akiru_chan (akiru_chan) wrote,

[fic] The Devil's Canvas [chapter Fifty-Two] (part one)

Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 52 (part one)/?
Authors: Akiru chan & Disgruntled Minion
Pairing/Characters:  Sebastian/Ciel
Rating: M
Ciel's skin was marred with ink and
blood, telling tales twisted in darkness.
What an evil path the devil walks, tainted hands
staining the innocent canvas. For the most
beautiful art is painted in blood.
WarningsViolence, adult content, yaoi, and language.

Chapter Fifty-Two

A low pained groan slipped past Ciel’s dry lips as he turned in bed. His mouth was dry and no matter what he did, he could not muster up the saliva to moisten it. A flip in his stomach had him curling into himself as a faint wave of nausea hit him. Ciel felt horrible and he could only wish that sleep would come back to him. The throbbing in his head and the annoying sun were his adversaries in this plight and forced Ciel to wake.

“Dammit,” Ciel moaned out, wondering just what had happened to him. Disjointed memories came, and suddenly Ciel wished that he didn’t remember all that had occurred. Thankfully he did not, at least that of later in the day. What he did remember, and quite vividly, was the meeting in Tanaka’s office. Ciel curled into himself further as his nausea grew, having little to do now with his hangover.

The door opened and shut loudly, making Ciel groan as the sound only made his head pulse even more. “Good, you’re awake,” Sebastian stated and moved further into the bedroom. “And I’m assuming from the pained noise I heard earlier, you’re suffering from a horrible hangover.” A tray was set on the bed and Sebastian peeled back the covers to look at Ciel, chuckling slightly as the younger male buried his head under the pillow.

“You’re a cruel bastard,” Ciel snapped and tried to grab for the blanket without looking. He didn’t need to hear Sebastian and his disapproving tone. Despite not remembering much of the day before, Ciel knew that the alcohol has served its purpose and had given him a small reprieve from everything that had been piling up; despite how horrible Ciel was feeling, a small part of him wanted to return to the blissfulness. For now Ciel tried to force away such thoughts; they would only get him in trouble.

“Am I now?” Sebastian asked, tone teasing. “I would say that you’re the cruel one, after everything you put me through last night. But I doubt that you remember much of anything last night once you drank yourself silly.” He toyed with the idea of opening the curtains but dismissed it, knowing that would only worsen Ciel’s mood.

Ciel shook his head slowly into his pillow. “What all happened? I remember Carmella telling me to have a drink and then she left and...” he trailed off with a frown. “Alois came in and we started drinking more.” More was probably an understatement, but at least Ciel hadn’t gotten sick from it all. That had to count for something after all.

Sebastian chuckled. “Of course you wouldn’t remember the rest of that. Let’s see, I took care of you all night long, waking you up to make sure you drank water and helped you the one time you threw up. What else happened” He tapped his chin in thought. “Oh yes; before all that, though, I came in to find you and Alois kissing.”

“What!?” This time Ciel shot up in bed, looking substantially paler than before. “Tell me you’re kidding. Please God, tell me you’re kidding,” Ciel pleaded, looking quite green around the gills. That had not been something he had expected to hear and his mind strained to remember it. Sure enough it supplied him with a flash of firm and demanding lips upon his own and Ciel quickly tried to push the thought away.

“Oh, yes, you wanted to prove that you were a better kisser,” Sebastian teased and sat next to Ciel. “But I think in the end, you proved to me that you were the better kisser, and even said that mine weren’t too shabby either.” He passed some toast to Ciel, pausing to take a bite out of the piece and munching on it happily.

Ciel managed a quirk of his lips. “Well I wouldn’t subject myself to dating someone who couldn’t kiss decently, now would I?” He chewed on the toast, forcing it down even though his stomach seemed to protest the idea. It was always better to eat so long as the food would stay down. Ciel had high hopes that it would. Another bite was offered up to Sebastian, Ciel knowing despite everything, he wouldn’t be able to eat all of it himself.

Sebastian smiled and took a large bite, pausing to lick the crumbs from his lips before savoring the taste. It was a little bland as nothing was on it other than a small amount of butter, but it was better than nothing. He swallowed and leaned down to press a kiss to Ciel’s cheek. “And it’s not just kissing that my mouth is good for,” he murmured against the smooth skin.

“Is that so? I do believe you’ll have to convince me of that, but later.” Ciel was not in the mood to entertain such advances. His body felt like crap, and not even a blow job was going to cure it. Sebastian might be good with his mouth, but it was no miracle worker. Ciel laughed privately at that thought and ate the rest of his toast. Water was offered and he drank it eagerly, feeling just a bit better for not having an empty stomach.

A low hum left Sebastian’s mouth. “I think I’ll pass. After everything that happened yesterday, I believe that you owe me something nice.” He stood up and took the empty plate and glass away from the bed, setting it on the desk for later. “I told Tanaka that you were sick today, so he’s expecting you to stay in bed and study today, but that I’m not allowed to stay with you. I’m only allowed to check up on you every few hours.”

A slim eyebrow was raised. “Does he think you’re going to try and rape me while I’m prone and delirious?” Ciel laughed and shook his head. “What will you be doing...” He trained off and frowned, looking suddenly away. Ciel knew exactly what Sebastian would be doing and Ciel swallowed thickly, feeling sick all over again.

“Therapy,” Sebastian answered and set a glass of water next to the bed for Ciel. “And I think it’s more of my punishment, in that he dislikes me babying you, which is why he wishes for me to give you space.” It wasn’t so much a lie, as Sebastian truly was going back to therapy after this, but he also wished to leave Joker out of the conversation.

“You’ll be busy for awhile,” Ciel said slowly, his eye assessing Sebastian carefully. “I’ll sleep... Don’t rush on my account.” He turned from Sebastian and looked towards the curtains covering the window, hoping that his words would not be questioned. In some respect Ciel was giving Sebastian his blessing to deliver as much pain and torture onto Joker as he could. Perhaps if Ciel was lucky, Joker would die before the week was up.

Sebastian’s face fell slightly at Ciel’s comment but he didn’t press it, knowing that Ciel didn’t want to talk about it. “I’ll be back in a couple hours to check on you, make sure the food is staying down,” he finally said. He was given little more than a nod and Sebastian backed out of the room, feeling his anger and fury mount. It wasn’t directed at Ciel, though, but towards Joker and himself for letting such a thing happen to Ciel. And today, Sebastian would make sure that Joker would feel his fury.

As soon as the door closed, Ciel was huddling under the blankets. Nestled in his cocoon of cotton and silk, he was allowed to delude himself to the feeling of security, but linens were not steel, and nothing could keep the memories at bay. Nothing but the one thing that he had tasted the day before. Ciel scrunched his eyes tightly closed as if it would help, but it was a fruitless effort. For now he couldn only hope that sleep could cleanse him and free him of the thoughts of what Sebastian was doing, and who was sitting within the cells, far too close for comfort.

With a restless sigh, Ciel eventually succumbed to a fitful sleep.


Sebastian stepped into the interrogation room, eyes instantly settling on the man that was chained to a chair in the middle of the room. The man looked far too healthy and the sight made Sebastian’s blood boil. It wasn’t fair that Joker was still fine while Ciel was suffering every night because of him.

He waved his hand, signaling Finny to bring in the cart that he would use for torture, knowing where he wanted to start first. A low chuckle left his lips, drawing Joker’s attention to him. An eye for an eye, or so the saying went.

Joker visibly recoiled. The chair tipped back slightly from the sharp movement and wobbled with a loud click-clack before settling once more. From the look on Joker’s face, it was blatantly obvious that he had not expected to see Sebastian alive, much less standing in front of him now. His mouth went slack as if he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the strength to flap his lips.

Instead he only swallowed heavily and straightened himself up. His eyes darted pleadingly to Finny who was making his leave. Joker would find no pity from anyone in this room, or the mansion for that matter. Finally his attention turned back to Sebastian and he seemingly found himself and scowled hatefully.

“You should be six feet underground and rotting,” Joker spat, his voice raspy.

Sebastian hummed. “Funny. That’s where you’ll be wishing you were by the time I’m done with you,” he answered, sliding on thick leather gloves. He selected a coil of wire from the cart and held it up briefly to examine before moving towards Joker. “Did you know that piano wire, while creating a beautiful tune, is also deadly? That it’s so thin and sharp, it can slice through your skin without you even realizing it?”

He brushed the wire gently over Joker’s face, smirking as the man flinched away from it before setting it aside. Sebastian shook his head; he didn’t want to damage Joker’s face just yet. Instead, he moved down Joker’s body until his hand rested right above the man’s groin. It only took a second before Joker realized what Sebastian had planned to do and he started thrashing around.

“That won’t do,” Sebastian murmured as he cut open the pants Joker wore, not bothering to be careful. “Piano wire can make a piano sing so beautifully. I want to know what kind of tune it can make a person sing.” His lips curled into a cruel smirk as he pulled out Joker’s flaccid cock.

The wire was looped around the length, resting loosely around it. Sebastian glanced up, taking in Joker’s wide eyes before slowly tightening the loop. Immediately, Joker started to scream as the loop grew closer and closer to his manhood until his eyes screwed shut at the first touch of metal against skin.

Sebastian tsk-ed, making Joker peek an eye open, whimpering when he realized that his cock was still there, but the wire was nestled snugly against it. “That was good for starters,” Sebastian stated and moved away from the man, going back to the cart. “But if you prefer not to see what’s going on, I can fix that too.”

“N-no,” Joker pleaded, losing his composure and failing to reclaim it. It had never been doubted that he would die here in this room. As each day passed, Joker expected the next to bring his own personal grim reaper with it. A bullet to his head seemed the most probable, after being tortured for information. But Joker never expected this. What he had gone through previously seemed as if it would be easily overshadowed by what Sebastian had planned.

Joker’s whole body shook, pain shooting from his penis and tickling at his muscles in the most unpleasant of ways. He knew, and was so sure of it, that Sebastian had every intent to make Joker pay for what he had done. Funny how easily Joker could be stripped down from the pride of a man to something so lowly and undignified, and all because he faced a deserving and painful end.

Sebastian smiled. “Listen to how nicely you’re already singing,” he said and turned away from the cart. He held up his right hand and wiggled his fingers, which were covered in metal tips. “I figure since you call me a demon, it would be best to appear before you as one, and I was under the impression that demons had long, deadly nails.”

He approached Joker and ran the metal tip down the man’s cheek. “And since you’re so adamant on forsaking your vision, I feel it’s only right of me to help you.” His free hand reached forward and pried open Joker’s right eye, exposing the whole of his eyeball, and Sebastian delighted in watching the pupil’s dilate to a pinprick. Without pause, he brought his other hand up, his first two fingers and thumb pushing into the soft skin around Joker’s eye.

A loud scream tore from Joker’s throat as the sharp metal claws easily tore the tender skin as Sebastian pushed in further. His fingers sunk in until his knuckles brushed against Joker’s face and Sebastian wiggled his fingers, severing the nerves at the back of the eye. The scream pitched even more, and blood trickled down Joker’s skin as his voice grew louder still until the man was lost between vocalizing his pain and trying to suck in air.

Finally, Sebastian pulled his hand back, his fingers pulling the now red eye with him. The body underneath him jerked and spasmed as pain racked it, but it was simply an unconscious reaction. Joker had passed out due to the pain as soon as he started to pull away and now the once loud sounds were gone, leaving the cell in silence.

The eye made a suction cup noise as Sebastian pulled it free of the socket, and he held it up in the light to examine. Optical nerves hung from the back and dripped fluid onto the floor while blood covered the metal claws that Sebastian wore on his fingers. It was enough torture for the day, but Sebastian would be back tomorrow, perhaps to truly strip the man of his pride.

Sebastian chuckled lowly at the thought and dropped the eye in a cup of saline solution before setting it in front of Joker. He pulled the metal tips off and set them on the cart before leaving the room. “Clean him up,” he told Finny. “I’ll be back again tomorrow.”

“Am I free to wake him up?” Finny asked, eyes shining with malicious intent.

“By all means,” Sebastian answered and moved away from the room. He needed to get cleaned up before he went to check up on Ciel and couldn’t be bothered to wait for Joker to wake up.

As soon as the door slammed shut, Finny grabbed the bottle resting on the ledge next to him before trotting inside the room. He smirked at the slumped form of Joker and went about cleaning him up, leaving the wire around the man’s penis. No doubt Sebastian would deal with that tomorrow, and Finny would get pleasure in watching Joker squirm during the night.

Joker’s face was cleaned, the cuts and and blood dealt with until Finny was happy with his work. He moved outside and grabbed a small table that held a mirror, bringing it back into the room. It was set up in front of Joker, and Finny pinned back the man’s hair so that it was out of his face before leaning forward, holding the open bottle under Joker’s nose.

The man stirred before he started to cough at the foul scent. It pulled him from the depths of his sleep until he woke and focused slowly on the room around him. He jerked as he felt a pair of hands hold his head still, and his body froze as he found a mirror sitting before him.

“An eye for an eye,” Finny breathed into his ear and his grip tightened.

Joker’s heart started to race, the organ pulsing harshly in his chest until Joker thought it would explode. His lone eye focused in horror at the spot on his face where his other eye once sat. Now, there was nothing but a black, gaping hole that seemed to mock him. The sight made his mouth open, and he screamed as he saw his own future and death in that darkness where his eye once was.


Ciel shot up in bed, a scream tearing from his lips and his mismatched eyes wide and afraid. His heart pounded in his chest as he looked frantically around. Tears even welled up within the corners of his eyes, but he refused to let them fall no matter how much his body trembled from the effort. Ciel’s surroundings did little to comfort him, not even the knowledge of being in the comfort of his own room had his heart slowing it’s pace.

Wildly, he searched the room, intent on finding the one thing that wasn’t there. “Se-Sebastian?” He called, desperate to see the man. He needed to see him alive and unblemished by the cruel hands within his hellish nightmare. A rational side of Ciel told him that everything was okay. Sebastian was alive, no doubt inflicting far worse damage upon the monster of Ciel’s dreams than anything Sebastian had faced in both reality and dark fantasy.

Shaking from head to toe, Ciel curled into himself. He wanted nothing more than to flee his room and race down to wherever Sebastian was. It was a tempting thought until he reminded himself just where he would be led. A flash of angry green eyes and flaming hair assaulted Ciel’s mind’s eye, and a phantom pain flared in his hip as he remembered the bullet Joker had delivered to Ciel. Memory after memory flashed through Ciel’s mind, some very real and others fragments of dreams that had woven themselves into Ciel’s sense of reality.

Once more Ciel was finding himself wanting to fall back into that wonderful obliviousness he had found himself in the day before. The consequences could be damned so long as Ciel did not have to suffer like this. A wave of white hot fury towards Joker flashed in Ciel. This was all that man’s fault. He had reduced Ciel to this sickened shell of himself, and Ciel could not bring himself to accept what he was quickly becoming. He was stronger than all of this; Ciel just needed to get past all of this. It would fade in time, he reasoned.

Mind set, Ciel crawled from the bed. His robe was thrown on to cover his night shirt and he moved silently into the hall. Ciel knew all too well that he should not be doing what he was about to do. But he wanted sleep, peace of mind, and that blissful ignorance that he had tasted so sweetly yesterday. Just once more, he said to himself. After that he’d find another way to deal, a healthy way to ride himself of these terrors. Unfortunately there was little conviction within those words.

Blindly he walked into the kitchen, sighing when Ciel saw that it was empty. That made everything easier in the long run. For a moment he felt guilty, knowing Sebastian would be upset with him once more. The thought was quickly pushed aside, as he didn’t want to think of it.

The cabinet was opened and Ciel shuffled through bottles with brand names that he was not familiar with. Liquids of browns, whites, yellows, and some of bright blues and greens sat for his consumption. Ciel picked a bottle he recognized from the day before. If he was correct it was rum. The cap was quickly unscrewed with shaky fingers and poured into a glass Ciel got from the dishwasher. He filled the glass more than halfway up with the stuff, not bothering to mix it with anything. Why bother when Ciel was drinking for the intoxicating affects of the alcohol and not for the enjoyment of the taste?

Ciel wasted no time in drinking it down. It burned his throat and warmed his stomach. The alcohol didn’t settle well, and Ciel forced the contents to stay down and not come straight back up. With alcohol being in his system from the day before, it did not take long before that lovely buzz returned and Ciel was feeling the giddy affects of the drink. It made Ciel smile as he finished his rum and returned things to where they belonged, only to hesitate as he went to put the rum bottle back. Making a quick decision, Ciel tucked the bottle away into his robes so that no one could see it.

Wasting no more time, he exited the kitchen before he was caught and headed back to his room. It was a small miracle in itself that Ciel had been able to navigate the mansion without being caught. As soon as he was back in the safety of his and Sebastian’s room, Ciel moved to the bed, hiding the bottle in the drawer of the nightstand and slipping back into bed like he had not left at all. With a relaxed sigh, Ciel was pleased to find his mind blank and clear. It took no effort to fall back to sleep, the alcohol helping to pull him into a pleasant slumber.

Half an hour later, the door opened and Sebastian slipped inside, shivering at the cool temperature of the room. He had just showered downstairs in his old room, and his damp hair was cold against his flushed skin. Amber eyes focused on the bed, pleased to see that Ciel was still sound asleep, and Sebastian felt a little bad that he needed to wake the younger male up.

But Ciel needed to get some water in his body, along with some food. It had been a few hours since Ciel had had anything to eat, and Sebastian wanted the younger male well as soon as possible.

Sebastian padded over to the bed and sat down carefully before leaning down. His lips brushed over Ciel’s temple before slowly moving down his face, pressing soft kisses to the skin. He tilted Ciel’s head to the side before letting his lips brush over Ciel’s, teasing him to wake up.

He froze, though, at the strong taste of alcohol on Ciel’s lips and reached forward carefully. His fingers pressed against Ciel’s mouth and opened it slightly, allowing Sebastian to lean forward and get a whiff of Ciel’s breath. His nose crinkled at the scent of alcohol, too fresh and strong to be from the night before, especially since Ciel had eaten that morning.

He pulled back and let Ciel’s mouth close, upset that Ciel had gone back to the bottle. He didn’t know the reason why, but it was still something that Sebastian didn’t want to think of and he hoped that this wasn’t going to be a growing problem. There were ways to handle the fear and pain, but resorting to alcohol was not one of them. Sebastian would have to hunt Carmella down tonight and thank her for introducing the liquid to Ciel.

Sebastian sighed and pushed the thoughts aside. For now, his only goal was to focus on Ciel and help the younger male any way he could. “Ciel,” he called lowly and ran his fingers through the soft hair. “It’s time to wake up.”

Soft groans were heard and Ciel turned away from Sebastian’s touch in a hope to fend off the waking hands. Ciel’s mind felt pleasantly clouded, and sleep was still calling for him. “Hmm... Go away,” he mumbled and tried to hide himself among blankets and pillows.

“I can’t,” Sebastian answered and rubbed his fingers over Ciel’s temples, massaging them lightly. “You need to eat dinner and stay awake for a while so you’ll sleep tonight.” He was done for the day, and Tanaka had allowed him the rest of the day to take care of Ciel.

Reluctantly, Ciel sat up in bed. He swayed slightly and as he looked over to regard Sebastian, there was a definite glaze to his eyes. “What time is is?” Ciel asked softly, the words just over a whisper. His hand came up to tend to his mussed hair, but gave up moments later when it seemed Ciel had lost interest in the plight.

Sebastian hummed and cupped Ciel’s cheeks as he looked at the glazed blue eyes, wondering how much Ciel had drunk while he was gone. “It’s five in the afternoon,” he finally answered, puling away from Ciel, his fingers trailing down Ciel’s cheek. “How did you sleep?”

Ciel paused for a moment, not quite meeting Sebastian’s eyes when he did finally answer. “I slept well enough.” It wasn’t completely a lie. The sleep Sebastian had woken Ciel from had been pleasant and free from any form of nightmarish ghouls. Ciel knew he had the alcohol to thank for that, but he kept his mouth firmly shut on that fact.

Fingers brushed over Ciel’s lips, pausing slightly at the center of his lower lip and Sebastian pushed the tip of his thumb inside Ciel’s mouth. He didn’t say anything about the stench of alcohol on Ciel’s breath as he pulled his finger back out and simply moved away from Ciel to grab some clothes for him. “Let’s get you some dinner,” he said finally.

Nothing more was said as Sebastian helped Ciel to dress. Ciel stumbled and almost fell over more than once, but neither commented on it. There was a high tension within the room, and Ciel was very aware of it despite his currently intoxicated state. He flashed Sebastian a hesitant smile once he was fully dressed, but became all the more nervous when the smile he received in return seemed dry and fake.

“Come here,” Sebastian said, waving Ciel over. He waited until the younger male stumbled to his side before picking Ciel up. His weaker arm protested the action but it was ignored, and Sebastian played it off as another form of therapy.

“I can walk,” Ciel protested lightly. “What will everyone think seeing you carry me around?” Despite his words, Ciel was smiling. His face buried into Sebastian’s neck, inhaling the spicy scent and kissing the hot skin.

Sebastian was silent as he walked, trying to gather his words. Finally, he shifted Ciel in his arms before speaking. “What will everyone think, seeing you stumble around with the smell of alcohol on your breath?” He asked softly.

The slim body in Sebastian’s arms tensed. Ciel’s head pressed further into Sebastian, hot breath heating Sebastian’s already warm skin. No answer came from Ciel as he stayed stiff and still, almost as if he had never heard anything at all. Ciel had suspected that Sebastian knew that he had once more indulged himself in a few drinks, but a small part hoped that the subject wouldn’t be brought up. So Ciel stayed quiet, a naive part of him thinking that the issue would be dropped if he chose to ignore it.

The silence from Ciel was the only hint that the younger male felt bad about his choice, but the lack of an apology meant that he didn’t regret it. The thought made Sebastian sigh and he stayed silent as well. Later, Sebastian would talk to Ciel about it, but for now, his silence would speak volumes to the younger male.

It was awkward; Ciel’s muddled mind picked up on that well enough. The remaining walk to the kitchens was uncomfortable and it only heightened with every minute of silence that went by. Ciel squirmed, wanting this uncomfortable air around them to dissipate. Even though Ciel knew it was his fault, he couldn’t bring himself to right it. Sebastian would no doubt want a promise from Ciel to never resort to alcohol again, but as it stood, it was the only thing Ciel could rely on at the moment. He would not forsake it now.

“What do you want for dinner?” Sebastian finally asked as they arrived at the kitchen. “It has to be something light or your stomach won’t be able to handle it.” His eyes darted briefly to the liquor cabinet, wondering if he could put a lock on it. He snorted at the thought, knowing that Ciel would pick it if he really wanted to get to the liquid inside.

“Eggs,” Ciel said with little thought. He wasn’t sure why, but they sounded good. Slowly he made his way over to the table, the same table he had sat at yesterday as he drank himself into oblivion. For a moment he remembered the kiss he shared with Alois, and a displeased frown crossed Ciel’s face. He still could not believe he had done that.

Sebastian nodded and moved to grab the eggs. Nothing more was said as he started to make dinner for them both. Tomorrow Sebastian would talk to Ciel about the drinking issue after he had taken his anger out on Joker once more. It wouldn’t do to confront Ciel when he was in a bad mood already. Sebastian grunted at the thoughts and pulled the cheese from the fridge, wishing for things to go back to normal once more.


The day found Ciel in a disgruntled haze as he walked out of the library after five hours of nonstop study and torture courtesy of Grell. It was no doubt punishment for skipping out of his classes for the past few days, but that didn’t make Ciel complain any less about it. He was tired, not having slept well the night before. In the early morning hours, Ciel had been woken from a nightmare to Sebastian’s gentle words as Ciel shook within the circle of strong arms. Sebastian soothed him quickly, but the nightmare had haunted Ciel for the greater majority of the day.

Not wanting to think much more of it, Ciel moved towards his room. Sebastian would be there soon, if he wasn’t already waiting for him. Thankfully Tanaka had kept their schedules similar so that they had time to themselves in the evening. It was one of the few pleasures Tanaka allowed them for the time being. No doubt he knew how hard Ciel was taking everything and just how much he needed Sebastian in his life at the moment. Tanaka was strict but he was not stupid, nor was he heartless.

Sebastian was indeed in the room when Ciel entered. He was sitting on the bed, on Ciel’s side, and Ciel found himself looking quickly to his side table to make sure that everything was still in place. It wouldn’t do if Sebastian found out about the bottle that rested within. Ciel was still surprised that Sebastian had not bothered to lecture Ciel again for resorting the alcohol to numb his mind and worries.

“Hey,” Ciel greeted with a small smile. He was truly glad to him.

Sebastian smiled softly at Ciel, pleased to see that the younger male wasn’t stumbling as he walked. The drinking was starting to become a daily occurrence, to the point where it was starting to seriously worry Sebastian. He didn’t know what the younger male was trying to prove with everything and Sebastian felt as though he were failing in helping Ciel against his fears. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling, but Sebastian was throwing everything he had into making sure that Ciel wasn’t scared anymore. But he had a feeling that he was losing the battle.

“How were lessons?” He asked, stroking Soot who purred happily in his lap. Ever since she had been allowed back in their room, she rarely left his lap, choosing instead to sleep there whenever she had the chance.

Ciel shrugged. “As good as they can be. Although I think Grell is trying to kill me. He almost dropped a paper weight and two books on my head today.” It was beginning to become a nuisance but there was little Ciel could do about it at present. Tanaka wouldn’t allow Ciel to get out a little extra suffering if he could help it.

Soot meowed as Ciel moved over, stroking along her back. He looked around then, trying to find Alex, but not seeing her. Now that she was older and fully trained, she had been allowed free roam of the house, meaning Ciel saw very little of her until night fell and she came to claim her spot under the blankets by Sebastian’s legs.

Sebastian cocked his head to the side, leaning closer to Ciel and subtly checking the younger male’s breath for a hint of alcohol. He knew he was becoming a mother hen about it, but Sebastian didn’t want it to turn into a bad habit, especially in their line of work. He was pleased when Ciel’s breath smelled like sweets and he relaxed more.

He reached forward and grabbed Ciel’s hand, lacing his fingers through the younger male’s and let his thumb run over the top of Ciel’s hand. “What are we doing tonight?” he asked.

“Sleeping,” Ciel said in a mildly teasing manner. It was further accentuated by a curling smirk as he made room to sit beside Sebastian. “Whatever else would one do at night?”

Sebastian chuckled. “I was thinking of a movie, or maybe something else relaxing. I wouldn’t mind painting you,” he stated seriously. He was itching to get back to work at the parlor, but Tanaka refused to let him work there for another week, wanting to make sure he was mentally stable to leave the mansion after staying inside for so long.

This perked Ciel’s attention. Sebastian had always been a sketcher, tattoo art aside, and it never really crossed Ciel’s mind that Sebastian ever bothered to dabble in the more traditional medium anymore. “Paint me?” He inquired, still not fully believing it. It was an idea that was quickly exciting Ciel.

“Why not?” Sebastian questioned. It would help quiet his mind and calm the anxious nerves that were plaguing him now. His own nightmares were becoming more frequent as he struggled to deal with both his and Ciel’s problems, trying to balance them both. It was easier to focus on Ciel’s and try to fix them than his own.

Ciel waved him down. “I’m just surprised you asked. I’d like you to paint me very much.” His eye sparkled and his smile broadened. “Would you have me posing nude for you?” It was like deja vu but only in reverse. Ciel had never posed naked for Sebastian, so perhaps it was time for the favor to be repaid. Not to mention it was a nice way to take Ciel’s mind off of other matters without the help of some strong liquor.

Sebastian’s eyes lowered in amusement. “I would rather enjoy painting you nude. Maybe with Soot curled on your chest, but I have a feeling you wouldn’t like that part very much,” he teased and stood up, ready to collect his art supplies.

“I wouldn’t,” Ciel confirmed. “Although I do suppose she would do a good job of hiding certain areas if I so deemed it necessary.” A laugh bubbled up from Ciel’s chest and he leaned over to peck Sebastian on the cheek. “But I have a feeling you wouldn’t like that part very much.” Sebastian’s words were thrown back at him, and Ciel could only smile deviously.

A low chuckle left Sebastian’s mouth. “You’re right. But only because I don’t want her touching such a thing. I’ve seen enough of your cock to draw it from memory, even if Soot’s body was blocking it.”

This seemed to amuse Ciel more so than it embarrassed him. “Is that so?” He leaned closer to Sebastian, looking him over with appraising eyes. Sudden a chuckle bubbled up from Ciel and he turned away to look across the room, seeming humored by something. “I fear our relationship was based on drawing cocks. Well at least yours.” It was true that such a thing had brought them together.

“It just started that way,” Sebastian stated as he moved to the closest so he could gather his supplies. “Do you have any idea for a pose or do I get free rein on it?” he asked, pulling a box of paints out along with an easel. They had been neglected for far too long and Sebastian couldn’t wait to work with them again.

“You’re doing it now?” Ciel had reasoned that they would do it later in the evening, or even that Sebastian was half teasing. He straightened and watched as things were pulled from the closet. Some of the supplies Ciel noted were his, but he didn’t comment on it. Sebastian was more than free to use them as he wished.

Sebastian glanced up as he set the box down. “Do you wish to wait for another time?” He asked curiously. He wouldn’t mind, but he was already in the mood to paint and for now, this was the best time they had together without any interruptions.

Ciel shook his head, already stripping out of his shirt. “No, I just didn’t know if you were serious,” he said and moved towards his pants. Each article of clothing came off without any show of modesty on Ciel’s part. Sebastian already knew every inch of Ciel’s body, having seen and touched it so many times before, including the new sets of scars that marked him.

A low purr left Sebastian’s mouth at the sight of Ciel before him and he waved him towards the bed. He wanted Ciel to be relaxed, surrounded by the sheets that would contrast nicely with his pale skin. “I’m very serious,” he stated and quickly set up his canvas before moving towards the bed so he could rearrange the pillows.

Sitting atop the mattress, Ciel swung his feet idly as he waited for Sebastian to get everything situated. He watched, looking almost bored, as the pillows were fluffed and the bedding better arranged. A small prickle of nervous butterflies sprung up into his stomach, acting as if they meant to fly right up his throat and out his mouth. Quickly he swallowed them down and turned towards the window.

It was partly cloudy, although the forecast had mentioned showers at some point in the late day; Ciel had seen none as of yet. He wished for the rain; there was something peaceful about it despite it being likened to more dreary things. “What kind of pose do you want me in?” Ciel asked, his mind trying to decide what he would have himself positioned. Another part of Ciel spurned the idea of what would become of this painting once it was completed. Surely it wasn’t to be hung in the hallways of the mansion. “And where are you going to hang this?”

“In my gallery above the parlor,” Sebastian answered without pause and he gestured for Ciel to lay down. The black sheets nestled around Ciel, seeming to cocoon him in their embrace while a pale arm rested teasingly over a slim hip. The sheets covered Ciel’s neither regions and parts of his legs, the pale skin peeking out and teasing Sebastian between the folds of the sheets.

Sebastian paused in his arrangement of the sheets and let his fingers trail lightly down Ciel’s chest. “You need something to bring out the blue in your eyes,” he murmured and his hand came to a halt just above Ciel’s hand that rested over his hip. “Just like I should paint a ring here; a ring that claims you as mine. Perhaps a silver band with a blood red stone and a blue one to match your eyes so everyone knows that you’re mine.”

Ciel’s eyes hardened, and his hand twitched on his hip. It curled into a loose fist and Ciel looked away. “I’m not sure I want to chance a repeat of what the last ring you gave me brought upon us,” he said with a little more bite than he had meant. The ring in itself had not been something Ciel had thought on much at all. For all purposes, it never crossed his mind. Ciel was content to lie to himself that the piece of jewelery had meant nothing to him. It was all so much easier that way, he thought.

That did not change the fact that Ciel felt the ring’s loss. Not matter what he might tell himself, Ciel still held the ring precious for it symbolized his bond with Sebastian. Without it, everything seemed a little less real. A silly notion, but it was reluctant to fade to the dark recesses of his mind.

Sebastian’s hand faltered over Ciel’s body and he looked away as the mood in the room changed instantly. He didn’t know what to say to Ciel and he sat next to the younger male silently, searching his brain for the answer. It didn’t come and Sebastian’s shoulders slumped slightly as he reached forward and grabbed Ciel’s hand, lacing his fingers through Ciel’s.

“I’m sorry,” he murmured softly, his finger brushing over the bare spot on Ciel’s finger where the ring had once sat.

Ciel sighed, feeling guilty for being harsh with the subject. “Don’t be. It wasn’t your fault. I shouldn’t have snapped like that.” He gave Sebastian’s hand a squeeze and managed a smile. Unfortunately it did not reach his eye.

Sebastian didn’t answer, feeling his own guilt rise inside him. Everything technically was his fault and he knew it. It haunted his dreams at night and ate at him until he woke up in a cold sweat. “Do you still want to do this?” He asked finally.

“I do, so long as you don’t make me look ugly,” Ciel joked and settled back into place. His head was propped up on his right hand, making Ciel look just a bit cocky. It suited him, and seemed all the more like his old self.

“I would never,” Sebastian answered and moved back to his easel. “Relax for me and don’t move,” he stated and started to sketch out the basic structure before Ciel started to squirm. With each pencil stroke, he felt the guilt ease away and everything else fade from his mind as he focused just on Ciel and the drawing before him.

It only took a few moments before Ciel was speaking, finding himself growing bored from just such a short time. “What’s your favorite medium?” He asked, realizing that aside from tattooing, Ciel didn’t know much about what other forms of art Sebastian enjoyed. It was a shame that their life had grown so hectic that such pleasures could not be indulged in until now.

“Acrylics,” Sebastian answered as he lightly drew the outline of the sheets. “Oils, while more popular, are messy and they take longer to dry so I’m not as fond of them. I tried and failed at watercolor, but I wouldn’t mind going back and trying again later on.”

“I like watercolor.” It was one of the mediums Ciel enjoyed most. “I like the softer tones and affects that you can get while using it.” He shifted just a bit, his hip tingling from being forced into one position for so long. Quickly Ciel remembered himself and stilled his body before Sebastian could yell at him.

Sebastian hummed softly. “Maybe you can help me with that medium then,” he stated and pulled the paints closer to him so he could start mixing the colors. “And then I can teach you how to tattoo. You can be my protege,” he said, voice light and happy.

Ciel smirked. “Better be careful. The student will end up surpassing the master and you’ll be without a job.” It was a harmless taunt and Ciel knew Sebastian would take it as such. For once, in many long days, Ciel felt comfortable and at ease. There was something nice about just sitting here with Sebastian, and spending time together without any outside worry.

A small hum left Sebastian’s mouth as he put the first brush stroke on the canvas, moving it along Ciel’s body. Each stroke brought to life the painting until Sebastian lost himself in the painting, allowing himself to forget everything. It was such a similar scene of the time Ciel painted Sebastian in his living room all those months ago. Only this time, their roles were reversed.

Minutes passed, Ciel figured more than thirty in all, before he spoke again. “How do you like working on a canvas that isn’t human flesh?” A gruesome image came to mind, and Ciel pushed it aside. He didn’t need to be morbid, but that didn’t keep him from smiling. How interesting it would be to create a masterpiece of an individual’s back with only a knife, paintbrush, and the subject’s own blood. That thought was tucked away and Ciel refocused on Sebastian as he worked.

“It’s different,” Sebastian answered. “Yet at the same time, the same. Both can be messy, one with wet ink and blood, the other with paint. And both can make a subject cry if something has been done wrong. I believe we had this conversation once before. But regardless, I enjoy them both, if not tattooing more. Only because it’s movable and people can take it with them wherever they go.”

There was a small nod from Ciel, before he was off asking another question. “How far have you gotten?” He didn’t want to complain, but it was getting hard lying here in such a way, and not falling asleep. The arm that Ciel’s head rested on was already shaking and hurting from keeping his head up. It wasn’t turning out to be a pleasant experience.

“Just the sheets left,” Sebastian answered. There wasn’t much detail to add to the background, just the wrinkles in the sheets and Sebastian waved Ciel down. “You can relax for now, just don’t move too much or the way the sheets move will be messed up.”

Ciel’s head plopped down into the pillows, his eyes closing with a look of pure bliss on his face. “I don’t think I could have held my head up for much longer,” he admitted. It wouldn’t take long now, and soon Ciel would be up and stretching his leg. Food also sounded good after this and his stomach agreed as it grumbled lowly, but loud enough to catch Sebastian’s attention.

The older male chuckled as he finished the sheets, adding the last details before the painting could be called done. It wasn’t anything overly fancy like Ciel had done for his class, but it wasn’t horrible either and Sebastian was pleased with the way it turned out. “I’m done,” he stated finally and picked up a smaller brush to add in one final detail. “Stretch out and relax for a while.”

“Thank God!” Ciel exclaimed and stretched like a cat on the bed. His back bowed and the definite sound of joints popping filled the room. It felt good to move, and Ciel took full advantage by sprawling out on the mattress, his whole body revealed to Sebastian. There was no modesty to be seen from Ciel’s pose; every intimate inch of him was on display for Sebastian. Ciel didn’t even bother to cover his flaccid penis and merely relaxed back and closed his eyes.

Sebastian smiled slightly at the sight, pleased to see Ciel so relaxed for the first time in weeks, especially without the aid of alcohol to do so. He pushed the thought aside for now, not wanting to think such things as he added the final part to his painting. The fine brush was set to the side and Sebastian wiped off his hands before picking up the painting.

“What do you think?” He asked, turning the canvas around so Ciel could see the picture and every last detail.

Ciel twisted around, sitting Indian style and regarding the painting with a critical eye. It was on the impressionistic side and Ciel loved it all the more for that. His eyes traced every curve of his body, and every lovely shade that Sebastian had worked in. Needless to say it was breathtaking.

“I love it!” Ciel expressed and continued his inspection. He moved up the length of his body and settled on the details of his own face. Sebastian had done an impressive job, Ciel’s eyes never looked bluer. From there Ciel meant to move to the folds of the sheets and pillows, but stopped at the smudge of black that had been painted on what Ciel recognized as his wrist. He frowned. “I think you made a little mess.” The area was pointed out to Sebastian and Ciel continued to stare at it. Such a mistake could be easily fixed, it wasn’t a big deal.

Sebastian frowned slightly. “It’s not a mistake,” he stated. “It’s supposed to be there.” It wasn’t currently on Ciel’s wrist, but with time, it was something that Sebastian would like to see on the younger male’s skin. He had been playing with the idea for months and now that the ring was gone, he wanted to give Ciel something more permanent that was truly unique and from him.

“Then what is it?” Ciel continued to question. “Is it some sort of funny looking bruise? Cause I don’t think it’s a bracelet.” It was hard to figure out just what it was and Ciel was quickly becoming frustrated over it. For all he knew it was just Sebastian trying to play off his mistake.

“It’s like a bruise,” Sebastian answered and set the canvas to the side before picking up the fine tipped brush again and dipping it in the black paint. “Perhaps it would look better if I showed it to you on a larger scale.”

Ciel’s hand was grasped and for a moment he refused to allow Sebastian to pull him closer. They stared at each other for a moment before Ciel relented and Sebastian turned Ciel’s hand around to bare his wrist. “What are you doing?” He mumbled, but didn’t pull away when the cold paint tip of a brush touched his skin, sending a pleasant trail of goosebumps up Ciel’s arm.

“You’ll see,” Sebastian answered softly as he focused on the task at hand. Slowly, a shape started to form as intricate lines formed to make a detailed star. Each line and detail was painted slowly as Sebastian wanted it to be perfect and allow Ciel to see what exactly had been on his mind the past few months.

It was pretty, Ciel concluded, as Sebastian withdrew the brush after a few moments and allowed Ciel to look at the design in it’s entirety. A star, that was what Ciel saw at first but it wasn’t as simple as all of that. The star was drawn intricately with its topmost point running down Ciel’s wrist, and the connecting lines within looking Celtic in nature. Around the star was a set of rings woven together, to encompass the whole of the design.

“It looks satanic,” Ciel commented after a moment as he took into account that the star was indeed upside down. He frowned and looked questioningly up at Sebastian.

Sebastian’s eyes lowered. “It has a reason,” he said lowly and brought Ciel’s wrist to his mouth, blowing on the paint so it would dry. “To the rest of the world, we are demons; something evil and to be feared. We’re shunned for what we do. But we don’t see it in such a way, as it’s simply the life we know. When you look down at it, the star is pointing the correct way, but when the public sees it, it points down. It all depends on how you look at it.”

Ciel smiled at that; it was quite an interesting take. “What else does it mean? Certainly not just that.” He was smarter than to think that it was all that simple. There were too many different elements and Ciel was sure Sebastian had put much thought into them if he had gone so far as to incorporate the design into his portrait of Ciel.

“Each point on the star is a hardship that we went through in our relationship,” Sebastian’s finger brushed lightly over the dried paint, tracing the star before moving to the ring that held it. “And the circle is never ending, just like the bond between us. A different kind of wedding ring, if you will.”

“You’re a hopeless romantic. Do you know that?” A wiry smile ghosted on Ciel’s lips and he sent Sebastian an amused look that was diluted by the dusting of pale pink on his cheeks. “But I do suppose that I like.” He examined the underside of his wrist with apt attention. Sebastian had referred to it as a wedding ring of sorts and Ciel found the notion silly, until remembering that it wasn’t so silly after all. If given the chance, Ciel admitted to himself, he would walk down the aisle without a second thought. He would even wear a damn white dress if Sebastian wished it to be so, but Ciel would then argue that the affair be private, excluding a good number of individuals.

Sebastian’s lips quirked. “I try my best,” he murmured and leaned down to kiss Ciel’s cheek. “I’ve had the idea for a while now, after the last tattoo you received in memory of Bard. But only now has the design come to my mind.” His lips trailed down Ciel’s skin, moving slowly as he mouthed three words against the pale skin.

“Well then,” Ciel quipped. “I suppose we must be careful not to endure any further hardships, lest we want to add more points to this star. But then I fear it wouldn’t be much of a star.” There was a chuckle to Ciel’s words and he leaned up to return the kiss, pressing his lips to the side of Sebastian’s mouth.

“That was weak,” Sebastian stated and tilted his head to the side so Ciel’s lips pressed fully against his. His fingers reached up to thread through Ciel’s hair, the paintbrush smearing against Ciel’s cheek before dropping to the floor.

Ciel made no complaint to the dry paint on his cheek. He could only push further into Sebastian, to mold their lips closer together. Hands tightly wound themselves into Sebastian’s shirt and Ciel breathed in the sweet smell of man that he loved. He could feel the drying paint on his wrist and it felt so heavy with the meaning that it held.

The ring might have been lost, but the bond he had with Sebastian was always there, growing stronger. This mark, this tattoo, would be a permanent representation of all that they had and all that they had been through. It was a heartening thought and it made Ciel swell with the anticipation of having Sebastian inking it onto his skin.

A thought suddenly struck Ciel and he pulled away from the kiss. He looked deep into Sebastian’s crimson eyes and spoke. “You’re going to get a tattoo like this too, right?” Ciel asked, and held up his wrist.

Sebastian blinked before his eyes lowered slightly. “I had hoped for one,” he answered and reached up to catch Ciel’s wrist, mindful of the paint that rested on the skin. He pressed a kiss to the top of Ciel’s hand before slowly trailing up the younger male’s arm until he reached the junction where the shoulder met Ciel’s neck. Sebastian licked at it before kissing the spot, making Ciel shiver slightly. “But it would have to come from your hands,” he finished and pulled back to look at the younger male.

“Will you teach me then, soon?” Ciel’s eyes were glazed, clarifying as each pleasurable tingle ebbed away. They had talked of Ciel taking up tattooing many times in the past, but he had never really thought the day would come. Not when so many unexpected things had hit them when they had least expected it. But to think that Ciel could ink Sebastian’s skin, it sent an excited chill down Ciel’s spine.

“Of course,” Sebastian murmured. Things were changing now, as much as Sebastian had tried to avoid thinking about it. While he still wished to go out on assignments, it wasn’t a pressing urge and he found that torturing Joker was just as satisfying as going on assignments. It confused him and Sebastian tried not to dwell on it much. “We have plenty of time.”

Ciel hummed his agreement and moved away from Sebastian. He continued to eye the painted design, liking it all the more he looked at it. For a moment he considered the fact that this would be the only tattoo on Ciel’s body that would be visible to others more often than not. A simple shirt would not cover it, and Ciel couldn’t say that he cared. If anything he wanted everyone to see it, even if they knew little of the meaning behind it.

The bed shook as Ciel launched himself backwards on it, feeling good for once. It had been a good day, and as night quickly approached, he did not feel the need to resort to the alcohol to stave off the nightmares. Ciel couldn’t believe that they could touch him right now. Perhaps this mark on Ciel’s arm was his weapon against them. The thought was silly, but he clung to it as he watched Sebastian going about cleaning up.

The painting was tucked away in a corner so it wouldn’t get damaged before Sebastian slowly made his way back to the bed. It was late and he had an early therapy session in the morning. While his arm was slowly growing stronger, it was taking too long for Sebastian’s liking. It made him feel weak when he only wished to protect Ciel, and he felt as though he couldn’t do that with his arm in such a condition.

“Do you like it?” He asked, settling next to Ciel on the bed and pulling the younger male closer. He ran his fingers through the dark locks, the hair soft on his fingertips as Ciel rested his head on his chest.

Ciel snuggled in. “Of course I like it, both the painting and the tattoo design.” He kissed Sebastian’s chest before sitting up once more to scoot down, pushing at the comforter and settling himself into the warmth of the bed. It didn’t bother him that he was still nude, especially when he didn’t wish to get back up to grab a pair of sleep pants.

“Go turn the light out,” Ciel said after a moment, a grin on his face.

Sebastian blinked before flicking Ciel’s forehead. A hand pushed him away, urging him to go turn off the light and after a while, Sebastian stood up and padded over to the light. “I spoil you,” he stated as he made his way back to the bed. “And you do nothing but use me in the end.” There was a hint of a pout in Sebastian’s voice but it was light and teasing.

A happy little grin hid behind a pillow and Ciel’s visible eyes shined with mirth. “But you enjoy spoiling me,” Ciel said behind his smile. He bundled more into the blankets as Sebastian came back, fearing some sort of retaliation from the man.

Chuckling, Sebastian pulled his clothes off his body and slipped under the covers so he could join Ciel. “I do,” he answered and pressed his cold feet to Ciel’s body. “Just as much as I enjoy teasing you too.”

They tussled in the bed for a moment, Ciel laughing and trying to get away from Sebastian’s icy feet. He squirmed until he was pulled close to a hard chest and he relaxed within Sebastian’s hold as the feet retreated and left them both breathing heavy, but in high spirits. It was turning into a good night, Ciel concluded as he yawned.

Sebastian nuzzled Ciel’s locks and sighed happily as he felt Ciel relax against him before drifting off to sleep. Perhaps tonight they would both be able to sleep through the night without the fears of nightmares for a change. It was a welcoming thought and Sebastian closed his eyes, allowing himself to fall asleep as well.


[Part Two]
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