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His Butler, Observing

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There is something about the way his Master leans back into the leather of his chair, crosses his legs and leans his chin into his fist just so as he turns the pages of his newspaper. His Master’s brow furrows a bit, and Sebastian spares a longer glance up from where he is polishing a vase with a cloth.

“Read something interesting, my Lord?”

Ciel looks up from the newspaper, a trace of a frown flickering on his mouth. Sebastian is regarding him with a subtle sort of grin in his eyes, hand moving slowly against the shining brass of the vase.

“I don’t appreciate you staring at me whilst I am unaware,” Ciel says petulantly, smoothing the newspaper over his knee.

Sebastian smiles, a toothless grin.

His Master is, indeed, delightfully testy this morning.

“My apologies, my Lord. So uncouth of me, when I should be focused on my duties.”

“Why are you smiling like that,” Ciel asks, tossing the newspaper onto the desk. Sebastian watches as his master uncrosses his legs, then crosses them again, opposite; the movement carries an uncanny grace Sebastian can’t help but admire.

“Well, young Master,” Sebastian offers, placing the vase back on the shelf. The brass reflects the sunlight coming through the open window, glaring and white, and Sebastian knows that his Master must be admiring his handiwork. “You could always command me not to smile. And then I shall never do so again. However—“ he neatly folds the cloth over, reaches for the next ornament to be polished—“I was under the assumption that you quite enjoyed my grin.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Ciel says, and turns his face away, and before he can continue speaking, Sebastian is already posing a new question.

“How is your tea, my Lord?”

“Weak,” Ciel says, and the legs are uncrossed, the hands rest folded on the desk, the eyes—at least the one visible, eternally blue—narrow in contemplation.

“Really, though,” Ciel asks, demands—“What are you looking so smug about?”

Humans are so curious, Sebastian thinks. So easily lent to frivolous contemplation.

“Well, my Lord,” Sebastian says, and walks over to where Ciel is sitting. He kneels, gracefully, besides his Master’s chair, and Ciel regards him with an expectant glance, eyes wide.

Sebastian reaches tentatively for his Master’s face, strokes gloved fingers through soft hair, and surprisingly his Master does not pull away. He only waits, watching Sebastian, tense and still, and Sebastian can feel the apprehension of his Master as it ripples, delicious and inviting, through his consciousness.

“You are very much like a cat,” Sebastian says, and twirls a lock between his fingers.

Now his Master pulls away, turns his head from Sebastian’s hand. “Do you think me some sort of pet, Sebastian?”

“Not at all,” Sebastian says, and the smile is back, somehow shifting, layered. He withdraws his hand from the proximity of his Master’s face, noting, with some pleasure, that he has not been commanded to stop.

“What master, my Lord, does a cat have?”

Ciel frowns, meets Sebastian’s eyes. The look in them is somewhat predatory, alluring, knowing.

“Cats obey no master,” Ciel says, a bit thoughtfully, and Sebastian’s smile grows.

“Tell me, Sebastian—you never quite explained why you do not like dogs.”

Sebastian pulls back, rests a hand against his chest and bows his head slightly. Ciel watches the fall of Sebastian’s hair, black and thick across his face, no cover for the red eyes beneath.

“My young Lord,” Sebastian says, “I believe you have answered your own inquiry.”