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"Oh, fuck...."

Ciel winced as he felt several bony fingers tangle in his hair. Knowing what would happen next, he rolled his eyes and the eager hands pulled him forward, trying to fill his mouth more than it already was.

"Ahhh..." The dark haired man leaning over Ciel grunted, "You're such a good whore." Ciel rolled his eyes again behind his eyelids and focused on breathing through his nose. By now, his actions were perfunctory, desultory and yet systematic. It was only a matter of time before his job would be done and he could get up from his knees, which were really starting to ache as they ground into the concrete.

"Shit." His current client cursed again and Ciel thought only of the relief of standing up and the payment that was waiting for him as the man emptied into his mouth. "You're so good, Ciel. You going to swallow for me?"

The man released his grip on the dark head of slate-colored hair and Ciel pulled back with a silent sigh of relief. He parted his lips and spit the warm, translucent white mouthful onto the pavement, purposefully dribbling a little on the man's shoes. "You know that costs extra," he said with a cheeky smile, glancing up for the first time since he dropped to his knees.

"You little shit." The fingers returned to his hair and pulled harshly. Two dark, slanted eyes narrowed at the boy down on the ground, only to be met with a cold, icy glare that could make grown men hesitate. Ciel didn't back down.

"Okay, pay up, Lau."

The man clicked his tongue and released Ciel with an exaggerated sigh, "You can be so harsh, you know? And when you have the sweetest little face..." He reached out to pinch one of Ciel's round cheeks.

"Fuck off," Ciel growled, deflecting Lau's hand and rising to his feet.

"But what a mouth you have!" Lau laughed at his double entendre. Ciel raised an eyebrow. After collecting himself and zipping up his jeans, the scrawny Asian man dug around in his pocket while Ciel stood there waiting, hands on his hips. "That's good stuff," he told him proudly as he dropped a small silicone case into Ciel's palm. "Just got a shipment in from the Middle East. Barely been stepped on yet."

"We'll see about that," Ciel chirped melodically as he pocketed the contraband.

"I'll see you next week?" Lau asked, smiling mischievously at Ciel. The boy shrugged and turned on his heel.

"We'll see," he said over his shoulder and headed on his way, squinting into the bleak city sun as he exited the dank alleyway. He pulled a cigarette out of the nearly empty, crumpled pack in his pocket and lit it, hoping to smother the taste of cock lingering on his tongue.

Thirty minutes later, Ciel, Lizzy and Sieglinde were crammed into the family restroom of an indoor shopping plaza, passing around the silicone container and scooping out pinky nails full of pure white, almost crystalline cocaine.

"Oh damn, Lau wasn't kidding," Lizzy sighed, passing the little dish back to Ciel for the third time.

"I know," he sniffed. Tilting his head back, Ciel inhaled sharply and reveled in the subtle burn of the nasal drip, welcoming the warm, slithering feeling now creeping down the back of his throat. He felt clear and energized, and he could tell the coke had yet to be cut with any of the trash that usually circulated -- typically it was just lidocaine or methamphetamines, but he seen batches cut with laundry detergent and even elephant tranquilizers before.

"Hey, hey!" He snatched the container back before Sieglinde could go in for yet another scoop. "Don't do it all now, or you'll be really pissed in a couple hours when it's all gone and you're itching for a fix."

"Ugh, fine," Sieglinde groaned begrudgingly. "Let's go then, this place smells like shit."

The three of them tumbled out of the bathroom and headed for the exit. The ragtag bunch never had a destination in mind; they walked aimlessly until something caught their attention. If nothing did, the three of them were content with sitting on the sidewalk, watching the world pass quickly by.

***

"Hey, Ciel." The couple was headed east at a lazy pace, thankful that the heat wave had finally broken and they could roam the streets unhindered again. It was getting late, the sun beginning to weaken and slump down towards the horizon, causing them to squint as they walked.

"What?"

Sieglinde had peeled off about an hour ago to tend to some sad sack's needs in the backseat of his car. She instructed her companions to go on ahead; she would catch up with them later. The three of them could always seem to locate one another; compared to the size of the city, their stomping grounds were rather small. Ciel knew deep down that they were creatures of habit, and while they meandered about a majority of the day, they always wound up in the same spots, lounging on the same benches or shooting up behind the same dumpsters or sucking dick in the same parking garage stairwells.

"Lau only gave you the coke, didn't he?" Lizzy asked. The two of them took a seat on the edge of a large concrete planter on a street corner beside a cafe and Ciel pulled out a cigarette for them to share.

"Yeah," he answered in a billowy puff of smoke.

"How are you gonna pay your share tomorrow? Red is going to have you jumped again if you're late."

Madam Red, as the trio had taken to calling her, was the biggest pimp on their side of the metaphorical tracks, though she loathed that term, and had bruised all three of them before for daring to use the word in front of her. Two years ago, when Ciel, Lizzy, and Sieglinde had first settled in the city, she caught them trying to do business in her neighborhood and had each of them jumped and thoroughly beaten. Ciel was concussed for almost a month, Lizzy lost two teeth, and Sieglinde hadn't been able to walk right since. Still, they came back; they didn't have much of a choice. After a decent amount of time spent playing cat and mouse with the kids and her goons, Madam Red approached them with a simple deal. They could continue to eek out a meager existence by selling their bodies on her turf so long as they kicked up what she considered to be a “meager” fee to her at the end of each week and didn't interfere or interact with any of her working girls. Of course they agreed, and the arrangement had been so ever since.

"I'll figure something out," Ciel said. "Don't worry about me." He tried to smile for Lizzy, but failed. Both knew he was at a disadvantage. As a male, he pulled in certain clientele that Lizzy and Sieglinde did not, but the men that sought him out were less frequent, and he refused to take any money that Lizzy and Sieglinde made themselves. As of now, Ciel had not been able to come up with even half of his fee, and his left eye twitched as he thought about the last time he had been late with her payment. She adamant about not employing males to stand on street corners, but had no apparent problems hiring grown men to beat up teenagers, because two of them jumped Ciel as soon as he was alone and left him unconscious in the street, several ribs bruised, one cracked, with another concussion and a scratched cornea. The ribs had healed, slowly, but the eye had not. It grew cloudy and itchy and his vision had begun to deteriorate on that side. Looking up into the sun hurt, but Ciel did it anyway, tilting his head back and watching the smoke dissipate into the golden evening air.

***

“Hey! What the hell? Little bitch!”

Sieglinde couldn’t be bothered to stop and give a proper response to the insult that had been thrown at her, so she simply raised her hand and extended a single middle finger to the man she had just collided with. As she ducked down a side street, out of the corner of her eye, Sieglinde saw the man bend down to scoop up the bakery box that had been knocked from his hands as she ran passed him; a bright pink mess of icing and cake spilled out onto the sidewalk. She continued on, didn’t feel bad in the slightest, for she had other more pressing things on her mind. First was reconvening with her friends, who she knew should be waiting for her just down the street, and second was sharing her most recent accomplishment with them. She rounded a corner and spied her companions down the block, lounging on a metal bench and splitting a cigarette.

“Alright, kids!” she called as she approached. “Time to get moving -- we’re eating good tonight!” The exuberant young girl brandished a thin leather wallet and beamed. “This fucker was loaded.” She had to smile at her companions differing reactions; Lizzy shot to her feet with a wide grin while Ciel stayed sitting and rolled his eyes.

“Oh, hell yeah!” Lizzy cheered, slinging an arm around Sieglinde’s shoulders and planting a loud kiss on the crown of her head. “You got away with his whole wallet? How much?”

“Jesus, Sieg.” Ciel sighed smoke and stamped out the rest of his cigarette. He shook his head and smiled weakly. The wallet turned out to have more than $600 in it. Ciel swore again.

“Jesus,” he repeated, “are you fucking crazy? I can’t believe you did that. This isn’t fucking Oliver Twist. You’re lucky you didn’t get caught and get your ass kicked all up and down the street, or get the cops called on you or some shit.”

“Hey, I didn’t pick his pocket or anything. Dude just left it on the hood of his car with his keys and shit when he was digging in his trunk. I just swiped it and dipped before he looked up,” Sieglinde explained with a shrug.

“Still…” Ciel said, ready to offer up one final admonition before giving in and celebrating this wondrous stroke of good fortune. Six hundred dollars was undeniably a gift from a god. “Don’t be stupid, Sieg. Are you holding right now?” Sieglinde offered him an embarrassed smile as a response and Ciel groaned. “See? You could’ve been in some deep shit if you got caught and the cops got involved. None of us need that kind of heat.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Sieglinde said dismissively. Ciel scowled. He liked Sieglinde -- she was a great addition to their little family, but sometimes she was just a real handful. She was creative and smart, quick-witted and funny, and by far the most headstrong of the group, which often landed the trio in some rather sticky situations. Ciel tried to keep a handle on her so none of them ended up in a holding cell, but her energy was almost too great for him to keep up with. Lizzy was no help; she was absolutely smitten with Sieglinde. “Why do you worry so much, Ciel? I got away clean, didn’t I?” Sieglinde crooned, waggling her eyebrows and waving the wallet in Ciel’s face so closely he could practically smell the expensive leather.

“Well almost did, at least.” Sieglinde suddenly went pale and Ciel and Lizzy stiffened at the voice behind them. Frozen to the spot, each quickly assessed the odds and debated whether or not to book it before the man spoke again, calmly, and said, “Sorry, but I’m going to have to ask for that back.” Ciel felt a large hand come down on his shoulder as the smooth voice spoke behind him, and the notion of trying to run evaporated. Ciel could see the look in Sieglinde’s eyes shift as Lizzy was the first to speak, apologizing profusely for her companion’s behavior as she snatched the wallet back from Sieglinde. Ciel tore himself away from the man’s grasp as she offered it back to him, nervous energy inundating her words and attempt at a jovial laugh.

Free from the unfamiliar grasp, Ciel quickly darted past Lizzy and switched places with Sieglinde, who regained her composure and sauntered up to the man she had robbed with a lazy smile and confident pace. Ciel stood silently, listening to Lizzy apologize for Sieglinde as Sieglinde obviously eyed the stranger up and down. Ciel did the same, only more discreetly.

Something about the man immediately made Ciel bristle as he watched him return the wallet to his pocket. He couldn’t wrap his head around it. The man was undeniably handsome -- tall, well-dressed, with dark hair, dark brows, and even darker lashes. He was objectively attractive, and yet Ciel found himself put off by him somehow. As he caught sight of the man’s eyes, Ciel felt a twinge on the back of his neck and realized why he had been uncomfortable: the man was staring right at him with an intensity that Ciel could practically feel.

“Hey, look guy,” Sieglinde was speaking now, giving the final wrap-up to Lizzy’s prolific apology with a graceless tact that only Sieglinde could pull off, “you see this was all a misunderstanding now, right? I’m real sorry about the confusion, but you don’t need to call the cops or anything, you know? This is something that we can work out between the two of us, maybe back in your car, or a motel… I know a nice quiet spot where we could talk.” Sieglinde trailed her hand up the man’s slender chest and twirled his dark silky tie around her fingers coquettishly. Clearing his throat with a cough and a laugh, the stranger placed his hand over Sieglinde’s and switched his intense gaze down to her, his lips curled in a smile that made all three of the young delinquents weak in the knees.

“Sorry, dear. You’re quite beautiful,” he ran a hand through the short tendrils of dark chocolate hair hanging by her face, grinning as she shivered noticeably, “but you’re not really my type. And besides, isn’t solicitation illegal in this state?” The twinge in his neck spread and a shiver ran down Ciel’s own spine as the man raised his eyes, looking passed Sieglinde and back at him.

“Hey,” Sieglinde said firmly, drawing the man’s gaze back to her. “I’m not soliciting a damn thing. Let’s get that straight. I don’t fuck people for money,” she spat. “I’m just saying,” she said, suddenly softening her tone, “that I’m willing to go somewhere where we can have a private chat, work all this out -- I can make up for my earlier faux pas. I can tell you about the work that I do, and if you are so inclined as to leave a donation to my cause, well, that would be greatly appreciated and properly reciprocated.”

“I see what you’re getting at. I bet you’re the clever one of the group, aren’t you?” the man said, releasing her hair with a harmless tug. “But the point remains, I’m not interested in taking you home with me tonight.” Again, his eyes shifted back, landed on Ciel, and stayed there.

“But you are looking for someone to take home with you, aren’t you?” Lizzy chimed in almost reflexively, pursing her lips and picking up where Sieglinde left off; she was oblivious to the electricity Ciel felt crackling in the air between him and the stranger. "We really don't want any trouble... we'll do whatever you want," she purred, taking the submissive role since Sieglinde's bold approach seemed to have failed. They had to eat and get their fix somehow, and if they couldn’t get away with the whole wallet, Lizzy figured perhaps just a portion of its contents would suffice, innocuously slipped into her hand after some time spent on her knees in a parking garage stairwell or splayed out in the backseat of a car somewhere.

“Yes and no,” the man said. “I’m just looking for someone to keep me company for the night… If you’d be interested?” The question was aimed directly at Ciel now, there was no denying it, and both Lizzy and Sieglinde were clearly anxious to see his reaction. He stood impassively, hands in his pockets. Though he had been swayed by this mysterious man and his looks, Ciel reminded himself of the reality of things: just because this man was attractive did not mean he was any different from the countless other johns that Ciel had been with.

For the past year, all three members of their motley crew had been willingly offering up their bodies to strangers just so they could keep the metaphorical lights on. The buildings they had been squatting in had no electricity or water; they had no bills to pay, only aching stomachs and addictions to feed. While Lizzy and Sieglinde had a larger clientele and brought in more money than him, Ciel had a few solicitation charges already under his belt, and he was no stranger to car quickies and back-alley blowjobs. He knew that money was money, and it looked like rain that night anyway, so over the sudden growling of his stomach, Ciel looked the stranger in the eye and said, “Sure.”

***

"I've got rules," Ciel said as soon as the car had pulled away from the curb.

"Of course."

"You wear a condom--"

"Naturally."

Ciel scowled as the man kept interrupting his spiel. "And I don't do any kinky shit. Nothing extreme. No piss, no shit, no blood." The pristine condition of the interior of his car and the stranger’s composed appearance made Ciel think that those weren't really this guy's style, but he had learned not to judge a book by its cover, and so went through the script regardless. "I’m open to negotiation regarding other shit. Breath play, light bondage, roleplaying -- that kinda stuff."

The man raised an eyebrow, "No heavy bondage?" he inquired teasingly as he turned the wheel and set them in the direction of the highway.

"No," Ciel deadpanned, unamused.

"Understood. Anything else?"

Ciel pondered for a minute. Normally he tried to stick close by to his “no kissing” rule, even though it was always so clichéd, but as he appraised the man out of the corner of his eye, his sharp face illuminated with the glare of the setting sun, Ciel thought it might not be so bad to kiss him.

"No, that's it,” he said. “You make your donation beforehand and you take me home right after."

“Is there a minimum amount I have to donate in order to reap the benefits?” the man inquired, kindly playing along with Ciel’s technicalities.

“A hundred is the usual starting price,” Ciel said. Although, after the words left his mouth, he pictured all those crisp hundreds in the man’s wallet and wished he had said a higher number. That was already five times his going rate for a blowjob. The fact that the man only chuckled and nodded irritated him even more. Another cumbersome pall of silence fell over the car as they continued down the road. If he ended up riding in a car with a client, Ciel usually tried to avoid these awkward breaks; he’d talk about the weather, the city, his client’s business, what he was going to do to the client in graphic detail, anything to keep the discomfort at bay. Over time, he had gotten good at making small talk, but for some reason, as he reclined in the leather seats, he found all of his charm and charisma and motivation gone. He sat in surly silence until the man spoke again.

“Are you going to tell me your name?”

“Why should I? You’ll never see me again after tonight, what does it matter to you?”

For an instant, the man shifted his focus from the road to the figure slumped in his passenger seat. “Well, for tonight at least, I would prefer to address you by name, as it is the civil thing to do. Now it could be your own, or would you like to see how creative I can be in coming up with one for you?” Ciel rolled his eyes and made a show of giving in, deigning to tell the man his name. The stranger hummed in response and tapped the breaks as he eased the car off the highway. “Well, Ciel, my name’s Sebastian. Michaelis,” he added as an afterthought. “But you can call me whatever you like.”

Ciel clicked his tongue in acknowledgement and decided to call the man nothing.

"So, if I may ask, how old are you, Ciel?"

Ciel soured slightly when the man used his name so casually, but there was nothing he could do now that he'd told him. That was all he would know of the truth; the carefully constructed lie began now. "I'll be eighteen in a month," he fibbed. Truthfully, this whole act was starting to get old. Ciel had been "almost eighteen" for three years now.

The man nodded as his lips formed a tight line, "Right." Another heavy minute of silence passed in the luxury interior of the car. “Do you mind if I smoke?”

Shrugging, Ciel snorted, “It’s your car.”

Sebastian shrugged too and hitched the corner of his lips up in a “What are you gonna do?” expression before brushing Ciel’s elbow aside and rooting through the center console. Ciel watched him withdraw a soft pack of Winstons and tap it against his steering wheel to draw one out, without ever taking his eyes off the road. He pulled the cigarette out with his teeth and shook the pack again, holding it out toward Ciel in offering.

“Winstons are gross,” he said, refusing the proposition in favor of his own mangled pack of Camels. “I didn’t know they still make soft packs.”

“Only certain brands.” The man lit his cigarette and passed the lighter over to Ciel, who was struggling to dig his own out of the pocket of his jeans, begrudgingly accepting it. “I hope you don’t mind a hotel,” Sebastian said.

Ciel scoffed and cracked his window to exhale a tendril of gray smoke. Of course he didn’t mind. All he ever got was hotels, and it was always the same -- thin, scratchy sheets; rusted metal furnishings in the bathroom; fifteen channels and static on the TV; friendly Thank you for not smoking placards and the defiant smell of cigarette smoke. This guy was the same as any other. At least it was better than outside.

“No, no, of course not. Wouldn’t want some street rat coming in and contaminating your house or some shit,” Ciel said flatly, flicking his cigarette just shy of the window and letting ash drop onto the dark leather interior. “Or is the wife and kids back home waiting for you?”

If he noticed, Sebastian ignored the petulant gesture and tapped his own cigarette against the rim of the car’s ashtray. “No, no, nothing like that. I’m having some renovations done -- new floors, cabinets in the kitchen, that kind of stuff -- and it’s a real mess. So, I figured I’d take you someplace nice, without all the dust and plastic wrap and stuff,” he explained, unperturbed. “Although, if you want to be a brat about it, and would rather spend your night bent over a wooden sawhorse getting splinters in your feet, well, that can certainly be arranged.”

Ciel mumbled something the man couldn’t understand and turned to look out the window. His brow furrowed as he counted one, two, three glowing neon signs for hotels flash by outside the car. Okay, maybe the guy was better than a Motel 6 or Knight’s Inn -- the car and the clothes told him that much, but as time passed and they drove by one hotel after the next, Ciel’s irritation began to grow.

What the hell is this ritzy fucker doing? He kept his mouth shut and traced a fingertip over the handle of the switchblade in his pocket. The trepidation Ciel felt was not lessened when they finally turned off the main road and began navigating through several smaller side streets. Ciel realized they were on the north side of the city, where the money lived. Figures.

All of his ire and irritation flew out the window as Sebastian pulled the car into a massive roundabout and stopped in front of a black and gold sign that read Valet in grand, swooping letters that Ciel couldn’t even make out at first glance. Looking up out the window, craning his neck, Ciel could just barely see the top of the golden structure towering above them. Several black, fathomless eyes looked down on him from the building’s façade, and he realized it was a hotel, and the black spots were rooms left unoccupied.

“Are you coming?” Sebastian was already making his way out of the car. As Ciel clambered out, still a little too stunned by the grandiosity of the hotel before them to say anything, Sebastian reached into the backseat and pulled out a light brown leather messenger back and slung it over his shoulder. He passed the keys off to the valet and gave Ciel a nod to follow him up the carpet-covered stairs outside and into the lobby.

If Ciel’s jaw could have dropped any further, it would have wound up on the floor. The lobby of the hotel was huge, with tall vaulted ceilings inlaid with gold molding near the top of the walls. The second floor mezzanine looked down into the lobby, and Ciel could hear the sound of laughing and conversation bouncing off the carved stone and trickling down to the first floor. There was a small lounge past the front desk that featured an ebony grand piano and a koi pond. Ciel could see spots of color -- orange, red, white -- flitting around beneath the surface of the dark water. The lounge was mostly empty, the immaculately dressed bartender standing behind the counter, wiping down glasses and organizing bottles while the scant patrons sipped their drinks. Everything was gold and green and black and seemed to shimmer with elegance. It was the nicest place Ciel had ever set foot in.

“Ciel?”

He bristled again when Sebastian spoke his name. He had been too busy gazing at the expensive bottles stacked behind the bar, the ivory white of the piano’s keys, the tangled lines of gold that made up the pattern on the lush carpet; Sebastian had already checked in and now stood waiting for him off to the side, key card in hand. Ciel, feeling wholly out-of-place in such an extravagant hotel, buried his hands in his pockets and followed Sebastian onto the elevator without a word.

Chapter Text

The tiny light above the door handle flashed yellow, then green, and the door swung in smoothly under Sebastian’s hand. His long legs carried him deep into the room before Ciel could even step forward, and he watched Sebastian flip the light on in an altogether stunning suite. The first thing Ciel noticed was the fireplace. Not real, of course -- it ran on gas and was framed by an impressive black stone mantel. A white sofa and love seat, as well as a matching coffee and end table set, sat around the hearth. To the left, Ciel could see into the small dining area and kitchenette. There was a polished wooden table with seats for eight and an elaborate floral arrangement sitting in the center, as well as a full sized refrigerator, an electric stove with two burners, and a sink set into the dark granite countertop. Ciel couldn’t even see the bed yet. He stood in the doorway and watched Sebastian stride towards what must have been the bathroom.

“First things first, let’s get those clothes off.”

Ciel stiffened, letting the door slam shut behind him and glaring at Sebastian indignantly. Sebastian only smiled in response as he ducked into the darkened room, switching on the light and the fan before returning with a silky white robe. Stepping impossibly close to Ciel, he offered him the garment, “Take a shower. They have a laundry service here; I’ll send your clothes down to be washed.” He waved dismissively, “Just leave them outside the door.” Still rooted to his spot, Ciel watched him disappear further into the suite, leaving him to his own devices.

Ciel waited for the hot edge of anger and annoyance to appear -- he felt he should be somewhat insulted at this offer, but he was actually thankful for the opportunity. It had been a couple days since he had made it out to the community center where they offered both free laundry and showers. Ciel remembered last time he had waited outside the building at six in the morning, jumping at the chance to sign up for the earliest time slot available, before the shower drains became clogged and the walls coated in the unthinkable. Looking around, the amenities in the hotel were sure to be better than the grimy tile stalls and spotty showerheads Ciel had resigned himself to at the shelter.

Despite his interest in seeing the rest of the suite and what it had to offer him, Ciel quickly shuffled into the bathroom, shut the door, and locked it before Sebastian could change his mind and decide to slip in after him. Maybe, if he was lucky, the guy wouldn’t last long in him, and he would have some time after the coupling and before his clothes came back to indulge in the niceties of the suite. And if he wasn’t so lucky…

Well, the bathroom alone might suffice insofar as luxury. Everything was shiny and expensive-looking, with gleaming gold accents and spotless glass and dark speckled marble.

Ciel felt almost guilty emptying out the grimy contents of his pockets on the countertop, letting the switchblade and crumpled cigarette pack and loose change clatter on the stone. He continued to shed his clothes, frowning at the garments as he went; he saw the threadbare state of the knees of his jeans, the cigarette singes on his shirt, the fraying elastic of his boxer shorts, the flimsy soles of his shoes that soaked his toes whenever it rained. Bringing the armful of clothes up to his face, he sniffed the materials curiously, shrugging at the scent that was unmistakably his own before dropping them into a heap outside the bathroom door as instructed.

It took him a moment to figure out how to work the knobs and faucets, but once he had them mastered, Ciel stepped past the glass and lost himself in the steamy bliss of the walk-in shower for what felt like hours. He could have stayed in there all night, enjoying the steady stream of warm water rushing over his head and his back, breathing in the comforting scent of the lavender shampoo and body wash provided by the hotel. Eventually, his fingers and toes pruned, and the bathroom grew utterly sweltering with the trapped heat from the water.

Feeling only slightly light-headed, but much, much better after a shower, Ciel dried off with the big fluffy towel and tied the robe about his waist. It was obviously meant for an adult much larger than himself, and he nearly drowned in the soft, cozy material. He used a smaller hand towel to pat dry his hair and stepped out into the room, ready to get down to business.

Sebastian wasn’t in the front room, so Ciel walked deliberately across the carpeted floor into the back part of the suite, where the bed was. His current client was seated on another low-lying couch in the corner, bent over a coffee table. Ciel approached him, hands in the pockets of his robe, tugging on it to open it up at his chest and hopefully entice the man into action.

“Hey,” Ciel drawled in a low, and what he thought was seductive, voice.

“Hey,” Sebastian snapped his head up and glanced at Ciel with an unconcerned eye. “Can you roll?” he asked suddenly.

“Um.” Ciel looked down at what Sebastian had been fiddling with on the table. His fingers were poised above a manila folder covered in a ground up pile of weed, several crumpled rolling papers and a black grinder in two pieces at the side. “Yeah, I can.”

“Can you do me a favor, then?” Sebastian smiled hopefully and handed a paper up to Ciel. “I’m utterly hopeless when it comes to this.”

Accepting the paper wordlessly, Ciel drew up a desk chair and sat on the opposite side of the table. He felt uncomfortable as Sebastian watched him carefully, paying close attention to the effortless way Ciel rolled the paper between his fingers and the way he flicked his tongue over the gummed edge when he was finished.

“You can roll one for yourself if you want,” Sebastian said over his shoulder as he accepted the joint and headed out to the balcony to smoke. Ciel did not need to be told twice; he quickly rolled two and surreptitiously slipped the larger of the two into the pocket of his robe to save for later. Sebastian was already seated in one of the chairs on the balcony, legs propped up on the bottom rung of the metal guard rails. The joint was smoldering evenly in his hand, and he waved the glowing cherry at the chair beside him. Ciel sat down, accepted the lighter when Sebastian offered it, and the two sat and smoked together in near silence.

***

“Are you hungry?” Sebastian asked once they were back inside the room, sliding the balcony door shut behind him.

Hungry? Starving. Ciel’s stomach roiled at the words, suddenly aware of how empty and unsatisfied it was. The two had sat on the balcony for a while, stoned and watching the gray elephantine clouds march across the sky towards them until they released a mess of cold rain and lighting upon the pair, forcing them back inside. Ciel was famished. He nodded.

“Here.” Sebastian passed him a large room service menu with thick, fibrous pages and gold embossing in the corners. “Order whatever you like. The desserts are ama-zing. There’s a vegetarian page, and they have a couple of really nice vegan options too, if you’re into that.” Living without a permanent home, on the streets, Ciel didn’t have the luxury of being picky when it came to eating. He figured this was obvious, and the look in the man’s eye told him it was, but why act like it? Ciel accepted the menu, wordlessly, and threw himself down on the massive mattress to peruse its contents while Sebastian returned to the couch and pulled out several more folders full of heavily-worded papers.

“Can I order a drink?” Ciel asked and held up the menu in front of him, opened to the last two pages that offered an exquisite litany of beers, wines, and cocktails.

Sebastian smiled at him, amused. He was tempted to feed him a teasing line about drinking underage, but he simply shrugged, “Whatever you want,” and returned to his work.

“How about a bottle?” Ciel had decided to see how much he could squeeze out of the man before he had enough and decided to take what he thought Ciel owed.

Sebastian didn’t skip a beat, chuckling and setting down his work as he replied, “Depends on what you’re thinking.”

“Champagne?”

“Sure, I would be amenable to that. I trust you to pick a good one,” he said cheekily. Closing his eyes, Ciel waved a finger and let it fall on the page under the list of champagnes. He heard Sebastian make a noise, but he couldn’t tell if the soft exhale of air was a laugh or a scoff. “Clos du Mesnil,” Ciel read out, opening his eyes to his random selection. He pursed his lips -- he had never heard of the brand, and it was over five hundred dollars a bottle.

“Oh, my. Krug -- good stuff. Are you planning on sharing any?” Sebastian asked teasingly.

“Maybe.” Ciel crawled across the bed and reached for the phone, dialing for the front desk and placing his order for his dinner, dessert, and drinks. Sebastian smiled to himself behind his papers as he listened to the kid list off everything he wanted -- lobster macaroni & cheese, a half-pound burger with waffle fries, side orders of mashed potatoes and green beans, the champagne he couldn’t quite pronounce, a slice of strawberry cheesecake and a peanut butter fudge brownie.

“Alrighty, Mr. Michaelis, we’ll have that all brought up to you in room 2108 as fast as possible then,” the voice on the line said cheerfully, and Ciel smiled to himself at the exorbitant charge he had just added to this man’s bill and at being addressed so formally. Michaelis. The name sounded European. He mumbled his thanks into the mouthpiece and was about to hang up the phone when Sebastian appeared beside him and took the receiver right out of his hand. Ciel reclined into the pile of pillows against the headboard and closed his eyes, waiting for Sebastian to pounce on him once he had finished placing his own order for some healthy quinoa chicken salad garbage.

It never came.

Ciel listened to the phone rattle in its cradle as Sebastian hung it up, and then listened to him walk across the room and return to the couch in the corner. Cautiously, Ciel opened his eyes and glanced over, surprised to see the man engrossed in his work once again. In that moment, Ciel had to admit that he felt pretty good. All things considered, he was doing great. Warm, clean, and dry; stoned, a meal on the way; a client that was hot enough to burn him.

Ciel suddenly sat up and looked at the man in the corner. The movement on the bed caught Sebastian’s eye and he glanced up from the pages he had begun annotating with a congenial smile. “You feeling okay?” he asked. Ciel responded with a curt nod, the inside of his lower lip between his teeth.

This was all too good to be true.

“I’m going to watch TV,” he declared, and Sebastian replied, “Go right ahead.”

Ciel, in keeping with the spirit of his little game, decided to order the most expensive movie he could find on pay-per-view and crank the volume. Most of them were adult films, which he hovered over for a minute before deciding against it and settling for some gun-slinging action thriller that had been released only a few weeks ago. Eventually, there was a knock on the door, which Sebastian answered. He returned to the bedroom rolling a silver cart with Ciel’s order atop it. The boy dug into his meal right away, eating ravenously with his hands as Sebastian uncorked the champagne and poured himself a glass.

“Hey, did I say I was going to share?” Ciel asked with ketchup on the corner of his mouth. Almost defiantly, Sebastian took a sip from the glass before offering it to Ciel with another sickeningly straight smile.

“Sorry,” he said, “just wanted a little taste. It’s all yours.”

Embarrassing heat climbed up Ciel’s face and he ducked his head, shoveled another handful of fries into his mouth. “Its fine,” he mumbled, “you can have some. You’re paying for it anyway.”

Sebastian returned to his couch. Every now and then, he would glance up and surreptitiously watch Ciel, whose enthusiasm for the food was slowly beginning to wane. Before he was too full, he abandoned the dinner and moved on to dessert, washing down every other bite with a swig of champagne straight from the bottle. By the time the credits of the film began to stream across the black backdrop, Ciel was feeling very good, albeit a little overstuffed, and was nearly finished with the expensive bottle in his lap.

The list of options on the television was not currently exciting to him -- documentaries, romantic comedies, children’s flicks, some B-list horror film about demon possession at a witch orgy. Ciel sighed, tilting his head back to slurp up the last little bit of champange available. “Hey,” he drawled, the empty bottle slipping from his hand onto the floor as he rolled over onto his stomach. Without setting down his papers, Sebastian glanced up at Ciel and raised his eyebrows, mimicking his sultry Hey. “Can I roll myself another joint?” Ciel asked, smirking, ready for the dam to burst and the man to go off on him. Maybe it would finally spur him into action, and he would get up from that stupid couch, throw aside his papers, grab a handful of Ciel’s hair and shove his cock down his throat as he called him a greedy little whore. Ciel was getting kind of bored.

“Of course,” he answered, much to Ciel’s surprise. “Would you mind if I joined you?” His features shifted from cordial and pleasant to downright smug as he watched the young man on the bed sit up straight, his face full of indignation. Ciel was disappointed -- this was not the reaction he had been trying to work from the man. The whole night it had been “Sure, do whatever you want,” and he was tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“Jesus, what is it?” he slurred. “Do you get off on spoiling some poor little street kid with your money?”

Sebastian set down his folders and shrugged, “Maybe,” and then raised his eyebrows. “Is there a problem with that?”

Ciel sneered and bit his lip. Seiglinde had always talked about landing guys like this, ones that wanted nothing other than to spend their money on you. Of course, nobody had ever approached any one of the three of them with such a prospect, but that was neither here nor there. The idea of sugar daddies had always seemed strangely perverse to Ciel, but he suddenly found it hard to argue with when he was the one being spoiled and lavished with the luxury goods and kind demeanor.

“So, if Seiglinde had come back with you,” he said, ignoring Sebastian’s question, “the one who snatched your wallet… would she have gotten the same treatment?”

“More or less,” Sebastian hummed, “even though I don’t prefer women most of the time. And, she did try to rob me, so I might not have been as patient with her. She probably would’ve gotten a mouthful already had she tried to play the same little game you are now,” he laughed.

“Well, I -- what are you talking about?” Ciel sputtered.

“You want to ring up the bill for this place? Go right ahead,” he answered simply. There was nothing in his tone or face to suggest that he was upset by Ciel’s ploy. “I’ve got more money than I know what to do with, so I might as well spend it on someone who does, you know? You seem to be having fun with it.”

Ciel blanched. “You know this is fucking weird, right?”

“I suppose it is a bit… unorthodox. If it makes you uncomfortable, I can always pay you and take you back home. Though it may be a little before your clothes are done…”

“I didn’t say I wanted to go home,” Ciel protested. “It’s just… you’re fucking weird,” he repeated lamely. It irritated him beyond belief when all Sebastian did was laugh. Begrudgingly, and a little bit belligerently, Ciel stomped over to the table and took his seat across from him, not even waiting for him to say anything before he grabbed up the grinder and the pack of rolling papers.