Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“'Tis some visitor”, I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door – Only this, and nothing more.”
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted – nevermore!
The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe.
* * *
“... And after that, young master, I suggest we go to that store to buy you new shoes.”
Winter came and, along with it, the long holidays that allowed the students to come back home for Christmas. William's butler, Kevin Cecil, had surprised his young master by offering him a holiday in London.
“That's nice Kevin, but I don't think we have enough money for that.”
“Oh, I assure you we have enough money, young master! We don't need to worry about that.” Kevin said with a light laugh.
“Really, we have? I thought we were broke!” William told him in a disbelieving tone.
“...” Kevin's silence was suspicious. The man, though quiet most of the time, was really talkative when he was in the company of his young master. He was always asking him how he was, what he was studying in school, and how was that good friend of his, Isaac? Oh, and did the young master hear of the latest philosophy book? And did the young master want milk with his tea?
William was used to this. So that was why his butler's silence raised his suspicions. The man's silence usually meant he was hiding something from him. And William had no trouble finding WHAT EXACTLY he was hiding from him.
“... Kevin...” William started with a slow tone.
“... Y-Yes young Master?” Kevin was laughing nervously.
“DID YOU BET ON ME AGAIN TO HAVE THAT MONEY??”
“Maaaah, young Master, I would never dare!!” Kevin cried.
“LIAR! WAIT UNTIL WE GET HOME!”
“I'm sorry young master!” Kevin whined.
They continued their walk into Trafalgar Square, strolling in silence, simply enjoying the afternoon. The air was cool but the sky was blessed with the sun. Despite the coldness, the streets of London were crowded. William let his eyes drift over the sea of people. Many were talking, laughing, or simply enjoying the day in the heart of England.
Then, he saw him.
Time then seemed to slow around him. William's senses became alert and his eyes were wide. Unconsciously, he stopped walking.
Standing across the place, near Nelson's column, he stood. Sebastian Michaelis, tall, slim, with his raven-like features, his long black hair... and his intense red eyes that were focused on the smaller figure beside him, a young boy dressed in a black coat.
Him... Of all people, in all that sea of people, it was him William's eyes fell upon.
He almost stopped breathing for a moment, his eyes never leaving the tall figure of Sebastian Michaelis. He didn't want to believe it was him, but it was him. The red eyes didn't lie to him.
William looked into them. And then, scarlet invaded his world.
He hadn't forgotten those red eyes...
Those red eyes that took him back in the past, two months ago.
– x – flash-back – x –
It was October the 31st, in the dead of the night, William Twining wasn't sleeping.
After a long day of classes and prefect duties, William had allowed himself a few moments of peace before going to bed.
Laying on his belly, William was reading on his bed.
He had been so absorbed in his book he almost didn't hear the noise coming from outside.
“'Tis some visitor,” William muttered, “tapping at my chamber door, only this and nothing more.”
However, he couldn't go back to his book as the noise came back, this time louder, and William knew it was coming from outside. Furrowing his brow, he put his book, The Raven, on the table on his bedside, and got up from his bed.
He looked at the outside world, from his bedroom window. The sky, who was just a few hours ago an orange autumn's day, was now as dark as ebony, freckled by grey clouds that hid the full moon and a few stars.
However, William could still discern three small figures in the horizon, all dressed in white pyjamas and dark coats, walking in the direction of the school's woods. William could guess there were students. One of them was carrying a lantern. Once again, he frowned. What the hell were they doing at this hour??
William sighed. How unconscious those students were, really! It seemed like he had to act as a prefect tonight. He briefly wondered if he should wake Mycroft up, and decided not to. He didn't want to wake his comrade up just because three idiots were outside at eleven in the night!
He covered himself with a warm, dark coat and made his way toward the bedroom door. His cloak trailed behind him as he moved through the school's dark halls. He slowly made his way out of the school, more than ready to inflict a terrible punishment to the three idiots who decided it was a good idea to walk outside when everybody was supposed to be dead asleep.
A few minutes later, William was outside.
The air was cool, and the grass smelled like the rain that came barely one hour ago. It was a cloudy night, you could barely see the sky freckled with stars, and the moon – who usually illuminated the night – was almost hidden by menacing grey clouds. An owl was screaming, not far away from where William stood, and William couldn't help but shiver, and he knew it wasn't only from the cold.
He looked at the woods from where the students disappeared. The woods always looked different at night, everything seemed so... unfamiliar. As if the daytime trees and the stones and the green grass sparkling with brown, orange or yellow leafs went to bed and sent more dark, menacing versions of themselves to take their places.
It was a disorientating blackness, with mist, black and grey clouds, a full moon and visible stars.
William was glad he brought a lantern with him. At night, everything seemed different, menacing. Everything could happen. Night was the enemy.
William had no troubles following the boys, as he saw the retreating light of their lantern and heard their whispering voices and the crunching of leaves under their feet.
He silently went through the woods, covering the flame of the candle of his lantern with his hand so he wouldn't be caught by the other students as he wanted to be the one surprising them, catching them in the act, so he could punish them better. He didn't see that, not far away from him, a raven was watching him to the slightest movement.
On his way, William saw a few lanterns put here and there in the woods. Lantern made from hollowed pumpkins with carved faces, grotesque human faces. William sighed. He forgot it was Halloween's night. He never liked this pagan celebration, he always thought it was childish, because celebrating ghosts and monsters? If William didn't like this celebration when he didn't believe in the existence of ghosts and demons, he disliked it even more now he knew ghosts and demons existed.
William could only guess the students thought it would a good idea to get out at night to scare themselves, or to tell each other scary stories, or trying to invoke a spirit. William, who now was familiar with summoning rituals, really hoped the students wouldn't try to summon anything.
Because, really, most of the time, those rituals were a total failure and if anyhow they ever managed to summon something, it wouldn't be what they hoped for and it would most likely be a much nastier spirit or creature.
“Mist, wood, night time, Halloween. Should end well.” William muttered to himself.
The raven croaked, and William jumped. He turned around to see the bird perched on a branch. He frowned. He didn't know much about birds, but weren't ravens supposed to be diurnal birds by nature? He wondered for a brief moment before he decided to give no more thoughts on this subject. He had other fish – students in that case – to fry and more important things to deal with.
Thanks to the students's lantern, William could keep track of them. After a moment, he managed to find them in a clearing surrounded by dark trees. William hid himself behind a big tree and decided to watch what they were doing before stepping in to stop them. A few lanterns made from pumpkins brought some light to the clearing as the students were gathering themselves around a symbol carved in the ground. William leaned a little closer and was able to discern... a pentagram and black candles! Recognizing some of the pentagram's symbols, William guessed it was for summoning purpose. Before he had the chance to step in to stop this madness, one of the students began reading from an old book he was carrying:
“O great spirit of the night
We invoke you on this night and on this time
To beg you to come back from the shadows
Attend this circle and show yourself to us here!”
William couldn't stand to stay hidden and do nothing. He revealed himself to the students and screamed:
“You idiots! What do you think you are doing??”
He approached them, clearly furious. The boys were surprised to see him there, clearly not expecting him. They didn't have the time to focus on him however as, suddenly, a violent wind appeared, blowing the light of the candles down. Panic began to rise as the dark was upon them. The wind was screaming in their ears and William lost control of the situation.
Screams were heard as smoke began to rise up from the ground, right where the pentagram was. As a big figure was beginning to form, the boys went to hid behind trees or in some bushes. All this smoke and the slowly raising figure promised nothing good, and William thought it was wise to follow the boys. He went to hide in a bush, where was also hiding one of the boy.
Then came a smell so foul, so noxious, they all thought they would choke on it. A loud roar disturbed the calm of the night as a giant form emerged itself from the pentagram. Through the bush's leaves, William tried to catch a glimpse of the... thing the boys summoned.
In the inky blackness of the night laid a giant horned demon. His fangs, eerily incandescent, seemed as sharp as a thousand swords. His skin was mostly dark fur and scar tissue and his legs and arms were as big as trees. His eyes, as red as hellfire, were sparkling with malice. William shivered when he saw blood-caked claws not far away from the place they were hiding. Then came movement from the demon.
Sniffing sounds, his monstrous head moving... The demon was smelling something.
Beside William, the student was shaking like a leaf and struggled not to panic, otherwise the demon would hear them. William himself wasn't feeling well, and right now, he would have given anything to see Kevin, Dantalion or one of the demons. As Dantalion, Sitri and Camio were down in Hell for Halloween, William wished the summoning somehow alerted Kevin.
But no one was there, except for him, the students... and the demon. For now, their only hope was to stay hidden and pray the monster wouldn't see them.
The demon stood in silence for a moment. Then, his voice came, calm yet terrifying:
“This smell... I know this smell...” He sniffed again, searching. Neither William nor the students dared to move or to breath loudly.
“It is a familiar aroma... One I have already tasted before... Now, what is it?” the demon wondered to himself, trying to catch more of the smell and William realized with horror it was them the demon was smelling. Beside him, the boy was trying hard not to scream in panic.
Two loud footsteps were heard then. The demon was approaching the place where they were all hidden. He spoke again, his nauseous breath more distinct and William covered his nose with his hands.
“This smell... It smells sweet, like the sweetest of peaches... like the finest of wines... It smells like...”
The ground under their feet was trembling. The demon was approaching them.
William thought quickly. They had to get away from this place, or the demon would find them! With a gesture of his hand, William told the boy beside him to stay silent, and motioned him to follow him. Even though he was still shaking with fear, the boy slowly nodded. They slowly crawled to hide behind a bush that stood near them.
William was the first to reach their new hiding place, and motioned the boy to join him. He was about to reach William, but then something wet and sticky fell on his shoulder. When the boy touched it, he saw it was saliva. He looked up and both he and William watched with horror as the demon looked down at them, a malicious grin on his lips.
“... HUMAN FLEEEESH!!!!” he screamed in delight, his voice like thunder.
And then, it was pandemonium. The students all screamed as they ran for dear life. While he wasn't screaming in terror, William wasn't doing any better. Right now, he had no choice but to run as well. While he was running, he frenetically recited the summoning spells he learnt, trying to summon Sitri, Camio or Dantalion, hoping one of them would hear him and save them all.
Above him, the demon's voice rose again, now ferocious and famished:
“HELLOOOOO NAUGHTY CHILDREN, IT'S DINNER TIME!!”
In their panic, they all ran in different directions in the woods, and William found himself alone. The thought didn't comfort him in the least.
The fact the demon decided to pursue him was even less comforting and, once again, William cursed himself. Why do I always attract demons? He lamented.
He ran faster in the hope to escape the approaching demon, whose laugh could be heard in the dark woods, and he hoped to find some place to hide and to breathe again. He let out a cry when he slipped because of some leaves that were wet from the rain. He loudly fell on the ground, wetting his clothes and hurting his knees and hands.
William quickly rolled over onto his back and scrambled to get away when the demon's clawed paw held him to the ground on his back. William could only watch in horror as the demon leant down, grinning viciously at his prey. He was unable to take his eyes off the demonic-like eyes and the slavering mouth.
William froze, watching in mingled horror and anticipation as the demon's head descended, jaws open, eyes gleaming with hunger. He shut his eyes down tight and turned his head away. He didn't want to watch as he was about to be eaten. He briefly thought about Kevin and Dantalion and felt remorse and regret. How would they react, when they would learn about his death?
Eyes still shut, William prepared himself for the inevitable.
Then, unexpectedly, a shrieking noise was heard, coming from the demon. William opened his eyes, wide as he was free from the demon's hold. Something had slammed into the demon, and the demon cried out as he was shoved to the ground. To William's astonishment, a figure the side of a human being stood on the demon's belly. The most surprising that was: that man carried a rock as big as the demon's head.
From down here where he stood, William couldn't see much of the man, small dark figure on the demon's belly. Then, he watched with astonishment as the dark figure crushed the demon's head with the rock. The monster gave one last scream of pain before gasping out his last breath.
William barely had the time to be surprised by that strange turn of fate, as, in the blink of the eye, the dark figure came to stood before him. Raising his head up to see his strange saviour, William could only see a tall and thin man, all dressed in black, before said man lifted him from the chilly grass and carried him in his arms, bridal style. William let out a surprised scream.
“I am so very sorry for the inconvenience, Master Twining,” the tall man said, and his voice sounded smooth and velvety and not sorry at all. “But I am afraid we must continue this elsewhere. Please, hold on tight to me, we wouldn't want you to fall.” his smile was pleasant, yet it seemed slightly mocking.
William gasped as the man jumped to fly. Well, it seemed like they were flying. The scenery passed by his eyes and, suddenly, William couldn't see much of the trees as the man moved faster in the air; everything around him went black, yet he knew they were still moving as William could still feel the wind on his face and in his hair. William closed his eyes and adjusted his coat to protect himself from the cold wind.
After a moment that seemed like forever, the man landed and let go of William. When William felt the firm ground on his feet, he thought it was safe enough for him to open his eyes. When he did, he found himself in an old cemetery, one he recognized as it was the old cemetery you could find, at three hours away from his school's boundaries. The sudden change of scenery surprised him.
In the dark of the night, with the moonlight as the only source of light, the graveyard looked... spooky. Rows of old tombstones stood erect in deadly silence to the left and right, in front and behind. It was obvious no soul ever came in the cemetery anymore. The gates were completely rusted. Most tombstones were crumbled with the weathering of centuries, you couldn't read the names on it very well. Others grave were falling into ruins. There were no flowers to honour the dead.
William shivered. He didn't believe in ghosts, yet the sight of this old graveyard and the mist surrounding them didn't make him feel good.
The man came to stood near him, and William lifted his eyes so he could see his “saviour” better.
He was tall, very tall. He was lean and poised, somewhat elegant. What was odd was the fact he had the pristine, dark attire of a butler, yet there was something... odd about him. He had a unique air, quite unlike any other “normal” butler. His features were striking, almost sharp, raven-like. But it was his eyes that caught William's attention. They were a deep crimson colour, certainly unique... and frightening. Not quite like Dantalion's own red eyes. Those eyes lacked the warmth Dantalion's eyes had.
“Now,” the butler-man said. “Shall we begin, then?”
“Who are you?” William whispered. He felt wary of this man.
“Me?” the man asked, his tone was light, he almost sounded amused. “I'm just one hell of a butler.”
One hell of a butler... The way he said it... It sounded like... no way!
“You...” William paused, “... you're a demon, aren't you?”
The man, no the demon, smiled pleasantly, his eyes sparkling with mirth.
“Just what we expected from you, Master Twining. I am Sebastian Michaelis, at your service.” He bowed, but it was a mocking bow.
Well, that was just his luck! Two demons in one night!
“This is not your real name, right?” William pointed out.
“Names have power.” Sebastian answered.
“... Why are you here?” He wouldn't know anything about William's heritage, right? At least William thought (hoped) so. What were the odds of him knowing who exactly William was?
But what were the odds of a demon rescuing him from another demon on Halloween night, when William's “demons” were in Hell?
Sebastian Michaelis smiled pleasantly at him, as if knowing exactly what was on William's mind.
“Now, Master Twining,” he began, a condescending smirk on the lips, forcibly taking William's chin between his fingers. “I'm sure you have an idea about this. Don't act like the idiot you and I both know you are not.”
“Get away from me!” William hissed, trying to break the demon's grip on him. Sebastian's grip, however, tightened, strong and menacing. He brought William's face closer to him and William almost gasped out when his green eyes met the demon's own eyes.
The eyes were malice, evil in its purest form. A flicker of magenta and ruby red that could follow you anywhere you would move. The eyes that could see if your soul was tainted or untouched by the demons living inside the deepest core of your being.
And then, in this moment only was William reminded of words Dantalion once told him: “You need my protection, William, may you want it or not. You don't know what will happen when the other demons will become aware of your existence and how they'll choose to make contact with you.”
“I am afraid I must insist on a suitable conversation.” the demon said, pleasantly, though there was nothing pleasant in his eyes or in the tone of his voice. It was displeased, menacing, a kind of air that said “Beware!”. “I dislike not fulfilling my master's orders properly.”
William lashed out, wrenching away with a snarl and a push so strong it drew blood out of Sebastian's face. “Release me, you foul creature!”
“My, my,” the demon laughed. “A fighter, aren't we?” The frigid smirk returned, he licked the blood on his face with the tip of his tongue. “How rude for the heir of such a prestigious and ancient family.” His wound healed in a few seconds, leaving no sign he had been injured.
“... How do you know me?” William asked, now suspicious.
“My Master has taken a considerable interest in you, Master Twining. We have been watching you. You are quite... interesting, for a human.” He stood, cat-like.
“What do you mean?” he asked, suspicion in his tone, his eyes narrowing.
“You'd be surprised to see how your name is a recurring one, mostly in the supernatural world. There are... interesting stories, about King Solomon's reincarnation.” Sebastian's voice was smooth and sweet, almost innocent.
William's heart almost stopped beating for a brief moment. Was Sebastian one of those demons who wanted to get rid of him? Or one of Solomon's pillars? And who was his “master”? A demon of higher rank?
“Your name came on many lips, and, considering my Master's job and relationships, it fell easily on our ears. Especially since... that night, in London.” Sebastian told him in a light tone.
“I don't know what you mean.” William denied, yet flashes of that night in London, of the demon's attack, of Mary and miss Bianca, of the pseudo Jack the Ripper... of Kevin as Archangel Uriel destroying the demon in a flash of light, came into his mind.
“Oh, but I think you know exactly what I am talking about, Master Twining.” The devil said pleasantly. He began to walk forward, closer to William, and William had to resist the urge to back up.
“... What if I do, what do you want from me?” William asked, wary.
“Nothing special, really.” Sebastian answered. He made a thoughtful expression, one that would have seemed sincere, if not for the subtle mockery in his eyes. “I merely wanted to meet the famous William Twining, the bearer of Solomon’s soul, the boy Hell can’t stop speaking about.” Yet William had the feeling Sebastian wasn’t only here to see him, there was something more… He could feet it.
“Your “master” has a plan about me, I take it? Otherwise, he wouldn’t have sent you to find me.” William pointed out, he was beginning to get tired of Sebastian’s antics and word games.
“While I admit my Master and I took interest in you, my job was to watch you from afar. I wasn't supposed to meet you tonight, it is still too early.” Sebastian said, sounding almost disappointed. “But when I saw those three foolish boys summoned something, I had to intervene.”
“You... you were spying on me? When does this sick game began??” he cried, furious.
“Well, you can hardly blame me, can you?” He reasoned pleasantly. “Because of who you are and what you can do, there is no way my Master and I would ignore you and not do anything. So I was given the task to watch you, from time to time. It is not always a pleasant work, I assure you. It can truly be boring, watching you studying, spending time with those foolish mortals in that school, arguing with those demons of yours...”
“Enough with your games and words. What do you want?”
“Sadly, I can not do anything. Like I told you, you weren't supposed to be aware of our presence so soon as my Master has yet to decide when it will be time for you two to meet.”
“Really now? You said your Master was interested by me and sent you here to watch me, yet he doesn't seem to be in a hurry to see me.” William remarked dryly.
“I'll admit patience is not always a strong quality in my young master. Human beings rarely are.” Sebastian murmured as he strolled, pausing before his prey with a gentleman's smile. “But we are keen interested in watching your little... adventures from afar. That little trip of yours in London with your angel butler was most interesting to watch.” he added with an amused smirk. William went red, knowing he (and most probably his friends) had been watched since a while now, and he didn't know it! Worst, everything that happened to him was a source of curiosity and amusement to a demon and his master! It was more than William could take it!
“I refuse to be subject to your games or to your curiosity!” William snapped. It only seemed to amuse the demon more.
“You must work of that tempter of yours, Master Twining. The venom in your words may offend or hurt some people.” He mocked casually. “You and that angel of yours do suit each other well.”
William didn't say anything, but deep inside he was burning with anger, and waited for the devil to elaborate.
After all, that demon seemed like he liked to talk, William noticed.
“You see, Master Twining, there's a reason why I took you away from your school. Your angel is so very protective of you, but I needed to speak to you alone...”
He watched in silence as Sebastian took off one of his gloves with his teeth. He showed his naked hand to William. His nails were polished in a black colour, but it was not the first thing William noticed. His hand was burned. It looked quite serious, but William wasn't feeling sorry for him, yet he couldn't help but wonder what happened to Sebastian.
Sebastian answered him a few seconds later: “Your angel pet put a protection on you. Judging from your expression, I guess you did not know. That protection is meant to burn every demon who would have the intend to hurt you. Were I a minor demon, I would have been nothing but cinder the moment I touched you.” he said as his other and gloved hand touched William's cheek in a mock caress. Despite himself, William shivered in disgust and he turned his head away from the sinful touch. He briefly wondered when Kevin put the protection on him. Maybe when he was sleeping? Maybe he did something when his hand was on William's shoulder the other day?
“You would do well without that angel.” Sebastian added in a sneer.
“That's too bad because I'm keeping him!” William bit back instantly, surprising himself with the vehemence in his own voice.
Sebastian's lips turned up in a smirk, baring his teeth. “Is that so,” he purred. “So, the little human grew himself attached to an angel of the Lord?”
William shot the demonic servant a warning glower, Sebastian returned the expression with an unfazed sneer.
He looked down at the hand. Sebastian had to be quite a powerful demon, William thought, otherwise Kevin's protection would have killed him and William assumed, as a former Archangel, Kevin had to be a powerful angel. After all, the way he had smitten that demon back in London was impressive and powerful. William wondered how and why a powerful demon like Sebastian would become the servant of a mortal, or did Sebastian was... forced to play butler to a boy? William now knew his master was human, since Sebastian told him his master, like many humans, wasn't patient. By the title “my young master”, William guessed the master was no adult yet. This only raised more questions in his head. How on Earth and why would a boy have a demon as a servant? And somehow, Sebastian didn't seem to be the kind of demon forced to do anything against his will. Just like Dantalion. But Dantalion wasn't Sebastian. You couldn't compare the two of them. While William once saw how terrible Dantalion could be while in a battle, Dantalion was still a dork at heart, while Sebastian...
Sebastian seemed more frightening, like a blood-eyed monster.
He wondered what kind of demon he was. Then, he remembered Camio telling him stories about demons who were willing to serve humans, in exchange of their soul, just like Mephistopheles did with doctor Faustus in the books. Only, Faustus's story wasn't a legend.
“You... you're a Faustian demon, aren't you?” William asked. “That's why you're serving a human being.”
Sebastian's smirk widened.
“Well now. Aren't you well-informed?”
“As a realist, I have to know the truth.” William replied.
“You wouldn't be the first human to try.” Sebastian answered him. “Though, perhaps, you are one of the few with supernatural contacts.”
“Since demons are invading my world, I have to know more about them and their world.” William counters, rolling his eyes at the sheer idiocy of it all: their conversation, the pretence politeness.
“It's a wise decision.” Sebastian admitted. “However, I advise you to be... careful about what you wish to know, Master Twining.” he said, looking down at William with an oddly intense expression that made William uncomfortable. “What you can discover might be... unpleasant.”
The air around Sebastian suddenly became more predatory. His red iris began to glow into purple, and his pupils were slitted as his demonic nature was manifesting slightly. He leaned closer and William's heart was beating rapidly in fear and anticipation as the devil drew closer.
“After all, you must sacrifice for your desires... It might even cost you your soul... Are you ready for such sacrifices?”
The demon's eyes were glowing with smugness, mockery and triumph... his canine teeth were longer... almost like a vampire... his nails, longer as well, looked like they could easily slit a throat.
A grin stretching, lips whispering and twisting its words while holding William tight. Everything was sinful eyes and smirking lips. A creature of pure abomination.
Gathering enough strength and courage, William backed up, bringing up his hands to shove the demon away. He took many steps away from the black creature, ignoring the amused look Sebastian wore.
He looked around him. They were back at his school again, near the woods. The shadows were gone, and Sebastian looked like a butler again. He glanced at Sebastian, the demon shot him a smug expression.
“It was a pleasure to meet you, Master Twining.” he purred, almost cat-like. “Now, you’ll excuse me, I have to attend to my young master.” he added, taking a few steps away from William.
William’s heart was beating madly into his chest as he watched Sebastian walking away.
“What was the point of this meeting?” he cried out. “You playing with words and seeking to scare me?”
His only answer was a smirk.
“The… point, Master Twining, while our meeting wasn't originally planned tonight, was for us to meet each other. Now that you are aware of our presence, I think it is useful to leave you a message.”
“… What message?” he asked, wary again.
“We are here, Master Twining, and we have noticed you, so be prepared: we will definitely see each other again, in the future.”
William couldn’t find anything to say. For now, he was still angry and frustrated… and relieved to see the devious creature leaving.
“Don’t forget it, Master Twining, I will always be watching. I will always be there, watching, in the shadows.” Sebastian told him, his voice smug in knowledge.
“Always here.” his voice echoing in the night.
Long shadows began to slowly cover the tall silhouette as the devil made his way out, the mocking smirk was glowing in the darkness, his eyes were two menacing red points of light, the striking features of his face was slightly lighted by the moon. And for the second time this night, William was stricken to see how Sebastian almost looked like a raven.
He was raven-like. A mysterious and frightening raven, almost menacing.
And then, as Sebastian was slowly disappearing into the shadows, William's voice came out: “And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting on the pallid bust of Pallas, and his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, and my soul from out his shadow that lies floating on the floor shall be lifted...”
“Nevermore.” the demon purred, delight in his glowing red eyes.
And what William only saw of the demon was red glowing eyes and pointed fangs. The rest of his body dissolved into the darkness of the night, until there was no more to see but the trees near him, and the shiny moon and its flickering stars that were populated throughout the inky-black sky.
In the horizon, the school’s clock stroke midnight. Halloween was over.
– x – end flash-back – x –
Back in the present, scarlet eyes opened up in delight and a smirk was seen on the sinful lips. The demon had seen him, and William was greeted by a mocking bow from Sebastian Michaelis, his eyes sparkling in a mock pleasure.
William couldn't help but shudder at the sight of the red-eyed demon who haunted his nightmares. He had hoped he would never saw him again, though deep inside him, he knew the demon wouldn't forget him. Because it was just William's luck to always attract unwanted attention (and that unwanted attention mostly came from demons). And hadn't Sebastian promised he would “always be there, watching in the shadows”?
The young boy next to him seemed to notice that his butler was no longer paying attention and he gave his servant a frowning glance and a tap with his cane on the shoulder that asked for explanations. The demon went down to whisper something at the boy's ear. The boy raised one eyebrow, then glanced at William, with a curiosity barely perceptible in his blue eye.
William was used to be at the centre of the attention, he even appreciated it. It makes him feel important, like he was worth something. Yet, he was uncomfortable under the attention of the boy and his demonic butler. Quickly, he turned away from their heavy and inquisitive glances, pretending he hadn't see them. He still recalled the butler's red eyes from this night a few months ago... he still recalled them from his nightmares.
Frowning, William was thinking, hard and fast. What were they doing here? Were they watching him from the shadows? Were he and Kevin followed? Or what was just a bizarre coincidence? From judging Sebastian's reaction when he caught sight of him, it was. What were the odds of William finding the demon in this place and time? William didn't believe in things such as “fate” or a God that planned everything on Earth, yet William couldn't help but feel as if his and the demon's presence in THAT place and THAT time was too much to be a weird coincidence and that something will soon happen.
William took a look at the young figure beside Sebastian. The young boy with a dark cloak, dark gloves, a cane and an eye-patch. Did that boy was the demon's master, the one Sebastian told him about? The one who has an interest in him? William wondered why. Did the boy knew about him being Solomon's descendant? Did he knew about Kevin, Dantalion and the other demons? William had so many questions running in his head and it annoyed him not having any answers!
William watched the boy from the corner of his eye. He seemed young, William mused, barely two or three years younger that he was. He was still watching him with his only visible eye, but William couldn't read anything. The boy was good at hiding his emotions. William briefly looked at the black eye patch, wondering what happened to him. His clothing and the way he stood and walked suggested he came from a wealthy family. He was young, yet he acted like an adult, and had an air of confidence and superiority around him, a familiar air because William had seen it on many aristocrat’s faces when he was younger and when they tried to rob his family's assets. An air that caused hostility from William. He briefly wondered if the master was as trustworthy as his demon.
Even though there was a respectful distance between Sebastian and his master, William could tell they were close. Though not close the same way William was with Kevin, or even Dantalion. There was a dark aura that came from the master and his demon. It seemed to him one could not be seen without the other, like they were two entwined entities that attracted the light so they could bury it better. Like a perfect personification of darkness and of darkness, they did have the look.
“You intrigues me. I want to know who you are, I want to know what you want from me, but you are dangerous. I want to protect myself from you and your demon.”
William was so lost in his thoughts he didn't see Kevin's worried look, neither his multiple “Young Master? Are you alright?”. He only came back to Earth when Kevin put his hand on his shoulder, making William jump.
“It's me, your butler Kevin. Remember me?” Kevin asked in a gentle tone, as if he didn't want to scare William. His eyes were soft but he looked worried. “Are you alright, young master?”
As his thoughts were fading, William realized his heart was beating faster than usual, and his fists were clenched.
“Yes, I'm fine.” William replied, feeling numb. He wasn't so sure about it.
And he repeated it again: “I'm fine...”, as if he was lost in another world.
Kevin squeezed his shoulder gently, and William relaxed upon seeing Kevin's familiar, comforting face.
The demon butler was still here, probably still looking at him with sparkling red eyes but William didn't care anymore. Kevin was here and William knew he was safe. He knew he would be fine. For now.
Kevin briefly looked at the place where the demon and his master still were, and frowned, wondering if they were the cause of his master's discomfort. There was something off about the tall and dark man. Kevin shuddered the thought off for the moment, he would investigate that later. His priority for now was his young charge.
“Let's go back to the hotel, young master,” Kevin whispered, “I'll order hot tea to relax you. I believe we had enough adventure for today.”
William couldn't agree more.
As Kevin gently lead him away, with his warm hand on his shoulder, William hoped it would be the last time he saw those taunting and malicious red eyes and the cold eye of his master...
Kevin and William were nearly inside the carriage that would lead them away from Trafalgar Square. Ciel observed them with an unreadable expression until the carriage faded away from his sigh. Then he turned to face his butler and said in a casual tone: “I need my demon, Sebastian.”
Sebastian smiled pleasantly. “And you shall have him, my lord. For now and for every day and night until the end. I am yours to command. Tell me how I may please you, young master.”
Ciel rolled his eyes. His butler always was one for the theatricals when one “Yes, my lord.” would have sufficed, and when his butler knew specifically what his master wanted. Though Sebastian was a supernatural creature, thus knowing things others did not or thought, he was still a demon and he liked making his young master say the required words.
“You will follow them until they reached their destination, so we will know where they are settled. Watch them for a short time, do not do anything else. I only need to know where they live. After that, you will return to me.” Ciel explained. After a pause, he added: “This is an order, Sebastian.”
Sebastian respectfully bowed, a hand placed on the heart (if he had any). “Yes, my lord. I am but your humble servant after all.” Then, in a blink of the eye, he was gone.
Satisfied, Ciel allowed himself to relax a little his posture, and looked up at the sky.
“Tonight, I will pay this William Twining a visit and it will be a night to remember...”