Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason, and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot…
Ciel leaned against the parapet of the German castle, chin propped in his hand as he watched the quick flashes of bombs going off in the distance. The air rumbled with the sound, and one might think that it was actually thunder if the world hadn't disintegrated into a war that had already spanned years.
It was disappointing knowing, however, that the Axis Powers were slowly beginning their retreat—the war would end in another year or two, and Ciel was already preparing for the Axis Powers' defeat. Still, though, the experiment had been successful; he had watched the world change with Sebastian at his side, observing how the first world war had begun—and then manipulated events over the course of more than a decade to ensure that a second world war would begin.
So much death, so much destruction.
Ciel could admit to himself that he had become gluttonous: he and Sebastian had fed well since the first year of this decade, and the once-child knew that his demon butler was impressed with how quickly Ciel was learning how to become cruel. Times were changing—Ciel had changed—and the young demon knew that he would have to learn how to adapt or perish himself.
But, for a first attempt at true evil, Ciel thought that he hadn't done so bad; true, it hadn't destroyed Europe's population in the way that Sebastian's Black Death had, but this war would echo through history and the consequences of each nation's actions would be felt for decades after the war's ending.
The demon couldn't stifle a shudder of delight.
Ciel started in surprise, twisting away from the being that had suddenly appeared next to him: the words would have been expected because Ciel knew that he had changed and had changed greatly, but the speaker of the words… the demon had never expected to see. Oblivion was the only thing that awaited the humans whose souls demons had claimed for their own.
The still-young demon stared at the faintly transparent Alois Trancy, eyes shifting from a clear sapphire to blood-red ruby, the banked flames of hellfire muted and ember-like in his gaze. There was a lingering moment of silence, and then Ciel finally offered up a not-so composed response, "You're supposed to be dead."
Alois laughed gaily at that, moving away from the edge of the parapet to spin on one booted foot, purple coat flaring about him as his arms extended outwards, as if taking the universe into himself—welcoming it home. The oddity continued on for a little while longer with Ciel shifting from foot to foot in agitation and confusion as to why and how Alois was currently present, and when the blonde finally stopped, his face was flushed with exertion and he was breathless from the giddy laughter.
"I am dead," the head of the Trancy household said in response, placing a hand on his hip before cocking it slightly to the side so that his stance could ooze arrogance. "But today is a special day, so I was allowed to visit. For just a short time, though."
Ciel scowled in irritation at Alois, hating the fact that the other boy was slowly making him revert back to behavior that he had had when he had still been a mortal. "I meant," Ciel said in answer through gritted teeth, "that you're not only supposed to be dead, but you're supposed to not even exist anymore. Hannah took your soul."
The blonde smirked in answer, quirking an eyebrow at the demon. "What happens to a person's soul when the demon who took it doesn't consume it—and then dies, as well?" Alois asked, head tilting to the side as he waited for Ciel's reply. The boy didn't give him that opening, however: just glared more darkly and averted his gaze when Alois said nothing and just waited for a response.
The silence stretched on, spreading across long moments and into minutes—both waiting for the other to take the bait and neither wanting to be the first to cave; Ciel denied himself the sense of intrigue, the curiosity at a mystery that he still retained after all of these years, and Alois remained silent so that he could have his sense of drama, the flair for the over-the-top that he had coveted while alive.
When it became apparent that Ciel wouldn't say anything until he did—and Alois truly couldn't afford to waste the time that he had been granted—the blonde smiled softly, sadly, and moved back to the parapet to lean against its top. "Do you know what today is?" he murmured, staring out to watch the far away battlefield where men fought and died for the beliefs that they held dear.
"No," was the demon's curt answer. He never bothered to keep track of days anymore; they blended into one another, melding and shifting and so mercurial that there was never any point in keeping track of something so brief. Years, too, were slowly becoming like that as well, and Ciel was finally beginning to understand why it was that Sebastian would have happily waited years to claim his soul—time became insubstantial when one became immortal. The thought that something being timeless now became and impossibility. Time was fleeting, and nothing truly lasted forever.
The edge of Alois' smile saddened further, though he shrugged in an attempt to dismiss it. "It's November the fifth," he said after a moment before mirroring Ciel's pose to prop his chin in the palm of his hand.
Ciel blinked at that. "Bonfire Night?"
"Mmm," came the hum of agreement before Alois hopped up onto the slight depression so that he could sit at the edge of the parapet with legs hanging over a drop that comprised of several hundred feet. "Bonfire Night. Guy Fawkes Night. Today's my birthday, Ciel~"
The demon's brows furrowed momentarily before he snorted in derision. "Why should that matter to me?" he asked, voice frank as he looked sidelong at the… ghost?
Alois quirked an eyebrow at the other. "Because I wanted someone to remember. Remember me, the same way that other people remember Guy Fawkes: Remember remember the fifth of November."
The expression that Ciel gave to Alois in answer was perhaps the most human that he had had in decades. "You came back from wherever it is that you've been to ask me to remember your birthday?" he asked, voice incredulous.
"No," came the snapped reply, and Ciel felt a brief chill as Alois' hand passed over his cheek in an attempted slap. "Remember me, your mirror—people remember Guy Fawkes because of what he stood for. He was the mirror, the other side of the coin for Parliament. I was your mirror. Remember me. What I stood for for you, what I represented, Ciel."
The demon sneered. "Why should I?"
Another chill from another attempted slap. "Because I by being there, I was able to keep you honest in yourself—you had to be my counterpoint, and so you kept true to who you are. You've changed now, though. You've become what you hated when you were alive, Ciel. So remember me."
Ciel's eyes suddenly flared in fury, and a pulse of his power washed over Alois; the blonde cried out in pain, arm jerking up to shield himself from the hell-tainted power—but the fact that he was in limbo and thus belonging to neither heaven nor hell kept him stable and still present in the middle-world.
"You have no right to judge my actions," came the low snarl.
"Isn't that what friends do?" Alois said in answer, breathing heavily from the pain that lingered still. He shivered at the sensation of actually feeling something for the first time since he had died and turned his body so that he was once more completely facing Ciel.
"I've missed you," the blonde continued after a moment of silence as Ciel stared at the ghost in confusion caused from both of Alois' confessions, and it was with that arrogant smirk that Earl Trancy leaned forward to bite the shell of Ciel's ear—almost echoing his actions the first time that they had met, though Ciel would have most definitely preferred the original lick.
Ciel yelped at the sudden pain, and he brought a hand up to touch the ear that the other had bitten. Cool silver met his fingertips, the ear cuff worked with a design of roses and fleur-de-lis: Alois' own self-designed memento mori.
"Don't forget me," Alois said with a saucy wink as he began to fade, becoming more and more transparent as the seconds ticked on by. "Or I'll be coming back to haunt you every birthday from this point on."
Still fingering the present that Alois had given to him—obviously as contrary as ever, even in death—Ciel frowned and glared down at his feet as the sounds of gunfire echoed over the one-time farmer's fields. "Happy Birthday," the demon muttered before finally allowing his hand to drop to his side, leaving the ear cuff to remain where Alois had placed it.