Book of Change
He hated him. That much he knew for certain. Sebastian watched the little Earl sleeping, curled up in the oversized bed and entertained himself with fantasies of his disembowelment. He imagined the ear-splitting screams he’d make, floating across the room like soft notes from a violin and shivered - long black talons itching to tear open the boy’s abdominal wall.
Scarlet eyes glittered greedily in the darkness.
Hunger felt like maggots. Like tiny larva rolling around your insides, gnawing at your stomach and wriggling up your throat. Hunger crowded Sebastian. It burrowed into his brain until all he could think about was how desperately he wanted to unravel the thick velvety intestines from Ciel’s body. Wrap him in ribbons of the organ's pink glossy tissue and peel the meat from his dainty little bones.
Sebastian's skin began to tingle. It blackened and melted the clothes from his flesh. Left weeping red sores behind on his arms.
The room rose to a choking temperature. Killing intent threatened to spill forth his true form as tendrils of shadow crawled along the edge of the bed.
“You’re not doing a very good job at hiding yourself tonight Sebastian,” The little Earl spoke. His eyes swept open to reveal blood-red orbs.
Sebastian put a hand to his chest.
“My apologies, young Master,” He murmured, bowing low in an effort to hide the predatory smile that stretched across his face. “I didn't mean to awaken you at such an unsociable hour.”
“Yet here you are,” Ciel chastised, staring up at the drapes of his four-poster bed. “Poor dog: you must be starving.”
Sebastian’s eye twitched at the insult. Perhaps disembowelment was too gentle. Yes, it would be much more preferable to hang, draw and quarter the young brat.
“Tell me, Sebastian, do I smell appetising to you?”
The demon's nostrils flared as he heard the teasing lilt in his master’s voice. Of course Ciel knew he was appetising: Sebastian salivated around him. He was tortured by the smell of a perfectly prepared meal that he couldn’t consume. Being around the young Earl drove the demon butler insane. Already half-mad with hunger, the prospect of never enjoying a good meal again left Sebastian murderous, bustling with discontent.
“Yes, my Lord. I cannot deny that your soul still smells as appetising as it did when you were human,” He answered honestly, watching through messy, black bangs as his master sat up and slid over to the edge of the bed.
The white night-shirt he wore gathered around his legs creating an indecent image of temptation. He looked almost ethereal under the glow of moonlight, but Sebastian knew better than to think this boy an angel. He was every drop the same sinful abomination that his butler was now, and the thought made his stomach growl.
Ciel grinned, no doubt hearing the sound, and in a taunting display, pulled back his sleeve to reveal a thin porcelain wrist beneath the white cotton cuff.
“And how about now?” He asked, bringing his lips up to graze across the delicate skin that covered his veins.
Sebastian caught a glimpse of razor-sharp teeth before they sank gently into the warm softness with a slow resounding crunch. He swallowed, listening to the quiet splatter of blood drip onto the hardwood floor.
“My, my,” Sebastian breathed, feeling dizzy. “What a mess you’re making.”
He took out his handkerchief and ripped it in half.
“Please, my Lord, allow me to assist.”
Kneeling at Ciel’s feet, he wrapped the small wrist in a makeshift bandage and concentrated resolutely on the task at hand.
This he could manage. Having something to do actually helped with the unrelenting hunger that twisted at his insides, but the smell of Ciel's blood overpowered his senses and blurred his vision as he carried out his task.
The fledgeling's mangled new life force hummed loudly in his eardrums.
Holding his wrist like this, feeling the charade of human blood rush through his veins did nothing to dampen the demon's appetite.
He was a confusing mix to the senses.
Sebastian hadn't been around many newly turned demons before. His kind wasn’t exactly known for making kinsmen out of their food, so he had no idea when Ciel would stop smelling so deliciously human. He hoped it was soon though.
Sebastian felt the young Earl scrutinise his face as he tied the cloth into a small knot.
“I asked you a question,” Ciel pressed teasingly.
Sebastian peered up into the now familiar blue eyes of his young master and found the barest hint of amusement there, dancing behind midnight orbs.
Spiteful little brat. Sebastian grit his teeth.
He had no right to tease him this way.
The demon butler grabbed his maser's wrist and lifted the blood-soaked bandage to his nose, gently pressing against the fabric. He studied Ciel’s emotionless expression through long, dark lashes and inhaled the sweet and flavourful aroma of Ciel’s blood.
“You smell-” He growled huskily.
Roughly, he yanked the arm forward and allowed just a fraction of his composure to slip. Enough to ensure the Phantomhive Earl never taunted him this way again.
If he could just have one taste. One little bite. Maybe it would be enough to curb his cravings.
His incisors grazed across his master’s veins and giddy rush of excitement washed over him.
All he needed to do was add a little more pressure and-
-A sharp slap echoed through the room. The right side of his cheek stung, and a rush of blood sent heat creeping across his face. Ciel might’ve had demonic strength now - enough to even hurt him in his malnourished state - but the pain wasn’t enough to wipe the wicked smirk off his lips.
“Clean up that blood,” The young Lord ordered.
Sebastian wiped up the mess from the Earl’s bedside with the remaining handkerchief, and stood silently by the door, waiting for his dismissal.
The old Ciel would've had him removed from his sight in a heartbeat.
He missed inciting that fraction of fear. It wasn’t much but it had always been there, buried in the pit of his stomach somewhere beneath pride and arrogance. A bitter sense of doom that permeated the air like fresh rain whenever the demon came unexpectedly close.
This new Ciel wasn't afraid though, and instead of ordering Sebastian's dismissal he stood up, reaching for his collar and wound his fingers around it with snake-like hands.
“You should know better than to disturb my rest with such evident murderous intent,” He warned in a quiet, clipped voice. Small fingers curled around Sebastian's throat and crushed the demon’s windpipe.
“Such impudence is a punishable offence.”
Black nails dug into Sebastian’s skin and drew blood.
“I will no longer tolerate you entering my chambers without my permission. Do I make myself clear?”
Sebastian clamped his fingers around the offending hand and smiled tightly.
“Of course, my Lord. My apologies,” He murmured, carefully prying Ciel’s fingers away from his throat.
“Is there anything else you need? Or should I leave you to your rest? He kept his features perfectly stoic, refusing even to fake an apologetic smile for the miserable damn brat.
Ciel eyed him peculiarly.
“Actually, there is.”
He traced a finger around the lapels of Sebastian’s coat with a coy smile.
“There’s a house in Cleveland Street I wish to investigate. My sources tell me that young boys and suspicious men can be seen coming in and out of the front door there.”
Sebastian listened carefully, determined not to let Ciel’s wandering hands distract him.
“I’d like to infiltrate the establishment and find out exactly who’s been attending,” He added with a predatory glint in his eyes.
So once again, his master was feeling the pangs of own hunger and wished to resume work as the Queen’s watchdog by feasting on the lecherous souls of London’s foul underbelly.
“What would you like me to do?”
He was keenly aware of the way Ciel’s shoulder brushed against his chest when the little demon moved away from him.
“Telegraph boys are frequently seen at the residence. I’ll need your help going undercover as one in order to establish myself there as a commodity.”
Sebastian frowned at the back of Ciel’s head, confused.
“Once that’s done, I'll need you to come along and purchase me.”
“Purchase you for what, my Lord?”
Sebastian licked his dry lips. Infiltrating a brothel of sorts.
Perhaps the transitioning demon was struggling with a different kind of hunger altogether.
As if picking up on his train of thought, Ciel turned and glared at him. “As a ruse of course.”
“Of course,” He repeated.
“I must appear for hire in order to infiltrate their ranks.”
Ciel tugged at Sebastian’s coat. “Although,” He murmured. “I suppose a few lessons in the art of seduction might be beneficial.”
The demon butler held back a snicker. A different kind of hunger indeed.
“Perhaps another night, my Lord.”
Whether he genuinely needed help or just wanted to blow off steam, the boy would have to wait.
“I wouldn’t want to disturb your sleep any more than I already have.”
Ciel waved him off. “Yes, you’re quite right,” The fledgeling agreed, retiring back to his bed.
“Goodnight, young Master,” He uttered, turning to leave but before he could close the door behind him, Ciel called out,
“Sebastian, wait! I need you to polish all the silverware in the house before breakfast. And when it’s done? Polish it again. Your recent efforts to complete your duties have been.” He paused. “Below par.”
Ciel never did like to take no for an answer. He should’ve expected this kind of response.
Sebastian clenched his jaw in a tight-lipped smile. “Yes, my Lord. I’ll see to the task right away.”
After leaving the Earl’s chambers, Sebastian used his teeth to take off his blood-stained gloves. The smell of copper made his stomach ache with a most primal kind of hunger. Lucifer, he was starving, and he’d spend the rest of his unnatural life starving. All because he’d been outmanoeuvred by a child.
The demon butler fought the urge to demean himself by sucking the blood from his gloves. Yes. Sebastian hated him alright. But a small part of him - just a fragment of his being really, held a morsel of respect for the brat who'd bested him. He’d certainly been a most interesting contract, but without the reward of a soul to consume any more, Sebastian wondered how soon it'd be before things got really ugly between the two of them.
As per his master’s request, Sebastian spent the next few days sorting Ciel’s job application and forging the necessary documentation for his undercover identity. He managed to successfully apply for Ciel a job at the London telegraph office and was currently escorting the young Earl up the stairs to the London postal school for his entrance exams.
“Do you need my help to ensure all goes well with the assessment papers, my Lord?”
Ciel looked mildly offended.
“It’s Thomas, Father. And no, if I can’t get in on my own merit, then you have my permission to sever this useless head from its body.”
Sebastian brightened at the notion.
“Dear boy you could be making your old man very happy today,” He said, ruffling the hair on the boy’s head. Ciel rolled his eyes.
“Don’t look so pleased. There’s no way I’m not getting in.”
Confident little git.
“Remember it’s English, arithmetic, spelling and history in the morning. Then you have an hour thirty-five minutes for lunch. And after that, it’s handwriting, geography, arithmetic paper two and English paper two. You’re allowed a five-minute break between each exam.”
Ciel scoffed. “Two hours lost on breaks? What a waste of a day!”
Sebastian smirked. “As opposed to your usual days spent reading Sherlock Holmes stories again, my Lord?”
They reached the front desk. “Name please,” The female receptionist asked.
Sebastian put a hand on Ciel’s head.
“Papers?” He handed over his forged documents along with Ciel’s new birth certificate.
“You look a little young for fourteen,” She said suspiciously, reading the papers.
“He hasn’t quite hit his growth spurt yet.”
“And who are you?”
The receptionist returned the documents.
“Family members are not permitted in the building during exams. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait outside. Lunch is to be taken in the dining hall. Exam rooms are down the corridor third door on the left.”
“Thank you.” Sebastian nodded and guided Ciel down the hall. “I suppose this is where I must take my leave.”
“Remember your task.”
“I’ll see to it as soon as I leave. Now, give your old man a hug.” The demon grinned, shocking his young master by pulling him into a bone-crushing squeeze.
He let go when he heard the satisfying crack of a rib.
“Bastard.” Ciel hissed, without flinching.
It wasn’t like he could actually hurt the newly turned demon. Ciel would be healed long before lunch, no doubt, but it helped Sebastian release some pent-up frustration.
“Speaking to your father with such a tongue? You’re going the right way for a spanked bottom young lad,” He teased.
Ciel threw him a dirty look.
“Talk to me in that way again and someone will definitely be getting a spanking tonight.” Ciel leaned forward, whispering in his ear. “And I’ll give you a hint. It’s not going to be me.”
Sebastian chuckled, waving him off. “Good luck my boy! Don’t fail and lose your head,” He taunted, hoping with all his shrivelled-up heart that the lad had somehow forgotten how to write recently. Ciel rolled his eyes and Sebastian set off to his own destination.
Whistling happily while he walked, he daydreamed about the decapitated head of Ciel Phantomhive.