Breath and blood by smilingcrescent
"Just get me home," I mutter, trying to disguise my labored breathing. But I apparently I have the worst luck todayeven I can hear crackling and whistling wheezes in my voice. Doubtless it's even louder to him due to the superior hearing of my trained dog. Trained demon. Whatever.
My head hurts, and my lungs feel like a stretched balloon. No matter how deep I try to breath, it isn't enough. I can't bear to be held so closelyeven Sebastian's stronggentlearms feel like they're crushing my lungs. Restricting my breathing even more.
"Now, now, focus on something besides your discomfort, little master," Sebastian coaxes, effortlessly dodging the bullets of my customer's rival gang.
I, on the other hand, have endured a scraped knee and elbow from being forcibly shoved down to keep from being shot. Sometimes I think he's less than perfect on purpose. Only with me of course.
"Just think of all the information you got tonight," he says, his tone somehow antagonizing and concerned all at once. "We have proof of Lau's loyalties, and have a very clear idea of who is against Mr. Siemens."
The reminder grates on me. He wasn't supposed to let me get caught.
"You took too long cleaning things up," I accuse. "I could have filmed one half, while you cleared the other," I run out of breath half way, and give up on finishing my complaint. Glowering disapproval will have to do.
I resist the urge to pull away, to insist on trying to escape on my own. That would only slow us down, and keep me from my medicine longer.
The sound of Sebastian's feet on the concrete is barely enough to register. There's only the light tremor of energy running through his body from impact, and pressed as close as I am, I can feel each step in my bones. Tiny, thrilling pulses of energy jarring me just enough to distract.
It's only a matter of minutes until we're on a familiar street. I'm barely looking at our surroundings, counting on Sebastian to get me there safe. His pace never wavers.
Sebastian opens the car door, and sets me down. "There's an inhaler in the glove box, young master," he reminds me. His breathe is a puff of wind, and from his vest pocket, I detect the barest hint of roses, ivy, and something else?
I try and place it, but my lungs can't be denied much longer. I reach for the glove box as Sebastian finally settles in the driver's seat as my hands close around the plastic container.
Outside, I finally notice another figure. But his body is already devoid of life's heady rhythm. It slumps to the ground even as I watch. Amazing. He must have been hit nearly a minute before as we came out.
Sebastian looks at me. I can see his eyes reflected in the car window mirror. Mindlessly, I bite the dispenser's mouthpiece.
I notice that there's surprisingly little blood on the corpse.
I look away, concentrating on the acrid taste in my mouth, bitter powder that reminds me of unripe persimmon. I breathe in as deep as I can.
Hold my breath.
Sebastian chuckles at my side, though his intent is unclear to me.
The ride back is a blur of street lights. My breathing has more or less returned to normal, but the scrape on my knee and elbow stings worse than before. I shift uncomfortably in my seat, feeling my heart in my chest. Like always, it beats too strongly, half proving the saline mist actually works.
I shake, waiting.
"We've arrived," Sebastian says, pulling the car into our spot. I don't bother waiting for him to open the door, just let myself out and walk toward the door. I don't have to walk far, though. Sebastian has me in his arms and up the fire escape before I can even make it out of the car park.
Sebastian sets me down, leaning over me in such a way that he pushes on my shoulders with just enough force to feel heavy. His scent isn't so cloying after minutes of relief, so I don't bother complaining. The door swings open, and Sebastian begins pulling off my jacket, examining the shallow scrape.
"That must sting," he whispers in my ear. Soft tissuehis lips?brushes the delicate skin. My body tingles.
My breath catches in my throat; the adrenalin rush has already faded, leaving me tired and all too aware of my breathing. Moreover, the inhaler won't work perfectly after a night like this one.
And Sebastian is standing so close. His hands brush my bruised skin, and he tsks deep in his throat. "Let me take care of that." And he leaves me standing there, nearly panting from lack of breath and confused signals.
He returns with antiseptic and adhesive plasters, his touch delicate and practiced as any nurse as he touches my elbow. "Finished with this one," he smiles. "If you could sit down, Ciel," he says my name carefully, free of any suggestive inflection, but it catches my attention almost more than his teasing, flirting hand motions.
His words have definitely caught my attention, and I resist the urge to follow him with my eyes.
Why did I ever give him permission to use my given name? His familiarity is aggravating at times like this. I want to rebuke him and want him to continue all at once.
I nod, moving towards the kitchen chair, but Sebastian steers me away. A smile teases his lips. "You'll be more comfortable in your room, I'm sure."
My heart flutters in my chest, and I feel more lightheaded than the situation demands. But Sebastian is being so considerate and yet still distant. His touch is certainly
"Do try and fall on more clean surfaces, young master," he continues. "I'm afraid this might hurt a bit," he smiles at this, his eyes shining.
"You better not make it hurt on purpose," I say firmly. "Clean it careful"
Sebastian brings his face closer, our eyes level. He's close enough to feel his breath on my lips. "Think of something pleasant," he says cheerfully, putting the wet pad to the cut, gently rubbing the dirt out of my cut. It stings, but I'm more focused on his eyes, his breath, and the bed, than any amount of discomfort. I only notice when he plucks out bits of dirt from the shredded skin on my knees. Walking will sting for days.
Memories of other times in this room or another, of heated words and mocking asides drift to mind. "Is this the only kind of affection you understand, little master? And what would you order me to do?" The same tone, the same gentle touch.
Brushing my lips. Touching the soft skin on my arms, thighs, back
Sebastian straightens up, removing his gloved hands from my leg. His expression has gone blank, even his eyes unknown to me.
"If there are no other injuries," he tilts his head slightly, indicating a half question. "Then I shall prepare for tomorrow's breakfast. Would you like me to put your robe by the bathroom?"
Back to business as usual, Sebastian appears for all the world unaware of the thoughts he provoked in me. I scowl, but what can I expect? I open and close my mouth, trying to think out a way to protest his lacking attentions, but come up with nothing.
The taste of medicine on my tongue is enough to remind me how dangerous life can be.
He gives a bow at the door, his half smile mocking as ever. "Enjoy your evening." Finally, the stone façade breaks. A glimpse of teeth. Red tongue. "I'm but a call away, Ciel." He retreats with a kind of grace propriety might find inappropriate. He motions lightly, and his gentlemanly bow is strangely mocking.
The door closes. The next move will have to be mine, then. I sigh and head for the bathroom, leaving Sebastian to his chores.
I touch my lips. Remember the hard mouthpiece between my teeth, and recall then a dirty silk gag I've not thought of in years. Strange, how associations can be made.
His eyes are different, I tell myself.
His attentions are
But I stop.
What is this, but a match of wills?
My hand drops to my side.
He won't win tonight's game.
Slowly, painstakingly, I wash off the sweat of the day. Clean my teeth of all residues. I scrub and pull at the dirt (Sebastian left behind). My skin.
I won't lose.
I'll wash it away
(away, away, away) memories and all.