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There is a certain peace in the stillness of the night, when the only sound is the mournful howl of wind lashing its way through the weeping boughs. Everything pales in significance when Ciel compares himself to the vastness of the night sky- an endless entity of mystery; a being shrouded in tendrils of darkness that slither out to lure unsuspecting victims in. It is a trance that is difficult to break free from, and he suspects this is how every single victim of Sebastian's machinations has ever felt. Never mind that he is the newest prey in their elaborate dance.

"The sky is so tragically beautiful, a graveyard of stars," he comments quietly, knowing that the demon is lurking not too far away. The faint crackle of flames in the candelabra that Sebastian holds is enough to betray his presence, and Ciel beckons him forward. Sleek as a panther, Sebastian obeys as his master bids and turns to regard him.

"My lord, it is not like you to be so melancholy. Perhaps the young master would like to enlighten his humble servant on that regard?" Sebastian's response almost convinces Ciel that Sebastian cares for him, about what he thinks- but no. This is merely part of his disguise, Ciel must remind himself.

"Do you ever regret making this contract with me?" Ciel sidesteps the question with one of his own. He does not want to confront the shadows that lay low in the darkest corners of his mind, because he knows that once he starts he will never stop. It is a question that surprises himself even as he asks it, but it is one that he has been wondering about for a while.

"Why do you ask, my lord?" Sebastian cocks his head to the side, politely intrigued. So very cat-like in its curiosity. It is no wonder that Sebastian has a deep love for those of the feline affectation- that is, if demons can even feel love at all. 

"Just answer me, Sebastian." Ciel would have snapped at any other time at the demon's evasiveness, but he simply cannot bring himself to summon forth the requisite anger. It is weariness that overcomes him: weary of his role as the Queen's Watchdog; weary of having to put up this entire pretense; weary of always being in the shadow of his late brother. Just- so, so tired of everything. 

"Not at all, my lord. Having this contract allows me to walk on this plane of existence for longer than mere hours. Despite being bound to a weaker human form, observing humans has always been a pastime that demons have always enjoyed. It is interesting to see how self-destructive humans can be with no castigation on our part, is it not? Humans have such a propensity for evil, yet they denounce us for what we are made to do- hypocrisy at its finest," Sebastian shrugs nonchalantly, his expression pensive. 

"In regards to serving the young master, however, I do not either. This is far more interesting than some of the contracts I have secured in the past, and I must admit that wearing this ensemble grows on me," Sebastian says neutrally, flicking off a piece of imaginary lint as he speaks. "The young lord is a fickle master to serve, without a doubt. But I abhor pushovers, and I have learnt to grudgingly respect you for your strength of mind."

Ciel is aware that he is gaping at the demon's candid admission, but he cannot stop it even if he tries. There might be a faint upwelling of pride within him, but he cannot luxuriate in the moment. He knows all too well how carefully crafted the words are that slip from Sebastian's forked tongue. Even though Sebastian cannot explicitly tell lies, it does not mean he cannot twist his words to leave them open for interpretation or lie by omission.

Rumination over the implications of Sebastian's words will have to wait for another day. Ciel is still reeling from it- only time will serve to shed more light on the situation. 

Following the tip-tap of the cane is the sharp clack of oxfords as the pair head towards the master bedroom. The open window is once more abandoned to the eternal silences, swallowing the words that will never leave Ciel's mouth. 

 


 

Sebastian is-

"Sebastian," Ciel orders softly, his voice muffled by the beginnings of sleep reaching out for him. (He knows that sleep will never truly embrace him; rather, it is a basic necessity for an existence where he does not live any longer. It is a necessity that he detests, and Sebastian must concur.) "Stay with me. Until I fall asleep."

The torrential rainfall pelting harshly against the gilded cage is Ciel's only answer. Sebastian does not say anything at all; a sharp contrast to his uncharacteristic verbosity earlier. There is a vague, warped resemblance of an emotion in his eyes, but it is indecipherable in the semi-darkness. Ciel cannot begin to fathom the demon that willingly stays leashed in his presence, that submits to his orders. (It is something, he thinks, that he will never understand.)

Sebastian exhales slightly, and sinks to a deep bow. "As the young master commands." He raises up the candelabra in his gloved hands ever so higher, and Ciel numbly notes the way his fuschia eyes flash brighter, like a horrific trick of the light. It is not emotion in Sebastian's eyes that Ciel sees. It is hunger. Primal, soul-aching, animalistic hunger that scorches him alive. Ciel fears that it will consume Sebastian with the depth of it- except that he cannot, will not sympathise with a monster. 

When Sebastian smiles, it does not reach his eyes. His smile is fangless; a charming one that he is accustomed to donning on for humans. But his eyes remain the same- it is that which terrifies Ciel. Sebastian may successfully masquerade as a human, but he is not humane. Sebastian assumes the facade of the perfect butler, his hooded eyes watchful. However, Ciel is not sure if he is watching for enemies or making sure his prey does not run.

If Ciel does open his eyes minutely while Sebastian blows out the candles, he will deny he did at all. Lying to himself is the more comfortable option. It means he can pretend Sebastian was not watching him much like one would a juicy piece of meat; that the only being who chose to stay by his side was not the one destined to condemn his soul to an eternity of hell.

If Sebastian hears a choked sob escape the young master's throat, he will deny it as well. After all, what more is left to say when tears run dry?

Cruel in his kindness.