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His Butler, Nightmare

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“Will you stay until I fall asleep?”

“Yes, my lord.”

Sebastian extinguished the candles.

It was a foolish request, a childish one. As he grew into his role as the Earl of Phantomhive, Ciel would learn to be at odds with this part of himself. He would crush any immaturities he found, forcing himself to become master of the Phantomhive Estate. In time, he would master French, the Funtom Company ledger, waltzing (sort of), shooting a pistol, questioning a murder suspect, (faking) social etiquette, and everything else befitting of his class and role as the Queen’s Watchdog. However, on these first few nights after he returned home, Ciel was no master.

The first week back in his manor, his room, his bed, he slept soundly, exhausted in mind and body. He began a new routine, clawing his way back to normalcy. But tonight, tired though he was, Ciel could not sleep.

Ciel squirmed in the bed, trying to find a comfortable position. Sebastian’s eyes smoldered red in the pitch black night. He could feel Sebastian’s gaze. Ciel began to regret his request as the leer seemed to grow more and more malevolent. Against his will, he recalled how easily his butler’s hands had dismembered a roomful of men. The ease with which he had slit their throats, torn them limb from limb. How gleeful those same eyes had shone while standing covered in blood. Ill intent seemed to radiate from across the room where his butler had taken post. An ungodly silence filled the air as Ciel realized he was holding his breath.

Shakily, Ciel tried to swallow. The night was strangling him – he was drowning in the realization that he now shared his room, his life, his soul with a demon. Inky blackness seemed to close in around him, evil smeared its way across his chest, settling down into his lungs. Ciel could not move.

“…” It was barely a sound, barely a movement, but Ciel heard the smallest purse of lips as Sebastian ran his tongue hungrily over his fangs. Ciel's terror was palpable, and the demon was enjoying every minute.

The boy squeezed his eyes shut. His breath quickened and he curled himself into as small a space as possible. Without a sound, before Ciel could register any movement from across the room, Sebastian’s breath was hot on his ear, “Having trouble sleeping, young master?”

Ciel’s mouth was too dry to scream. His frantic heartbeat seemed deafening as blood pounded in Ciel’s ears. Trembling, he managed a nod as Sebastian loomed over him in mock concern. He imagined he could feel Sebastian’s fangs as the butler bent ever closer. “Very well then. Perhaps I may assist.”

On future nights this same complaint of sleeplessness would be followed with requests for warm milk, or a novel to be fetched, or late night work. But on this first night, with a smile dripping malice, Sebastian simply placed his hand on Ciel’s head and everything went black.

It was a fitful sleep.

Ciel awoke, mere hours later, screaming from a nightmare, his head pounding, voice hoarse. But at least the beginnings of daylight were creeping through the curtains, and his dark butler had left the room.