Characters: Sebastian, Ciel, Undertaker
A/N: An extension of the drabble "Sequel" that I wrote in "Epilogues and Beginnings," included below.
ETA: A typo corrected and a wordshift or two, after beta suggestions by fabularasa.
From "Epilogues and Beginnings," Sequel
The gift boxes are not identical.
Undertaker opens his and finds the following things: a lock of midnight hair, a stoppered vial of still-liquid blood, and a vellum square bearing the true name of an ancient demon and the phrase, Get me out of this.
Undertaker cackles. The ritual will take ten mortal years to prepare, and Sebastian must know that. But it will be good to be owed a favor by such a senior denizen of Hell. Undertaker picks up the box, and goes to begin.
They both feel it. In bone and in blood, in flesh and in sinew. It pierces. Ciel screams and clutches at his eye, the moment unexpected and unprepared for.
Sebastian has been waiting for this, is all too ready. But he screams aloud when the pain sears through him all the same.
Ciel falls to his knees. His body whips through a dozen transformations in half a heartbeat, all the forms with which he has become familiar--winged demon, human guise, wasp, leviathan. None of them buy him relief. He continues to scream.
Sebastian does not seek to escape. He has waited many mortal years for this, and his own demon heartbeat has been the clock that has counted each moment. From the instant the ritual was begun on his behalf, he was aware and waiting.
Their screams stop at the same moment. Sebastian staggers back; Ciel cannot move from where he kneels. He blanches, not with any human drain of blood from skin, but as every spectrum in his demon form shifts, light scattering as it strikes him, then turning him black as the particles of his body shift again. He is all things and nothing at once.
Sebastian crouches, not, assuredly, out of weakness, but to watch. To await the moment when he will act. Before his eyes Ciel is remade, in a metamorphosis that no mortal eyes would be able to perceive. But a demon can see every exquisite atom of it.
Ultraviolet and pitch, infrared and shadow. Sebastian watches Ciel die and be reborn layer by layer. The blond of bone, the ochre of a vascular system, the pink and yellow jellies of muscle and fat. At last the nacre of skin overlies all, with the midnight hair and the mismatched blue and dusky purple of the eyes punctuating the milky human perfection of Ciel's form.
Not his form, no, that is not quite the truth. Ciel as a demon has fit himself to so many forms. What Sebastian sees, the human flesh Ciel now inhabits, is Ciel's self.
The primordial dust of the universe shivers, nearly creaks in protest. To undo that which by existing demon contract must not, cannot be undone would have torn all of creation to nothingness. That is why Ciel still bears the contract mark upon his eye. Why it has not faded from Sebastian's hand. The transformation has not nullified that contract.
But other magics, other machinations, those of the souls which have long since fled this plane, so distantly eradicated they cannot even be sifted from the dust of this world...such magics might, under the right conditions, the proper sacrifices, the necessary interventions, be circumvented.
"I may not choose to collect for quite some time, Sebastian," cackles Undertaker as he witnesses the end of his hard-won ritual from his spypoint in the Library, knowing better than to intrude on the scene but eager for a first-hand view of the results.
Ciel's face shows shock, shows astonishment--what it does not show is anger. He feels none. Demon Ciel might have been piqued to know that he had been conspired against, that he was to be undone by the quiet confederacy of demon and death god. Human Ciel has no time for offense, as he is overwhelmed by the realization, the turnabout of the fate for which his demon self never wasted a sliver of regret: he can, at last, fulfill his bargain.
He has time to look up.
Not only that, he has time for his mouth to begin shaping the words. He gets no further than the single severed syllable, "Eyef--" before being silenced by the lack of breath, the lack of a throat, a pulse, or, indeed, much remnant of a body at all, as Sebastian, valuing efficiency far more than delicacy at this moment, tears into Ciel, seeking the glittering thing at every human's core.
As the prize comes free, as the glory of it crunches between Sebastian's teeth and slips like sugar and cream and heat and rapture down his throat, Sebastian knows only the ecstasy of a promise at last fulfilled, of a starvation finally sated, of the taste of unsoiled beauty on his tongue, filling his belly, suffusing his veins. It is too splendid a moment to sully with any other thought.
But as the ecstasy ebbs to a warm joyous satisfaction, equally sweet but calmer, Sebastian reflects that he knows exactly what his late master was trying to say, what it was he knew. That Sebastian would not wait, could not wait to apologize, to explain, to make time for any words of parting, whether gloating or tender. Not when he had twice before been denied his meal in the last mocking moments. Ciel knew the time for a gentle transition was long past. I forgive you, he was beginning to say, would have said had Sebastian given him even that much time.
And, replete with Ciel's soul, Sebastian knows that Ciel might even have forgiven him the gluttony of the act. Devouring Ciel's soul was no longer just the fulfillment of a contract, no longer just a feeding, but the end to Sebastian's bondage. To bolt such a delicacy, one so long nurtured and anticipated, without taking the time to savor it properly...well, a younger Sebastian would have called the demon who did such a thing uncouth.
He decides he can survive a little name-calling.
Licking the blood from his hands, Sebastian contemplates the mess of his master's remains. He concludes that, yes, in the wake of such a hasty meal, he is entitled to a little digestif.