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Soma wasn't easily scared. He would, in the privacy of his own mind, admit that he was far too proud to be scared most of the time.

But he was scared of Ciel. He was scared of Ciel, the boy he idolized and loved like a little brother, and also the people the boy surrounded himself with.

He was scared of Ciel himself. His aura was big, bigger than he'd ever seen before, and mostly red, from deep, to orange reds, but spotted with muddied red in places. The inside was silver and gray and yellow and the very center was pure white. The boy was mature, scarily so, and ruthless. Soma could see that he would do anything to achieve his goals.

The first time Soma realized this had been a few months after he had helped to nurse Ciel back to health.

Ciel had returned to the townhouse for yet another case, but the people he was after had broken in. Soma wondered how they had gotten in without Agni noticing them – he had thought that that was impossible!

Ciel just sighed as Sebastian stood between him and the intruders, one of whom was pointing a shaking gun at him. He fixed the men with a menacing glare (and Soma wondered how he possessed the ability to glare at so many people at once), crossed his arms, and snapped, "Sebastian."

Sebastian (Soma was also scared of Sebastian, he didn't understand why Ciel wasn't, and that just made Ciel seem even scarier, because scary Sebastian obeyed him without question) smirked. "Yes, Young Master."

Another reason to be scared. Ciel didn't even tell Sebastian what he was supposed to be doing. It was like they had some sort of telepathic connection. He freaked out mentally. They didn't, did they? They didn't. Right? Great, now he was even more scared of them.

Anyway, Sebastian had then first slammed the man with the gun (which he was quickly relieved of and Soma had no idea when that had happened because a moment ago Sebastian had been across the room) into the wall, stunning him, and the next man was slammed hard into the ground and rendered unconscious. The third and final man had backed away and had a butter knife soaring toward him, but Soma wasn't sure exactly what had happened next because Agni had slammed a hand over his eyes, but he could guess, because the next thing he heard was the thump of a body hitting the ground. Agni hadn't uncovered his eyes, so he could only hear things then.

Ciel's voice was first – fierce with irritation. "I will assume that this is not a foolish endeavor to kill me by yourselves, seeing as you managed to actual sneak in and therefore are not complete idiots, though you do seem quite close to being as such. And that means that someone is pulling your strings. Who is it?" Ciel's voice was sharp, demanding, no trace of the young boy he really was in its dark vibrations.

Soma heard a sort of denial, presumably from the man.

Ciel's voice came again as a whimper of pain came from the man. "I would reconsider if I were you. My butler can cause you no end of physical pain, and I myself can rip everything from you. I am the Queen's Guard Dog; that means, in simple terms, that I can access virtually any information I wish and dispose of anyone I deem necessary. Finding you, finding your family, your friends, would be a simple task for me. Ending their lives would be even simpler. You gave the wrong answer the first time; would you like to try again?"

Soma heard another sort of denial, weaker this time, but couldn't make out anything else because Agni turned him around so that he was facing him and then covered his ears.

But even that could only muffle the screams, and Soma never looked at Ciel the same way. He still wished he could be as successful as Ciel, but less ruthless.

The memory of the screams flashed through his mind again and he shivered.

A lot less ruthless.

Soma was also afraid of Sebastian. Sebastian was tall, almost as tall as Agni and just as strong, too. Sebastian was every bit as dark and merciless as his master – maybe even more so. His aura was clear red, like his master's, but beneath that was deep purple, and the core scared Soma, too – it was as black as the new moon. Blacker, even. Some still remembered what he had said the day after Agni left.

"You careless pig!"

"I'm the careless one? You're in England at the estate of my master, Lord Phantomhive. What you childishly don't seem to recognize is that as it stands your presence in this household amounts to little more than a nuisance. You're but a helpless child who can do nothing without Agni at his side. But now your pillar of strength has left you."

"You're right… I've lost everything. Everyone who mattered to me."

"Lost? You're more of a child than I thought. You haven't lost anything, Prince. Don't you understand? You can't have lost what you never had to begin with. Status, from your parents. A palace, from your parents. A servant, from your parents. Never before in your life has anything actually belonged to you. Isn't that right?"

"It's not…"

"Some part of you must have known the truth about Agni. But you were too much of a coward to face the truth, weren't you?"

"You're wrong… You're wrong! You're wrong! You're wrong!"

"You know I'm not wrong. You're finally seeing the truth, and now you want to play the tragic hero. What a hopelessly pathetic brat you are."

"They said they'd be with me forever…"

"And you actually believed that? You're so naïve. Why on earth would they stay when they got nothing in return? That's something most three-year-olds understand. Time to face facts: Nobody ever loved you."

"That's enough of that."

He was still glad that Ciel had stopped Sebastian's verbal assault; he had needed it in order to 'grab hold of the thread', as Ciel put it, but he still remembered the words with crystal clarity, how they had seemed to tear into his very soul, reaching his every insecurity and pulling them to the surface. Yes, Sebastian terrified him.

Finally, Ciel's fiancé scared him. Sure, at first she had seemed everything Ciel wasn't – childish, sweet, caring, and merciful. Her aura was bright silver with gray on the inside, royal blue with gold in the middle, and most of all, it was a bright pink laced with pale yellow and seemed a good influence on the unforgiving boy.

But she wasn't. Soma realized this not long after he first met her. Not very long at all…

Agni and Soma had dropped in on Ciel at his mansion to visit. As it turned out, so had Elizabeth. Soma had been very pleased – the last time he had seen her, she had seemed really sweet and caring, and he liked her. But then she had told him that Ciel had a business meeting that night. If he was quiet, he could stay and watch from one of the balconies. Her eyes had been practically glowing with anticipation and Soma himself really liked the idea of watching Ciel to see what he did at his meetings – although he'd heard that they were really boring.

So Soma and Agni had hidden in the library of one of the studies as the man (Soma didn't remember his name) was shown in. Ciel was waiting with Elizabeth and a game Soma remembered him working on. One of the violent ones.

The man sat himself across from Ciel and smiled at him. Ciel didn't smile back. Shockingly, neither did Elizabeth. Both just stared at him. His smile faltered.

Finally, Ciel spoke. "Welcome to my manor, Mr. Baoren. I trust your journey went well?"

"It did indeed, Lord Phantomhive. Might I ask who this lovely lady is?" he replied cordially.

"This is my fiancé, Lady Elizabeth Cordelia Ethel Midford," Ciel introduced, no hint of the smile that usually came with the mention of his fiancé, however small it usually was.

"How do you do, Mr. Baoren," Elizabeth had added, every bit as solemn as Ciel. Soma had wondered why she was so solemn, it hadn't seemed like her at all.

"So, Mr. Baoren, shall we play?" Ciel asked, gesturing to the already set-up game board. Soma wondered why it felt like he wasn't talking about the game.

"Uh… I have not seen this game before, Lord Phantomhive," Baoren said warily.

Elizabeth took it upon herself to explain this one. "You wouldn't have, Mr. Baoren. It hasn't been produced yet; it is still under development, you see."

Ciel explained the game carefully, and the man nodded along. Soma was very confused; there seemed to be some sort of interplay between the three beyond the simple explanation that he just didn't understand. It was definitely there, but it confused him.

Soma was practically nodding off when he heard Elizabeth giggle. "Ooh, Mr. Baoren. That's was a bad move, whatever shall you do now?"

"I'm sure that I can work my way around it," the man replied with a smile.

"I always have been good at picking up on missteps," Ciel replied. "All the faster to gain my victory."

"Your skill in games is well known," the man agreed. "It is something few can match."

"And fewer still can evade," Elizabeth put in with a smile. The man seemed to shiver. Soma had been very confused; he was certain that there was some other… thing… involved, but he was lost.

But that wasn't the scary part. No, not at all. The scary part came later, when the man, as Elizabeth later told him, was being Punished.

Mr. Baoren was below, in one of the large rooms. Everyone in the manor except Ciel and Sebastian was on the balcony, hiding from sight. The room was scarcely lit. Ciel stood in the middle of the room as Baoren, already half-scared out of his wits, stumbled into the room.

"Hello, Mr. Baoren. Did you enjoy the first part of your punishment?"

"P-punishment?" Baoren gasped, still trying to feign ignorance.

"Yes, punishment. Punishment for thinking that you could fool a Phantomhive."

Mr. Baoren finally gave up his act and cried, "I'm sorry, Lord Phantomhive, it will never happen again, I swear it won't!"

"No," Ciel agreed. "It won't."

The lights went out. Soma heard Elizabeth start to giggle as Ciel's voice continued.

"You may believe that what you have experienced thus far is the very worst a man can give to you. And you may be right, Mr. Baoren. But I am not a man, and I can do so much worse than this to you. I hold within my hands the ability to ruin you, to end your life without ending your misery. I can bring you down from a rich man to someone even lower than the beggars on the streets. I can make it so anyone you meet will turn from you in disgust. I can make it so you are driven to the deepest depths of despair. This is what I can do to you, Mr. Baoren, and this is why you do not mess with a Phantomhive. Do you understand?"

Mr. Baoren squeaked.

"Good." The lights flickered back on and Ciel, inches in front of Baoren, leaned forward. "Go."

The man ran.

As soon as he was gone, Elizabeth had started laughing, and that, more than anything, was what had scared Soma. She ran down the stairs to the floor below and hugged Ciel tightly, still laughing with what Soma thought was delighted amusement. "That was absolutely brilliant, Ciel! The look on his face was priceless!" She laughed again. Ciel chuckled quietly.

"Yes, it was quite amusing, wasn't it?"

She nodded, giggling breathlessly. This was when Soma had realized that Elizabeth was not the sweet, kind girl she seemed at first glance, but every bit as ruthless as Ciel. Sweet only to those she liked, and her deceptive innocence entrapped those she didn't, making them perfectly easy prey, ready for the kill. Elizabeth scared him, too.

Yes, the people around Ciel scared Soma. From Lau and his hidden malice, to Undertaker's morbid humor, to his servants' weapons and veiled pasts, he was always frightened of someone. But what scared him most of all was how every one of them accepted Ciel as their leader and never once questioned his authority.

That was why Ciel scared Soma.

But he would stay – because though they scared him, he knew that Ciel wouldn't let them hurt him. He had made the boy like him and once the boy liked you he wouldn't let you go until you betrayed him. This, Soma could tell. But then, the boy didn't like very many people, and anyone he didn't was more than fair prey. He would stay because Ciel would keep him… well, not safe, but not killed, by the people he associated with, even if Ciel scared him too.

Besides, life had never once been this interesting in Bengal.