, and she seems fairly happy to talk about her ideas regarding our… wedding day.”
“I am happy,” Elizabeth quickly chimes in, and she is: her cup runneth over, as far as she is concerned.
“And is my young master happy to hear his fiancée’s thoughts in regards to such an important day?” Sebastian asks with a small smile as he moves in close, pressing the palm of a gloved hand to the upper part of Ciel’s back, just between his shoulder blades. “Is my young master happy, thinking about his wedding day?”
“What right do you have to ask such things?” the nobleman snaps, features contorted in annoyance before softening. In a quieter voice (and after a beat of silence), he replies: “… Of course I’m happy.”
Elizabeth beams, and even Sebastian’s smile widens, though that is something that she does not notice.
Nor does she notice how Sebastian’s touch lingers longer than is appropriate. She does not notice how Ciel doesn’t pull away, either.
At the age of fifteen, she is in love and she is lost within her own rose-colored bubble of how she thinks their life together will be; she is still as blind as ever, and therefore does not notice the things that she should—not yet.
At the age of sixteen, she weds Ciel, and on the day of her wedding, all of her thoughts are bubbly and sugary-sweet and beautiful. Her gaze lingers for long moments on her now-husband’s face, and as he kisses her chastely (as is only appropriate in front of such a large crowd), her thoughts wander to a far more intimate territory.
She is as virginal as the day she was born, of course, and though her mother has told her of what to expect her first time (for instance, that it will be painful but also beautiful in its own way), her own idea of how it will be is far more magnificent—her imagination adding such details as how she envisions he will caress her, all soft and gentle, and how he will gaze at her with such adoration during the act itself.
Unfortunately, she learns that her mother was wrong—there is nothing beautiful about losing one’s virginity… at least, not for her.
Her mother was also right, in that, yes, it is quite painful.
And Elizabeth herself? Well, her grand vision of it had been skewed, entirely wrong.
He is gentle with her, she supposes—as gentle as any male could ever be on that first night with his wife. His touches are careful but awkward, and his hands do not remain in one place for very long at all. Nor do his lips.
She is not even given the luxury of his gaze, for they are swathed in darkness (as was his choosing; he hadn’t even told Sebastian to leave the curtains open so that the moonlight could stream in, much less ordered him to leave a candle burning on the nightstand), and she wishes that they weren’t.
But she reaches out, stroking his face with a trembling hand as he fits himself between her thighs (which spread wider at her silent command in order to accommodate him better), and she is shocked to find that he is still wearing that godforsaken patch over his right eye.
Even now, as he is concealed by darkness… even now, as he is taking her as a husband takes a wife, he is hiding his imperfection from her. It breaks her heart, just a little.
Nothing could have prepared her for the way it feels when he enters her: slowly and with restraint, but he pain is very present and she is distinctly aware of something tearing as she is breached; she is also acutely aware of the stretching and the friction and she knows that what wetness is there between her legs is a result of biology and of the trauma (yes, some of said ‘wetness’ is very warm and slick) caused by that first purposeful press of his hips.
She is not excited, and she does not move with him. Instead, she lies utterly still and bites back the little cries of pain because she is his wife and this is her duty and maybe-it-will-be-better-next-time.
She knows it only lasts for the span of a few minutes, but it feels like hours before he finally spills inside of her with a soft gasp, and even that burns.
She remains unmoving even as he shifts and pulls out of and away from her. He doesn’t gather her close to his side or lovingly stroke her hair. Instead, he leaves the bed entirely. She hears a rustle of clothing, and Ciel says, “I’m going to go get cleaned up, and I believe I will tell Sebastian to make some tea, despite the late hour. Can I get you anything?”
“No,” she answers, almost ashamed to note that her voice warbles a little.
There is a long pause, and then: “Elizabeth, are you all right?”
For the first time, she lies to him. “Yes.”
She can hear his quiet footfalls, and then the bedroom door opens, and she can see him now—his gaze is somewhat solemn. “I’ll be back soon,” he whispers, and when the door shuts, she hears Sebastian’s voice, and then her husband’s. She can’t make out what they are saying, though.
She believes his words, of course, and she waits for him. She waits until the dull ache between her thighs has subsided somewhat. She waits until the stickiness inside of her and between her legs and on the sheets has dried. She waits, until the sun has nearly risen. She waits, not daring to close her eyes for a moment.
She doesn’t allow herself to shed a tear—not even when it is Sebastian who enters the room instead of Ciel. She hurries to cover herself, and Sebastian politely averts his eyes and busies himself with opening the curtains.
“The young master wanted me to apologize for his carelessness,” the butler informs her. “You see, he fell asleep at his desk last night after he finished his tea.”
She believes Sebastian, too, because—
At the age of sixteen, she is as in love with Ciel as her husband as she was when he was her fiancé, and she bears no ill will towards him; together, they will learn, and together (she believes with all of her heart), they will be okay—she doesn’t yet know that they won’t be.
At the age of seventeen, she becomes pregnant, and she can hardly contain her joy when she informs her husband. Ciel, in turn, offers her a weary smile as he gazes at her over the myriad of paperwork littering his desk. No doubt, he’s in the middle of something very important, but she is of the opinion that the fact that they are having a baby is of much greater importance.
But Ciel cuts himself off, his visible sapphire eye sliding away from her gaze, locking onto something (or someone) else behind her.
“Ciel?” Elizabeth asks, undoubtedly looking crestfallen now, as she believes is only appropriate—why would her husband allow himself to become so distracted when she has just told him such wonderful news?
Sebastian’s voice sounds from behind her, and she suddenly understands just what has stolen Ciel’s attention. Something twists painfully inside her, and part of her wants to lash out in anger, because whatever Sebastian has to say can wait. Whatever it is, it probably has something to do with work, or with today’s lunch preparation, or afternoon tea. None of that is nearly as important as—
“That is incredible, Young Master, is it not?” Sebastian asks as he moves to stand beside Elizabeth. “Yet another member to add to the Phantomhive household. I do believe your parents would have been very proud.”
Ciel’s eye narrows and he frowns momentarily, and then his gaze softens. “It is incredible,” he agrees, focusing on Elizabeth once more. “Knowing this, though, you should be resting as often as you can, Elizabeth. Too much activity can prove difficult on a pregnancy.”
“…Yes,” Elizabeth answers after a moment of silence. She doesn’t understand why her husband is so insistent on her getting plenty of rest, because she’s only just found out that she is pregnant, and it’s not like she plans on doing a lot of strenuous work, anyway.
“Why don’t you lie down in your bed, Lady Elizabeth?” Sebastian quietly suggests, and she finds herself gazing questioningly up at her husband’s butler. “I can bring your afternoon tea to your room, or I can have Miss Paula do so, if you would be uncomfortable with my presence in your private quarters.”
She shakes her head. “It’s fine if you bring me my tea,” she replies, masking her puzzlement with a wide smile. She blows a kiss to Ciel before leaving the study room, and she can’t help but wonder why her husband doesn’t seem as happy as she herself; she can’t help but wonder why he doesn’t laugh and kiss her and hold her like she’s seen other couples do upon learning of their good fortune.
She tells herself that it’s just because he’s busy; he has a lot on his mind and she knows that he can’t get much rest. She’s worried about him for years, and her worry only seems to increase with each passing day.
Elizabeth shakes her head as if to clear it, and she allows Paula to tuck the blankets around her even though she doesn’t require such a silly gesture any longer. She’s not a child, after all.
But it’s still a small comfort, and that is why she doesn’t tell Paula to leave.
Oddly enough, as the months pass, it is either Paula or Maylene who spends the most time at her side. Pregnancy does not come without side effects, and she learns this firsthand when she wakes up every morning only to stumble out of bed and rush for the toilet.
She learns that ‘morning sickness’ should actually be called ‘all day sickness’, and is actually quite grateful when Sebastian brings her bland foods as opposed to the rich meals that he prepares for Ciel.
Eventually, the nausea passes, and she finds herself dealing with other sorts of discomforts. For instance, she tosses and she turns in her large (and empty, save for her) bed night after night, trying to find a position that is comfortable. The growing bulge in her belly makes it impossible for her to rest on her stomach any longer, and it’s almost unfeasible for her to lie on her back, as well.
There is also an almost-constant pressure on her bladder, which means frequent trips to the bathroom, even in the middle of the night.
In spite of all of these things, she is happy, and she is told that she glows, which only makes her all the happier. Her bliss overrides any and all results of the side-effects of her pregnancy, and she has to admit that in some ways… not all the side-effects are bad.
There are nights when she cannot sleep and she thinks of her husband, and she feels a heat blossoming within her that she hasn’t felt in months. For a week or so, she tries to ignore it, and then she gives in one night, hastily pushing the bedsheets away from herself before climbing out of bed and exiting her own bedroom with a very specific purpose in mind.
At various dinner parties, she’s been told by some of the women who have been through this before that their husbands found them utterly irresistible during their pregnancies, and she can’t help but wonder….
She brushes past Sebastian on her way to Ciel’s room, and the butler offers her a smile. “The young master has not yet long been in bed, Lady Elizabeth. He will surely still be awake if you wish to see him.”
She briefly returns his smile and continues on her way; she doesn’t pause to knock once she reaches Ciel’s bedroom door—she simply steps inside, and her husband’s voice is surprisingly indignant when he addresses her: “What are you doing awake at such an hour, Elizabeth?”
The annoyance in his tone causes her a moment’s hesitation, but she answers him with strength as she presses forward, guided by the moonlight spilling in through the line of space left between one curtain and the next. “I came to spend time with my husband. Is that a crime?”
She slips into bed beside him without waiting for his permission, and she immediately reaches for him, showering him with loving, passionate kisses as her slender fingers begin to wander beneath his sheets and beneath his nightshirt.
Please, she thinks for some unknown reason, her lips trailing down his jaw and his neck, her fingers wandering over his abdomen, please.
He stops her, however, and as he turns away, she feels the sting of rejection and she finds herself furiously blinking back her tears.
“Do you no longer find me attractive?” she demands to know. “Does my form no longer please you because my belly is swollen with our child?”
He releases a sigh of unmistaken exasperation. “It isn’t that, Elizabeth. It isn’t that at all. It’s just… engaging in such an act could harm the child, right? Please see the reason in that. You are no less attractive to me.”
“… I understand,” she replies after long moments of silence, and they lie there with miles of royal blue satin between them and too many words left unspoken.
At the age of seventeen, she is still mired in darkness, but there is a subtle variation: this is the darkness of denial, not ignorance, and it’s funny how a change so slight can make all the difference in the world… She doesn’t realize this yet, but she will.
At the age of eighteen, she gives birth to a healthy baby girl who has her eyes and Ciel’s hair and his cute nose. She fusses over the newborn just as any new mother would, and she doesn’t like to be apart from her for more than a minute.
She names her Rachel, and at the sound of their daughter’s name, his visible sapphire eye seems to cloud, to mist. He is elsewhere for a few moments, lost in the past, before the soft clearing of a throat brings him back to the present.
“She is lovely,” Sebastian remarks, and Elizabeth cannot help but verbally agree—yes, she is lovely; she is beautiful, and surely she will bring her husband the happiness that he’s been seeking for so long.
“She is,” Ciel acknowledges after a tense five seconds of heavy silence. He takes the little one in his arms for the first time and she is quiet, he is quiet, and then he smiles.
Until Rachel’s soft cry pierces the silence, breaking the beautiful spell that was so carefully beginning to weave between them. Ciel frowns then, gazing up at Sebastian in question, as if looking for some words of guidance or encouragement.
“She is probably hungry,” Sebastian offers, nodding towards Elizabeth. “And I am afraid that her hunger is not one that I can sate at this point in time—that, of course, is one of the many jobs left up to the mother.”
Elizabeth feels the heat flood her cheeks and she takes Rachel from her husband’s arms, cradling her little body close to her chest. “I will require some privacy,” she says quickly, and while she says this for Sebastian’s benefit, she does not mean that she wishes for Ciel to also leave.
But that is inevitably what happens. In fact, it is Ciel who leaves Elizabeth’s room first, with his butler following closely behind (yes, like a shadow, like a--)
It is Paula who enters her room next, after Elizabeth herself has given her permission. Paula helps her as she fumbles through the un-pleasantries of breastfeeding, and even though she is grateful for the assistance, she longs for her husband’s presence as well. Already, he’s missing out on so much.
Things change, though gradually (over days and weeks and months); Ciel visits her room at least three times during the span of his day, and when he visits, he often looks down into their daughter’s cradle with something akin to wonder.
Fingers carefully brush over soft cheeks and a little button nose, and he smiles almost secretly when her tiny fingers curl around his own.
The sight does indeed warm Elizabeth’s heart, but there are other things that make it grow cold again. For instance, how Ciel barely spends any time with her whatsoever, and how Ciel hasn’t invited her back into his bed yet in spite of the fact that she is fertile once more.
She yearns for more than just his touch (she desires his company, his smile, his time), and she can’t help but wonder if he simply doesn’t want the same (her touch, her company, her smile) from her any longer.
Indeed, he seems quite content to divide his time between their daughter, his work, and his butler. Elizabeth can’t bring herself to be angry at or jealous of Rachel (she can perfectly understand why her husband would want to dote on their beautiful firstborn), nor can she bring herself to resent Ciel’s work (because it is as important to Ciel as it was to his father before him).
She can’t keep herself from begrudging Sebastian, however—even if only a little; even if none of this is truly his fault.
She blurts out, “I miss you,” one afternoon when Rachel is slumbering peacefully and Ciel is watching her with a quiet tenderness that is seemingly reserved for their daughter alone.
Ciel turns to her with a start, and then he sighs softly and crosses the distance between them, settling down at the edge of her bed. He takes her hand, but he does not reply in kind. “It’s been--”
“Busy,” Elizabeth cuts him off before he can continue. “Yes, I know.” She grasps his hand tightly, earnestly, and she doesn’t want to let go even though she knows that he will make her. He will not stay in this room with her. “But you’re never here – with me – even when you are, and I wish you were, and I miss you.”
Once the words start, she can’t stop them, and they all come pouring out like she’s been bottling them up for only-God-knows-how-long. “You never call me ‘Lizzie’ anymore. It’s always ‘Elizabeth’. You don’t invite me to your bed, and yes, I very well know the customs and I know how that’s supposed to work, but there are nights when I just want to lie beside you, and nothing more. I want to know that you’re there, and that you’re whole, and that I’m right there with you. You don’t smile at me very often anymore, and when you do, I don’t think it’s really meant for me.”
He takes a breath, as if to speak (perhaps to even deny what he knows is truth), but she refuses to let him just yet. She reaches out with her free hand, gingerly brushing the edges of his eyepatch with the tips of her fingers. “You hide from me,” she whispers. “And I don’t understand why. There’s work, and there’s the baby, and there’s Sebastian, and there is hardly ever a time when I don’t see him at your side—I know it sounds horribly silly and childish of me, but yes… even that upsets me. His almost-constant presence. I’m guessing he’s probably even standing outside the door this very instant, waiting for his master to return.”
She takes her husband’s silence as a confirmation, and she knows that he does not miss the way her hand trembles minutely atop his.
She finishes her entire rant with a quietly-spoken, “Why?”
Ciel’s fingers tighten around hers, and his answer is equally as soft: “To put it simply, we are bound. He saved me, back then. I trust him.”
Even though it doesn’t say nearly enough, it also says plenty, and she believes him even though believing currently hurts. Of course Ciel trusts Sebastian explicitly, because Sebastian saved him from a world of hurt and despair and filth, and she did not.
At the age of eighteen, she learns that the truth can injure in ways that a lie cannot; her eyes are only just beginning to open, and she bravely faces the beginnings of reality with her feet firmly planted on the ground beneath her; she holds her inevitable, impending misery at bay with watery smiles that never reach her eyes and with laughter that always rings hollow.
At the age of nineteen, her heart shatters into a thousand jagged pieces, and she knows she should have seen it coming, really, but she’s been so blind all this time and hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
Hindsight is useless.
It’s a day much like any other, really—she’s just laid Rachel down for her afternoon nap, and she’s on her way to the study to visit her husband, because that is where he can almost always be found at this time of the day.
She pauses outside of the large oaken door, her hand resting on the heavy handle with its intricate designs. She can hear something on the other side of this door, and it doesn’t sound at all like papers being shuffled around. She doesn’t hear the sighs and groans one makes when one is quite tired of doing paperwork.
She does, however, hear sighs and groans of another nature entirely.
Elizabeth knows that she should stop here—that she should turn around and walk away while her legs will still carry her, but she feels rooted to the spot, and she wonders just how long she’ll be able to remain standing before her legs give out on her from the shock and she collapses, only to be found by one – or, God forbid, both – of them once they’ve finished the act.
She recognizes the voices, and her mind is reeling, because Ciel’s never made sounds like that for her; Sebastian is encouraging him, and it’s all so wrong and sickening and it shouldn’t be happening at all, but it is. It probably has been for some time.
Elizabeth thinks of all those nights her husband had left her alone in his bed, telling her that he was going to get tea, or to check on one thing or another. She thinks of all those afternoons when he’d wandered off somewhere with his butler, citing ‘business’ as his excuse.
How utterly stupid she’d been.
She’s being asinine even now. She already has her proof, but for whatever reason, she feels that she needs a visual confirmation, and she doesn’t understand this need—in fact, she hates it, for she knows that seeing it will only cause her more heartache in the end.
Nevertheless, she finds herself slowly turning the handle, scarcely daring to breathe as she cracks the door open just wide enough to peer through with her wide, empty eyes.
To another individual, under different circumstances, the sight that she finds herself beholding would probably be considered many things: scandalous, disgusting, erotic, beautiful.
To her, it simply is; this is her past and her present and her future, and aside from breaking her heart, it makes her feel utterly numb.
Ciel is seated at the edge of the desk, legs wrapped around Sebastian’s waist, hands scrabbling for purchase at the back of Sebastian’s tailcoat as their hips move together. Elizabeth notes that Ciel is not wearing his eyepatch, but his eyes are closed; he is no doubt completely gone at this point, and he is saying Sebastian’s name over and over like it is some sweet curse, or a vile prayer.
Sebastian is making sounds of his own: quiet groans and soft hisses, not to mention the huskily-whispered, “Come for me, Young Master.” Typically, Ciel takes commands from no-one, but in this instance, in this moment of weakness and of impurity and vulnerability, the rules have changed.
One of Sebastian’s hands is resting on Ciel’s hip, and the other is elsewhere, out of sight, though Elizabeth has a pretty good idea as to where that hand is.
It is over in a matter of moments—Ciel cries out and Sebastian moans, and then they are still and silent, and Ciel’s forehead is resting against Sebastian’s chest.
And just before Elizabeth quietly shuts the door, she swears she sees Sebastian glance over his shoulder at her; she swears she sees him smile.
She’s not quite sure how she makes it back to her bedroom, but once she does, she screams loudly and she hurls her hairbrush at a nearby mirror, which shatters just as her heart has done. It wakes Rachel up, and as Elizabeth tends to her fussy daughter, Paula rushes in to clean up the mess, and Elizabeth is glad that Paula does not ask why.
Later, after dinner, it is not her husband that she confronts, but her husband’s butler. Sebastian is busy clearing away the remnants of the meal (one which she did little more than pick at), and the other servants are elsewhere in the household, doing other tasks. Ciel has gone once again to his study for reasons unknown, and Elizabeth and Sebastian are currently alone.
It is Sebastian who breaks the silence: “Was dinner not to your liking, Lady Elizabeth? If so, I do apologize.”
She swallows back bile as she bites out, “What have you done to him?!”
His smile is somehow kind and chilling all at once. “I have done many things to my young lord, Lady Elizabeth, but I must assure you that I have done nothing to him that he has not desired or ordered me to do.”
“He is my husband!” she exclaims, suddenly feeling very much like the spoiled child of years ago, even though she knows that in this moment, her anger and her possessiveness are justified.
“And he is my master,” Sebastian smoothly returns, and there is no anger in his voice—there is merely truth.
She slams her hand down on the table, making the silverware and glassware rattle. “This has been going on under my nose for years, hasn’t it?” she demands to know. “Years, and I was blind to it!”
“It has, and you were,” Sebastian agrees without pause as he continues clearing away the dirty dishes, obviously completely unconcerned.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” she seethes as she stands, eyes narrowed and hands grabbing fistfuls of white tablecloth.
One corner of Sebastian’s mouth twists upwards in a half-smirk and he bows. “I am but a devil of a butler, Lady Elizabeth—this, you’ve always known. The Contract that binds my young master and myself is not at all like the one that binds the two of you. Of course, that is something that you cannot even begin to fathom.”
“What happened on that day you ‘rescued’ him?” she asks, her voice quieter now, but not without strength. “Why have you defiled him in such a manner, and what is this ‘contract’ that you speak of?” She does not back down or move away, even as he steps close to her—close enough to kiss. Her voice trembles as she speaks again: “I want to know everything, Sebastian!”
He offers her a full smile then, and whispers his next words against her cheek: “Believe me, Lady Elizabeth, when I tell you that you do not.”
As he turns away from her, she notes that his eyes are bright crimson.
… She’s never believed anything more in her whole life.
At the age of nineteen, the darkness (of obliviousness, of denial) has finally lifted, and she can see the light—she’s never truly understood that particular saying until now, she realizes. Her eyes burn, too, thanks in part to this newfound ‘light’ that she is so unaccustomed to.
As for the other reason her eyes are burning… what sort of lady would she be if she were to let her hot, bitter tears (of despair, of anger, of betrayal) fall now? Too little, too late, and all that.
At the age of twenty, Elizabeth Middleford-Phantomhive is the mother of a busy-body little toddler that makes her days go by quickly; she is the wife of a nobleman who does not love her, and she no longer lives in the darkness that she once resided in.
She is not joyful; she is not bubbly; she does not spend nights in her husband’s arms as countless other married women do.
She knows of the trysts that occur between her husband and his butler, and she knows that when it comes down to either herself or Sebastian, Ciel will always choose Sebastian.
(This, she knows, is as certain as death.)
She bears it all with a smile and a humorless titter, mouth hidden behind perfectly-manicured nails, and her husband is none the wiser even though she is.
At the age of twenty, she is not innocent to the ways of the world, and she is no stranger to depravity; she is no longer surrounded by darkness of her own making, and her eyes are wide open (and she can – regrettably – see perfectly well); she is no longer ignorant, and she is no longer unaware.
She simply wishes that she were.
However, at the age of twenty, she has perhaps learned the hardest lesson yet:
Time is ever unmindful of a person’s desires, and it only moves in one direction.
(Forward, and never back.)
Uhm. I didn’t intend for this to turn out so long, and I didn’t intend to paint Sebastian and Ciel in such a horrible light. Even as I was writing this, I felt sorry for Lizzie, and I’m not what you would call a Lizzie fan. Mostly, this was simply a ‘what-if’ kind of experiment, and I wanted to write her as something other than a complete ditz. I hope it worked. I really, really hope, cos I put a lot of effort into this, seriously. *laughs*