“Now we can really talk.”
A child giggled and squealed after her Daddy left to look for some provisions, leaving Mommy and her behind, at home. Now they could finally plan this out and carry it out properly and quickly, before Daddy returned.
Today was Father's Day, and Amaya wanted to make this the best day ever for her Daddy, who loved both her and Mommy so much... She still had vague memories of that time in which Daddy couldn't speak or talk to Mommy, and the way he looked at her mother was just...it showed just how much he loved Mummy, and how much he missed him. And the way Mummy was when Daddy was not there, too. He was always, always so very sad...
"What would you like to do in order to surprise Daddy, Amaya?" Ciel asked softly to his daughter, Amay. She had grown up so fast...and Ciel knew that wasn’t the end of, it was merely beginning. Amaya was merely two, but by being the child of a demon...well, he had some advantages human children didn’t have. Her brain had already developed to such a level...not only could she walk (which was pretty normal for children her age), but she also spoke quite clearly and was learning how to read already.
It had surprised Ciel a lot, the day he walked in on her reading one of his books out loud downstairs… Sure, she had been slurring over some words, but she’d managed.
"Cake! I wanna make Daddy a cake!" The girl with hair black as jet immediately replied happily, and Ciel went to quickly check if they had enough ingredients to bake a cake, checking for the ingredients he figured they would need. He’d learned how to make a few things during Sebastian’s absence; Ann had taught them to him. To be honest, Ciel did not cook for himself, but for Amaya. He didn’t care about those kinds of things. He had wanted to die during those times, after all...nothing really mattered to him but Amaya, and he knew that she would be well taken care of even after he was gone.
In fact, Ann would have probably taken care of her better than Ciel ever did...it truly hurt to think that, but it was the truth. He would never stop being sorry for that...
"What kind of cake would you like to—?"
"A chocolate cake!" Amaya explained happily with a giggle, and Ciel ran a hand through her hair gently, having a very vague memory of his Father doing the same to him when he was still a child. He longed for those moments, yet knew that they would never return. Childhood truly was so simple when uncorrupted...
"All right, all right. We can do a chocolate cake." He smiled.
After the love of his life had been brought back to life by no person other than their own daughter, Ciel’s smile returned to him, the smile Sebastian had worked oh, so hard to get after it all happened, especially after the apocalypse… It had again gone away when one of the people who had given meaning to his life died, all in order to give Ciel his immortality…
But what was that immortality good for if Ciel didn’t spend it by Sebastian’s side? The older male had failed to see that.
He pulled out a recipe book from a drawer on the counter, and read out loud:
“Recipe Level: Easy
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by rubbing with butter, sprinkling with flour and tapping out extra. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon then set aside. In small bowl combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat well. Slowly add boiling water and mix. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and fold and stir until smooth. Pour batter into pans, dividing evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove cake from pans and cool on racks.”
He looked down at Amaya, who looked even more thrilled and eager to do this. She wasn't going to back up now. Still, it wouldn't harm to ask her, just to make sure...
"Are you sure you want to make this? Are you sure you understand what we're going to do?"
Amaya nodded and extended her arms, closing and opening her small hands in a silent request for Ciel to pick her up. She absolutely adored it when he did that, especially since the gestures of love Ciel gave her before where either none or filled with tears, because she’d reminded her of Sebastian too much with her profile and jet-black hair, as well as some of her gestures. Just where the hell did she learn them from? It wasn’t like Sebastian had been there and that she had seen him...
Ciel picked her up and kissed her cheek, brushing their noses against one another with a small smile.
"All right, girl. Let's wash our hands now. We have to do this quickly, before Daddy comes home. I know he just left, but this recipe takes time, and we don't want him to come back until we're done, right?"
He turned on the water, and held Amaya as she washed her hands, for she still wasn't tall enough to reach the sink all by herself. It was quite cute. Once she was done, he set her down, and did the same, making sure to remind her of how one did these kinds of things. It was important to do so while they were still young.
After they were both done and they dried their hands with a towel, he looked down at her, and kneeled down before her. "Let's get started now baby, yeah?"
She nodded quickly. "The first step was to put spread on the pans, right?" She asked with a smile.
Ciel looked down at her, both pairs of sapphire eyes meeting. He rose his hand and his index finger, as he was about to make an observation, and Amaya paid more attention to his words when he did this. Said she usually learned a lot from Mommy when he told her observations and facts that way, since she listened carefully and intently.
"You're both right and wrong, Amaya. The first step in the recipe is to pre-heat the oven. But while I do that, you can prepare the pans."
He knelt down, and looked for a pan on the cabinet below the counter. He found a one that would work, and wondered just when they had gotten it, but did not pay that much mind, and smiled instead. "This one will do the trick."
He stood and washed it, before handing it over to Amaya with care along with the butter and a spoon. He still wouldn't let her use knives much, not even butter knives. Sebastian told Ciel he was being a mother hen, but it couldn't be helped. He worried more than enough as it was.
Amaya was his daughter, after all, and since he was still learning how to raise a kid with her, he tended to over-protect her. Not that he noticed when he was doing it half of the time, but still.
She nodded and began to spread the butter on the pan, Ciel turning around to turn on the oven and check the temperature.
After he set it properly, he took the pan from Amaya softly, and nodded while looking at her. "This one's all good. Remember not to touch the oven." He warned. "Now, the next step was..."
"To put some fl-flower on the pan! And I won't!"
He nodded. "... Right... But, darling, it's flour, not flower. Now, repeat after me: 'fl-o-ur'." He split the word up in syllables.
"Flour." She giggled, albeit a little mockingly. Ciel knew she was planning something by now, but did not show it.
"Flour." Ciel echoed, and he noticed on Amaya's face that she was trying to be mischievous. Yep, she was definitely planning something. She was so cute whenever she did these kinds of things...
"FLOWER!" Amaya practically yelled, and Ciel let out a laugh.
"Say it properly." He said softly.
"Geez, Mommy, fine!" She crossed her small arms, being sassy and not caring at all. He noticed she’d taken after him in that respect. "The next step is... To put some flour on the pan."
"There we go." He bent down and kissed her cheek, finally going on with what the recipe dictated with a smile, still.
Amaya wanted to watch though, and couldn't because she was too short. And so, she deviced a plan.
She took the chair nearest to them,which was in the living room, and pulled it all the way to the kitchen and close to Ciel as he sprinkled the pan with flour, yet still heard her and paid attention. She made mistakes and got into trouble way too easily, after all...
"Amaya, what are you— be careful!"
As she tried to stand on the chair to watch her Mommy, Amaya stumbled and fell. Out of fear, Ciel practically dropped the flour, and caught her in time, just before she fell headfirst onto the floor.
He held her close for a few moments, sighing as she wrapped her arms around his neck, quite frightened.
"Don't do that ever again, Amaya. If I hadn't... Hadn't caught you, you could have fallen and hit your head... You would've gotten hurt..."
She placed the chair where it belonged and sighed, lowering her head in both apology and respect.
"Let's keep going." Ciel said, this time more seriously, because he was. He was still kind of scared, the fear of anything happening to his baby crawling under his skin and almost choking him. He felt like he couldn't breathe.
"...yes..." Amaya whispered, before getting back on the game. The previous mood quickly returned, and before they knew it was just as if nothing had happened.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"There. All done." Bowls and utensils were placed on the sink and Ciel went to the couch, practically throwing himself on it. He let out a tired sigh and looked up, grunting when his daughter jumped on top of him with a giggle, and laid down with him.
"When is Daddy coming home?"
Ciel looked at the clock on the wall. "He should be back anytime now, sweetie."
She sighed, satisfied with her and mommy's efforts, and anxious for daddy's return. She itched to know if he liked the cake, and to take a bite herself, too.
Ciel pulled her close and kissed the top of her head, making her smile. "You did a good job today, Amaya. Daddy will be very proud when he sees the cake you made."
"Will he really...?" She asked, already having high expectations. She wanted for him to like it and to take more than one piece, so that he could thank her for it and maybe even help her make another one...
"Of course he will be." He smiled, looking at the door. It opened all of a sudden< Sebastian coming in full of provisions, and letting out a tired grunt as Amaya launched herself at him, catching her in his arms. Ciel also stood, approaching him with a smile, and wrapping his arms around them, as well.
"Daddy, Daddy!!" She laughed and held on to his neck, kissing his cheek.
It made him smile to be like this with them, and he took some of the things Sebastian brought with him, going up and about putting everything away while Amaya told her father about everything that happened while he was gone, making sure to go into detail with everything.
"And so, now that you're back, can you try it? Please please PLEASE, Daddy?" She asked, blue eyes shining as she smiled joyfully.
"Of course I'll try it, sweetie." Sebastian said with a smile, pulling out a knife and cutting the cake Ciel had just taken out from the oven into six even pieces, and taking one for himself and cutting one for Amaya, and another one for Ciel.
"Happy Father's Day—"
"Happy Father's Day, Daddy!!" Amaya spoke over Ciel and smiled brightly as her father tried the cake, the creation she was so proud of. She and mommy made it, after all. It must have turned out quite well.
Sebastian smiled as he tried it, but his eyes widened when the offending taste attacked his senses, and he tried to swallow it as fast as he could, trying to mask the disgust that made its way to his features.
"W-What is it, Daddy? Don't you... like it...?" Amaya asked softly, obviously saddened and looking down. Of course she caught up with Sebastian's failed attempt of hiding how bad it tasted.
Ciel frowned and took her up into his arms, Sebastian's hand playing with her hair lovingly.
"Amaya, sweetie... Are you sure you and Mommy followed the instructions correctly? How much sugar and did you put in this?" Sebastian asked softly, and Ciel instantly pulled the cookbook out.
"Here it says... two cups of sugar and one teaspoon of salt..." He said, doubting himself. Where could they have gone wrong?
"Are you sure you didn't accidentally mix them up? Didn't you add two cups of salt and a teaspoon of sugar?"
Amaya snorted loudly, before letting out a laugh. "I-I'm pretty sure that's what happened, Mommy!" She said happily and let her arms dangle up in a silent request for Ciel to pick her up.
He did and chuckled. "Probably, girl." He whispered and kissed her head.
Sebastian looked over the kitchen and sighed. "You two made such a mess..." He said exasperated, sighing and running a hand over his face.
"I suppose I'll have to clean it, since you'll only make things worse if I have you do it... Stand back."
Amaya giggled and Ciel shook his head with a smile as he did as told, and allowed for Sebastian to do his thing, and in no time, everything was clean.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The rest of the afternoon passed quickly, as the family was too focused on spending some quality time together. The time finally came for the child to go to sleep, and her parents were at this moment sitting on her bed and tugging her in.
"There we go, baby. Time to sleep." Ciel said lovingly, caressing the child's cheek and kissing her forehead.
"No, no. Wait, Mommy! Daddy!" She practically pleaded, looking at them both with wide eyes.
Sebastian looked down at her with a smile, before asking. "What is it, darling?"
"Tell me a bedtime story!!" She said loudly with a giggle, and Ciel shushed her.
"Now, now, darling... A bedtime story...?"
"Do you have any requests, babygirl?" Sebastian asked with a smile, and pinched her nose softly with a smile.
She giggled. "Yes! I wanna know a story about you and Mommy! How did you meet?"
Sebastian looked at Ciel for a moment, who only returned the glance, and shook his head. "How about we leave that one for another time, sweetheart." He said with a smile, and Amaya had no choice but to agree on this one; it was appropriate for her.
"Then something else about you two! Before you had me, how was it with you two? Did you have any friends?"
Ciel bit his bottom lip at that one. It wasn't like it was a horrible topic, just that he preferred to leave it alone, since every single one of those people were already dead. Michelle included, who had been the last one.
"W-Well, we did, but..."
Amaya quickly got it. That wasn't something they were eager to talk about, and so she had to think of something else. Perhaps something had happened to them...
"You can tell me any story, then. Don't worry. Ooh, what about one with a female hero! A strong girl who is different, and who doesn't do like men say!" Despite her appearance and young age, Amaya learned faster than most, perhaps because of half of her blood being demon blood. It only made sense that way.
Amaya loved to read old books, to know about the culture and about countries she could only dream about, since all the empires had fallen thanks to the apocalypse. She was only now learning how to write, but she liked to write out or mark whatever she found more interesting about everything she read. The child was very organized, and occupied either one of her parents for these things, but they did not mind one bit. In fact, they were very proud of their little girl.
"Okay, then let's tell you a story about the old empire of China." Sebastian started with a smile, and Amaya immediately rose an eyebrow.
"Why would I want to know about that? Women were—"
"Shamed and dominated completely by men in that era, yes, but listen, baby." Ciel intercepted. He already knew the story Sebastian was about to tell, and would assist him as best as he could, of course.
"And in that China, a war was going to start. In those times, at least one man from each family had to participate, no matter their age or health. Whether they were sick and old, or healthy and young, that didn't matter. The war forced them to go." Sebastian started the story this way, and he brushed the child's hair as sapphire eyes widened.
"But that's so unfair!"
"Unfair, yes, but for them, it wasn't. It was their duty. I daresay it was even an honor for them to serve for their country and emperor, even if they were practically rushing to their deaths. Now, there was this family... Fa, was their name, if I'm correct. Now, the family only had one daughter. Her name was Mulan, and she had just turned the age in which the women were meant to marry when this happened. She was sent like all the others to be set with an appropriate man for her, but it seemed like she just wasn't fit for the job."
"What do you mean?" Amaya sat up in curiosity, and Ciel shook his head.
"No, no, no. Lay back down and we'll explain." He scolded gently, and she did as told with a pout.
"What your mother means is that she screwed up on some kind of... test, if you will. A test that was given to women to see their best traits and to find a fitting husband for them."
"It absolutely had to be a husband? Not a wife? Did they even know the person?"
"Yes, to your first question. It had to be a husband. To this day, it's still supposed to be a husband, and men are supposed to find wives. That's the norm. At least in the human society. Your mother and I... we're just kind of... out of the norm. Not that we're abnormal, but we're just not what most people are used to."
Amaya nodded, quickly understanding all of it, and with her eyes practically begged for them to keep going. They both got the message, and Ciel went on.
"Mulan failed horribly, and went back home, saddened and frustrated, because she knew that if she were to act like a proper wife, she would lose herself. In fact, she already was losing herself. She felt like—"
"What do you mean? 'Losing herself,' like, how does that happen? I'm not going t' lose myself, I'm right here!" The girl interrupted, finding it obvious. How on earth could someone lose their own self? Amaya concluded Mulan had to be pretty dense to let that happen.
"Losing one's self means that you end up not knowing who you are anymore. Not like losing your memory, but like you, yourself. You feel like you don't really know who you are, what you want for yourself in life, in the future, how you wish to live... You end up questioning yourself, and are trapped in that limbo of just... Not knowing. Like, anyone could ask you: 'What do you want to do? Where would you like to get in life?' And you'd just be silent, because you don't know."
That was when Ciel realized, that perhaps he had said too much, and let out a nervous chuckle, scratching the back of his head. "Sorry, I went overboard, um... Did you understand any of that...?"
Amaya smiled brightly and nodded. "All of it!" Because truly, she felt like she did, even if she didn’t actually know. Ciel gathered at least that much. "Go on, go on!"
Ciel chuckled, and his lover continued the story. "So Mulan was starting to lose herself, because she wanted to get a decent husband and honor her family, but at the same time, she wished to be herself. That was a problem, because there seemed to be simple no way of achieving both. She still felt lost, when her father arrived and tried to soothe her, despite knowing the consequences of her not getting a husband."
"But then came a man, representing the China army, and gave all the men in the family envelopes, explaining that some bad people were invading China, and that one man from each family had to stand in and come fight in the war. Mulan was very scared when she heard this, because her father was sick, and it was pretty much obvious that he would die as soon as he went out there to fight. She tried her best to tell him, but he did not reason with her. It was both his duty and an honor for him after all, to serve to their emperor."
"That was when Mulan decided: she would not allow for her father to go into the war. For that, she would have to dress up as a man and go herself."
"Wait, Mulan did?" The child asked, confused, and her mother nodded.
"Yes; she would go in her father's stead, without anyone knowing. She prayed to her ancestors to help her, cut her hair, put on her father's armor, and left that night. The only sign she left behind was a hairpin her father had gave her on his nightstand, right where the scroll he had been given was placed. That’s how they knew what she was doing.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
They finished the story after a while and Amaya finally fell asleep, leaving Ciel and Sebastian finally alone to enjoy each other’s company.
They went to their chamber, lazily coming to lay on the bed, and smiling at each other because they just knew what the other was thinking. Quietly, they cuddled against one another, not in the mood to do anything today. They just wanted to appreciate each other’s company, and to talk for a while…
“Who would have thought this a few years ago...that making a contract with a demon would take me this far. That I’d be alive now, and with a child, too…” Ciel whispered softly, kissing Sebastian’s neck as the other wrapped his arms around his waist.
“...Do you regret any of it?” Sebastian ended up asking after a few moments of silence, giving Ciel’s lips a small peck. The other shook his head with a smile.
“No, of course not. You and Amaya...you mean everything to me. I’ve finally found a purpose in life that does not involve anger, sorrow, or revenge. I just… I just want to be happy with you two, and to be with you for the rest of eternity…” He muttered softly, kissing Sebastian once more. This one was a little deeper, conveying feelings. Passion, love, sensuality...they all melded and became one, and in no time the two of them were touching each other all over, letting out low gasps and moans because, this fast, they were already getting into it...getting drunk in one another, loving everything of the moment and making the most out of it, because in the uncertain world of the apocalypse, they never knew which one could be the last…