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Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 42 (part one)/?
Authors: Akiru chan & Disgruntled Minion
Pairing/Characters:  Sebastian/Ciel
Rating: M
Summary: Ciel's skin was marred with ink and blood, telling tales twisted in darkness. What an evil path the devil walks, tainted hands staining the innocent canvas. For the most beautiful art is painted in blood.
Warnings: Violence, adult content, yaoi, and language

Chapter Forty-Two

The room smelled musky, and the smell of mold, made damp from the rain before, lingered in the air. It made for an unpleasant odor, one that had Sebastian’s nose tingling as he moved further into the room. He almost expected to find mold clinging to the walls or water dripping from the ceiling, but the room was surprisingly clean, with the exception of one small water trough from where the smell was coming from. Sebastian shook his head as he passed the breeding container and continued through the room.

The smell faded as Sebastian moved into the hallway that led to the back rooms of the building, and he paused to glance inside one of them. An old lady grinned at him, and Sebastian offered a small smirk in reply.

“How are you doing, my Queen?” He asked, his tone light despite the circumstances for being here. He stepped further into the room and reached for her hand, but paused halfway. “Is it safe?”

She laughed lightly. “My hands are clean, Sebastian.” A light kiss was pressed to her knuckles, and she smiled at him again. “You always know how to make me feel like a young girl again.”

Sebastian gave her hand a squeeze. “You will always be a young girl in my eyes, Victoria. A queen among all others.”

“You flatter me,” Victoria said with a giggle. “Always the gentleman. They raised you right in that way. Now, tell me what I can do for you. I have several new poisons for you, but you don’t come by to visit me anymore. It breaks my old heart. I’ve resorted to growing mold samples for long term assignments, as you probably saw out front.”

“I wish I was here on brighter terms,” Sebastian answered as he took a seat, letting the cool air brush over his skin. He glanced around, noting the vials that rested on the shelves around them. All were filled with deadly poisons that could stop a heart within seconds. Victoria was the only person he trusted to make such dangerous weapons for his arsenal, and the only one he went to when he needed poisons for an assignment.

Her vast knowledge of plants and medicines and how to use them in creating poisons had earned her the nickname ‘The Queen of Poisons’ in the ranks of the family, first dubbed by Sebastian when he had been a child. The name had stuck over the years as her skill had increased and even though Victoria had long since retired, she still dabbled in the darker arts of apothecary.

“I’ve heard,” Victoria answered softly. “I still have my sources even though I’m not living with the family anymore. They told me of your lover months back when he first joined, and now they tell me that he’s been captured.”

Sebastian nodded. “I’m leaving tonight to negotiate the terms of his release, but I needed to stop by here first to pick up the item they need before I can leave.”

“And to say goodbye?” Victoria questioned. “I’m not daft, child. Old, yes, but my brain is still sharp as ever.”

Wincing slightly, Sebastian avoided her eyes. “I’m not sure what the outcome will be. But my only concern is getting Ciel out of there alive. No matter what the cost to myself is.”

Victoria clicked her tongue. “So rash. You young people today are always in a hurry.” She stood up and moved to a shelf in the corner of the room. “In a hurry to leave the house, to marry and have kids, to die. Never once do you stop to smell the flowers anymore.”

“What flower would you suggest?” Sebastian asked curiously.

“Belladonna has been one that I’m always fond of,” Victoria answered and pulled several bottles from the shelf. They were placed on a tray before she carried them over to Sebastian. “A single leaf is enough to cause death in an adult human. Most plants in the Solanaceae family are toxic, but the Belladonna is the most deadly.”

Sebastian chuckled. “You truly are the queen of poisons,” he said and inspected the bottles that were handed to him. “How hard would it be to lace the bullets with the poison?”

Victoria’s eyes gleamed. “You would have to use a hollow point so the bullet stays in the body, allowing the poison to set in the blood stream and take effect.” She regarded Sebastian carefully. “But I reckon it wouldn’t be too hard. Provided you’re not going to use it on yourself.”

“I’m not,” Sebastian answered. “But I imagine that Ciel would enjoy something like this. I was never one for suicide.”

“Then I’ll make them for you,” Victoria stated and shooed Sebastian away. “Now go see that crazy man so you can get the item you need. I’ll be done when you come back.”

Sebastian nodded and set the vial back down on the tray. He allowed himself to be pushed out the door and continued through the hallway until he reached the last room in the building.

Once a mortician’s place of practice, the building had closed down when the owner had died. The Undertaker had inherited it and had moved in years ago. It provided the perfect cover for the family as it helped to hide parts of the counterfeiting process as well as other things the family dabbled in.

The fake ring had been made here, and Sebastian had received the call this morning that the product was complete. The Undertaker hadn’t been happy to hear about Ciel’s current whereabouts but didn’t say anything about it to Sebastian, only promising to make a perfect replica ring for him.

“You’re late,” the man’s voice called from the room as Sebastian entered.

“Victoria drew my attention,” Sebastian answered as he moved over to the embalming table that The Undertaker was laying on.

A small box was in the man’s hands, and he turned it over a couple of times before finally focusing his attention on Sebastian. “Can’t say that I like your Queen very much. She has a nasty streak about her, and poisons are tricky. When they’re odorless and tasteless, it’s a silent death.” The Undertaker murmured and sat up.

Sebastian smirked slightly. “You two were partners back in the day, if I remember correctly.”

“She’s a witch,” The Undertaker said, nodding his head as though the action would confirm such a statement. “The lot of them are.”

“Yet you still let her stay here.” Sebastian shook his head and ran a hand over the metal table. “Next time we bring someone back to torture, I want to embalm them while they’re still alive. Especially if they’re from the same gang that took Ciel.”

The Undertaker giggled. “You are a cruel one, Sebastian. If it were their boss on my table, I would allow you to do such a thing. But first, we must catch them and get Ciel back.” The box was held up and set in Sebastian’s hand. “So go do what you must, and then we’ll talk torture when you come back.”

Sebastian nodded and opened the box, looking at the ring in question. It looked identical to the original, and if Sebastian hadn’t known it was a fake, he would’ve believed it to be the real thing. The box was tucked into his pocket, and with one last thanks to The Undertaker, Sebastian moved out of the room.

The box felt heavy in his pocket as Sebastian walked down the hallway once more. Everything depended on it, Ciel’s life especially. The thought wasn’t pleasant, and Sebastian tried to push it aside as he turned into Victoria’s room.

Eight bullets were already lined up on the work table and Sebastian pulled on some gloves before he picked up the first one. It was a normal .45 round, and he examined it carefully before setting it back down again.

“There’s a small amount of poison in the tip that’ll spill into the body once it breaks past the skin,” Victoria said from the other side of the table. “And as a backup, the bullets have been coated with the poison.”

Sebastian nodded as he placed the bullets onto a holding tray before they were set in a box. Another bullet was set in front of him and Sebastian cocked his head to the side. “Sniper?” he asked.

Victoria nodded. “Only four, so choose your targets wisely.” A second bullet was placed next to the first. “I would advise against wrapping these, as the paper might soak up the poison. Also, the poison will leave residue on the gun, so the weapon will either have to be destroyed or used specifiably for these forms of bullets.”

A wince crossed Sebastian’s face. “But that would mean melting down one of my snipers,” he croaked and pushed the larger bullets back. “Don’t you think a shot from a sniper is more than enough to kill?”

“Unless you wish to miss on purpose and have the poison kill your target. Let them feel lucky, as though they were meant to live, only to die as their heart stops, and they’re delusional in their last moments of life.”

Sebastian blinked and reached for the bullets once more. “Well, when you put it that way,” he stated and packed the bullets with the first eight. The gloves were stripped off and the box was taped shut.

Once the box was secure and the tainted gloves were removed, Victoria turned to Sebastian. “Be safe, Sebastian. I expect you to bring Ciel here one day so I can meet him.” Her eyes shone (Here’s a grammar error; it’s too much to explain here but if you google shined vs. shone you’ll see it.) “I want to see this young man who owns your heart.”

“Perhaps if you hadn’t been in the Amazon collecting new plants for your poisons at the time of our ceremony, you would’ve seen him for yourself. But for you, I will,” Sebastian answered and pressed his lips once more to Victoria’s bare knuckles. He pulled back and inclined his head slightly. “And thank you. For everything.”

Without another word, Sebastian let his hand slip away from Victoria’s and turned around. He couldn’t stay any longer; there were still things to do, and Sebastian needed to finish preparing for tonight.

He walked through the long hallway until he reached the front room. The damp smell once more assaulted his senses, but it was ignored as Sebastian moved through the room and towards the front doors.

A car sat waiting for him outside and he climbed in, giving Claude a small nod. “Let’s go home. I have what’s needed.”

“What’s in the box?” Claude questioned as he pulled away from the building.

“A gift for Ciel,” Sebastian answered softly. “I expect you to give it to him when he comes back. Tell him to wear gloves when handling the items inside.”

Claude frowned. “Oh, hell, you went to the poison lady, didn’t you?” He cursed. “I told you that she’s creepy but do you listen? No. You just keep playing with dangerous toys, and one of these days, you’re going to hurt yourself.”

Sebastian chuckled. “Well, aren’t you just the overprotective mother bear today.” He glanced at him. “Is little Claude jealous that he can’t go on this assignment and is being forced to stay home instead?”

“No,” Claude said with a small pout and focused on the road.

“I’ll make sure to bring you a souvenir,” Sebastian said dryly.

Claude snorted. “Just come back and we’ll call it even.”

Silence settled in the car as Sebastian ignored the comment, and Claude didn’t bother to pursue the subject anymore. Night was quickly falling, bringing with it the ugly monsters of uncertainty that filled everyone’s mind.

------

[Part Two]

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Akiru chan

January 2012

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