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Coming of the Dawn

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Something – Elizabeth did not know what – roused her from her sleep. She opened her eyes and looked at Ciel. Unconsciously, she allowed a soft, fond smile to cross her face as she watched her sleeping love, bathed in the dim glow of the moonlight.

She'd known him for almost as long as she could remember. In that time, he had changed, but he was still Ciel and she still loved him. Whether he was a carefree, innocent child or a bitter, angry boy, one thing remained the same. Elizabeth Midford loved Ciel Phantomhive. She always had, and, as she watched the young earl sleep, she knew that she always would.

Her gaze fell on the now-familiar eye patch, a strip of pitch-black cloth obscuring his eye, a reminder as if personally to her of the pitch-black life she'd led in that long month before Ciel returned. Not even in front of her had Ciel ever allowed it to come off, or if it did, he always covered his eye before she could see it. What was he hiding? What was he hiding from her?

She had to know. What caused the fear when it came away, when it risked exposure to the light of day? What was he afraid of? What lay hidden beneath the pitch-black barrier?

Slowly, Elizabeth reached forward and tugged on the string of Ciel's eye patch. A year ago, she wouldn't have dared – though they had known each for a very long time, it had been clear that the wound was too raw, too fresh, sensitive to the touch or to the mere glance. She had been close to him, she always had been, but not so close that he would let her see, under any circumstances. But she thought that, just maybe, he wouldn't mind. Not anymore.

The knot came undone easily and she pulled it away.

She wasn't sure what she had been expecting, exactly. Gruesome scars, a hideous burn, or something worse. But it wasn't the unblemished skin that her eyes met. If there was nothing to hide, why was Ciel so determined to keep his eye out of sight and out of mind?

She watched him, his unmarked face, for a long time. How long, she didn't know, but it was a long time, and she watched the moonlight change shape, morphing the shadows that danced across the bed sheets and across Ciel's peaceful, relaxed face. Then the darkness outside faded away and sunlight spilled onto the couple.

Ciel's eyes opened. Elizabeth's widened.

Most people who were fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be present when his eye patch fell away didn't closely examine his eye – either otherwise occupied, out of respect for his privacy, or even a subconscious fear of what they would see, a deep-seated instinct they may not even understand. Elizabeth was different. She looked at it closely and it didn't take her long realize what she was seeing. It took her longer to believe it and her breath caught in her throat.

The eye that should, by all rights, have been a beautiful blue just like his other, was a dangerous violet. Obscuring the pupil was a softly glowing lavender pentagram, enclosed in a circle to match, taunting her with its meaning, bright in the dim dawn light.

A demon's mark marred Ciel's right eye.

When Ciel saw the shock in her eyes, shock which rendered her unable to react, frozen as if suspended in time, his expression, rather than growing angry as one might have expected, became melancholy as he processed the fact that he was not wearing his eye patch, that she had seen. His lips parted in a whisper.

"Does it scare you, Lizzy?"

The words, which were normally wielded with derision and cruelty, were soft, curious, almost detached. Elizabeth came crashing back to reality, her shock shattering into a million pieces. This was still Ciel. This was still her cousin – the boy she'd loved for such a very long time.

There was no hesitation, in her words or in her eyes, as, in reply, her lips formed a single word. "No."

He nodded and closed his eyes again, but she leaned closer, realizing something else, and murmured in his ear. One simple request.

"Take me with you." Don't leave me alone.

Those two eyes, starkly contrasting each other, slid open again, and he looked at her, a frown on his face, concerned and wary and just a touch frightened, frightened for her. "Are you sure, Lizzy? It's not a decision to be made lightly. It may happen sooner than you think."

She did not pause for thought. There was no room for hesitation, or Ciel would not believe her words. "Yes."

She had always known that, if the need came to be, she would sell her soul to the devil if it meant staying by Ciel's side, if it meant keeping him safe. If she had to go with him into the depths of a devil's stomach to stay with him, then so be it. As long as she was with Ciel.

There was a short time when there was simply silence, both of them simply lying there, looking at each other.

Ciel was practically melting with relief. He no longer had to lie to Lizzy; she knew now. Better, she did not mind. The request to be taken with him was surprising, but, in hindsight, was something he should have anticipated. Now he simply basked in the pleasure of knowing that she knew. That she knew and she still loved him just as much as she had when they were just children.

Lizzy was thinking. The clues were coming together, one by one, and with a jolt she realized, the last piece clicking cleanly into place.

"Is it Sebastian?"

He nodded. "Yes."

She smiled. Relief. Of all people it had to be, she was glad it was him. "That's good. Sebastian is good for you."

"Yes. He is."

Ciel smiled at her, and she smiled back. Without another word, both sat up just a bit, leaned forward just a little, and for just a moment, their lips touched. Then they were lying down again, eyes closed, enjoying the magic of the morning for just a minute more.