Where Feathers Fall
Sebastian gasped, stumbling over and leaning heavily against a nearby wall, the parcels he had been carrying falling to the cobblestone around his feet as he instinctively let them go, clutching at his stomach which churned and twisted with pain. A feeling of nausea sweeping over him and making his ruby eyes water as he held in the feeling.
It was happening more often with each passing week…a none-too-settle reminder that he needed to hurry and grant his master’s wish for revenge and collect his soul. A task that was proving to be taking too long. He had made the contract with the boy because children often had petty wishes that were easy to grant. But with Ciel Phantomhive, it was not the case. Every time they’d get a lead; it turned out that it was only a small part of Ciel’s revenge. If things kept going the way they were; then he would have to break his own rule of only taking souls he contracted with.
He would have to steal a soul.
The idea made the demon cringe. Panting, he looked around the darkening streets, looking for someone traveling alone…someone who wouldn’t be missed right away. He wouldn’t take their soul; not yet. He wasn’t that desperate, but blood…blood sometimes eased the pain enough for him to continue serving his master normally for a few days…depending on how touched by sin the person was.
Finally spotting his prey; a young woman who seemed not yet in her twenties, he gathered his strength and approached her as if everything was normal. He flashed her a smile, hoping it didn’t look pained, and offered to carry her basket of flowers for her.
She gladly accepted; swayed by the demon’s charm, she hardly noticed as he led her into a deserted back alley. He glanced around…no one was there, no one would interrupt. He stepped in closer, dropping the basket and grabbing her slender neck, gripping it to cut off any cries for help before he twisted her head; breaking her neck.
Another wave of pain hit, and the crow demon fell to his knees, breathing hard as his fangs grew longer and he sank them deep into the young woman’s flesh, paying no mind to the bloody mess he made as he drank down as much of the sweet red liquid as he could.
Paranormal deaths were a truly loathsome part of William Spears' job as Head Supervisor of the Shinigami Dispatch Association. These deaths showed up in the To Die registers as usual, and a reaper was sent to collect the soul on the time of death. But it just so happened that the cause of death was truly odd. In this case it had been a string of murders in London over the past two months, and all the victims had had their blood drained with two fang-like punctures in the victim’s neck. Human reporters had claimed that it was the work of a vampire, but as a reaper, William knew better.
His first instinct was to blame Grell Sutcliff, as it related to blood which Grell was all too fond of.
His next instinct was to blame a demon, even though it was incredibly rare that they drank blood and left the soul for proper collection. However, vampires were pure myth. Any sane shinigami knew that.
And indeed there were traces of a demon's scent and aura around the sight of the body. It worked out, and someone had to go and eliminate the threat. How truly regrettably that it should be William Spears who was assigned by the Higher to the task.
This was how he ended up tailing the demon known as Sebastian Michaelis. He'd sighted him whilst in wait for the next death. He waited, and he did receive. But as he did linger, cold eyes focused on the demon from a fair distance away, he could see there was something ailing the demon. A faint smirk touched at his lips as he wondered if he would have an easy confrontation with the filthy creature. The human had to die, yes, but so did Sebastian.
William watched keenly, chilled slightly from the London night air. He would have to wait for the death.
It happened soon enough- the lion enticed the lamb, and it was promptly slain.
Sebastian suppressed a tremble that threatened to rack through his body, this woman’s blood wouldn’t last him long. He could taste it. She was too pure. There wasn’t much sin to feed off of. But her blood did ease the pain. He withdrew from her, letting her fall to the ground as he licked the remnants of her blood from his lips. He knew a reaper would be around shortly to collect her soul, and he didn’t wish to be present when it happened. The more energy he used, the quicker the effects of the blood wore off…and a fight would render his latest victim’s blood useless. He moved out of the alley quickly, moving to where his dropped items still lay forgotten on the road, and started re-gathering them.
William could see the creature was quickly on the mend. He jumped down, pinning Sebastian to the ground by the very back of his tail coat. "Good evening," he greeted curtly, stepping on his coattails and extracting his scythe, only to adjust his glasses with them.
"So you're the one behind this...Sebastian Michaelis. You always were so....incredibly filthy. I find myself not surprised in the slightest, that it is you drinking the blood of humans," he jeered, his lip curling and his words dripping with distaste. "How utterly, utterly vile you are."
Sebastian’s eye twitched in irritation, one arm dropping down to his side to let a silver butter knife drop to his fingers, ready in case he needed it. “William Spears. I hadn’t expected you to be the reaper on collection duty this evening. But I am glad at least you are not that annoying red thing.” He turned, just enough to see the reaper out the corner of his eye, “I have left the soul for you. Best go collect it before a rogue demon happens across it.”
"Oh, no, no," William replied smoothly. "That's not the way things work around here. You can't be permitted to continue killing, the way you have been. I am afraid you'll have to be eliminated to avoid further trouble for the reaper dispatch. And, forgive me, I've noticed you are...ailing. You are weak, you are vulnerable. You understand that I'll take the opportunities as they come, surely."
“Tch.” Just how long had William been watching him? Just how much of his condition was known by the annoying death god? “Humans die. They have to meet their end at some point. An earlier death does not create more work for you. What do you care as long as you are able to collect their souls?”
"Demon killings are not in the natural order of things. Most generally, demons take the souls, and that is intolerable. The rules state," he said, "and I quote: 'If there is a demon involved in any death when a reaper comes to collect the soul, they are to be promptly eliminated.'" He pressed his foot against his arm. "We do not falter. We do not disobey."
“Maybe you should go retrain Sutcliff in that. But realize, the rules that govern my kind are not the same as yours. So you’ll understand when I fail to assist you in my elimination.” He reached out, taking William’s foot and twisting his ankle before slipping out of his tailcoat. He leapt back; putting distance between them, silver knives at the ready.
William winced in pain, also moving back. He grit his teeth against the agony in his ankle. "It's you and me, Michaelis. I am a shinigami who prides himself on the rules, who craves the moon and the stars orderliness. I will follow my instructions without fail, even if others like Sutcliff fail." He raised his scythe threateningly.
“I’m afraid, You’ll have to fail as well. Wile I may die, I don’t intend it to be tonight.” In a quick, swift movement, and a flash of silver, a set of knives went flying at the reaper.
Those sorts of things were difficult to deflect on even brightly lit days and William was sure he'd receive some impact, but to what damage? He had a tool capable of killing demons. The demon had silverware, and that silverware never impacted. It had missed.
William leapt at the demon. "Poor throw, Michaelis. You're in bad shape."
“Allow me to correct my mistake.” He hissed, bringing back another set of silver. Mid-way through the attack, the pain that the woman’s blood had dulled, came back ten-fold, causing the attack to waver, the knives and forks clattering to the ground closer to his feet than his target’s. “Ahhg!” he doubled over, clutching his pained gut.
William wasted no time, spearing him through the shoulder with his scythe, pinning him into the wall. "Now, now...that looks quite nasty, quite painful. Allow me to put you out of your misery," he said in a silkier voice than usual. He took him by the throat, extracting the scythe and placing the blades against his neck.
“Gnhh—Don’t…do me any favors, Spears!” Sebastian groaned, kicking out. But it was getting hard to think through the pain.
William was about to decapitate him. He did it slowly, to draw the pain out, and watched with morbid fascination as blood leaked down Sebastian's neck and stained his clothes. In the few seconds he'd paused to consider what it would be like to make the man beg for his life, he had been hit by another set of silverware, golden this time, in the knee, side, and neck. He stumbled back with his scythe looking for the unknown attacker.
Sebastian crumpled to the ground like a rag doll, the pain in his gut far greater than the worry he normally would have over the amount of blood loss. He gasped, looking up pathetically from the ground, wondering what had caused William to back off him.
There was no doubt that the knife in William’s knee was Gold. And to the crow, that could only mean one thing.
But why would the spider be here? Helping him? It made no sense.
No, it was impossible. Claude had died…
William made to get up again, but another set of knives were thrown at him. He jumped to his feet, moving backwards, and more and more knives came from the darkness.
"Stop it," he said irritably, "I have to take that soul!" The record was up and flailing about. He had already missed its run through, and soon it would break free, and that spirit would be free to wander the world un-reaped.
William leapt onto the roof, making a run for the records. At least he had to reap it.
The crow demon groaned in pain, watching the reaper disappear from his line of vision. “F-Faustus…What in—ngh—Lucifer’s name are you doing?”
William was pleased to be allowed to reap the soul, but as he collected it, arachnids of all sizes and shapes dropped down from seemingly nowhere onto his shoulders. "Ugh," he remarked, brushing irritably at them.
"Hurry up little reaper, before you're ensnared in my web," came a cold, smooth voice from the shadows.
William got a fair bit of distance away. "...Justice will be dealt upon you, Michaelis," he muttered, and then ported away.
“…Already has…just not yours, reaper…” Sebastian muttered, mostly to himself as he continued to lay bleeding on the cobblestone, curled up and clutching his stomach, nearly to the point of breaking down to pray for the pain to fade.
When William had disappeared, there was the distinct sound of approaching footsteps, yet the shadows only seemed to grow tighter. "Well, well, well....." drawled a voice. "Truly...what an unexpected sight I have stumbled upon. Sebastian...Michaelis..."
The crow demon clenched his teeth, “Sh-ut it, Faustus…it’s…hhh…bad enough without—your snide remarks…” he knew he should thank the other demon, but the fact that the spider was looking down at him wile he writhed in pain, drenched in his own blood was enough of a blow to his pride.
"My friends tell me...that you are in a great deal of pain," murmured Claude Faustus. The same spiders that taunted William now scuttled over Sebastian's form. "Though that much is quite obvious. I am not being snide, of course, it is not every day you see the butler of Phantomhive twitching on the ground at the whim of a reaper...."
“That reaper j-ust happened upon me an-d took advantage of the situation. This is not—gh—his doing…” he groaned, trying to think of how to fix himself up. He could risk another run-in with a reaper by killing a second human that night for their blood…but that only did him any good if he could actually move past the pain enough to find a victim…
Claude finally stepped into the light. He was well-dressed, bearing the appearance of a refined gentleman, and not that of a butler. His golden eyes glinted from behind his glasses at the sight of his once-rival, and he tucked a lock of dark, plum-colored hair behind his ear. "I know. Pardonnez-moi, but...at first you look as if you have...indigestion, perhaps?"
“D-don’t be absurd I’m simply—hungry.” He shook, attempting to uncurl himself to sit up. His gaze not quite meeting the golden one of the other.
A little smirk flickered over the man's gaze. "And that would be why you are drinking the blood of that human." There was slight mocking in his tone. "However, I know what its like to be hungry. And no amount of hunger would ever leave me in such a state. So it’s something else."
The crow looked away, he wasn’t going to admit it. Not to the spider—not to anyone, “…I’m just hungry…it’s been too long.” He repeated slowly, managing to push himself up, leaning heavily on a lamp post.
"Michaelis lies," Claude murmured. "My friends tell me that. ....Yet that is also quite obvious." He smirked a little more. "No, you're sick. I can smell it in your aura. It is quite vile."
“I’m not lying!” Sebastian snapped, turning a pained glare at the spider, “You forget demons don’t get sick!” he groaned and pressed a hand to his stomach, “…I’m no more ill than I was when we first met.”
"Now you're speaking nonsense," the tall man replied coolly. "Of course we can get sick. And you're a shining example of that. No, I think I know what ails you. It is too bad I have no reason to help you any further than I have. Be grateful I've spared your life."
“If you know, then why help me at all?” he growled in response, “Why are you even here? I had—uhn—killed you. Yet you are still alive and looking well. You’re free to g-go…”
"And why," Claude said, kneeling beside him, "would I want to go back to Hell right now?" He smirked. "I'm not hungry. I'm not looking for contractors. I am merely enjoying the idle pleasures of these days." He reached out, his fingers dancing along Sebastian's chest.
Sebastian slapped his hand away, “Must be nice to be able to afford wasting time.” He snapped. As long as he could remember, it had been contract after contract. He couldn’t sit and wait for them; he had to go out and find them.
"It is, actually," Claude replied. "Very nice indeed. You, however, are in a spot of trouble...how do you intend to serve the owner of that tantalizing soul when your performance is so hindered?"
“I am not without recourses, I have called upon the aid of a subordinate demon for when these…attacks happen.” He said before taking in a deep, pained breath, “I just need to speed the young master’s r-revenge up a bit and I’ll be f-ine…”
"For some reason I doubt it will work like that," Claude replied. "...I have a feeling you will soon die from this. The blood will not satisfy. You will become to weak to serve, to move....How pitiful, that a dark prince such as yourself would succumb to such a dishonorable death.
“The blood holds off the pain. I have lived with this condition for far longer than I care to admit. I know how to deal with i—ght…” he trembled, gripping the edge of a nearby crate. “I’d be fine now if S-Spears hadn’t shown up…”
"But its happening worse now, isn't it?" Claude mused. "There have been more deaths lately. Same cause. You need it more, and you'll die soon. I hope you're aware of this because if I were any sort of respectable demon, which I am, I would seek help. Especially if my service was faltering. Then again, you were always...a little second-rate."
“No one can help!” The crow snapped, “I’ve tried. I’ve looked. There is no cure, no help for what I have!” he tried to push up to his feet, only to slip back down to the ground clumsily, “But I can still beat your services without batting an eye.”
"You couldn't even beat a reaper," Claude said, stepping forward. His long, slender fingers curled around Sebastian's neck and he raised him up. "Oh, now....demons are prided on their ability to gather information quickly. And yet...I could help you."
Sebastian gripped at Claude’s hand, gagging slightly, “H-ow many of our kind have died of his illness since the day Lucifer created Hell? If there was a c-ure there would—not be a problem with being—gh—infected by this…How can you P-possibly help?”
"Perhaps not a cure," Claude replied. "But you know I am one of the magic class. I could provide a more effective treatment, with the skills I know. As such that you will not die if you keep taking it."
“…At what price?” he asked in a low, embraced tone. He didn’t know if he could trust him, but he knew Claude was right. His time was running out. His illness was attacking him faster, demanding more of him too quickly. If there was a chance…if Claude could help him…
But nothing came without a price. Especially amongst demons.
"I will deliberate on that," Claude replied smoothly. "Say you want my help, Michaelis, and I will offer it to you. Else...you know you are going to die." He looked up at him, his expression impassive.
Had he not lost so much blood; the crow’s cheeks would have flushed. He knew they would have as he looked down, submitting to the blow on his pride. Asking for help…Claude was nearly telling him to beg for it. And that wasn’t even the full price. Yet; a hurt pride; at this point; was better than the death looming over him.
“…Please help me, Faustus.”
Claude's eyes lit up, and he leaned in, licking the blood off of his neck. "Sweet...but tainted," he murmured. "Interesting. Can you walk, or should I have to carry you myself?"
Still not meeting that mocking golden gaze, Sebastian lowered his voice even more, “…You already know the answer to that by simply watching me these past few minuets. Don’t make me say it.”
A smirk flashed over the man's face. Oh, how lovely it was to see the cocky demon so far fallen. "...Very well." He would ease his mockery...for now. Slowly he lowered him and held him in his arms, as dignified a position as he could manage, and leapt onto the roof, making a beeline for Trancy manor.
Reluctantly, Sebastian held onto him, biting back as many sounds of pain as he could manage. “…Made this place your own?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow as he realized where he was being taken.
"That I did," Claude replied calmly. "The triplets have remained, though Hannah gone. It has been leisurely. I want for nothing, as I am quite satisfied for a good few years." Claude entered the mansion.
Sebastian felt a twinge of jealousy. To think that demons could enjoy such things. Well, most demons of higher rank and power. He knew he never could. Aeterna Fames was an incredibly rare illness found within the demonic realm, one that eventually killed the demon. There was a time when only low level demons were thought to be acceptable to the sickness, but every so often, a demon of a higher stature would turn up with it. Fames, as it was often referred to as, was not contagious among demons, and the medical demons who had studied it had come up with a theory that it is part of a birth defect, as they could find no traces on how a demon could contract it. They concluded that a demon who was born with Fames would not know it until the illness is set loose in his or her body. For Sebastian; this had occurred when he was still quite young; only having contracted and consumed a single soul. But they knew one thing for sure; Fames was a mutated illness that came from the Reaper’s Thorns of Death.
Fames was a particularly nasty way for a demon to die; and quite the ironic fate. The illness would eat away at the demon’s very life-force, their soul, until they were nothing but an empty shell; their bodies turning to ash.
But if the demon could feed the illness, give it half of each soul they consumed, they could save their soul and keep their fate at bay. A task that only grew harder over time.
The ex-butler of Trancy carried the demon inside, to a luxurious and well-furnished bathroom. He set the demon down on a closed toilet seat and wordlessly began to undress him, not an inch of expression on his handsome face. Claude knew Aeterna Fames well. He'd studied it as he became rich in the knowledge of all arcane magic, black and white. This was expected of his (quite well respected) class, and he specialized in his ability as a medical demon whilst he lived in Hell.
He had, however, always felt a little jealous of Sebastian Michaelis. Malphas, as he was known in Hell, one of the Princes of Darkness. That a man like Sebastian should be a prince, while Claude was of a lower class, seemed intolerable to him, but such was life. Those castes were unbreakable in Hell, but on the surface....how roles had changed.
Sebastian attempted to sit up as strait as he could, saying nothing as he was disrobed by the other demon. Due to his stature in Hell’s Ranks, he was used to such treatment, though he rarely was able to spend time down there, usually having to do his contract duties. His body shivered as his soiled shirt was removed, exposing him to the cool air, which did seem to settle his stomach slightly, though it did nothing for the pain. His gaze slid over to watch Claude’s hands work, “…Thank you…” he said suddenly, surprising himself.
His sudden thanks surprised Claude a little too. He blinked, slowly looking up at the demon. "That is probably not necessary," he replied, removing Sebastian's shoes and helping him up. With a calm, professional attitude he removed Sebastian's clothes for him with the exception of his undergarments, then he turned to start running the bath.
"While I'm sure you're not about to get shy on me, I'll give you the option of keeping this last piece of dignity."
Sebastian nodded, leaning on the edge of the tub for support, “I appreciate the thought…” he said, maneuvering the last of his clothes down off his body, letting them drop to the floor around his feet and leaving himself completely exposed.
"However, forgive me when I remark upon the fact that you must truly have fallen so low, to reveal yourself to me in such a manner, when you look so vulnerable." Claude's eyes shamelessly slid over the man's body, but they never lingered too long in one place.
“Hardly. I have nothing to be shy about, and it is not as if I am showing you my true form. In my c—ghnn…” he paused, wincing in pain, “In the light of my problem, I am in no more a vulnerable position unclothed as I was earlier.
"That is true, but you lose a certain air of dignity, certainly. Especially when you tense up like that." The corner of his lip twitched upwards. "Can you manage to get into the bath by yourself?" he drawled, "Or can you not manage that yet either?" His glasses were fogging up in the steam, so he removed them calmly.
“I can do such myself.” He said, waiting for the tub to fill a little more before slowly maneuvering his legs over the side and sliding into the tub, grunting from effort to keep the action graceful. “And what’s left of my dignity is untouched by the simple action of removing my undergarments your presence.”
"Why, you can hardly be a gentleman in the nude," Claude murmured. "But enough of this tedious chatter. Clean your wounds, Michaelis, if you're capable, and I will consult my books in the meantime. If you require me, simply ring the bell." While he was not so happy about being summoned like a dog, he clearly had the advantage here and was willing to let slide this little nuance.
“…Miss being a butler?” Sebastian jabbed out of spite at Claude’s words. He reached over and grabbed the washcloth and dipped it into the water before carefully dabbing at the cut on his neck, wincing in pain a few times.
Claude gave him a wry smirk. "Merely being hospitable," he replied lightly. "And you were being so mindful of your manners before now, boy," he teased, standing and straightening his suit. He curtly left the room after that, giving the demon his privacy.
The crow rolled his eyes and continued to clean himself and his wounds, taking the time to get them to stop bleeding. A cut from a reaper’s scythe didn’t heal quickly, and he knew he’d have to bandage it to keep it from breaking open again. Once he was finished with his bath, He attempted to remove himself from the water, placing his hands on either side of the slick porcelain tub and pushing with shaky arms. Much to his dismay, he was only able to lift himself a few inches before his arms gave out and he splashed back down into the soapy water. Cursing at his weakness caused by the pain racking through his body, he glared at the bell before finally reaching out and ringing it.
Claude was there in seconds, but entered slowly, calm and ever composed. "So we did have a little trouble extracting ourselves, hm?" He took a towel from the rack and raised the demon from the bath by his underarms. "Try and remain standing," he murmured as he took the towel and rubbed him down, like he had done so many times with Alois, and Sebastian had done so many times with Ciel. Then he toweled the man's hair.
"Your clothes are quite noticeably ruined, but once they're washed I will repair them. Until then, I shall lend you something else."
Sebastian stayed silent, managing to stay standing, though his posture was lacking due to the pain. “…Just how do you plan to help me?” he asked after he had been toweled dry.
"Two things," the demon said, supporting him and forcing him to slowly walk. "Firstly, I shall ease your cramps with medicinal herbs. And the disease itself, I will treat with a potion." He guided Sebastian to a guest room, where spare clothes—a dress shirt with a vest and trousers (hurriedly tailored to Sebastian's size and shape) plus all the necessary accessories. "Try and dress yourself. I was in the process of creating the potion, and it cannot be left for long." He excused himself, leaving the crow to his privacy.
The pained demon nodded and managed to move to the bed, sitting down on the edge of it as he grabbed the clothes, pulling them on with some difficulty after carefully wrapping his neck in gauze that he found waiting for him on the bedside table.
Claude was gone for some time, but eventually he returned with a thick wooden bowl engraved with powerful symbols on a silver tray. Beside it was certain herbs and a cup of tea to wash the whole thing down with. He set the tray down.
The crow eyed the tray’s contents, his fingers shaking slightly as he straitened the ascot that had been laid out for him to use wile he borrowed clothes. It was a strange feeling, being at a loss for words—or actions. He had never found himself in such a situation before, having to go to another demon for help; a demon who seemed to know more about his illness than he did. It was all he could do to look up from the tray and gaze questionably at the spider.
Claude sat on the edge of the bed, gesturing to the tray. "I've brought chamomile tea," he said. "Drink it after consuming some of the spearmint. Both will soothe the cramps, as well as the nausea you're hiding quite well. Don't drink all the tea yet though, you'll want it after you consume the concoction I have brewed for you." He gestured for him to get started.
"However, the potion does not keep long. For continued treatment, I will have to make it each time you need it."
“How often would I need it?” he asked, taking the herbs and slipping some into his mouth, chewing it briefly before chasing it down with some of the soothing tea, leaving a little more than half the cup. He set the cup down on its saucer and picked up the potion, the smell of it churning his stomach, “…Do I need to take the whole thing?” he asked, simply to confirm what he felt was obvious.
"Yes, Michaelis, the whole thing. And, well, I'd assume you would come whenever you felt the effects of the disease returning to you. I'll be able to whip it up quickly soon enough, and you could be back within an hour or two. There is an after effect," he said calmly. "Your body will go numb for a short while. Nothing drastic, but you may wish to remain in your seat until you can walk straight."
He nodded and brought the bowl to his lips, tilting it back to take the strange concoction in one go. Cringing at the taste, he swallowed the thick liquid and set the bowl back down, shuttering as he reached for the tea. Grateful that the spider had told him that he would want some of the soothing hot drink afterwards. Anything to wash down the taste and smell of it. He finished off his tea and set the cup down, already feeling the effects of the potion. His body going completely numb, and his mind going slightly fuzzy, making him feel dizzy. He blinked at the strange, but forewarned feeling before looking at Claude.
Claude removed his glasses and cleaned them with a small cloth. "I'm sure it doesn't feel nice," he murmured, in an almost sympathetic voice. "Nevertheless, a little bit of discomfort must surely be preferable to what you could have been in before." He glanced up, catching the demon's eyes on him. Sebastian looked a little out of it.
“It’s….strange…but not unpleasant compared to before…” He muttered in a soft voice, he blinked slowly a few times and took a deep breath, “I wonder if this is what it feels like to be ‘drunk’…” he thought out loud.
The demon smirked. "I would not think so," he replied, sitting back into a chair beside the bed and folding a long leg gracefully over the other. "In any case, I suppose you'll be sitting around here until the effects wear off.
“I suppose so…I’ll not have Bocchan see me like this…” Sebastian muttered, leaning back and supporting himself with an arm, running his fingers through his hair to push a lock out of his face.
Claude watched him, head faintly tilted. Even for a demon, Sebastian was flawless at making every little movement seem just a little seductive. There was no denying he was an attractive man, and his body was a true testament to his perfection.
Claude said nothing of it though. "...Is there any other way I may be hospitable to you right now? Perhaps you'd like a book or something to pass the time."
“Honestly; I don’t think I could concentrate on a book long enough to do any good…” the crow muttered, “My mind is a little fuzzy…or a lot. I’m honestly surprised I can form proper sentences like this.” He frowned, “Seems to make me talk a bit more than I normally would, as well…”
"Well, we don't want you letting anything slip that you might regret," the man replied calmly. He had his own cup of tea, and sipped it lightly. "Perhaps rest is the best option, but surely you do not have the time for that...unless your subordinate is truly as helpful as you say."
“I have no worries about him or his abilities. And he is loyal. But still, I wish to return to the manor as soon as I am capable. Bocchan is quite demanding, after all.” He shifted into a slightly more comfortable position, eyeing the taller demon, “…I hope I am not keeping you from anything, though I wouldn’t know what that would be.”
Claude smiled. "Embroidery, as it happens. I've been working on a lovely piece..." He glanced up as a spider descended from the ceiling. He raised his hand and intercepted the little arachnid. "Though one shouldn't brag, I am rather fond of it~"
The crow nodded, watching the other as he reached up so the small spider dangling on an unseen thread of silk could perch upon his finger, “Don’t feel you must put off such hobbies on my account. I would be perfectly fine on my own.” He said, pushing his strange thoughts about his former rival aside. Just why was he thinking about how Claude had a gentle side? The way he seemed to have such a soft spot for his arachnid companions. He himself had a flock of crows, but he hardly looked at them so gently, as Claude now looked at the small creature on his finger.
Claude's gaze was captured by the spider, and he smiled fondly at it as it wandered about his hand. "Oh, I am sure you'd much rather keep your own company...especially considering our...history." His golden eyes flicked up at him, "A rivalry...a war....." He dropped his voice to a whisper, "...a kiss. Just one. ....and a death."
“…I still don’t know how you managed to survive that…” The crow muttered, looking towards a window, his cheeks going a pale shade of pink at the reminder of the lustful kiss that they had shared during one of their fights…he still didn’t understand how it had happened, and yet, he didn’t regret it.
Claude smiled. Sebastian clearly remembered it well. "Ah, I got lucky. Call it a miracle, if you will. There's no denying that my life has been problem free without you in it." He stood up, taking his cup with him, taking the tray but leaving Sebastian with his own tea. "Of course...we demons live such long lives....the moments that provide us with a little excitement should be deemed especially valuable." Still holding the spider, he turned to the door.
“…Excitement is equally of value when your life is proving to be shorter than it should…” The crow added in a low voice, half hoping that the spider hadn’t heard him. though, with a demon’s hearing, there was no doubt in his mind that he had heard.
Claude paused halfway out the door, a little smirk appearing. "....You are a prince, Malphas...Do not demean yourself by consuming the blood of the living. I will take care of it...from here on out." With that, he took himself away and left the Phantomhive butler alone. All in all...what an interesting event this had turned out to be. Sebastian Michaelis was in his debt, and would only continue to fall further while his illness continued.
Claude wondered just what he would take that was so valuable to Sebastian.
Watching Claude leave, Sebastian sighed and let himself fall back onto the bed; allowing himself the luxury of relaxation for the first time in—he honestly couldn’t remember how long. Before he contracted with Ciel, that was for sure. He turned his head, dark black hair falling across his cheek as he gazed at the door Claude had disappeared through. He owed the spider so much by accepting his help…a debt that could only grow from here on out…a debt, he honestly didn’t know if there was even a way to pay him back. Inwardly, he laughed at himself, looking up at the ceiling and covering his face with his hands, He truly had fallen quite far…to have to look to someone lower than him for help…to go to Claude Faustus.
Claude gave it a good two hours before he returned to the man. Sebastian was quite clearly taking the reprieve from his duties.
The demon knocked politely and entered his room. "Feeling better?" he asked of the man.
The crow nodded, sitting up, “Much. I was just considering taking my leave as the numbness is finally wearing off. I feel much closer to normal.” He said in silent thanks.
Claude gestured to the door. "Then by all means, take your leave." Of course, demons never gave something for nothing and they both knew it. Sooner or later, the debt would have to be repaid. "And remember what I told you. You must come here. I assure you, you'll never manage that spell on your own."
He nodded, pushing himself to his feet and approaching the other, “You needn’t remind me. Besides…I haven’t the time to study such magic to make it for myself…I know such skills takes hundreds—if not more—of years to master.” He raised his gaze to connect with Claude’s citrine eyes, “You’ll be seeing me again soon.”
"And why would you? You are not of any of the magic classes, and certainly not the medical ones. But very well," he replied, meeting the blood-red of Sebastian's own. He exited the room, escorting him personally to the door. "I'll have your clothes sent to you, lest you come to collect them yourself."
“Perhaps not. But if it were possible, and didn’t take so long, learning such skills would be beneficial to myself, as I would not need to look to you for such things. As for my clothes, I shall come for them if you have not returned them before my next…attack.” He said as he was escorted to the door. Pausing, he glanced at the spider, “I do hope you will keep this information to yourself?”
"Unless others knowing that information could benefit me in some greater way than this will eventually do, you have my solemn word that I will not tell anyone." Gently leading him through the front door, his hand touched on the middle of the man's back. "Until next time, Michaelis."
Ruby eyes snapped over at Claude when he felt the touch, a strange shiver rippling through him, but he didn’t comment on it, simply nodding, “Enjoy the rest of your evening.” He said politely before walking down the stone steps and along the path that would lead him off the old Trancy estate, and towards London. His attack had wasted so much time. And now he needed to re-gather what he had gone into London for in the first place. He just hoped Ciel wouldn’t be upset over his extended absence that evening.
Claude watched the man walk along the path and disappear. "Well, well," he murmured to a larger spider perched atop his shoulder. "...Look who has wandered into my web once more." He stared down at the dot that was Sebastian in the distance from the large glass wall in the music and dance room.
"What will I do with him?" Then he looked down. "....what do I want with him?"