University of Amsterdam dorms, Amsterdam, Holland. April 25th, 1943
“Ciel.” Sebastian gently shook the librarian’s shoulder to rouse him from sleep. “Love, I made dinner for you.”
The oldest Spretto grunted something that sounded like a thank you as he turned over and took the plate, setting it next to similar untouched lunch and the breakfast, only partially eaten because of Pluto.
Sebastian looked at the three uneaten meals and sighed. “You’ve got to eat something, babe.”
“I’m alright.” Ciel muttered back as he curled up under the heavy duvet once more. “I think I’ll just go back to sleep.”
A sigh escaped the student’s lips but he nodded and left the room, shutting the door softly. He drew a hand through his midnight hair. Ciel had barely left that bed since Alois’ kidnapping. He didn’t eat and slept most of the time. He quit his job at the library and Sebastian couldn’t think of the last time he’d even seen his boyfriend hold a book. All he did was lie in bed and hug Pluto close. Sebastian was at his wit’s end on what to do to help. All his attempts had been shut down with mumbled words. Oh, how so very quiet Ciel had become since the incident. He spoke little and the words were near impossible to hear when they did come.
He spared a look at the door before heading to the kitchen, worries of Ciel the only thing in his mind despite the many tests he was to be taking at the beginning of the next month. He just wished his boyfriend would show some sign of true life rather than just survival. Maybe if there was some way they could get Alois back…
Sebastian sighed and shook his head. What was he talking about? The SS soldiers took him. They would be lucky if he even survived the trip to a concentration camp. Another soft breath left his lips as he gathered the dishes he’d used to make the meal, almost dropping a plate when a thought struck him. “I’m going out!” he called to Ciel as he grabbed his coat to shove on his arms. He thought he heard a mumbled reply but it could have just been foolish wishes, rushing out the door without checking.
Ciel woke the next morning with Sebastian’s usual call for breakfast. Today, though, he did pick a little at the sausage and oatmeal, having a couple bites of each before dragging the blanket back over his shoulders.
“Actually, I got something for you.” Sebastian interrupted before the librarian could return to his dreamless sleep.
“Oh? And what’s that?” he asked in almost monotone, turning to face his boyfriend who gave a smile and set a box on the bed, careful to avoid smashing Pluto’s paws. Ciel frowned a little and pushed himself up to open the cardboard flaps. “ Dymer by Clive Hamilton; Spirits in Bondage by Clive Hamilton; The Allegory of Love by C. S. Lewis; Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis; Perelandra by C. S. Lewis; The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis.” he said each title as he pulled out the books, tearing up through the process until the last of the list was nothing more than slurred, emotion-filled words. Ciel threw his arms around Sebastian’s neck, looking at the replacement of his C. S. Lewis collection. “Thank you.” he eventually choked out.
Sebastian wound his arms around his boyfriend with a soft smile. “You’re welcome.” he whispered, releasing him when the librarian moved back a bit.
Ciel breathed out a shaky breath and he closed his eyes, drawing his knees up to his chest to wrap his arms around them. “It’s difficult…” he whispered and Sebastian sat up straighter. Ciel talking about what he was feeling? This wasn’t what he had been expecting to come from this; he’d expected some form of thanks and then either silently going to sleep or his boyfriend starting to at least read again. Talking was so much better than both outcomes. “It’s been years since Alois and I were separated. Even as children we spent much time together. It was once I was older that I started to detest having to watch over him so carefully.” the librarian choked on a bitter chuckle. “How foolish of me. I had a brother who adored me and would watch my back as well as he could. How could I have taken that for granted?”
“You’ll never actually appreciate something until it’s gone.” the taller man said gently as he set a hand on Ciel’s back. He smiled slightly when the slim librarian leaned into his side, letting out a slow sigh.
“He’s been with me my entire life; it’s so strange to have him gone.” Ciel whispered, his lover nodding but Sebastian stayed quiet. He couldn’t say Alois would be alright when he knew for a fact most people who went with Nazi soldiers ended up coming back as thin, starved corpses. There was nothing he could do but hold the small man close and try to comfort him how he could.
“I want to forget.” said Ciel rather suddenly and the student looked down at him with a frown.
The younger man looked down, fingers picking at the duvet. “I want to stop thinking about all this… I want to only be able to focus on you and nothing else… Please.” he finished in a quiet voice.
It took Sebastian a minute to understand that Ciel was looking for sexual distractions, but he nodded once the light bulb clicked in his mind. He cupped his lover’s cheek, making him look up. “If you’re sure…”
“Positive.” he replied firmly and pressed their mouths together.
Sebastian was a little hesitant at first - sex didn’t seem like the proper way to deal with this but if it would help his boyfriend, at least temporarily, he wasn’t going to say no. And so he gave into the kiss, licking into Ciel’s mouth as the librarian let out a soft groan.
He grunted as he was pushed back and Ciel wasted no time in getting them undressed. As soon as all their clothes were on the floor, Ciel’s lips wrapped around his lover’s arousal and Sebastian made a breathy noise. He spread his legs wider for the librarian to get comfortable between them as he started to lick along the head and sensitive underside.
“Oh, shit.” he whimpered when Ciel’s wet mouth slowly took more of his cock. He could both hear and feel Ciel gag as the head hit the back of his throat, but he seemed eager still, forcing his throat to relaxed - and if Ciel wanted to keep going, who was Sebastian to tell him he couldn’t?
After getting his gag reflex under control, the librarian slowly pulled off only to plunge his mouth back down on his length. He could feel saliva starting to drip out of his mouth, as he couldn’t figure out how to swallow without choking himself, making a mess on Sebastian’s pelvis. He lifted his mouth completely off his lover’s dick and wet his lips before swallowing. He licked around the velvety tip, pressing his tongue down on the particularly sensitive spot on the underside. He heard a low moan from Sebastian at that and moved to put his lips on the edge of his shaft and suck on that spot with a hum.
Ciel smiled softly at the lovely pants and moans Sebastian was giving as he lathered his tongue across the student’s length.
When his cock was dripping with spit, Ciel climbed up and placed a hand on his lover’s shoulder, his other holding Sebastian’s dick as the smaller man impaled himself on it slowly with a low groan. “Fuck,” Sebastian murmured when the tight heat of Ciel’s ass was on him, biting at his lip and groaning as the librarian started to circle his hips slowly.
After getting a moment to adjust, Ciel started to bounce slowly on his boyfriend’s lap, placing a hand over his mouth when Sebastian cursed again. “Shh, my love, we need to stay quiet. No one can hear us.” he whispered, but with a devilish smirk, he moved his hips faster, in turn making Sebastian gasp in pleasure around his hand.
The smaller man moaned softly as he rocked on Sebastian’s cock, sweating out precum into his lover.
“Mmm, fuck, I love you.” Ciel whimpered out.
Sebastian looked at him, mouth parted in more than a moan now. While the feelings were certainly reciprocated, the words had never been spoken between them. He was ecstatic to hear them, though. “I love you, too.” he panted out.
The smaller man let out a whine when his prostate was hit, Sebastian gasping as he got tighter around his arousal. He moaned as Ciel bounced on him faster, stripping his cock quickly with his fist, his boyfriend watching with lust blown eyes as Ciel came heavily onto his chest, moaning his name out as quietly as he could - which truthfully was not quiet at all.
He rode out his orgasm with heavy pants then lifted himself off Sebastian’s cock slowly, only to take the shaft in his mouth and bob his head quickly. The student groaned, fisting his hand in Ciel’s hair. He came as soon as the head bumped against the back of his throat, rocking his hips into it.
Ciel pulled back once he’d swallowed what he could, wiping the white that he dribbled down his chin.
After handing him a tissue to wipe himself up, Sebastian smiled at him, getting a grin in return as Ciel thudded down next to him into the pillows. He leaned forward and pressed their mouths together gently, the residual taste of semen there mixed in with Ciel’s own flavour.
“Thank you.” the librarian murmured as he curled up closer to his boyfriend.
“I love you.” Sebastian smiled softly, stroking his fingers through Ciel’s navy hair. “It will be alright.” he whispered, the words heavy on his tongue with the blatant lie.
But Ciel nodded and closed his eyes. “I love you too.”
Jew’s home, Amsterdam-West, Amsterdam, Holland. April 30th, 1943
Half a week later there was a service held for those who had died or had been taken in the parade. The Jews of the city had become paranoid and overly-cautious in everything they did, so they waited as long as they dared before administering their traditional death rites.
Ciel came only on Sebastian’s insistence, saying he both needed to leave the cramped dorm and gain some form of closure.
“This doesn’t change anything.” he murmured as he and his boyfriend took a seat near the back of the throng seated in a Jewish woman’s backyard, candles set near the doors with only an upturned wooden box to act as a pulpit. He cast a look around at the group of sullen-faced people, surprised to see quite a few without yellow Stars of David standing brightly on their chest. At least there was assurance this would be more of a civil progression rather than a religious one.
“Then you can provide support to those who are still mourning.” Sebastian whispered back.
Ciel was about to reply that at least they still had something to hold on to, at least their loved ones were assuredly dead and in the afterlife rather than suffering some awful misery, knowing in your heart that they were alive but not being able to do a thing about it. At least they still had faith… Ciel lowered his head and kept his eyes on the vibrant grass, yellow flowers dotted between the blades, as a man wrapped in white robes stepped onto the box.
“We are gathered today to mourn those who were brutally taken from us at the beginning of the year.” the priest’s voice boomed over the crowd, croaky from old age but well projected. “But we know, that they are in rest now.
“While their passing is hard, I assure you all we will see our beloved ones again.”
Bullshit, the navy haired man snorted to himself.
The priest stopped in his words to receive a piece of paper from a woman about his age. Ciel recalled seeing it by the door as the group wandered into the service, seeing people stop to write a name down on it.
“Among those who we have come to honor tonight are: Alice Janssen, Taylor Smith, Vendelín Fitzroy, Brenda Leonardsson, Maria Kopecky, Alois Spretto-”
Ciel was on his feet in a flash. “He’s not dead!” he shouted, a sudden wave of grief rushing over him, anger laced through it heavily. “He’s not dead, you worthless fucker!”
“Ciel-” Sebastian started as he got up.
“No!” the librarian barked, loud and clear for everyone in the audience to hear. “There is no God, don’t you understand?! There is no merciful deity up there watching over us! Heaven, Hell - who cares?! We’ve already been abandoned! We’re scrabbling on our own in the dark! Open your damn eyes and stop living so blindly or else more people are going to get hurt!”
Sebastian wrapped his arms around the other man while the crowd stared at him, shock written blatantly on their faces. Ciel stumbled back into the embrace, covering his face with his hands as his shoulders started to shake with sobs. “He’s not dead… He can’t be dead…”
A brunette girl, no older than sixteen, leaned over and put a hand on Ciel’s. “Ciel…”
“No, Paula!” he barked as he pulled away from the gentle touch. “You can’t tell me you still believe in all this fucking bullshit ! What evidence have you?! What sense does any of this make?! What kind of ignorant moron do you have to be to be able to look over the newspaper then say ‘God will provide?!’ He’s done such a fucking good job of providing now, hasn’t He! If there is a god, we are but his toys to play with as he sees fit! Get your heads out of your asses, people, and see that for once!” he shouted and looked over the crowd of ashen-faced people, some mothers covering their children’s ears and some staring with slack jaws, shaking his head before wordlessly stalking off.
Sebastian stayed where he was for a long while, completely frozen with shock at the outburst, before he regained his senses and ran after his boyfriend.
It had taken two hours for Sebastian to find Ciel after his speech at the funeral procession, and when he did it was in the train station of all people - his boyfriend sticking out sorely as he stood completely still while others bustled around him, hectic energy near palpable in the air filled with coal smoke, barely even noticing the small man, still as a statue.
The student pushed past people without even a word of apology as he made a beeline for Ciel. He didn’t even jump when Sebastian laid a hand on his shoulder, not so much as a blink. “He loved trains…” he whispered. “That’s all he ever wanted to do - well, anything with trains. He wanted to paint a mural on one then be conductor.” he cracked a small smile. “In that order. Said he had to paint one before he could drive one.” Ciel closed his eyes, breathing getting a little ragged. “And now he never will. Because of those damn Nazis, he’s never going to have a chance to see a train again, or his puppy or a butterfly or-” he stopped as tears started to flow down his face. “And it’s all my fault. I should have kept a closer eye on him, I should have-”
Sebastian hushed him. “This isn’t your fault, Ciel. There’s nothing you could have done, so don’t blame yourself.”
The librarian lowered his head miserably. “But if it’s my fault, that means it’s my job to fix it. And if it’s my job, I can do it. But it’s not my fault, and there’s nothing I can do to bring my baby brother back.”
“We’ll get him back, it’ll be alright.” whispered Sebastian, but his words sounded empty - even to him. Hitler had a deathgrip on the country, a grip that the SS and all his other militaristic followers made sure to keep like a vice. There was nothing they could even begin to do without being put on numerous watchlists - perhaps even executed one day. Stamp out the unclean. And in this situation, that was those who wanted good in the world.
How others couldn’t see what a monster Adolf Hitler was, Sebastian didn’t know. If only he wasn’t such a damn pragmatic speaker - enthusiastic and saying what the people wanted to hear. That’s how he’d gotten so popular. If he wasn’t so passionate and vehement about what he was saying, so many sensible people would probably see through his guise, see how horrible his regime was.
Sebastian shook his head with a sigh. They were completely powerless, and here he was trying to give his boyfriend a false hope. And yet, he found himself muttering in a firmer tone, “We’ll find Alois.”
Ciel nodded blankly along, shoulders shaking and biting at his lip as he tried to stop his tears.
“Come on.” the student murmured as he wrapped a comforting arm around his lover’s shoulders to lead him gently back to their apartment.
He made the smaller man sit, quickly making a cup of hawthorn tea for him. Ciel made a face at the bitter taste after taking a small sip. But once Sebastian added a couple cubes of sugar, the flavor was far cleaner.
“I just don’t understand.” the librarian whispered between small swallows of the tea. “Why did it have to be him? Why couldn’t it have been me? I’m strong enough for such pain, he is not. He is but a boy. Why does he have to suffer such atrocities?”
Sebastian sat on the couch next to Ciel, steepling his fingers against his lips as he thought. “There was a Japanese poet named Masahide who once said ‘My barn having burned to the ground, I can now see the moon.’ Have you ever thought that perhaps this ordeal is not for him, but for you ?”
A frown creased Ciel’s brow. “Sebastian, I don’t know how the crack talk of some religious-”
“You don’t need a god to think about the mysteries of life.” the student cut in, voice tender but sharp. “You met the psychology students, quite a few of them considered themselves atheists, but they are still philosophists.”
Ciel sunk down in his seat. “Alright, fine, continue on.” he grumbled.
“Perhaps it’s just for me, but one of the fastest ways to learn a lesson of any sort is through pain. Any kind. The idea I’m getting at is that, yes, you have suffered and it is anguish, but maybe you have things to learn. Can you not say you think higher of Alois now, that you care for him more, that you appreciate what you had now that it is gone?”
Ciel looked down. He was getting annoyed often with his little brother before this happened, angry he had to take care of him so thoroughly. But now that he was gone, Ciel wanted nothing more than to be able to help him clean up the kitchen of pain and crayons after he’d drawn more pictures to cover their bedroom walls with, or take a walk with his brother through the park, or- well anything, really. He just wanted Alois back.
Sebastian wrapped his arm around his boyfriend’s waist and kissed the top of his head. “But no pain is permanent. And isn’t it true that as long as one can suffer, one is living, rather than just surviving? You’re human, and there’s pain in life, but pain brings opportunity: the chance to either rise above it and become better than you were, or to crumble and escape into madness.” he licked his lips slowly, trying to figure out what else he could say when most of the words seemed to just bounce off Ciel’s aura of depression. “‘Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say ‘My tooth is aching’ than to say “My heart is broken.’’ But which one gives you more from it?”
Despite the solemnness of the quote, Ciel couldn’t help but smile a bit. “Don’t you reference C.S. Lewis to me.”
Sebastian’s own lips turn up a bit. “‘Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God, do you learn.’”
“‘When we lose one blessing, another is often most unexpectedly given in its place.’” Ciel hummed.
The student tightened his arm around Ciel. “Exactly.”
“He doesn't get enough credit for his work.” he murmured and set his empty tea cup aside. He cupped Sebastian’s cheek and kissed him softly. “Thank you for being so patient with me.”
“I always will.” smiled Sebastian.
Ciel closed his eyes and shifted to get comfortable against the student’s chest. After a moment of silence he reached over to the coffee table to grab Out of the Silent Planet . “May I read to you?” he asked quietly.
A tender smile rose on Sebastian’s face. “Of course, love.” he murmured and kissed his boyfriend’s cheek as he opened the book and Ciel’s gentle tone began to wash over him.