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A Soft And Melting Ultion

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Growing up, William T. Spears had always been in awe of a storm’s destructive power. The raw strength of nature could level buildings, uproot trees and cars, and drown whole towns in its fury. But for William, a young and bookish child, it had been nothing but comforting for him.

He adored the pounding of rain on his windows, capturing the world in its droplets. Its beat let him drift off to sleep, or empowered him when he felt alone. The shouting of the inky black clouds as they flashed and shook the earth made his heart race in excitement. And something about growing up that way meant that maybe he felt just a little invinceable against them — they meant him no harm.

But nature was a fickle mistress; it did not favour anyone in particular, and William was no exception.

One night, as he drove him from work, a powerful thunderstorm raged all around him. William wore a little smile in the dark, feeling safe and protected from the torrents of icy rain thrashing against his vehicle. It had been a long day, but things were good, and soon he’d be home with a nice cup of coffee to sip while he read by the fire.

He was very intelligent, and hyper-vigilant of the road as he navigated it…but what followed was completely out of his own control. As he passed through a rather dilapidated suburb on the way to his quite respectable home, nature turned on him too.

Due to the wet road, the driver of a semi lost control of the vehicle, flying through a red light, and positively T-boning William’s car off the side of the road. It went rolling down the hill, its driver thrown about within it like a ragdoll.

As William covered his head and tried not to die, all he could think was how very stupid and naive he had been. Then the car plummeted into a tree, and all the lights went out.

----


The hideous sounds of metal crunching against metal and earth carried through the freezing night air, and into the ears of one Sebastian Michaelis. The haggard man looked up from the meager little saucepan he was heating on his stove when he heard the sounds creep through his paper thin walls. Even he couldn’t ignore it; he turned the stove off and ventured outside with a tattered umbrella to investigate the sound.

The last thing he expected was to find a mangled and bleeding man trapped in a totaled car in the woods right by his little shack of a house. The very last thing he expected was that this person be a man that he knew — a psychiatrist he’d visited once upon a time.

If left unattended, the man would bleed out in his car; and if he was really unlucky the fuel line would rupture and the car would explode.

Fire…no, don’t think of fire…

With little regard to his own safety, Sebastian seized the man round the wrist without a second thought and dragged him through the broken glass window, pulling him into his dark and silent little house.

Fate had personally hand-delivered poor William to Sebastian’s doorstep; clearly, it had something in store for them, and Sebastian was very keen to find out what.

One minute William had been driving home, enjoying the storm…and the next minute, his skeleton had been contorted like a human pretzel. Luckily, he did not have to endure this horrific state of being, because he was deeply unconscious.

It was three days out of his life that he remained in that state, and it was very possible he would have died without the intervention of one local hermit.

In his teenage years, William had often fantasized of becoming a stormchaser. Childish dreams though they were, if he had to choose how he died, maybe a storm would not have been the worst way. It reminded him of the good times in his childhood, and it reminded him of his beloved father. But William had no desire to die, so it was certainly a miracle when he woke one morning in a small, grey little bed, he could see a little sunlight from a window near the ceiling, and he was not in any pain.

Clearly, fate was on his side.

The smell of coffee filled the air — nothing fancy, nothing fresh roasted, but simply powdered instant coffee. It was pleasant and airy, and there was a helping of it by William’s bed, sitting atop a rickety table in a chipped mug.

A door opened somewhere above William’s head, and there came the sound of quiet footsteps down a set of creaky wooden stairs. Sebastian appeared with a small plate of toast, buttered (margarine) and cut into triangles, and he glanced over at William carefully.

“Oh…you’re awake! Thank goodness,” he uttered in surprise, hurrying over to William’s side and setting the plate of toast down. “I’m not sure what I was going to do if you were unconscious for much longer. How are you feeling…?”

William was very drowsy, and his body felt stiff like cement. Nonetheless, he perked up when his saviour entered the room, especially seeing the plate of food being carried. After three days of being totally unconscious, he was starving .

“Uh..hello, there..” William murmured, looking up at the tall man with long, dark hair. Good heavens…he was a fine sight to behold, if it weren’t for those dark, unhappy eyes. What kind of life had this person had?

William went to adjust his glasses, as was his customary tic, only for dull pain to shoot up his side as he moved his arm.

“Hh…?” Looking down, the brunet beheld his naked chest, pale skin bruised terribly and deep wounds that had been stitched and bandaged. The site made William’s stomach flop uncomfortably, and a weak groan left his chest as he suddenly remembered everything of the past night, from the moment he left work to the moment he collided with that tree.

“Oh..oh, my god…!”

A very reserved man, William was not one to make such an emotional utterance…but if any situation called for it, it was this one. William had to avert his eyes in distress..He couldn’t dare look under the blankets. Something told him it was not good.

Yet, eventually, he still pulled himself together and meet Sebastian’s eyes.
   

“W-who are you?” he asked hesitantly. Did this person…save his life that night?

“I am a doctor,” Sebastian replied, kneeling by William’s side at the bed and checking over the bandages he’d changed the night before. “My name is Sebastian Michaelis. You’re in quite a state, aren’t you…? Frankly, I think you’re lucky to be alive. You might not be if I hadn’t been awake to hear your car come crashing down into the wood by my house.”

He checked injuries very carefully, feeling William’s pulse, gently setting the plate of toast onto William’s lap. There was even an IV in William’s arm, giving him fluids and at least keeping him hydrated. “But you are alive, and I’m glad for it,” he added, surveying the IV.

It was a very shabby room with a shabby bed and sheets, but it was all clean. Clearly, Sebastian was poor, but he valued cleanliness. Nothing smelled bad; merely old and worn. The blankets on the bed were mismatched and faded, and the things like the tableware were clearly secondhand. The handsome doctor himself looked very worn, and not just his clothes.

He sighed softly after checking William’s vitals. “I’m glad you’ve made it,” he repeated in relief. “Now that you’re finally awake, will you tell me your name?”

William listened to the man speaking to him — Sebastian had a definite tone of authority, much as William himself did — and let out a small sigh of relief.

A doctor. Thank goodness. Even though looking around, William’s OCD was set off by the disorganization, it was by no means dirty, or even untidy. Things just didn’t match. The home seemed more like a miner’s shack, maybe…? Certainly not any place a doctor should be living, and William had the title to attest to it.

I certainly hope everything has been disinfected.

“My name is…William T. Spears…” the brunet replied after a brief moment of recollection. “I’m a doctor, too — a clinical psychologist…I…”

Though William was making his best efforts to be observational, the drugs that were no doubt in his system were making it very difficult. Things were fuzzy, his mind was sluggish. It was an awful feeling, but he was not in pain.

“Thank you for…treating me. I am eternally grateful…to you.”

William was a peculiar man. He had handsome Eurasian features, but his eyes were a glacial grey-blue, the same as his father’s. It was a genetic oddity he was proud of, but it always made him look very stern. So it was a testament to his gratitude when the corners of his eyes crinkled warmly as he thanked the doctor.

“Forgive my asking…but…why have you not taken me to a h…a hospital?”

Sebastian offered the plate of toast, which was still warm, to his guest. “Please, don’t mention it. I swore an oath as a doctor to protect all patients in my care. Now, to answer your question…your injuries were critical,” he replied with a grave tone and a furrowed brow. “I had to take you in myself. I have no telephone or means of safely transporting you to a hospital. Your condition was so bad I had to keep constant watch on you…I couldn’t risk leaving to go find help.”

He glanced away. “I wouldn’t have forgiven myself if you’d died while I was gone,” he added very quietly. “No…it was best that I remained here with you.”

But his gaze softened and he returned his eye contact. “But now that you’re awake, I know that your condition has improved considerably. I’d like to keep a close eye on you for just a little longer before I attempt to transfer you to a hospital.”

William looked down at the plate, and slowly picked up the toast to nibble on. “Could you…not call an ambulance? I’ll pay all of the...costs…” he assured him. "Since…I’m sure you’re not hiding an X-ray machine somewhere in this home…and I fear I may have some broken bones…”

He grasped the hem of his blanket, again deciding if he should check on the damage. Curiosity got the better of him in the end, and he took a peek.

"Shit.”

There were definitely broken bones down there, and they didn’t look like they’d been set. William was distraught to discover both his knees were shattered, his left femur had what looked like an open break, and judging by the irregular shape of his shins, those were broken too. No ankle that was that swollen and bruised could still be intact, so he might as well write that off…

William put his plate aside, now feeling decidedly nauseous. He was speechless, and basically wanted to cry. But he was not the type, and instead chose to take a few deep, shuddering breaths to calm himself.

How tragic; his once pale, athletic body was mangled and covered in angry purple bruises and vicious cuts.

William vaguely recalled a useless fact from medical school — you could die from too much bruising. He supposed he wasn’t in danger of that now they’d all come up, though…

“Oh…I’m really…in bad shape, a-aren’t I…?” he mumbled, clumsily adjusting his glasses with the other hand — this didn’t hurt quite so much.

“I don’t have a telephone,” Sebastian repeated with sympathy. “I don’t make much…I pay my rent, I pay for utilities, and I pay for groceries. What I have here is what I could spare from my practice. A phone is a luxury I can’t afford, unfortunately. I can’t call for an ambulance.”

He winced and glanced away as William assessed his injuries; he’d seen it from many patients waking up for the first time, but this was his first time witnessing it when the patient had no casts and could see how bad the injuries really were. Needless to say, they were bad.

“Yes,” Sebastian agreed, setting a hand on William’s back. “I’m sorry. I’ve done everything I can for you so far. Now that you’re conscious, I’ll be able to go get you the rest of the help you need. And I know you aren’t feeling well, having seen your injuries, but please eat what you can. It’s been three days, Mr. Spears. I need you to get something into your stomach. Toast and coffee aren’t much…but we must be gentle to your digestive system.”

William stared at him for a long moment. Sebastian had a kind, tired face, but right now alarm bells were going off in William’s head. There was absolutely no doctor in any civilized country that did not have a phone. They needed to be reached at all times after all. As if William hadn’t been panicking enough, the seed of fear began to bloom within his churning belly.

“What if I have…i-internal bleeding…?” he asked, wiping sweat from his forehead. “Please, you must go…and get help…I could die.” He reached out for Sebastian with a trembling, battered hand. “You said you didn’t want that, remember…?”

Even if Sebastian had the best of intentions, stupidity was dangerous. Even if he was just a man living in poverty who wanted to help out, and lying to keep William calm…he was doing much more damage by keeping the man here.

This was not how William wanted to go out.

“You don’t have internal bleeding; I can tell you that much,” Sebastian reassured him, taking his hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. “I won’t let you die. You’re safe with me. I’m going to get you help, I promise…”

As luck or fate would have it, thunder clapped overhead, and both men glanced up at the ceiling, listening to the sound roll over them. Rain began to patter against the window, and Sebastian crossed the room to look out it. “Oh, no,” he murmured, clutching the worn old curtain. “I thought the storm had stopped…! The sun was out only a moment ago, wasn’t it? Damn it… damn it.”

He turned back toward William with a furrow in his brow. “The roads have been closed for the past few days because of flooding, and if this storm persists, that flooding is only going to get worse. It’s not safe to travel; the flooding could be making sinkholes or worse.”

He joined William’s side again and rested his hand over William’s. “Please…you have nothing to fear. I’m here to take care of you. I have enough food and supplies to take care of you for several more days. I’ll need to change your bandages as well, and I’m sure you must be wanting a bath. You’re safe here.”

For once, William was not happy to hear the sound of rain. Has it turned against me entirely…? My favourite, most calming occurence?

“…That’s…very unfortunate,” he said with a deep sigh, but at least he felt a lot more at ease knowing Sebastian would have gone for help if not for the storm outside. “…Was the storm really so bad?” he asked, closing his eyes and letting the stress leave his shoulders. “Strange...we don’t usually get such serious storms around here…”

Truth be told, the hand of an attractive man in his own was…very relaxing. It had been too long since he’d last felt such a thing. And if Sebastian knew he didn’t have internal bleeding, then he really must be a doctor. William could breathe.

“I suppose I am…really lucky you found me…Dr. Mic…Micah? Michaels? Sorry, I don’t…quite r-remember…”

Looking up towards the window by the roof, the brunet wondered if he was in a basement . Is that…safer from flooding? In his disoriented state, William wasn’t sure. It certainly was safer from storms.

“You’ve…had to do a lot for me, the last few days, huh…?” he said suddenly. It was amazing that he had enough blood left in his body to blush…William still had the grace to be embarrassed.

 

“Michaelis,” Sebastian repeated patiently, gently pressing the hot coffee mug into William’s hands and warming his fingers with it. “Dr. Sebastian Michaelis. Please…think nothing of it. It’s my job as a doctor, after all. Please don’t be embarrassed.”

Sebastian glanced at the window again with William, following his gaze. “This storm has been very unusual. I heard weather reports on the radio calling it a cyclone,” he added in a somber voice. “I’m not sure at all when it will finally dissipate. We’ll have to keep waiting and see, but…neither of us want that to be much longer at all.”

The doctor returned his gaze to his patient and gave him a friendly smile. “Now, Mr. Spears…how much do you remember? The state of your car wasn’t very pretty when I found you. Do you remember what caused the accident? It looked like far too much damage to be hydroplaning.”

“It’s…it’s ‘Dr.’…Spears…’ William answered softly, taking the cup and raising it to his lips.

He was used to low quality coffee. It was fine, frankly delicious, to sip the warm beverage. Sebastian’s home was frigid and, as the rain starting coming in, William noticed the roof starting to leak. There were carefully positioned buckets to take care of that problem, however.

God…William could barely concentrate. Sebastian’s words were blurring into each other, and William’s legs were starting to throb. He could feel it, dull and dark.

“A truck rammed me off the road and down a hill….I hit a tree. I…can’t believe I actually survived…”

Another sip. William was calm, even if he was starting to hurt.

 

“You’re extraordinarily lucky that I live right here where you crashed,” Sebastian told him with a charming smile. “If I didn’t, I honestly doubt you would have survived. Between your injuries and the weather, you would have bled out if you hadn’t died from exposure. Frankly, I haven’t heard any emergency vehicles come this way or on the road up on the hill. Whoever was in that truck must not have reported an accident.”

Sebastian set to work on replacing some of William’s bandages. “Either they must have thought they hit a deer, or they truly committed a hit and run crime. People are foul…” He sighed. “I’m sorry. I truly am. But what matters is that you did survive and you’re in my care. I’m only sorry it couldn’t be more…ah…well, luxurious.”

Sebastian’s words continued to run over William’s head like water over a riverbank. The brunet blinked sleepily in response, his fuzzy gaze focused on that dazzling smile of Sebastian’s.

“Not…an issue…” William answered. “I think I won out…in the bedside manner department.”

Oh, mercy. It wasn’t proper to flirt with a man who saved your life and took you into his home. But when you were doped up on morphine and staring at a man as good looking as Dr. Michaelis, you could hardly be blamed.

 

Sebastian raised an eyebrow at William’s bold, drug-encouraged flirting, but he smiled and shook his head playfully in response. “Flirting with your doctor…honestly, Dr. Spears, how inappropriate.”

 

But he winked to let William know it was all fine, and continued to take care of him with the very best of his abilities.

 

William then finished up his drink. His toast was half eaten at first, but Sebastian convinced him to finish the rest as well. The pain by then was becoming vocal enough that William spoke up about it tentatively, and Sebastian upped the amount of drugs entering his system.

Before William could wonder if that was entirely the wisest move, he’d drifted off into that lovely, pain free wonderland of sleep once more.



---

The next few days passed in a similar manner, and the rain continued to pour relentlessly down upon the quiet little house at the edge of the woods, preventing the charitable doctor from taking his patient to a proper hospital. The many pails places across the house to catch leaks in the roof were emptied out again and again, but the cellar in which William was cared for never flooded.

Sebastian would bring William coffee and humble but warm meals at regular intervals, and kept him company while he ate and slowly grew stronger. Even if there was nothing Sebastian could do for the moment to treat William’s badly injured legs, he could at the very least give him the drugs that took the pain away. It was a good enough compromise. Sebastian was skilled enough to not allow his patient to die, and he was very determined to keep him alive and as comfortable as possible.

The fourth morning since William’s awakening marked a week since he’d been under Sebastian’s care. The rain was finally beginning to let up, and Sebastian brought William a hot meal for breakfast as usual. Coffee and scrambled eggs today, seasoned simply with salt and pepper. It was a good meal for all its simplicity.

“How are you feeling this morning, William?” Sebastian asked his patient with a kind and concerned smile upon giving him his meal.

For William, those days had been a very drug-hazed blur. Deep down, a seed of anxiety was blooming at the thought of what it would be like not to be on the morphine, and he knew this couldn’t exactly be healthy. But what did he know? He was too strung-out to think clearly, half the time. Either way, Sebastian had been beyond hospitable, tending to his every need with an amiable smile. William found it humiliating, naturally, but it wasn’t anyway near as bad as it would be if he was actually sober. For that, he was thankful.
  
“I’m rather well today, doctor,” he answered, nibbling his breakfast. “It has not…rained…since I woke up. I’m…ready to go to the hospital.” Looking up, he gave Sebastian a sleepy smile. “Finally be able to…get fixed up and move on with life.”

Sebastian, however, frowned a little in concern. “Even if the rain is finally letting up, there is still the concern of flooded roads and valleys,” he replied as he crossed his arms over his chest. “It could be immensely dangerous…don’t you think we should wait another day or so and wait for the roads to dry?”

He unfolded his arms to draw the curtain on the window aside, and he looked out at the world. The rain had stopped, but the ground was still saturated. It would be a while before the mud dried and became dirt again.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s safe yet.”

William deflated a little, but he’d come to trust Sebastian and Sebastian clearly knew best. Though, it was hard to judge a man when you’d both talked so little about anything. In fact, Sebastian keeping him company was...eerily silent at times. The atmosphere often felt heavy.

“I...guess you’re right,” William answered with a little sigh. What could he do?

---

Then the next day went by, and the next. The rain didn’t come back, and birds sang in the trees outside. By now, William was growing quite anxious that his legs would heal the wrong way if left unattended for any longer. It had been a week since the crash, hadn’t it?  He’d already tried asking for his phone to call an ambulance here, but his raven-haired saviour said he hadn’t found one on him after the crash.

“Sebastian,” he said once he’d had his breakfast that day. “It’s time I go to the hospital. Please take me.”

Sebastian’s brow furrowed the way it always did when he was about to deny William this request. He glanced away, looking deeply troubled, and purses his lips. “I just don’t think that’s wise, yet,” he said quietly, avoiding William’s gaze. “It could still be dangerous. The roads here aren’t paved. I don’t know what they’re going to look like after such a storm.”

 

Looking injured, he glanced briefly into William’s eyes. “Are you so eager to leave my care? Have I not been enough for you?”

 

William blinked. He hadn’t had his dose administered for today, so he was particularly lucid at the moment.

 

He was in an average amount of pain; by now he was having faint palpitations, and with each one came painful throbs in his knees. One knee was at least an inch out of its socket, effectively shortening his leg by the equivalent amount, and the other was just shattered in place. Even wiggling his toes, he felt a sickening crunch in the knee as tendons around it moved amongst the fragments.


He needed those drugs, but his current lucidity awarded him one thing: As a psychologist, he caught onto Sebastian’s manipulative behaviour in a heartbeat, and now, he was genuinely beginning to worry that things weren't as they'd seemed.

Chapter Text

“Sebastian….your hospitality has been more than appreciated,” William replied, carefully choosing his words. “And I promise you will be handsomely reimbursed for it. But we both know I need x-rays; without them, I will be crippled for life. I’ve been more than patient for the last two days, my friend, but the time has come for me to leave.”  

 

“It isn’t safe yet,” Sebastian repeated firmly. “I understand your need for x-rays, but I don’t want to take you yet. I…I would have to inspect the roads, drive you at an excruciatingly slow place to prevent further damage to your broken bones, and take all sorts of other precautions.

 

Automatically, he moved to William’s morphine drip with the intention to strengthen the dosage again. “You aren’t ready to leave,” he reaffirmed, reaching up to the drip. “Not yet.”

 

William clumsily batted Sebastian’s hand away from the drip.

 

“No,” he said quickly. “I am fine with however long it takes to drive me there. Please, Sebastian…! You’re…you’re…”

 

Well, William never thought he’d have to save these words.  “…You’re starting to frighten me,” he said quietly, eyes averted. “I wish to leave.”

 

There were only so many ways to say it, short of demanding to be released. But that wasn’t necessary….was it?

 

Sebastian’s eyes glinted with displeasure, and he somewhat roughly took hold of William’s hand in response.

 

“Do not strike me again,” he warned him quietly. “Why are you frightened, William? I’m merely doing my job, which is to protect you and care for you. Is there something about me that is threatening to you? I hardly think worrying for your safety is threatening or frightening. What is bothering you?”

 

It was a legitimate question, but Sebastian’s aura had changed, at the atmosphere in the room became much, much heavier. There was a significant, tense silence between the two men as they gazed into each other’s eyes, Sebastian waiting patiently for his answer.

 

William drew his hand back.

 

“I...I didn’t…strike you…I just don’t want any more painkillers right now. I really wish to leave, Sebastian. Will you hold me here against my will….?”

 

An uncomfortable feeling crept up the back of William’s neck, and he thought he might be sick. He’d never felt so helpless until now, because something definitely, definitely was not right.  His carer had completely run out of excuses, and now…it would unequivocally turn to anger.

 

Sebastian wasn’t going to let him go, was he….?

 

“Then use your words,” Sebastian suggested in a tone that let William know it was not a suggestion. “Don’t slap my hand away. That’s very rude.”

 

He leaned down closely and invaded William’s space, still not taking his eyes off of his patient’s, and he was expressionless.

“Do you fancy yourself a hostage now?” he asked with a quizzical tilt of his head. “My goodness. You just keep continuing to be ruder and ruder to me. I’ve never been so insulted.”

 

He straightened up, looking away thoughtfully, and tapped a slender finger to his chin. “…Ah,” he said softly. “Yes, I have. That seems to be in your nature, after all. Isn’t it, Dr. Spears? You have insulted me even more gravely than that in the past.”

 

Ah, he couldn’t help it…the kindly and concerned facade was unraveling. Frankly, Sebastian was surprised at himself for keeping it up this long.

 

There was a beat of silence, where the temperature in the room felt like it dropped past zero.

 

Those last words of Sebastian’s: ‘in the past’…it told William all he needed to know.

 

When you were a doctor of any kind, you couldn’t always hand out good news. And sometimes, people took it badly. When you were a clinical psychologist, sometimes the people you gave bad news to reacted in very alarming, sometimes illegal ways.  

 

He’d angered a psychopath somehow and now he was going to pay dearly for it.   

 

Of all things, William’s instinctive response was to laugh under his breath.

 

“Oh, heavens…” Oddly enough, the uncharacteristic action was calming. It kept him a little more clearheaded, as opposed to letting panic and pain take over.

 

“Alright…let’s talk. So, what did I do to deserve this?” he muttered, shaking his head and hiding his smile behind his hand. “Couldn’t magically cure your condition with drugs, I suppose? Or maybe I wouldn’t accept your advances…?”

 

Of all things, Sebastian never expected to be laughed at, and it lit a terrible fire within him. He was being laughed at. This wretched man, who had thoroughly ruined Sebastian’s life, was now mocking him. Up until this point, he had remained very calm, and even charming, but now the gloves were off.

 

Sebastian responded by pulling a fist back and slugging William in the side of the face as hard as he possibly could.

 

Before his ‘patient’ could recover, Sebastian seized him by the upper arms with a vicelike grip.

 

“I didn’t expect you to remember,” he said in a dangerously soft voice, like a volcano just shy of eruption. “I was only one of dozens of people whose lives you must have destroyed that day, wasn’t I? I came to you, alone and destitute, begging for your help. You afforded me all of fifteen minutes of your precious time before you cast me aside without so much as a single word of parting advice.”

 

Sebastian let go of him and took a step back, letting out a single, hollow laugh. “I don’t think you even listened to one single word I said during those fifteen minutes,” he added bitterly. “Likely you were too busy daydreaming about how to spend your handsome paycheck. Don’t think I didn’t notice the Rolls you crashed, or the £700 phone you had in your pocket.”  

 

William’s head snapped sideways under the force of Sebastian’s fist, and lights popped behind his eyes.

 

This situation had just taken a nightmarish turn from bad to worse.

 

“I-I would never!” the stunned brunet uttered when he finally found his words, cradling his cheek. “I have a duty of care to all my patients. I want to help people; that’s why I took this job!” He waited until his eyes uncrossed before opening them, gazing up at Sebastian with a bewildered expression.

 

“What happened?! I know I’d never treat someone so poorly unless they were behaving in an unacceptable manner. I don’t…recall you at all.”

 

William was incredibly gay, and a man who looked as good as Sebastian would not be forgotten.

 

It did not go unnoticed that Sebastian had lied about not finding William’s phone, too.

It made sense that the last few days were all just a facade on Sebastian’s part. Punishing William had to be his true intention.

 

“You spent fifteen minutes with me,” Sebastian repeated scathingly. “Of course you don’t recall me. It’s been five years since then, as well, and I have been through hell and back.”

 

He one-handedly seized William by the cheeks, squishing them together and forcing William to look at him.

 

“I was covered from head to toe with fresh burn scars from the blaze that had just killed my husband and our son,” he whispered. “I was suffering from the trauma of their loss and my injuries, and you refused me the medication that would have saved my sanity and eased my suffering. In fact, O Saint , you accused me of falsifying my symptoms in order to receive those drugs. Does that sound familiar yet?”

 

William didn’t even defend himself– he was gobsmacked (literally) by the news he was hearing.

 

That one case five years ago. How could I forget…?

 

“I didn’t recognise you at first,” William said after a long silence, pulling himself away from Sebastian’s grip. “You had a different name then. Very short hair, and of course, all the…”

 

He gestured to his face, in reference the first degree burns covering Sebastian’s face that day.

 

“You’re right, Sebastian. That day, you were unfairly treated, and it was a mistake. I am more ashamed of that single day than any other in my entire history as a psychologist and it has, in fact, haunted me for all these years.”

 

William’s eyes were now a stormy grey as he looked this ghost of his past in the face and saw him truly for the first time.

 

You have haunted me. What I did to you…there’s no excuse…but there is my side of it, too.”

 

Sebastian immediately shushed William, resting a finger on William’s lips and giving him a deceptively tender smile.

 

“That,” he said softly, “sounds like an excuse to me. I don’t believe for one moment that you regret what you did. Fate delivered you to me so that I could exact my revenge upon you, and that’s what I’m fully intending to do.”

 

His finger traced soft lines from William’s lips to his chin, and then slowly up his jaw and tapping his cheek. “Don’t apologize. I know you’re only apologizing because I know you’re afraid of me now that I’m a threat to you. I don’t want to hear your empty words. I just want to make absolutely certain that you suffer every bit as much as I have suffered.”

 

“…Do you really believe that just torturing me is going to make you feel better…?” William asked in a deceptively steady voice. “I believe you may have begun to subconsciously associate me with the event that killed your family, which is why you are harbouring such malice. It’s not me you hate so intensely…I’m just someone you can take all your pain and hurt out upon.”

 

William gently took Sebastian’s hand in his fingertips.

 

“I can help you, Sebastian. I searched long and hard for you to give you the care you were owed, and I still want you to have it now.”

 

The haggard doctor accepted William’s hand, continuing to give him a tender look. He responded to William’s offer by calmly seizing William’s ring finger and bending it so far backward that all of the joints snapped and cracked hideously as they broke.

 

“Don’t attempt to play mind games with me, shrink,” Sebastian told his captive pleasantly. “Because you refused me the medication I so badly needed, I was desperate enough to seek them through illegal means. Consequently, law enforcement discovered me and I spent several years in prison. I lost my medical license. I lost everything .”

 

His smile did not reach his eyes as he calmly broke William’s little finger as well. “Please do trust me when I say this: I utterly loathe you with every last cell in my body .”

 

William naturally cried out as Sebastian broke not one but two of his fingers.

 

“You can’t blame me for you breaking the law. You ruined your own life!” he snapped back viciously, the pain igniting anger within him. “It’s not like you couldn’t have come back! Nor am I the only psychologist who does free consultations!”

 

William cradled his twisted hand, sweat gathering on the back of his neck. “I did search for you. I didn’t stop for at least a year. Maybe if you hadn’t lied about your ID, I could have found you easier!”

 

“Perhaps if you had simply treated me like a human being, none of this would have happened,” Sebastian countered, unrepentant. “I didn’t lie about my identification. My marriage to my late husband was not recognized by the government, but the name that I gave you – Sebastian M. Phantomhive – was a true name.”

 

He stepped back, gently flexing his own fingers. “How could I come back?” he asked softly. “My mental illness was fresh and I had no idea how to handle it. I had nothing to my name because everything was lost in the fire. I couldn’t even legally inherit anything or collect life insurance from my family. Legally, I was a stranger to them.”

 

Sebastian smiled handsomely as he completely cut William off from the morphine drip. “But how touching that you searched for one year out of five.”

 

William scowled, nursing his broken fingers close.

“But I did search. I was going to make it right, but you landed yourself in prison. You were nowhere to be found. And here you are, holding me against my will, abusing me, whilst preaching about being treated like a human being. You’re a damned hypocrite,” he hissed.

William thought Sebastian was going to knock him out with the morphine drip, but instead the raven removed it entirely. “You can still make it right before you go too far, Sebastian. Your husband and son would not want this. They wouldn’t want to see you like this.”

 

Sebastian detached William from the drip, cutting off his supply to the painkiller completely. Upon William’s suggestion, however, Sebastian tore the blankets from the bed and exposed him to the cold air, seized William by the ankle, and dragged him halfway off the mattress by it, grinding his broken bones together.

“Don’t you dare presume to know what my family would have wanted,” he hissed, eyes wide with utter hatred. “You never knew them! How dare you! You know nothing, do you understand me?!”

All of Sebastian’s charm and pleasantries had completely vanished. There was nothing but a deranged animal living in the hollow shell that was once Sebastian Michaelis. He was determined to positively destroy William as much as possible without killing him.

 

Seeing Sebastian completely lose his sanity and yank William’s purple, swollen ankle certainly shut him up  – after the screaming, of course.

 

“No – no, stop – stop it!” he cried, staring up at Sebastian looking utterly aghast. “I’m sorry – you’re right…! I shouldn’t have said it – !”

 

William still knew that they were probably perfectly civil, but he’d never been in a situation like this. Nobody at psych school prepared you for the possibility of being taken hostage by one of your demented ex-patients. He had no idea how to get through to Sebastian, and if it was even possible at all.

 

Shivering in agony, William pulled himself away from Sebastian and further up the bed.

 

Able-bodied Sebastian was easily able to grab William all over again and drag him back down. “I know you don’t mean a single word of that,” he snarled, this time deliberately twisting William’s foot as sharply as he could. “If only you’d kept your mouth shut. If only you’d never been such a rancid cunt that day. You miserable waste of space…how I long to just end your life right here, but that would be far too easy. Too merciful.”

 

With another vicious yank, he sent William to the floor in an unceremonious heap. “Of course I’m right,” he went on, glaring down at William with undisguised loathing. “But I will not stop until I’m convinced you’ve truly repented.”

 

William cried out, feeling a crunch in his swollen ankle that had to be his bones moving further out of place. Oh, god, this was hell… and being thrown onto the floor was undoubtedly an entirely new circle of it.

It was then that William felt the full measure of damage done to his knees, which expressed itself in an inhuman shriek. For a few seconds,  the poor man blacked out entirely.

Maybe then it could have been a dream…but of course, it wasn’t.

And Sebastian was still waiting for him when he woke back up.

Sebastian was perched on the bed with the air of a prince disguised in rags, one leg crossed neatly over the other. “Ah. Have you decided to join me again?” he commented snidely once he saw that William was awake. “How considerate of you.”

He smiled cruelly and nudged William with his shoe. “How convenient that the crash broke your legs like this. I won’t even need to cuff you to the bed like I was initially planning. If I’m lucky, you’ll never stand again. You’ll die down here as slowly and as painfully as possible once I’m satisfied that you’ve properly repented.”

William was silent, but a sickening fear was building deep within him.

The thought of never being able to walk again was a terrifying one. William was quite vain, and no one would find him an imposing figure if he was sitting in a wheelchair.

Hah…and that was assuming he even got out of here alive. Sebastian had just said he was going to die down here, after all.

“I…I don’t want…to die,” he said hoarsely, eyes dark-ringed and tired. “Sebastian, listen…that day, something awful had happened to me. I was broken, and I took it out on you. I know I was wrong, and I’m certain I can make it up to you somehow.”

How low he had fallen already, pleading for his life.

“Give me a chance. I’ll do anything. I will, p-please.” William was already conjuring ideas. “I-I’ll pleasure you. I’ll be your slave – anything you want. Just…please.”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses,” Sebastian whispered, pushing William’s face away with his shoe. “Explaining to me why you were a subhuman puddle of bile to me that day is only an attempt to excuse yourself and justify your cruelty. You had a job to do and you let your personal life interfere. I don’t need to hear the story.”

Sebastian considered William, though; those weren’t bad suggestions. “You can’t make it up to me,” he told William right out, taking a step back and turning away from him. “No matter how much you repent.”

The raven stepped to the bottom of his cellar stairs, glancing over his shoulder. “I’ll give you some time to think about that while I decide precisely what I’d like to do with you next. I do hope that the floor is comfortable enough for you,” he said softly, and then made his ascent up the stairs.

 

No sooner had those words passed William’s lips than had he regretted them.

“Damn it, damn it, damn it,” he cursed himself, holding his head in his hands. How quickly he had broken. No– no! He could not let this happen to him.

His father would never be so weak . For god’s sake, William, you didn’t even try to escape before bending to his will…!

It was unacceptable. This was not William T. Spears, powerful and authoritative in every regard. No, he would not pleasure him. He would not be his slave, or do anything he did not wish to. He would not let Sebastian take his dignity, or his life.

Alone and in agony, fuelled with pain and fury, William started to formulate a plan.

He was physically at a disadvantage, which meant that the only way he was likely to get out of here alive was if Sebastian…was dead. There was also nothing in this room that he could use as a weapon; Sebastian was too smart for that.

But William figured something out. Now, all he could do was wait for the psychopathic raven to come back.

Sebastian didn’t return for several hours. This time, the food he arrived with was cold and even plainer than before – mere sliced bread that had been left out and gotten hard. It was no longer soft or fluffy like the golden toast that had been brought to William previously.

Two slices of bread were set onto the foot of the bed, and cold eyes were turned onto the unwilling prisoner.

“I think you’ve had ample time to think about what the consequences of your actions will be,” Sebastian informed William with an empty smile. “Don’t you? Now eat your dinner, William. It’ll be a while yet before your next meal.”

 

---

 

Having to wait all those hours for Sebastian to return was maddening for his prisoner.

William had listened keenly to the man’s movements upstairs all day, but so far had been unable to discern any type of schedule. Sebastian did what he wanted.

It didn’t affect William’s plan, but time certainly did. If he’d had to wait any longer, the whole thing would have been impossible. With each passing minute, the pain in his body grew more intense, as morphine loosened its numbing grip on his shattered skeleton. Soon, he wouldn’t be able to move at all. And there was something else he’d almost waited too long for, as well.

“I…I’ve had time to think,” William answered demurely, looking up at the plate of food on the bed. He couldn’t reach it, nor did he want it. “…You are…the one in control. And since I was the one who treated you so badly…I-I should just…accept the punishment I’m due. I can’t…do anything about it anyway. My body is broken, and even the slightest movements cause overwhelming torment. I don’t have to like it, but…this is my fate.”

He shifted slightly where he sat, biting at his lower lip. Christ, he couldn’t sit still. So many extreme sensations in his body all at once…. But he needed Sebastian to buy his submission.

Sebastian stared intensely at William for a very long time, saying nothing. He looked him up and down, his gaze piercing into William’s eyes, searching him for treachery.

“Well, you aren’t wrong,” he declared after an uncomfortably long time, tossing his head. “But do you really believe it yourself, or do you merely want something?”

He inclined his head downward, indicating William’s squirming. “A restroom, perhaps?”

 

William naturally pinkened at the abrupt question. It seemed he would have to give up a little dignity in order to preserve it in the long run.

“I…I can’t help that. It doesn’t…take away from what I’m saying. I-I would have said the same thing if I didn’t need…to go. And I’ll say the same thing when it’s over.”

His whole plan rested on being permitted upstairs to use the toilet he knew was up there. Actually needing to go made the act all the more convincing.

“Please, will you…take me…?”

“I can think of many ways I’ll take you,” Sebastian replied with a crooked smile, being deliberately inappropriate. “But I suppose I can afford you this one luxury. I am not a complete monster.”

Without waiting for a reply, Sebastian knelt down by William’s side and picked him up. “You can’t rely on a bedpan forever,” the raven hummed thoughtfully as he carried William up the stairs, but he furrowed his brow in irritation. “But what a bother. Will I be doing this every time? Perhaps I’ll have to fashion a makeshift toilet for you to use instead.”

He was not gentle with William as he carried him up the creaking, rickety stairs to the house; he left his prisoner’s legs free to dangle and bump into each other rather than secure them.

The house itself proved to be every bit as shabby as its cellar, if not worse; it was almost completely bare of furniture, and what was there was close to falling apart. It was tidy and as clean as could be in the circumstances, but things like a bowling ball-sized hole in the ceiling with exposed, rotting beams made it clear that Sebastian really did not have the funds to repair his home.

The bathroom that William was brought to consisted of a tiny and very cold 4′x4′ tiled room with a stall shower with no door or curtain, a steadily dripping, rusty shower head, a crumbling pedestal sink, and a toilet that had seen better days. There was a small mirror above the sink, half blackened with age, and one small window adjacent to the sink. It was large enough for a grown man to crawl through.

“Well…here you go,” Sebastian offered, somewhat abruptly setting William down onto the toilet seat.

 

William had been watching Sebastian’s home with hawk-like observation.

Dr. Spears was incredibly smart- enough to prepare for the event that he didn’t succeed today. He made a mental blueprint of Sebastian’s house in his mind for later, and his photographic memory would keep it safe.

Though, it was hard to concentrate when every bump on his legs was agonizing enough to nearly make him black out again.

“Oof-!”

William landed hard on the seat, and had to bite down on his tongue not to cry out.

“Th…thank you..” he mumbled thickly, reaching out to steady himself on the sink. The next heavily uncertain part of his plan rested on whether or not Sebastian had the decency to leave the room while William took care of business.

 

Miraculously enough, he did.

The second the door closed, William looked around the dank room for anything he could use as a weapon. In his initial plannings, he’d had fantasies of using tape to secure a shaving razor to a toothbrush, but when he’d leaned over and opened up the medicine cabinet, he found a pair of hairdressing scissors, orange with rust.

Not to mention rows packed of various pills and medications. Some of it had to be whatever Sebastian was giving William for pain management. In a moment of impulse, William grabbed a bottle of the first thing that looked appropriate and shoved a handful of them in the pocket of his boxers.

“Don’t look at me that way, Vincent,” Sebastian muttered bitterly as he searched his house for supplies. “You’ve been giving me that face all week.”

Vincent said nothing; instead, his lovely dark eyes just watched Sebastian with sadness and pity. Sebastian avoided them at all costs.

“I’m doing what I must. I must,” he half-pleaded. “It is justice. He had it coming. Stop looking at me like that…”

Vincent was no longer there to look at him that way. Sebastian almost sighed in relief. He turned away and made his way back to his tiny, pitiful water closet with an old paint barrel. At this point, he estimated William must have had five minutes to himself, and he knocked on the door to get his attention.

“That should be long enough,” he decided authoritatively. “I’ve given you plenty of time to do what needs doing. Now hurry out or you will lose the privilege of privacy.”

 

William’s heart skipped a beat, and with as much stealth as he could muster, he closed the medicine cupboard and settled back onto the toilet.  The pills were in his pockets and the rusty scissors were stashed in the back of his pants.

Damn it, time was up already?

“W-wait..” he muttered, wishing he could have at least gotten to do what one was supposed to do in here before Sebastian returned. But the man was already at the door and if William tried now, Sebastian would know he’d been up to something.

Besides, William would be free to do what he liked when this mentally unstable man was dead, so he bit his lip and pressed the flush button for good measure.  

"You may come in now,” he called, forcing himself to sit absolutely still.

“Ah, thank you very much for inviting me into my own bathroom in my own home,” Sebastian replied with heavy sarcasm as he gripped the doorknob and swung the door inward. “How welcoming of you.”

His gaze turned down onto William, and he gave him a disdainful look. “Most people consider it rude to be told where they can go in their own home,” he explained condescendingly. “Please take note of that for future reference.”

He paused for a moment, head tilted, and then added, “You seem to have replaced your undergarments remarkably quickly after flushing, haven’t you?”

 

William looked away uncomfortably.

“I-I..did so beforehand…in the event that you might just…make your way in,” he muttered. If that were true, it would have been a sound prediction.

The rusted steel of the scissors was cold and grating against his backside…if Sebastian felt it, or if a single pill were to fall out of his pockets, his whole plan would be foiled.

It was foolish to grab those pills; doing so might have sabotaged the whole plan. Since when had he become so dependent on pain relief, anyway….?
   
“I’m sorry for my transgression just now. I should instead have just let you know that I was finished. I misspoke,” he added diffidently, his head bowed. Looking down at his hands, he could see he was trembling, and covered in sweat. Not good.

He didn’t want to give anything away…!

Sebastian gave William another long, cold stare, searching him again for any signs of falsehood. The trembling, damp hands were noticed, which spoke to Sebastian as fear.

Good. His captive was learning to fear him well.

“Mm. I’ll still have you punished,” he decided, leaning down to pick William back up. “To truly teach you not to give me permission what to do on my property, little as it is.”

 

But I apologized…! William thought in his head.

No matter. It would be over in a minute.

A weak groan left his body as Sebastian picked him up and threw him over his shoulder like a ragdoll – he nearly wet himself right there. But the brunet managed to steel himself and dutifully hold on – in all regards – as Sebastian carried him out of the bathroom.

I didn’t get to wash my hands…! the part of William’s brain that still thought it was free cried out, but it was abruptly stifled. Just stay calm.

 

He stared at the window in the bathroom, growing ever smaller as he was carried away. If only his legs weren’t broken, he could have made a break for freedom. Well, he was going to make one anyway.

Slowly, William reached behind himself and slipped the scissors free of his waistband, still trying to keep all his weight limp so Sebastian wouldn’t grow suspicious.

Sweat was genuinely dripping from William’s face right now, he was bright red, and with one sudden motion he pushed himself backwards.

He could see Sebastian’s face now!!

Gripping one arm around his captor’s neck so he didn’t fall, William thrust his scissors forward, straight towards one of Sebastian’s bloodshot eyes.

Right into the brain – just fucking die!!

Chapter Text

Sebastian would have died if he had not jerked back and turned his head at precisely the right moment. Instead, the scissors gouged into his cheekbone, directly below his eye, and his head turning guided the scissors along his face in a downward motion back towards his ear and jaw. Blood sprayed from the gash, and Sebastian instinctively shoved William away, screaming in agony from the pain and shock.

In the next moment, Sebastian’s bloodied hand struck William across his own face with monstrous, rage-fueled strength, and left a bloody handprint in its wake. The scissors were grabbed and thrown away, sent skidding across the old wooden floor and landing with a clatter. The raven seized his prisoner by the hair and yanked sharply at the scalp.

“You tried to kill me,” he whispered, white with rage. “I knew I should never have trusted you for one moment. Rusted scissors — do you know I could get tetanus from that, Dr. Spears? You evil bastard.”

His other hand clamped around William’s throat. “You. You will pay. I’ll make you pay, again and again. I’ll make you beg for death .”

 

William had landed badly — first on his broken ankle, then hard on both shattered knees. This time, he didn’t even get the bliss of passing out. Probably the sharp stinging from Sebastian’s blow to the face was keeping him alert.

 

“Tetanus?” was the only thing William could stammer. I was going to stab his eye out, and he’s concerned about tetanus?

 

At which point the whole situation caught up with the poor brunet.

 

He’d been caught. His plan had failed in the worst way, and now he was going to suffer in all possible definitions of the word. Adrenaline faded, and true fear began to overwhelm him. Right now, a deranged, blood-soaked psycho had his hand around William's throat, crushing his windpipe.

 

“N-no, stop,” he gasped. “P-please, I — I didn’t — ”

 

There would be no sympathy…only suffering.

 

Nothing would ever be gentle and warm for William again…unless it was the flood of urine spilling out between his thighs and soaking his boxers, as his body relaxed itself in fear.

 

A weak, choking sob left his chest, his whole body trembling as he stared Sebastian in the eyes.

 

“I had to…” he whispered, as oxygen deprivation began to take its toll on his brain and he finally began to go numb. “I had to.” That much, at least, was the truth.

 

Sebastian was only seeing red. He’d been pushed over the edge again and there was nothing left of the handsome and gentle doctor he’d made himself out to be. Here he only had William by the throat, and was quite sincerely trying to throttle him, repeatedly hitting his prisoner’s head against the bathroom tile. The force was enough that the brittle ceramic cracked under each blow.

 

“You had to what ?! Why didn’t you just die ?!” Sebastian howled, blood running steadily from the wound on his face and onto his hands, making his grip slick. “If you’d just done me a favor and died when your car ran off the road…!!! You did this!! You ugly, vile, pointless waste of space! I hate you…!”

 

He lashed out again, mind blanking out from his fury, and struck William’s face side to side, back and forth, until blood gushed from his nose like a fountain. The raven’s chest seized up with each exhausted, pained, furious sob, and tears began to track down through the open wound on his face. Suddenly, he stood up and grabbed William by the ankle once more, and began to drag him through the house, back to the cellar.

 

Sebastian mercilessly just dragged William down the steps, splinters and all, and let him hit each one hard before he left him on the stone floor. “You had better savor that bread,” he rasped. “That is all you get for the next three days. The leak in the roof will be your water. I will not allow you any toilet, for that matter, either. That’s your problem to deal with. Do you understand? You lost that privilege for good. I will not trust another word out of your treacherous mouth.”

 

His lips pulled back in a half grimace, half smirk when he saw the state of William’s undergarments. “Soiling yourself suits you,” he taunted. “How disgusting. A disgusting act for a disgusting man. Have fun in that cold…”

 

Luckily, William was well and truly unconscious by that point, and didn’t have to endure the severe abuse that was being inflicted on him. He remained where Sebastian dumped him, mangled and deathly still.

He didn’t wake up until well into the night, cold and wet, and his battered head glued to the floor by his own blood. And the agony he was in…! The morphine had well and truly left his body now, and he was feeling every overwhelming stab of pain at its full power.

It was dark, and he was miserable and alone. His skin was almost blue with the cold, so William used what little remained of his strength to pull himself up into bed and crawl under the covers — the one nice thing he had left. As thick tears gathered in his eyes, he reached down into his pocket and took out one of the pain management pills he’d stolen earlier.

It reeked of urine, naturally, but William was willing to endure that for a chance to ease some of his blinding pain. He swallowed it dry, then lay his head against the pillow, his body beginning to shake with pitiful sobs.

It was pathetic and pitiful to cry, but he had nothing left. He wished he had died in that car crash, or even just before. Anything would be better than this.


Sebastian did not check on William for a whole day. At least twenty four hours passed before Sebastian descended the cellar stairs, and when he did, there was no trace of the terrifying rage he’d flown into. He had even cleaned, stitched, and dressed the wound on his face, which was now partially obscured by gauze and medical tape. He greeted William with the charming smile that he used to before he revealed his true motives, as if nothing had even happened.

“You must miss the morphine drip terribly at this point,” he commented innocuously, standing before the bed. “You feel it, don’t you? A burning need in your very blood for the medicine that will bring you peace.”

Sebastian’s eyes narrowed, and his lips tightened, pulling back into a cruel smirk. “I’ll hook you back up to it for one hour on one condition,” he offered in a soft voice. “Would you like to hear it?”

 

William had spent that day trying to think of ways to make this situation better, but how could you hope for that when you’d tried to kill someone, especially when that someone was not mentally stable on the best of days?

 

The last day had been a blur. William just lay in bed in the cold, damp, dank basement of this dilapidated shack, feeling nothing but pain, and having no stimulation for his intelligent mind. He felt he was wasting away. The bread had yet to be touched, although William had repurposed the bucket that collected water from the roof leaks to be his waste disposal.

 

He was foolish enough to get his hopes up when Sebastian entered the room with a smile.

 

Morphine? Yes, yes, please god, yes.

 

No pill could truly quell his suffering, but the morphine could. The moment Sebastian’s pleasant smile contorted into a vicious smirk however, the brunet’s heart sank.

 

“What…condition would that be?” he asked hoarsely, and knowing whatever the answer might be, he would not like it.

 

Sebastian could barely conceal his delight. There was a gleam in his eye as he sat down on the bed and rested his chin on his knuckles, elbow perched on his knee. “The condition,” he said softly, “is that you suck my cock. And if you try anything — like, for example, biting me, — I will break that pretty nose of yours faster than you can blink, and you won’t receive one drop of my morphine. I will not hear a peep of a complaint, either; am I quite clear?”

 

Sebastian was pleased with himself, and already towering over William like a shadow. “And it had better be up to my standards,” he added. “If I don’t come, or if I don’t come hard enough, you will receive no drugs.” He seized William by the jaw and squeezed his cheeks together, ensuring that he had William’s full attention. “Lastly, if you deny me here, I will take you anyway, and you still won’t get my morphine. I’m going to have my way with you whether you like it or not.”

 

William kept his eyes averted, trying not to look at the nasty gash on his captor’s face as he listened to Sebastian’s offer.

 

Very original. I can barely restrain my surprise , William thought flatly.

 

Okay. So Sebastian was going to sexually abuse him no matter what. At least, if William consented, he would get a lovely hour of morphine for his troubles, and he wouldn’t need to take another of his stolen pills, which were a precious commodity.

 

“Very well,” he answered, folding his arms a little. It was a sure deal. William was a homosexual, and one of his many talents involved pleasuring and being pleasured by other men.

 

“I accept your condition. You won’t have to worry about being disappointed.”

 

They never were, yet nonetheless, William was worried about disappointing. What would he lose if he failed? What if Sebastian pulled his teeth out? The poor brunet froze up a little at the thought, his heart beginning to race. He was scared…but he couldn’t let Sebastian know.

 

Sebastian continued to smile pleasantly, and his raven locks tumbled down his shoulders to tickle William’s cheeks. “Oh? You sound so confident. Am I to take this to mean you have experience in this field?” he asked sardonically. “How surprising…truly.”

 

He gently slapped William’s cheek with the back of his hand before drawing back. “I’m going to enjoy fucking and breaking that handsome face of yours, William,” he added amiably as he undid his trousers. “Don’t look so eager. This is for my pleasure, not yours. But for your sake, I hope you know how to take it deep.”

 

It seemed like a boast, but once he had his member free from his undergarments, it became clear that it was a warning . The man was an absolute incubus. He was easily eight inches at rest, and his girth was strong. It was to say nothing of how potent he’d be once erect.

 

“Incidentally,” he posed to William, casually holding himself for his prisoner to see, “if your gag reflex is triggered and you vomit, I’ll make you eat it back up and I won’t give you any new food for an extra day. Even better…if you vomit on me , I’ll pull one of your teeth out and positively ruin that pretty smile you have.”

 

Of course . William was in a hellish situation; it only made sense that he was dealing with an absolute demon .

 

Jesus christ . William wasn’t sure he’d even had one that large before, unless it was that lovely Indian man he’d dated once. The back of his neck prickled as he stared it down. Maybe William would get lucky and find that Sebastian was more of a shower than a grower.

 

“...S...since when is fellatio supposed to be pleasurable for the p-person performing it, anyway?” he answered once he’d finally found his words again. “Curious question: have any of the others you’ve sexually abused ever not thrown up?”

 

William was confident that if he’d willingly wanted to take a man of this size, he might be able to. But in this situation, where he was weak and sick and in tremendous pain, and most certainly unaroused, things wouldn’t go so smoothly.

 

“Personally, I have a bit of an oral fixation and actually quite enjoy being on the giving end of fellatio,” Sebastian replied, stroking William’s hair with a false tenderness. His smile was ever empty; even strained. “As for your second query, I really do insist that I’m punishing you. You are the first person I ever have punished, and only because fate delivered you into my hands. No one… no one else on this earth has been punished by me. But there have been several who could not bypass their gag reflexes with me. The result is truly disgusting.”

 

He pushed his hips closer to William’s face and pressed his incredible member to William’s cheek, rubbing it against his skin and dragging the tip of it to William’s lips. “If you’re so confident, however, it won’t be a problem,” he added. “I suggest that you get started. And remember: if you bite, you pay .”

 

William cringed instinctively as Sebastian’s cock was dragged across his cheek; there had to be a first time for everything.

 

“Right, like I’d forget. It’s only my teeth at stake,” he retorted miserably. “I guess you and I have different perceptions of what ‘disgusting’ is.”

 

A psychopath who took helpless car crash victims, drugged, starved and abused them in all conceivable aspects… that was disgusting. William swallowed a little and turned his head to the monster waiting to forcefully penetrate his throat. Dear god…

 

“O-okay. I’m…I’m ready to do it,” he finally decided, dropping his rebellious tones. That wouldn’t win him any precious morphine. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity.”

 

He raised his broken hands to lightly caress the girthy cock, breathing in its masculine scent, and giving it a small lick to start off with.

 

…Just pretend it’s the man who treated you so kindly…You should have married him, William. Any of them….

 

It might have saved you from this hell.

 

Sebastian wasn’t impressed by the tentative lick. He raised an eyebrow in boredom, and much more aggressively pushed the head of his cock against William’s lips. “Perhaps I misheard you, but I was under the impression that you were experienced ?” he asked in irritation. “You aren’t off to a good start.”

 

William’s touch was clumsy, as well, and Sebastian wasn’t going to accept ‘broken hands’ as an excuse, monster that he was.

 

“Are you afraid ?” he challenged, narrowing his eyes. “How disappointing. I thought you had more fire than that. I’d suggest you try harder, Spears. Show me something worthy of moaning your name. Live up to your boasts.”

 

His cock twitched eagerly against William’s soft, narrow lips. Sebastian’s patience had worn thin, and he wanted this to truly begin.

 

“Am I ‘afraid’…?” William echoed, shaking his head in disbelief. What a stupid bloody question.

 

He normally worked at a much gentler pace. But if Sebastian just wanted it rough, then so be it. William licked his lips and enveloped Sebastian’s large, firm cock in his mouth. His tongue swathed the warm flesh in saliva and he eased it deeper slowly, taking care to breathe through his nose. Sebastian would inevitably throat-fuck him, and William wouldn’t even dare to let himself gag.

 

Slowly but surely, he maneuvered it down his throat, a little at a time, until he felt Sebastian’s dark garden of curls against his cheek. Made it…how surprising.

 

“N-nh...” the brunet whimpered, closing his eyes as he felt Sebastian harden. Just stay calm. Think of someone else. Think of being anywhere else. William knew he could pleasure this man.

 

Now that he was starting to adjust, he settled his hands on Sebastian’s hips.

 

Sebastian buried his hand into William’s hair, tangling his fingers into the dark brown locks, and held him in place. William’s mouth was delightfully warm and wet, and the raven gave him an insatiable look. “Why don’t you look at me with those lovely silver eyes of yours?” he asked, his tone making it clear it wasn’t a suggestion.

 

His other hand gently stroked William’s chin, and a finger traced his lips. “I am surprised that you can take me,” he confessed, pressing the back of his hand to William’s cheek. “You really are as experienced as you claimed. Now let’s see what else you can do, shall we?”

 

And with that, he pulled his hips back, so only the tip of his cock remained in William’s mouth, and then thrust them forward again, all the way down William’s throat.

 

At least William had been expecting this, and given that he’d already eased it down his throat, he was a little better prepared for the crude action. Naturally, he choked, but it was past his gag reflex, and he managed despite his eyes beginning to water. He obeyed Sebastian’s order and raised his glacial eyes unto his captor’s pleasure-ridden face, hoping that Sebastian would not mistake his tears for fear or sorrow. William followed by tightening his lips around the man’s shaft and beginning his rhythm, letting the flesh slide back and forth in his mouth.

 

There went his fantasies of pretending it was someone more desirable. He had to look the bastard in the eyes now as he pleasured him.

 

Sebastian smiled thinly, eyes narrowed with satisfaction, and he began to move his hips in time with William’s mouth, meeting the same rhythm. His hands tightened in William’s hair, and he stared intensely into his victim’s eyes to memorize the sight.

 

The tears just made it all the more delicious, wherever they came from. This was the man who had destroyed every last chance Sebastian had had at peace, and here he was paying his dues. It was poetic. The room was silent except for the slap of flesh on flesh and Sebastian’s groans and sighs.

 

It took only a few minutes of this for Sebastian to reach his climax, and he groaned soft and low, abruptly yanking William’s head forward, fully sheathing himself, and moaned with pleasure as he orgasmed and emptied his seed down William’s throat. He withdrew slowly, still oozing semen, and left plenty on William’s tongue and lips before he pulled himself out entirely.

 

“Now be a good boy and swallow,” he said softly, his fingers abandoning William’s hair and stroking under his chin.

 

William noticeably grimaced when Sebastian ejaculated forcefully into his esophagus, but resisted the urge to cough until Sebastian had pulled back.

 

He swallowed quickly and broke into a series of coughing until he was able to breathe properly again, and wiped his face with his bruised fingers.

 

What an absolute cunt , he thought viciously as he opened his mouth to confirm that he had indeed swallowed. There was a sense of pride in it all, though…he’d done exactly as Sebastian had asked him, and he’d earned the morphine that would return him to the only damn semblance of happiness that he would receive in this place.

 

“A-are you content?” William asked hoarsely when it was done, still cringing as the raven stroked his chin. He noticed that he had some light stubble there now, which he quite hated..but it wasn’t as if he could do anything about it.

 

“Did I do well?”

 

Sebastian smiled emptily down at William, rubbing his thumb back and forth over William’s lips in a falsely-affectionate stroke. “ Very well,” he purred, stroking William’s cheek with the back of his knuckles. “You did manage to satisfy me. It’s no simple feat, dear William. Even if you made that dreadfully ugly grimace right at the very end, trying not to cough.”

 

He stared down at William for an uncomfortably long stretch of silence, watching him, examining him.

 

“But you have earned the reward that I promised you for good behavior,” he finally decided, leaning back a little. “I am not completely heartless. I will give you back the morphine drip for a limited time.”

 

William’s pupils dilated immediately, and his demeanour quickly changed.

 

“…Y...yes, thank you,” he whispered, his broken body trembling. He felt chilly, his body ached all over, and he was covered in a cold sweat. He needed the morphine, and if Sebastian took it away William feared that even he, a grown man with far more stoicism than was typical, might burst into tears.

 

“I will behave,” he uttered.

 

“Good,” Sebastian murmured in satisfaction, drawing his hand away. “You learn quickly. Then as promised, I’ll bring you the drug that you so crave.”

 

He left William there for several minutes while he climbed back up the cellar stairs to retrieve the IV drip. He had William hooked back up to it in no time, pumping him full of the painkillers once more.

 

“That’s better, isn’t it?” he asked softly, stroking William’s hair. “If you keep up your good behavior, you get rewarded, don’t you? That’s how it works. A good boy will always get his medicine.”

 

His tone remained ever condescending, but with the distinct note of parental discipline, like a father teaching his young child their manners.

 

Sebastian couldn’t have known how William would respond to that particular attitude and that it was in fact the key to William’s unyielding obedience.

 

William had daddy issues, that was really the best term for it, and being spoken to in such a manner brought a soft smile to the brunet’s face, especially once the drug was coursing through his veins and soothing his suffering.

 

“Yes,” he repeated softly. “Thank you, Sebastian…”  He loved being pet by him; it was such a calming gesture, despite its false intentions. Part of him knew it was wrong, and foolish — humiliating, even — but with a blossoming addiction to the opiates that quelled the agony of his shattered legs, nothing mattered except getting that fix.

 

“This is fine…”

 

Sebastian leaned neatly down and kissed William on the lips, holding his chin in place. “Good,” he repeated with a glint in his eye. “Just as it ought to be.”

 

“This isn’t you.”

 

Sebastian’s grip on William’s chin tightened, and the stroking paused briefly. Vincent had come to torment him again, had he? The raven glanced briefly back to where the haunting of his poor lover stood, but he couldn’t stand to look at him.

 

He could still smell the charred flesh of his family if he looked. He could never see them normal and happy in his mind’s eye. Just burning alive and crying with pain and terror.

 

Abruptly, Sebastian released William and stood up straight once more. “Enjoy your time while it lasts,” he said coldly, glancing at dull, battered watch on his wrist. “I will be back on the hour to remove you from it.”

 

Sebastian’s spell on William began to fade once the dark, attractive male stood up and left.

 

That feeling of self loathing was all that was left when there was nothing to seduce the brunet. The knowledge that he’d utterly given up his dignity for even a drop of morphine, and how he, previously such a powerful man, submitted himself entirely in hope that he would not be harmed. The taste of Sebastian’s lips lingered, however. The effect it had on William’s body only added to his shame. The ridge in the sheets was clear and accusing, and William couldn’t bear to look at it. Even now, held captive by a man who wished him great harm, that side of him responded to Sebastian’s sly seductions.

 

William could hate him more if he was ugly…

 

Now, though, was the time to let his negative feelings leave him. Much more powerful than the pills he’d stolen, the morphine filled his body and he began to get that wonderful floating feeling.

 

“Ha…aa…” he sighed, shutting his eyes, and enjoying his brief bliss. It was good enough that the guilt began to fade, too, and he became more conscious of his arousal.

 

Rock solid by now, and feeling as good as he did, William reached under the sheets and began to touch himself. Alas, before he could reach climax, he eventually drifted off into euphoric morphine dreams, and that was that.

 

And as promised, Sebastian removed William from the morphine after precisely one hour, and not a second longer. William had already fallen asleep by then, and Sebastian most certainly noticed the raging, powerful erection that his prisoner had managed to sustain, even in deep sleep.

 

Sebastian’s gaze lingered upon it, and he gave it long consideration, but he did not touch it. Not yet. The things he had done, he realized, had a most desirable effect. He was under no illusions about how handsome and desirable he was, even to the point of narcissism — and he had no doubt that he was alluring even to someone he was torturing.

 

If he continued to play his cards right, he’d have a beautiful case of Stockholm Syndrome on his hands.

 

The devil smiled, already formulating a plan.

 

When he left the basement with the IV drip, he did not open the door again for two whole days.

Chapter Text

Two days.

 

Left alone to starve and suffer, William was left with a fearful revelation.

 

If he hadn’t stolen those pills, then two days without painkillers would have killed him. Maybe not literally, but the pain would have driven him close to insanity. And Sebastian, purportedly a medical doctor once upon a time, damn well knew it and had done it regardless.

 

That was frightening.

 

William only permitted himself to take one pill each day, even if his legs were screaming by the end. Who knew how often Sebastian would do this, and how long it would be before William would have another opportunity to access the medication? He had to use them sparingly.

 

William was also smart enough to know that his suffering was Sebastian’s intention. When his captor returned, William would have to play the part, or risk alerting him.

 

Staying in bed, and appearing as weak and withdrawn as possible, except in the brief moments that he forced himself from the cot to do his business…and that was the fault in his plan, because while William was in transit from the cot to the waste bucket, he heard Sebastian coming down the stairs.

 

An overwhelming sense of dread overtook the poor psychologist. He looked back to the bed, knowing he’d never be able to jump back in before Sebastian came. If he was caught here, Sebastian would figure out what was going on. Unless…

 

The brunet had a wild idea. It wouldn’t be pretty, but it might fool Sebastian for a little longer.

 

When Sebastian descended the stairs, he had most certainly expected to see William in horrific pain and suffering from severe withdrawal symptoms from being cut off from morphine again. What he hadn’t expected, however, was to find William lying on the floor in the middle of the room with a pool of urine beneath him.

 

The crimson face of mortification, the yellow tinge of the liquid…Sebastian glanced in the direction William was facing, spotting that one of his water-catching pails had been moved to the furthest corner of the room from the bed — it became immediately obvious what was in it now. Well, good; if William had instead gone indiscriminately on the floor itself, Sebastian was going to have to punish him quite heavily.

 

But this…a genuine accident?

 

Sebastian actually laughed.

 

“Oh, my ,” he taunted with a cruel grin, elegantly concealing his mouth with one hand. “Had an accident, have we? That’s so unfortunate. How does it feel to become a helpless infant again, William?”

 

William shuddered, hunching in on himself, feeling pierced by Sebastian’s mocking gaze.

 

“I-I-I had to try,” he whispered, hiding his face in his hands. “I di…I didn’t want to wet myself again..! But the pain became too much and I couldn’t move… I-I couldn’t hold on...please, S-Sebastian, hook me back up…it hurts. It hurts so awfully.”

 

The brunet was playing his best impression of what he believed a pathetic morphine addict looked like, even going so far as to intentionally piss his trousers so that his sinister captive would not realise he’d stolen pain pills and was only in very minor stages of withdrawal.

 

It was mortifying, without a doubt — William had never felt more disgusting — but the shame outweighed how badly he’d feel after being brutally beaten for stealing.

 

Sebastian stepped into the room and stood over William, his shoes just shy of the puddle underneath his captive. “Is that so?” he asked, his smile remaining and gaze softening. “But you’ve made such a mess. I don’t think I should reward you when you’ve only made it necessary to clean the floor, yourself, and your clothes…do you ?”

 

He crouched down, one hand perched on his knee, and lightly brushed William’s hair out of his face.

 

“I’ll have to take you up to the shower. And this time, I’ve taken measures to ensure that you do not attempt to stab me with any supplies from my medicine cabinet.”

 

William looked away, seemingly struggling to catch his breath, scarlet to the tips of his ears. “I couldn’t…h-hold on...” he repeated, a false waver in his voice. “It hurt too much to move. I can’t…move...”

 

He did his best to look utterly overwhelmed by his pain, trembling under the sheer intensity of it, and kept his head bowed in submission.

 

“P…please…just the morphine…” he whimpered, every ounce of him desperately hoping that he was fooling this demon. Come to think of it, though, a shower would be lovely… He hadn’t had a single one in all his time here, and was very aware of the fact.

 

How messed up one’s priorities could be…

 

Sebastian stared him down intensely, a frown appearing on his face, and deepening as he looked William over. These symptoms…broken bones aside, muscle aches would certainly have accounted for William’s failure to reach his waste bucket in time, but…things were amiss. William was also very embarrassed, but his eyes were dry, as was his nose. Sweat…normal for the situation.

 

Sebastian was a doctor. He’d had people come to him faking symptoms before, and he knew exactly how to sniff it out. Something was amiss, and he’d sniff this out too.

 

“No,” he said quietly. “Shower first. Look at you, soaked in your own urine. That’s disgusting.”

 

The raven picked William up without waiting for permission, and got the urine stains on his own clothes at once. “Tch…we’ll both have to shower,” he tutted, carrying William up the stairs. “You cumbersome menace.”

 

William froze, the moment Sebastian began to look him over, analyzing him, and no doubt finding him lacking the appropriate symptoms for severe morphine withdrawal. The brunet had to wrack his brain, sure he’d learned about it in med school so long ago. Photographic memory, why did you have to fail now…?

 

Sebastian’s sharp insults caused William further shame, as he began to fear that he’d done this all for nothing. No…no, he doesn’t know anything. Surely…he’s been fooled.

 

“I…am not entirely sure what you expected, Mr. Michaelis, neglecting a c-crippled patient for upwards of 2 days,” he couldn’t help retorting, his bruised ego throbbing along with his many other broken bones. He bit down on his tongue to avoid making any further sort of sound, a witticism, a whimper, a cry.

 

It all hurt so fucking badly.

 

Sebastian brought William back up into the fated, frigidly cold bathroom, where last time the psychologist had stolen rusted scissors and attempted to murder his captor. To no avail, unfortunately. The evidence was on Sebastian’s once flawless face, now covered in surgical gauze.

 

How badly had William injured him….?

 

“You’re so noisy,” Sebastian complained as he brought William up the stairs. “I’ve never had such a mouthy patient in my life. Where do you get the unmitigated gall… ?”

 

The bathroom was as cold as ever, the amount of tile only increasing the chill inside. The medicine cabinet no longer had a door, and the bottles of painkillers and antidepressants sat out in the open, taunting William and reminding me what he couldn’t (or shouldn’t) have.

 

Sebastian sat William down on the toilet lid again just as he had before so that he could turn the shower on. The rusty shower head sputtered weakly to life and spat out a pitiful stream of water, but it was enough to bathe oneself beneath. Whether or not it would be even remotely warm remained to be seen.

 

Sebastian pulled his jacket off, followed by his shirt, and stood in the small bathroom with a bare chest and back exposed to the cold. Most startling, however, was the amount of cruel, yawning scars and burns covering his skin, marring it forever.

 

Just as another retort was churning away in William’s mind, his attention was stolen by the sight of his kidnapper pulling off his shirt.

 

Normally, the sight of a handsome man undressing gave even stoic William a gentle fluttering feeling in his stomach. Today, he felt a brick of dread drop dully within him, and he instinctively wrapped his arms across his abdomen as he was confronted with the myriad of terrible burn scars mutilating that pale, alabaster torso.

 

He had to look away.

 

“…D…did you… ever get medical attention for those…?” he asked quietly, feeling sympathy for the trauma that Sebastian had endured, but trying quickly to force it down. Surely, if he didn’t, he’d throw up.

 

Sebastian glanced sharply at William over his shoulder and then turned around to face him. “When I was pulled from the the fire against my will,” he replied contemptuously. “I was treated at once, but I had no way to pay for it, so I did not receive further treatment. They’d kept me alive, but couldn’t have cared less if I suffered.”

 

He turned his head away. “I was forced to take care of my own wounds after that, using the cheapest ingredients I could scrounge up at corner drugstores. Even if I had received regular, professional medical attention in sterile environments, I doubt that I would have ever completely healed properly.”

 

He did not smile, and there was a tone of deep bitterness in his voice. “Why? Does it repulse you, as well?”

 

William shook his head.

 

“It does not,” he replied honestly. “I’ve seen my share of scars. When you have time off from torturing me, perhaps on another one of your two-day neglection stints, might I suggest getting a hold of coconut oil? It’s excellent for healing scars such as yours. Aloe vera, lemon, honey…these will prove useful as well.”

 

The ridiculousness of trying to help a man who wanted to harm him was not lost on William, but the brunet had found an unexpected reserve of empathy — he could see something resembling self-consciousness from Sebastian, regarding his scars.

 

That was something William knew plenty about, himself.

 

Stop it, you fool.

 

William pressed his damp thighs together and stared at the floor in annoyance at himself, biting his lip.

 

Sebastian remained still for a very long moment, his arms at his sides, head turned away, and expression unreadable.

 

After a near eternity, he turned his head just a fraction, watching William from only his peripheral vision. “…Why on earth would you offer help to me?” he asked listlessly, turning slowly back to face his captive. “After all I’ve done to you?”

 

The raven glanced away quickly. “Coconut oil,” he murmured, mostly to himself. “That would be an effective counterbalance to the drying properties of aloe vera, wouldn’t it? I suppose, one day I ought to try, shouldn’t I…?”

 

William didn’t reply, though his gaze flicked briefly over his arms, where there had once been very noticeable scars — scars no sort of mental health professional could be seen wielding, and so…they had to be made to disappear. At least, as much as possible. Only if one was at intimate levels of closeness would such wounds be possible to make out, and…who was ever going to be that close?

 

No one, ever again , William thought dryly, starting to remove his clothes as best he could, though with broken limbs it was an arduous process. As a germaphobe, he was eager to wash and be clean again.  And it was a damned shame that Sebastian would not trust him with a shaving razor, because William found his own stubble unsightly.

 

No one, ever again, thanks to this man. Damn the stubble. If he gave me a razor, I’d try to cut his throat .

 

Sebastian turned to speed up the process of undressing William; namely, by pulling his clothes off for him. He’d grown impatient, especially so by the lack of a reply, and so he’d taken it upon himself to make this go faster. He hated having his time wasted.

 

He was still not gentle whatsoever; he ignored his ‘patient’’s injuries and forced his wet clothes off of him. William’s shirt was easy enough, but when Sebastian began pulling William’s pants off, as well, the worst possible thing for William happened.

 

There was a quiet rattle: the sound of small objects clattering to the tile floor.

 

Sebastian froze for a second, glancing down and looking to see what had fallen, and when he did, he paled with rage all over again. They were pills. His pills.

 

His painkillers.

 

They had been stolen.

 

Now the lack of withdrawal symptoms from his victim made sense — he had stolen these opiate-based painkillers and lessened his own pain.

 

Without a second thought, Sebastian pulled his arm back and slugged William across the face with his full strength.

 

“You wretch …!!!”

 

It seemed like time had utterly slowed to a stop.

 

The moment William heard the fateful rattle of his precious painkillers scattering across the floor, his heart plummeted.

 

Well, William. This is one outcome you should have fucking expected , he thought, milliseconds before Sebastian’s masculine fist collided with his cheekbone and sent him crashing into the sink basin, which broke under the force of his body and carved two dual gashes up his arm as he hit the icy tile floor.

 

At this point, William didn’t remember what it felt like not to be in pain. It was merely a state of being.

 

Perhaps, he’d get lucky, and Sebastian might murder him already. Anything for relief from incomparable physical pain and the horrors of morphine withdrawal.

 

He looked up slowly, utterly done with begging now. There was no apology in his startling gaze.

 

“Again,“ William whispered, holding his cheek, “I don’t know why you’re so outraged that I would do this. I was merely trying to stay alive…since you’re doing a poor job of keeping me that way.”

 

It was just a little disconcerting, the way his jaw crunched when he tried to speak.

 

Sebastian’s response was to grab William by the hair and throw him into the shower stall, which rained water down upon him that was so cold each drop was like its own knife.

 

“They were mine !!” he roared, slapping William’s face from the other side, using the back of his hand. “What precious little I have and you’ve stolen from me!! Do you know the kind of pain these burns give me every day?! My medicine is meant to alleviate that and you took it from me!! How dare you! How dare you!!”

 

He got up and began kicking William while he was down, kicking his ribs and his guts and his arms, kicking the man’s broken legs. “HOW MUCH MORE DO YOU PLAN TO KEEP TAKING FROM ME?!”

 

William was left bruised, broken and bleeding in the shower while Sebastian screamed at him, his words drifting in one ear and out the other. The brunet blacked out once or twice during all of this abuse, but he didn’t feel the terror that he had the last time he’d been caught breaking rules.

 

This time his mind preferred to shut down than deal with this again.

 

“{ What a deluded man ,}” he murmured, barely conscious. “I do pity you, Michaelis….”

 

Then Sebastian’s boot connected with his temple, slamming his head against the tiles of the shower, and they cracked under the strain. That was it for William, who could vaguely recall the sensation of swallowing one of his own teeth before he was belted into unconscious.

 

Sebastian stood over William’s unconscious body, breathing hard, and his fists curled tight. He trembled with all of the hatred in the world, staring down at this man with pure and utter loathing. The fact that his abuse no longer seemed to have any effect on the man was all the more infuriating, and all he could do was just stand there and stare . Stare and hate him with his entire soul.

 

The raven gave himself a few minutes to calm down and relax enough to forcibly wash William’s unconscious, limp body, and dry it off before putting him in too-large clothes and throwing him back onto his bed. For good measure, he used a zip tie to force William’s hands behind his back, ensuring that his prisoner had no means of escape or stealing ever again. He would not even be able to use the restroom on his own. From now on, he would be watched like a hawk.

 

Sebastian would not leave this man unattended for a very long time. William had lost the privileges of privacy and solitude for good.

 

Well…not quite.

 

William had no idea, but he was still in for quite a fair bit of solitude. It seemed his captor had come up with a more efficient way to torture him.

 

Unconsciousness was dark, and William had a good twelve hours of it. When he awoke after that, he quite reasonably expected it to be light…or to at least to be able to glimpse the stars through the little peephole window that reached above ground.

 

There was nothing…nothing but total, encompassing darkness. Twelve hours without painkillers had quite dulled his senses to anything but the agony of his shattered legs, but even he eventually realized something was very, very wrong.

 

He could feel his own breath, as if he were covering his mouth. No — something else was.

 

A…an oxygen mask? Perhaps he had coded, nearly killed in Sebastian’s carnal rage?

 

The psychologist could also feel that his legs were bent, raised towards his chest. Broken knees were not meant to bend, so they had to have been forced into this position.

 

All at once, William began to panic. He could feel the top of his head touching a hard surface, like he were sitting under a small table. His back, and his toes were touching hard surfaces too, which meant…

 

…He was in a very, very tiny space.

 

William thrust his hands out, and it became apparent he was in a cramped box. Locked in, with an oxygen mask over his face that ran through a taped-over hole in the side, so that he did not suffocate.

 

“N..no, no… no , S-Sebastian, no…! Please let me out! Please !” His voice felt very muffled. It didn’t seem like any sound was getting out.

 

Then an even worse thought hit him — what if he’d been buried alive…?

 

A slow and pleasant smile spread across Sebastian’s lips, and he watched the little iron safe he’d locked William into with a tender expression. “Ah,” he said softly to the box, leaning down closer to it and running his fingers along its smooth, cold surface, “would you like to come out? Are you uncomfortable, William?”

 

He laid his cheek down on the side of the lockbox, embracing it lightly, and closed his eyes, looking positively serene. “But you were disobedient,” he told William, “so I’m afraid you must be punished. I haven’t decided how long to keep you in there. But don’t worry…I won’t let you die.”

 

He nodded in agreement with himself, hugging the safe like it was his lover. “No, no, of course not. I couldn’t let you die. That would be too kind. Much, much too kind. What do you think, William? Isn’t this much nicer?”

 

This was not ‘much nicer’ by any stretch.

 

Most people would have gone into an absolute meltdown right now. William was much more composed than most people…but he also happened to be a severe claustrophobe. While it was unlikely that Sebastian knew this, he would quickly learn…he’d keyed in on one of William’s weakest points.

 

“No, no, no, Sebastian, you need to let me out, I can’t breathe, p-please, I’m going to die, please …!” the brunet pleaded, in a voice so terrified that it did not even sound like his own, especially when it was reverberating in the iron box.

 

“Please, it hurts,” he sobbed, thumping the back of his head against the wall in desperation. “I’ll do anything!”

 

Sebastian delicately patted the safe’s cold surface and shushed William, like a parent shushing their child for comfort. “That’s quite impossible, I assure you,” he cooed, going back to stroking the iron. “You are hooked up to an oxygen tank with enough to last you…oh, perhaps three days. Even longer if you don’t hyperventilate. You can most certainly breathe. Why don’t you give it a try?”

 

He asked this in the same way one asked another to try a new food that may or may not have been unpleasant. His implication, however, was that it was good.

 

“You’re perfectly safe in there,” the devil went on, leaning his weight onto William’s prison. Outwardly, he was very calm, but on the inside, he was celebrating William’s fright. He most certainly had gotten through to him again, hadn’t he? Locking him up had been an excellent idea — he’d had to congratulate himself on that.

 

“Rather…you’re safer in there than you are out here in the open with me,” he suggested as pleasantly as ever. “So why don’t you treasure your time alone in there until I decide it’s time for you to come out?”

 

William fell silent for a few seconds. Safe from Sebastian, in here?

 

But phobias did not listen to rational thought, and for a good hour, he pleaded and begged and wept to be released. At that point, William couldn’t have even been able to answer his own name if he’d been asked, so completely distraught was he.

 

And eventually, he tired himself out. Sebastian wouldn’t let him die in here…

 

Sebastian did not want him to die.

 

Honestly, the brunet did not quite have the energy to keep carrying on in such a way. The pain in his legs had drained him of that. Totally exhausted, William passed out briefly, and awoke in thankfully a calmer state.

 

It was sort of unreal, not knowing how much time had passed. His internal clock was ceasing to function here, where it was dark. Time didn’t exist.

 

William needed to get out. He knew that Sebastian could keep him in here for days on end without concern for any of his basic human needs. Whenever William moved, there was a distinct crinkling from something around his waist, and he was quick to figure out just what it was.

 

How horrific.

 

Sebastian clearly did intend to keep him in here for a good long while, and that was something William was far too proud to let happen.

 

Begging and pleading had gotten William nowhere, and the psychologist was done. He was never going to walk again. He would spend the rest of his life as a plaything for this psychopath, being drugged and molested and beaten and punished.

 

William had no power, no control over his life…exactly as Sebastian wanted.

 

But Sebastian had made one major mistake. William did have control over one aspect of his life right now: the decision to end it.

 

Struggling to keep his breathing calm, thick tears on his cheeks, William silently reached up and removed the oxygen mask from his face, and tied the cord in a knot so that no more would leak out.

 

…This was fine.

 

If Sebastian had been even slightly less thorough on his crude life support examinations, William would have most certainly succeeded in killing himself. The raven kept a close watch on the oxygen tank, monitoring its levels at regular intervals. He never strayed far from the safe, and especially never for very long; William needed to stay alive, after all.

 

But when it became apparent that the amount of oxygen leaving the tank had not gone below the three quarters full mark for about two hours, it raised all kinds of alarms in Sebastian’s head. Why wasn’t it going down anymore? It had been steadily dropping for the past day, but now…it has come to a standstill. Immediately, Sebastian began inspecting the connections and attempting to communicate with his toy. He knew William had passed out from fright some time ago, but…had he pushed him too far?

 

There was nothing wrong with the hookups or any of the connections. It was all secure and sealed. The problem lay with William. He wasn’t just being quiet to be irritating; he was unconscious and had not woken up.

 

Sebastian’s blood ran cold, and he frantically began the combination for the safe in order to break William out. He’d better not be dead. He’d better fucking not be dead.

 

William T. Fucking Spears had better not be fucking dead.

 

The moment Sebastian threw the safe door open, he saw what had happened — rather, what William had done — to the oxygen supply. Automatically, he pulled a hand back and slapped William’s cheek, but received no response. William’s head lolled forward, his lips turning blue, but his body was still warm. His limbs had not stiffened with rigor mortis. Blood still flowed in his veins. He was alive.

 

For now.

 

Sebastian dragged the man out of the safe like a rag doll and immediately pinched William’s nose shut and pushed their mouths together to perform rescue breaths, followed by chest compressions.

 

“Don’t you dare die on me,” he hissed, eyes wide all around. “I need you!!”

 

William lay crumpled on the floor, pale as death. Sebastian couldn’t have known how long the psychologist had been without oxygen, but it clearly had been too long.

 

It had taken William ten minutes to use up what remained of the oxygen in the safe, another two to pass out, and for almost three minutes his brain was completely deprived of vital air.

 

Sebastian was a doctor. Even without knowing how far gone William was, resuscitating the poor man was done with the knowledge that he may have sustained irreversible brain damage — something Sebastian entirely held the blame for — but he did it regardless. It was an act of pure desperation.

 

At least he was very professional at cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and it was only fifteen seconds before the brunet startled back to life and began to frantically gulp down large amounts of oxygen.

 

Startled blue eyes shot open, his brain beginning to race with fuzzy, panicked thoughts.

 

Gazing up at Sebastian, a look of devastation began to sink in, and he uttered only two little words.

 

“…I failed ?”

 

Sebastian exhaled sharply, feeling a crushing emotional weight lift from his shoulders and nearly collapsed onto William with relief. He raised his hand to strike him again, but he discovered that he didn’t have the energy, and left his hand in the air for a moment before letting it fall listlessly back down again.

 

“Damn right you failed. What the fuck do you think you were doing?” the raven asked, trembling in distress. “Why did you do that…?! Don’t you know that I need you…?!”

 

Blindly, he reached out for the oxygen mask and began untying the knot in the cord, pushing the mask back onto William’s face with madly shaking hands.

 

“You fool. You fool ,” Sebastian choked, clenching his hands into tight fists. “You’re the only thing I have left to live for in this world. D-don’t you dare take that from me, as well…”

 

William stared up at him, his skin slowly regaining colour.

 

“…I am not yours,” he whispered, wanting to raise his arms and pull the mask off his face but finding his arms felt like total lead. He didn’t need it and he was not going back in that safe. Sebastian couldn’t do that without risking another suicide attempt. “I don’t…deserve this…”

 

So long without morphine was eating him alive…! Muscle aches, cold sweat, a churning stomach…and the agony of the broken bones that needed the opiate in the first place.

 

Not to mention how sluggish his own thoughts were. Something didn’t feel right.

 

The seizure that followed probably did surprise Sebastian at first — it had come out of nowhere — but the likelihood of brain damage had been high, and he knew that. All of a sudden, the brunet had been overcome with a series of rapid, involuntary muscle spasms — he remained conscious for a few seconds, only to pass out again  as the seizure took its course.

 

Sebastian couldn’t even bite a retort back at William because the seizure had begun. He froze, knowing instantly what was happening, and felt a strange pit forming in his stomach. He was helpless to take action; all he could do for William was time the seizure and wait for it to end.

 

No…no, he would never be using the safe again. He’d figure something else out to give William what he did deserve.

 

“I want you to think of what you did to me every time you feel your pain,” Sebastian whispered, even knowing that William was unconscious. “You don’t get the easy way out. I’ve told you before: death is too kind a fate for you.”

 

But it lacked the usual venom at the tip of Sebastian’s tongue, and he sat back a little, lowering his gaze.

 

William’s seizure ended, his muscles stopped spasming, and Sebastian moved him up to the bed, looking him over. He had not anticipated a suicide attempt within the safe, and so he was quite unprepared for treating any sort of brain damage. It was nothing he’d expected and he could only hope that it was just a one-time occurrence.

 

“You don’t know how much I need you,” Sebastian repeated, standing up straight and crossing his arms over his chest. “And that includes your mind. Intact, specifically. I mustn’t lose that or I’ll certainly go mad.”

 

But it was not the last of William’s seizures. They occurred once or twice a day, and weren’t stopping.

 

William’s seizures were atypical, according to Sebastian, because he remained conscious (what was called a simple partial seizure) for a few seconds before descending into a complex partial seizure, where he lost consciousness and the spasms became more severe.

 

This meant nothing to William, who cared for nothing but morphine, death, and more morphine. Not only had Sebastian destroyed his body, but now he’d permanently fucked up his brain, too.

 

There was nothing left that Sebastian could take from him…was there?

Chapter Text

 

Well, the mad doctor could be very creative in a pinch.

 

While he still took care of William just enough to keep him alive, he was still going to carry on with as much psychological torture as he could. He had never intended to physically damage William’s brain — only psychologically. He intended to go through with that plan while keeping his mind intact at the same time.

 

Sebastian planned to take William’s sanity, as well. To start this, he forcibly tied William’s limbs to the bedposts, rendering him immobile, and remorselessly positioned him so that he could not move his head in any direction. The reason for this was that Sebastian had perfectly repositioned the bed so that the dead center of William’s forehead would be the target for a slow, steady leak in the ceiling.

 

Classic Chinese water torture, he had heard, could drive even the most resilient of men mad.

 

When William awoke, he had already been positioned directly under the water drip. It didn’t help that it was raining today —  more than likely, Sebastian had waited specifically for it to rain so that he could do this. It was quite unusual that William could have slept through being moved around so much, but ever since the safe he had very little strength anymore.

 

The brunet had been unable to move his head at all, but his bloodshot eyes flicked over to Sebastian, who was staring down at him smugly.

 

William felt uncomfortable. It seemed that Sebastian had dressed him today, in just a simple pair of pyjama pants over his mangled knees, as well as the absorbent thing he’d been forced to wear in the safe. Observing his torso, he saw that he was noticeably skinnier than he used to be.

 

In Sebastian’s cruel captivity, he was wasting away.

 

“…Mmmmh…can we…please play torture… after painkillers?” the miserable brunet uttered, feeling pain and withdrawals setting in the more he began to wake. “I promise I’ll act like it bothers me…I just…I need some…”

 

He was breathing rapidly, his heart pounding in his chest, and his vision was fuzzy even with his glasses. William felt unnaturally anxious, and his stomach was cramping painfully.

 

Withdrawal. Need.

 

“Please…something’s…I’m not feeling well…Gnh — …”

 

The dripping of water on his forehead was already becoming frustrating…and he could just tell by the look on Sebastian’s face that he would receive no mercy.

 

The look on Sebastian’s face had just become one of contempt. Presently, he was wondering why in the hell this man was still acting like such an arrogant prick in spite of his situation. The lack of painkillers was extremely evident now; William was exhibiting all of the most obvious symptoms of opiate withdrawal, and this time it was impossible to fake. He had no stolen pills to rely on.

 

Play torture…?!” Sebastian repeated in disgust, glancing up at the leak in the ceiling and watching it drip steadily down onto William’s forehead. He knew distinctly it would have driven himself mad hours ago; why was William so unfazed?! The doctor’s skin prickled with irritation, and he glared at his prisoner, setting his jaw.

 

“Just who exactly do you think you are…? ‘Act like it bothers’ you? Good lord, how do you keep up with being such a smug bastard all day? Surely it must be exhausting.”

 

His lip curled back in a sneer. “Of course you don’t feel well. You’re experiencing severe medication withdrawals. From the looks of things, I’d call that more effective torture than the drip. Why should I reward you with your drug, filth? Make your case.”

 

William stared at Sebastian with desperation in his eyes.

 

“Because nothing will be as effective as the pain I’m going through,” he gasped, clenching his fists in distress. “You think I give a fuck about some fucking water droplets on my head when all I can think about is that drug?”

 

He laughed a bit manically, feeling tears gather in his eyes and he wasn’t sure why.

 

“This…this is child’s play. All this did was make me need the bathroom, which is a non-issue for you. So it is ‘play torture’. To get what you want out of this, you’re going to have to give me something that I want.”

 

He kept to himself that he already had a migraine from how long he’d endured the water droplets. Poor William was so exhausted, so hungry, so desperate for the relief of opiates. He was sick and humiliated and just wanted it all to be over…

 

That probably explained the tears.

 

“Your petulant whining is extremely grating on the senses,” Sebastian replied with total and complete disinterest. “You do realize that I don’t need to give you so much as one drop of morphine to get the sort of reactions I want from you?”

 

The raven approached William’s bed, reaching into his inner jacket pocket for something, and produced a small glass vial that contained an unidentifiable, clear liquid. Sebastian held it out to show William, his face expressionless and unreadable.

 

“I had hoped that I wouldn’t have to resort to such crude and ugly measures so soon,” he informed William as he uncapped the vial, “but alas. Life is disappointment. But I think that this will be extremely enjoyable for me.”

 

William’s heart skipped a beat when he saw the vial with its translucent liquid.

 

"…What is that…?” he asked quietly, not wanting to seem too afraid, but he had a feeling Sebastian could tell anyway.

 

Was it some sort of drug….? Was Sebastian going to knock him out and do unthinkable things to his body? There was certainly no lines this man would not cross…he was a psychopath, after all.

 

Was there any point in begging…? Sebastian could never be dissuaded. And while he acted as if using this on William was some mild disappointment, he clearly couldn’t wait to do it.

 

There would be no escape from whatever this was.

 

Sebastian continued to look blank. He would not give away his game with an expression. “Now, you wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise, would you?” he asked, reaching down and tenderly stroking William’s cheek with his free hand. “It’s very exciting. I think you’ll like what I have in store for you.”

 

That said, he drew his hand back and tipped the vial over William’s hand, which was still bound to the bedpost. When the liquid hit William’s hand, nothing happened for a moment, but then there was a hissing sound, and the skin and flesh on William’s hand began to erode rapidly away.

 

It was only then that Sebastian allowed himself to smile, and it was a smile of deep satisfaction. His little investment had paid off so handsomely…

 

It had only been a few droplets, but that was enough to do the job. William gasped and winced, though he seemed to be doing a fine job of not actually screaming. For a few seconds, at least, until the pain increased exponentially. The highly acidic substance ate away at the surface of William’s pale, slender hand, and then it began to burn his tendons, bone and ligaments. Sebastian was pouring acid on his skin. Genuine fucking acid. And the worst part was, William could not even see what was happening due to having his head previously locked in place.

 

For all he knew, and based on what it felt like, William was sure he was going to lose his hand. Without a doubt, it was going to melt away and fall to the ground and he would be forever crippled.

 

“STOP, Sebastian, please!!” he shouted, eyes wide with panic. “No more, make it stop, please, I’m sorry, I-I’m sorry — !!”

 

“Ohhh?” Sebastian asked softly, his calm in direct opposition to William’s panic. “And what are you sorry for, William? Why don’t you tell me?” Drop by drop, he continued to tip the vial over various spots on William’s hand, and watched with serene delight as the chemical instantly ate away at everything in its path.

 

“Sorry, perhaps, for destroying me?” he whispered pleasantly. “For denying me even an ounce of empathy? Please tell me what you’re so sorry for, William. I’d love to know.”

 

God, the screams were music to his ears.

 

William began one very commendable attempt to free himself of his bindings. Unfortunately, the more he tried to pull his hand free, the more flesh was rubbed off, and it was all one disgusting, melted mess.

 

“Yes,” he cried, jolting free of his head vice, sitting up, and writhing to try and pull his arms free. “I have said sorry many times, and you know I tried to make things right!! It is not an apology you want, so just tell me what — what you need — !”

 

The human body was not meant to cope with this kind of overwhelming stress. The absorbent product he’d been fitted in was becoming warm and wet and the poor gentleman was fearing a seizure was close by. Combined with everything else his body was going through, surely, it wouldn’t be long until his heart just gave out.

 

“Tell me everything you did wrong,” Sebastian whispered, his gaze and his tone glacial and unforgiving. “Admit that you didn’t search hard enough or make enough of an effort to find me. Admit that you gave up because you didn’t care enough. Admit that you were content to let me rot in hell, William. You never believed in me.”

 

He was remorseless, starting to drip acid up William’s wrist. “So if you admit all that, I’ll consider stopping this. If you’re convincing, I will stop. It’s up to you.” The skin on William’s wrist began blistering apart as the muscles and sinew began corroding. Sebastian didn’t need to imagine what the pain felt like. He had nearly burned alive, after all.

 

He still wished that he had.

 

But he let up from William’s wrist before his victim could utter so much as one word, and poised the vial tantalizingly close to William’s face, preparing to tip it over his nose.

 

William absolutely froze.

 

His words died in his throat when he saw the vial ready to spill onto his face. A droplet on the viscous substance hung precariously on the rim of the glass, threatening to fall and eat a hole in his facial features.

 

This was a whole other level of torture.

 

Not only would it be physically agonizing, but also highly psychologically traumatizing. William, as it happened, was quite vain. He cared a great deal for his appearance, and he knew he was very attractive. Unfortunately for him, the threat of having his face permanently mutilated by acid was one of the worst things that could possibly happen, and it brought rational thought screeching to a stop.

 

William promptly, and forcefully, burst into tears.

 

“I did it!!!” he sobbed, thick tears rolling over his lashes. “I-I did everything — all those things — whatever — I — please, I — it was my fault, I’m sorry, I’m absolute scum and I deserve this but I’m begging you, please don’t…please…”

 

He kept his face turned away from the vial as he could, but it wouldn’t be enough.

“I’ll do a-anything, b-but if you ruin my face y-you’ll have nothing left to hold over me…

 

Sebastian continued to hold the vial threateningly over William’s face, his hand steady and unmoving for a long time while he listened to William’s pathetic sobbing and groveling.

 

After what felt like centuries, he finally drew his hand back without letting one drop spill onto William’s face, and he recapped the vial.

 

“I see,” the raven replied softly, watching pitilessly as William’s tears flowed. “You do deserve this, don’t you? Maybe I could mutilate your face regardless, and let you exist knowing that you’re ugly and deformed for the rest of your life. That would be excellent torture, in my opinion, if you really are such an arrogant peacock.”

 

He paused for a moment, and then smiled very, very faintly, but it was one of his empty smiles. “I’ll hold onto this, then. Thank you. I’m glad that you’ve finally had some semblance of clarity.”

 

The brunet did not dare utter so much as a sigh of relief.

 

Instead he just quieted down, watching Sebastian fearfully through his silently rolling tears. His nerves were shot to pieces, and he couldn’t take much more of this. The next chance he got, he would be sure to end his own life. He had nothing left but good looks, and even they were fading with each day of abuse and starvation.

 

Tears flowed on as the acid continued eating away at his hand, though the progress had greatly slowed. William had also been correct in predicting a seizure, though a brief and conscious one that lasted only a few seconds. He stopped sobbing as his body was wracked with spasms, flailing against his bonds, and he choked on his tears and saliva until it passed.

 

 “…P...please untie me,” he whimpered thickly after he’d had a moment to recover. He wanted to ask Sebastian to wash his hand off, knowing that in his poor health if he got an infection, he would likely die. But this was actually an upside, so he kept his mouth shut.

 

 “Sebastian…I… you were right. I should never have said I didn’t deserve this…it’s because of me that your life spiralled so terribly and what I did to make amends was far from enough. I do deserve to be punished…but…w-wouldn’t you rather I spent my days trying to make it up to you…?”

 

Poor, pathetic William’s eyes widened at the idea. Yes. It sounded good. It sounded much nicer than this.

 

“I...if you took me upstairs…I could…be your servant, cooking and cleaning and s-s-satisfying you…I also am q-quite wealthy, and…I could make you happy. If you’d let me.”

 

Sebastian’s expression did not change, and he tenderly stroked William’s cheek. “Mmm,” he pondered. “And how do I know that you won’t attempt to murder me again?” he asked him, his fingers brushing over flawless skin. “Or try to steal more of my medication? Do I really have the key to your unyielding obedience and submission? A little vial of acid…”

 

His hand wandered up and petted through William’s hair. “I want to punish you for the rest of our natural lives,” he made certain to let him know. “I don’t want to see even the faintest glimmer of happiness in your eyes. You and I agree now that you deserve nothing less than total and complete misery.”

 

That man was standing just outside of Sebastian’s peripheral vision again, but the doctor sensed him and snapped his head up to face him.

 

His beautiful husband, holding the hand of their sweet little Ciel.

 

A hand that was charred beyond recognition, with the rest of their skin. Their eyes were but gaping, empty holes, their noses were gone, their teeth exposed. Sebastian’s throat closed up at the sight of them and he backed away, stoicism gone in an instant and replaced with terror and heartbreak. It was the only way he ever saw them anymore.

 

“Does he really?” Vincent asked in his soft, musical voice. Ciel’s little hand tightened around his father’s bony, ash-covered fingers, with crisp, blackened skin still hanging onto a shred of muscle.

 

“Don’t you lecture me,” Sebastian hissed to the apparition. “Don’t you dare .” But his nose and eyes were prickling. The way his throat was closed up, and his breath caught…his lips were trembling.

 

Vincent had no face left to speak of, but something about the way he carried himself was reproachful. “Why do you continue to justify this to yourself?” he challenged. “You know that this is not who you are.”

 

“Stop,” Sebastian choked, trying desperately to hold back tears. “Haven’t I suffered enough…?!”

 

William felt something akin to heartbreak when Sebastian declined his desperate offer, but what followed shocked him into complete silence. He had known Sebastian was not mentally stable — that was very clear. But to realize he was suffering from hallucinations was incredibly worrying.

 

‘Haven’t I suffered enough…?!’ Sebastian had wailed.

 

William’s mind, which quivered on the edge of total collapse, still managed to shift into psychologist mode. It was quite easy to deduce that Sebastian was seeing phantoms. The phantoms of his dearest dead, and they were tormenting him relentlessly.

 

Little Ciel Phantomhive, the sole heir, who had one cooked eyeball dangling precariously in its crisped socket, was making a peculiar sound reminiscent of crying. “What happened to Papa…? Why did he become so horrible…?”

 

“Stop it,” Sebastian repeated, voice tight. “You don’t understand. You’ll never understand.” Ciel, their precious miracle, who hadn’t even lived to see his eighth birthday, calling him horrible…it pierced Sebastian’s heart with the fury of a thousand white-hot knives.  “ You weren’t there for what he did to me,” the tormented man gasped, covering his eyes with his hands and bowing over in agony. “You were dead . You can’t judge me…!!”

 

Ciel whined quietly and clung to his father Vincent, hiding his mutilated face into Vincent’s ashy suit jacket. “Papa’s become scary. He doesn’t have to shout at us,” he whispered, and Sebastian pounded a fist into the wall behind him.

 

You don’t understand !” he burst out, breaking into the tears he had tried so desperately to hold back. “Stay dead! Just leave me alone…! Let me suffer quietly!”

 

When he peeked through his fingers again, the apparitions had gone. Sebastian nearly collapsed from relief; he sank down to his knees and was forced by his own body to weep.

 

“Are you entertained?” he snapped to his silent prisoner through his tears. “Do the tears and visions of a madman amuse you, Dr. Spears?”

 

Shaking badly, he hid his face behind his hands once more. “Why don’t you enjoy looking at me like this while it lasts, Doctor? Or have you averted your gaze from what you did to me? The very thing I begged you to help stop? I’m…I’m quite mad, but…I’m not a fool. I know they aren’t real, but they won’t leave . They won’t let me suffer quietly. They never have.”

 

William was rather speechless, mouth slightly agape as he tried to search for words. He was still emotionally distraught after what he’d just been through, but sympathy still welled to the surface.

It was hard to stare such a beautiful man in the eyes and watch him weep for the deaths of his loved ones.

 

“…I am not amused in the slightest,” he sighed hoarsely. “These hallucinations are a grim sign for you. But I have good news: I cannot officially diagnose you with psychopathic personality disorder. You simply do not fit the necessary criteria. “

 

Seeing he had Sebastian’s attention, he continued, “Latent psychopathic traits, however, combined with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, would be the pieces in play with your mind right now. More good news —  psychopathic traits can be treated, while the full blown disorder has quite a grim prognosis…and there are many treatment options available for PTSD.”

 

William was in so much pain he could barely think straight, but it was important he get these words out now while Sebastian was vulnerable and lucid and listening.

 

“That’s the diagnosis I would have given you back then, Sebastian. It is still valid now, even if you’ve deteriorated considerably. I know it probably means nothing, but I’d treat you…if you let me come upstairs….” Please let me come upstairs.

 

Sebastian could barely think straight himself. He knelt there upon the cold stone floor in defeat, hugging himself tightly and trying to wrestle his tears back. “Why,” he whispered, slowly looking up at William through his long and tangled mess of hair. “Why would you help me now ? After all I’ve done to you? H…how could you possibly …? Surely I am much too far gone.”

 

He crawled unsteadily to the shaken man in the bed.

 

“William…how could you help me?” he choked. “Why would you help me…? How…please, tell me…”

 

William, having wiggled free of his head bindings at the cost of rubbing the skin around his ears and neck raw, stared down at Sebastian in something resembling pity and sympathy.

 

“…I wanted to help you…that is the truth. And even though I did not adequately provide you the care you needed back then, I am serious when I tell you that I want you to get better. From this point I will not lie to you, Michaelis…and the truth is that it will benefit the both of us to help you.”

 

He stared hard at the tormented raven, biting his lip at his inner confliction. The calm demeanour didn’t last very long…the poor brunet was utterly traumatised.

 

“Please let me stay upstairs with you,” he repeated with wide eyes, mutilated fingers stretched desperately towards Sebastian. “Please. I can’t stand it down here, l-living like an i-invalid. I’ll do anything, I swear it..! I’ll help you get better — don’t you want to get better?! Don’t you want them to leave you alone?!”

 

Sebastian didn’t know what in the world possessed him to do so, but he reached out, and their fingers touched. He felt William’s mutilated, bloody hands against his own, and shut his eyes, weeping harder. “Of course I want them to leave me alone,” he choked, his hot tears rolling down his cheeks. “But I wish you’d succeeded when you tried to kill me. I wish you had never wrecked your car and would have let me die alone. I’m so tired of seeing their mutilated corpses and hearing them ask me where I went wrong. I’m so tired, William.”

 

He knelt at the bedside, pushing his face into William’s lap, and tried to hold back his desperate, exhausted sobs. “What’s the point?” he asked with a sharp sniffle, keeping his eyes hidden. “Even if I recover…they’re still dead. I’ll still be alone.”

 

He was silent for a long time.

 

“…You may…stay upstairs until I die, or decide to end your wretched life,” he whispered into the sheets. “It’s not as if you’ll be able to run away, in any case.”

 

The traumatised brunet looked like it was Christmas. “N-no, it’s certainly not,” he agreed hurriedly, his fingers tightening in Sebastian’s grip. “You won’t regret it!!”

 

And then he shut his mouth, not wanting to say or do anything that would cause Sebastian to change his mind. William didn’t know what his own plans were at this point, or Sebastian, but anything was better than being in this godawful basement a minute longer.

 

It wasn’t all paradise, though.

 

For instance, there was only one bed upstairs, and Sebastian was not foolish enough to let William sleep there with him. William’s bed downstairs was a ruin even before William had come and soaked it in blood and urine — it was old, mouldy, and termite-damaged. Not to mention it was a great, heavy wooden thing that had been here when Sebastian moved in, so moving it upstairs wasn’t worth the effort.

 

Instead, William was chained to one of the bedposts at the end of Sebastian’s bed, short enough so that he could barely even move, and he was given a pile of blankets to sleep upon that were itchy and woollen.

 

Anything was better….right?