akiruchan: (SebSmile)
[personal profile] akiruchan
Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 46/?
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-Six

The flip-flip of pages was loud with the haste in which they were turned. Some brittle yellow pages tore, but were paid no mind. A tab marked ‘H’ flaked off and fell to the polished wood of the desk. The phone book was a compilation of numbers that Tanaka had gathered during his life as family leader, stacked upon numbers that his father and grandfather had compiled before his time.

Most were useless, the owners long since dead. In fact, the one number Tanaka was tracking once belonged to a dead man. He could only hope that it had been passed down to the next generation, and it was with them that he held his hope.

The page stopped at ‘K’ and Tanaka ran his finger down the list. He tapped the name Kelvin and looked at the number that rested to the right. Little time was wasted, and he grabbed for the secure landline and began to dial the number.

The phone rang twice before someone picked up, and a soft, feminine voice answered on the other end. It was just a simple hello, nothing more or less. Just enough to tell him that they were listening. “I need to speak with whoever is currently in charge of Kelvin’s gang,” Tanaka stated, voice ringing with authority. “It has come to my attention that something of yours was stolen not too long ago.”

Silence sounded on the other line, and Tanaka pressed the phone closer to his ear. He couldn’t play all their cards at once and he needed to make sure that they kept theirs close to them, in order to avoid being burned in the end. Negotiations such as these were difficult and often took time, something they didn’t have a lot of right now.

“This is the current leader of Kelvin’s gang,” the voice finally answered. “Doll and my partner Snake. To whom are we speaking?”

“Tanaka,” he answered. “I was an old friend of Kelvin. And I remember you, Doll. You were only ten when I last saw you, but you were also very shy around everyone. I’m glad to see you’ve grown out of that phase and have adopted a leadership position.”

There was a soft hum. “That was forced upon me, ever since Kelvin’s death. It wasn’t his time to go and the sudden death left us all in shambles.” She sucked in a deep breath. “We’re a torn gang, Mr. Tanaka, and it’s not what Kelvin wanted for us.”

Tanaka nodded. “I know. He wanted your gang to be at peace with each other. He wasn’t one for the fighting but more for the trading. I seem to remember that that caused problems in the past.”

“It did, and it’s causing problems now,” Doll stated.

“You said that your gang was torn apart,” Tanaka said. “Did they happen to steal something from you when they parted ways with you?”

A hiss sounded in the background before a male’s voice answered over the phone. “They did,” he said. “But why should we tell you anymore?”

Tanaka cocked his head slightly. “Because I have a solution that will solve both our problems. If you’re willing to work together,” he glanced down at the pictures on his desk before looking up again. “I know what you want, and your defective gang has what I want. You join us in this mission, and everyone will win.”

Silence once more filled the phone and Tanaka held his breath. He had played a few cards and he could only hope that this gamble would work. Doll and Snake were young and more than willing to bring their gang back together. And following under the protection of Tanaka’s family was something that would benefit their gang in the long run. The offer would be too good to pass.

“We’re listening,” Doll’s voice finally spoke over the phone and Tanaka smirked. One pawn was put into place.

-----

Ciel stared ahead, the road dark with the headlights turned off. He was slightly impressed that Mey-rin was managing to navigate through the thick forest that intruded on both sides of the road. A branch would scrape against the side of the car and Ciel would jump, his body on high alert and tense.

They had been driving for a good while now, and Ciel was finding himself counting down the time he had left. Soon the sun would be up, and they would be expecting him even sooner. The plan was reassessed in Ciel’s mind and he worried about the chance of failure once more. It was hard not to think of the what if’s, but now was not the time.

“We’re almost there,” Mey-rin said and slowed down. “The main road will be up ahead and just past that will be the valley where we’ll set up our main staging area.” She glanced back at Ciel and offered a small smile before looking back at the road once more. The trunk was loaded with weapons and other tools that they were going to need, but the most important part was sitting in the glove compartment.

“Will I be walking back to the main road to approach the entrance when I make my known approach?” Ciel asked. “Or will I be able to take the car? I imagine they would find it odd that I would have walked the whole way.” He didn’t want to leave Finny and Mey-rin without a get away vehicle but to show up on foot would raise suspicion.

Finny glanced at Mey-rin and then back at Ciel. “You’ll use the car, but after we take care of our business first.” He gestured to the trunk. “You and I are going in first to lay the bombs and take out the guards.”

Fun, Ciel thought, but it was perhaps only the easy part. Being stealthy would be easy enough once they found the snipers’ blind spots. Setting the bombs would take time, time that they might not have. Still, it was necessary and therefore Ciel would do it with the utmost haste with only his goal in mind.

“How long do you wager our first assault will take? We only have till midday to sunset before my deal is forfeited.” Ciel shifted in his seat, feeling anxious.

Finny shifted. “I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’ll take that long. The most important time will start once you hand over the ring. You’ll be on the clock with the bombs and once the first set goes off, you’ll have about five minutes to get out before the second one goes off.”

Silence settled and Ciel gathered himself for just a moment more. When next he spoke, his words left no room to argue, their firmness impenetrable. “I want you to promise me that once everything begins, you will make sure that Sebastian gets out and home safe. No matter what happens. Do you hear me?” Ciel’s eyes were serious, and they begged for words of agreement.

“We’re bringing you both home, safe and sound,” Finny stated. “No matter what happens.” The words were repeated with a serious tone and there was no way that Finny was going to only bring one back and not the other. He had already lost Bard; he didn’t want to have to lose either Sebastian or Ciel.

Ciel sighed, but he supposed that was the most he could hope for from Finny. If worse came to worse, Ciel knew that Mey-rin would take charge to take both Finny and Sebastian from harm. He could only hope for so much.

The car moved off the road after, bouncing as it moved off the road and into thick bramble and rugged terrain. They would have to maneuver quite a ways into the woods to keep out of sight. With the vehicle being black, they could relax knowing that the night would help to hide it well, but it never hurt to be cautious.

When the car did finally stop, it took Ciel a moment before he could force himself to leave the leather upholstery of the seats. Everything felt thick and heavy, the air, his saliva, and every move he made. Ciel couldn’t see for more than a few steps in front of him, the tall trees blocking out even the light of the stars.

“We’ll scout first before we go down and figure out the best way to take out our enemies,” Finny stated and backed out of the car, holding a small box. “But we also need to give you something before we go any further. It’s key to giving us ears inside the building.”

Mey-rin took the small box from Finny and approached Ciel. “They’ll frisk you when you enter the building, and if they find anything on you, they’ll kill Sebastian.” She plucked out a thin black patch and held it up for Ciel. It was placed over the gauze covering Ciel’s eye and careful hands looped the eye patch around Ciel’s head and tied a small knot in the back. “There’s a small wire hidden in between the two pieces of fabric that’ll let us hear everything.”

Ciel’s hand came up to play with the silken edges of the eye patch. It felt weird on him, and he had to rearrange his hair to fall over it. “Do you think they will let me keep it on?” He questioned, unsure if such an accessory would be tolerated.

“You’ll have to play it right,” Mey-rin answered. “It’s still a fresh wound, and if they think you’re disfigured from it, they won’t want to see it. People tend not to like things like that.” She set the box back in the car before moving to the trunk where the weapons were stored. A long range rifle was pulled out, and another was slung over her shoulders before she nodded at them.

Great, so it would be another acting performance. It would be hard for Ciel to play the part of a now scarred boy who was ashamed of the mark he now wore. He could only hope that Beast or Joker wouldn’t want to see their handiwork.

“Let’s go,” Finny said lowly and pocketed his own pistol before shouldering the bag of bombs. “The bombs for the outside of the structure are tagged with red, and the ones for the further parts of the building are bare.”

Ciel would be focusing on the red taped bombs, and Finny would plant the bare ones. It was something else that seemed simple, but Ciel was not willing to believe that it would be. He eyed the bag and then began to follow Finny and Mey-rin through the tangled underbrush. It was hard to be silent as every knotting and arched branch and root was hell bent on tripping Ciel. There were already a few times that Ciel had to reach out to catch himself lest he fall.

They moved down the edge of the hill until they reached a point in which the faint light of the hidden base penetrated the thick trees. They couldn’t be seen, but they were given a good view of the roof and the dark shapes of snipers moving on the rooftop.

Finny looked through the binoculars and silently counted the snipers on the roof. There were ten total. Three on both the north and south side, and two on both the east and west side. They were going to be a problem to take out, due to the large amount of numbers that were present. If one went down, the alarm would be raised and they would have Mey-rin’s location in no time.

They would have to be saved for last, and the thought made Finny curse slightly. “There’s ten total,” he stated. “And it looks like the biggest blind spot is directly under them. They’re all looking out on the perimeter, hoping to spot an ambush, judging by the weapons they have on them. If we can find a way to get to the building, we’ll be good.”

“But that’s the thing; how are we getting into the building? I would say we could use a distraction, but we don’t have much to work with that wouldn’t tip them off to our presence in the long run.” It was a dilemma and Ciel hated to think that they would have to rethink the whole pan.

Mey-rin smirked. “It just depends on the type of distraction.” She toed a nearby bag. “I’m thinking a snake would make these hired men scream and cause enough of a distraction to get you two down there without being seen. They live here in these woods and it would be natural to see one. How good is your throwing arm, Finny?”

“Good enough,” Finny answered, his eyes dancing with glee.

Ciel just shook his head. “Great, now to find a snake. I think I’ll leave that to you two while I give Claude a call.” He had almost forgotten to call the older man, not that he really cared. For all Ciel knew everything had fallen apart back at the mansion. Fortunately there was little Tanaka could do at this point.

Mey-rin laughed lightly and looked at Finny. “Find a snake, he says. Go get the last box from the car while the call is placed. And bring the fox, too. Never know what kind of help will work best with these goons.”

Finny nodded and trotted off silently to go retrieve the boxes in question. They rarely used animals as a distraction, as they often ended up dead, but it would be better than having them all die in a failed attempt.

There was a moment between rings where Ciel felt the need to question why there was a fox in a box, but the rhyming of it all reminded him of Dr. Seuss and he decided he just didn’t want to know. Claude picked up on the fifth ring, his deep voice giving little more than a ‘yes’ as greeting.

“We’re here,” Ciel said simply, not sure how safe it was to give more than that at the moment.

“It’s quiet over here,” Claude answered, voice low over the phone. “Tanaka hasn’t stopped by. In fact, he hasn’t left his office for a while. I’m not sure what’s going on, though, since it’s being kept under lock and key.”

“He is alive in there?” Ciel couldn’t help but ask. The man was old, and stress could do a number on one’s body. He didn’t want to think about something so tragic happening, but at the same time he wanted to assure himself that his grandfather was still well.

Claude nodded. “He’s alive. You can hear him shifting around and sometimes talking.” There was a small frown that settled over Claude’s features. “Hopefully he’s not talking to himself though, otherwise we might have concern to worry.”

Ciel allowed himself a moment to laugh. “I can somehow see that.” He shook his head, clearing the thought. “It’s probably best that he stays busy. He’ll be less likely to want to check up on me, and if he does, it’ll be quick.”

“Exactly. We’re still in position here and I’m sitting right inside the room, so even if he does come by, he has to get by me before he can go into the room.” Claude shifted to look at Alois, wondering if the younger male was truly asleep or playing a game on his phone.

“Stay there then. The last thing I need is for you and Alois to get bored and end up molesting each other in my bed,” Ciel said, humor painting his tone. “I can only imagine how you would explain why you were molesting poor mourning Ciel in his own room.”

Claude blanched. “He still looks like you, and there’s no way I’d be able to get it up with that awful wig on his head.”

“That’s not the impression I got when you practically invited me into your bed. Or do just have a thing for me and kitchens?” Ciel remembered the incident. It had happened soon after he had come to live within the manor when Claude had approached him in the kitchen. It still sent chills down his back, not the least bit pleasant.

“I was joking,” Claude grumbled. “Learn how to take a joke. As though Alois or I would want either of you in bed with us. And Sebastian would be too possessive to even think about letting you join someone else’s bed.”

“Heed your own words. I was just joking with you.” Ciel sighed and shook his head. He couldn’t quite believe they were having this conversation. “Although if my memory is correct, I do believe there was a time in which you wanted Sebastian in your bed.”

Claude frowned. “Focus, Ciel, Sebastian is waiting for you in there.” He glanced at Alois again and his lips twitched slightly. “Bring him back home.” The phone was snapped shut and pocketed, signaling the end to the conversation.

Ciel wasn’t quite sure how he was going to take that response, but decided not to think too much on it. Claude was right. He had to get to Sebastian and bring him home. The phone was flipped shut, and Ciel looked about him as he tried to find where Mey-rin and Finny had gone. Mey-rin was easy to find; she was leaning against the car, looking expectant.

“Have we found a snake yet?” Ciel asked.

Finny held up a bag. “He’ll do nicely,” he answered and moved away from the car. They needed to get into place and stop wasting time. Thirty minutes had already passed since they had arrived at the location and outside of scouting the area, they hadn’t done anything else. “Let’s get into position.”

Snakes never did thrill Ciel much, and he found himself inching away from the bag every time Finny moved a little too close. “That thing isn’t poisonous, is it?” He asked. On the plus side, if it was poisonous, it might deliver a few nasty bites to the snipers on the roof.

“No,” Mey-rin answered. “We just need it for a distraction, and this guy will make some of them spook just enough to get you two down there without being seen. Once you’re in the overhanging area, the snipers won’t see you, and you’ll be free to dispatch the men as you see fit.”

“Stealthily and quietly.” That was how they would have to proceed with anyone they came across once they got close enough. Ciel had never been one for hand to hand, but he hoped Finny had something special up his sleeves. Otherwise, some knife work might be needed.

Ciel sighed and moved closer to Finny as the snake was fished out. “Ready?” asked Ciel as he watched the faint, moving black blobs that he guessed to be the snipers.

Finny nodded. “Quietly down to the stream and then I’ll be able to throw the snake. We’ll have just enough time to circle back around to a good spot before they find it.” He checked his pockets, making sure he had a few knives before giving Mey-rin a quick salute.

It was returned by Mey-rin, but Ciel gave little more then a nod. His nervousness felt as if it had knotted in his throat, and he was too occupied with swallowing it down. It felt like his first mission all over again, and Ciel had to remind himself that he had done this a million times before, only it had never quite been like this. So much was on the line now, and it was frightening every moment that he allowed himself to think about it.

The stream was easy to find; they only had to follow the sounds of rushing water. It did the job of covering up their approach, and the night helped with the rest. “We need to cross over,” Ciel whispered, looking for a place where they could easily jump from bank to bank.

“There,” Finny answered back quietly and pointed to a part where the stream pinched together. “The ground will be soft, so the landing will be tricky. You’ll have to fight to keep your balance.”

He moved to the section and tested the ground with his foot before taking another step forward. The distance was hard to judge in the dark, but Finny knew where he wanted to land and with a small grunt, jumped forward. He landed on the balls of his feet and took a step forward to keep his balance before moving out of the way for Ciel.

Ciel followed suit and had little trouble as he stumbled towards firmer ground, his boots now covered in mud. There was little he could do about it, and wasn’t something he found worrisome at the moment. Instead, they continued forward until Finny’s arm shot out to cease all further movement.

“Can you actually throw and hit your target from this distance?” Ciel asked, almost impressed if Finny managed this. There was still a good amount of space between them. The height they acquired from being in position on the hill would help a bit, but not enough it seemed.

Finny smirked. “I actually have to be careful not to throw it too far,” he stated and grasped the snake. Its forked tongue flickered out at him before he drew his arm back, and he paused for a moment to gauge the distance. With a small grunt, he took a step forward and used the momentum to help toss the snake out towards the building.

It landed in the thick grass with a soft thump and Finny quickly pushed at Ciel. They only had a few minutes to get to the side of the hideout before the snake was found. More than likely, the men would shout and yell, drawing attention towards that side of the building, leaving another side open for them to ambush.

Sure enough, guards at a southern entrance began to holler followed by more shouts to confirm what the issue was. They stopped for only a moment at the treeline, looking carefully to see that the snipers had turned from their posts to crowd around the roof’s ledge to look down and laugh as their fellow men tried to stomp on the snake. Ciel had to snort in disgust. The more he saw of this gang, the more it became apparent how unprofessional they all were. A group made of idiots, and yet Ciel had managed to fall prey to them. It was sickening to think about.

Ciel was running before any further thoughts could plague him, his feet colliding softly with cushioned ground and without sound. His heart was beating as he awaited some shout at their discovery, but none ever came. They were leaning against the building soon enough, and Finny was already opening the bag and dividing out the bombs that they would be placing around the exterior.

“You place them and I’ll watch your back,” Finny whispered quickly. “These ones are just for cover and to draw distraction for the snipers. They won’t destroy the building, but the ones you place inside will.”

Ciel nodded, and he got to work. It was hard to hide them, using soil and dead leaves to the best of his abilities. The yells and jeers of the men continued, and Ciel kept his ears open to make sure none were returning in their direction. The third bomb was placed when the sound of footsteps that did not belong to Finny sounded. Instantly, Ciel shot himself up and pressed his body flush against the wall and behind a pipe that came down from the roof.

“Bastards know that I don’t like snakes,” the man grumbled and ran his hands over his arms to ward off the chill that seeing the reptile had brought. “Damn things, with their scaly skin and dripping, poisonous fangs. Could’ve kill--”

He was cut off as a hand covered his mouth and another one gripped his forehead. There was a brief struggle before Finny was able to wrestle the man to the ground. With a quick twist, the man’s head was snapped to the side and Finny glanced up to look at Ciel. “Keep going,” he said and checked the pulse, pleased when he found none. “I’ve still got your back.”

It was a moment before Ciel could shake himself past the shock of what he had seen. Finny was about the same in build as Ciel, yet he had just taken down a man three times his size as if he was a child. “How did you...” but Ciel trailed off when he was given a pointed look. Deciding that it didn’t matter, Ciel went back to work, only stopping when they reached the corner and found armed men waiting for them on the other side.

They were grouped together, talking among themselves and yawning. The end of their shift would be ending soon and after working twelve hours, they were tired and wanting bed. Finny shifted around Ciel, silently counting three men. They were very much fatigued, meaning their reaction times would be slower.

It wouldn’t be hard to take them out in these circumstances, but they didn’t know what was beyond them. If there were more guards just past them, it would be harder and their cover would be blown, and they still had one more side to clear after this.

Finny frowned and silently counted the numbers on his fingers. There had been eight guards on the ground total, and he had already taken out three, including the most recent one. With these three men, there would be two more left and the chances were high that they were on the last wall that needed to be cleared.

He pointed to the bombs, gesturing for Ciel to leave them there for the time being and pulled out his knife. The first one would be taken by surprise and after that, the remaining two would have to be killed immediately afterwards. Two fingers were held up and Finny pointed at himself, before he pointed at Ciel, holding up one finger.

Shrugging his shoulders, Ciel popped out the knife Bard had given him. Finny was more than welcome to take on two. Ciel was in no mood to be greedy. He’d happily take on the leftovers. A nudge was sent to Finny and Ciel smiled as he gestured for the man to hurry up.

Finny smirked and nodded. Two knives were gripped tightly in his hand as he rounded the corner. Luck was with him and his first target had his back to him. Without hesitation, he quickly covered the man’s mouth and slit his throat, making sure to make the cut deep so he couldn’t make a sound.

He could feel Ciel move out behind him as the first body slumped to the ground. The noise didn’t draw attention at first, and by the time the last two men were turning around, Finny had already leaped forward, knife drawn and tip ready to hit its mark. A wet gurgling noise filled Finny’s ears as the knife was plunged into the junction where the neck and shoulder met. His hand quickly reached up to cover the opening mouth as the knife was twisted around, tearing apart the muscle around the clavicle bone. With a sharp jerk, the knife was pulled forward, cutting through the external jugular vein, and making the body spasm and jerk in Finny’s hands as he lowered it to the ground.

Ciel watched his own victim as he slowly bled out, kneeling down to clean his knife off on the green grass. He had to resist the urge to do more damage to the man as the life began to fade from ugly mud colored eyes. To appease himself just a bit, Ciel kicked the man, making it look like Ciel had merely tripped over him in his haste to move further towards the corner.

Finny held up two fingers as Ciel approached, letting the younger male know that there were two more men on the other side before holding up his hand to tell Ciel to stop. Finny wouldn’t take them out until after Ciel had officially arrived to exchange the ring. They would be needed for the last distraction to work in order for Ciel to leave.

Two more bombs were placed, and Finny slid up to Ciel’s side. “You’re going in after this. Once you’re with them, I’ll slip inside and start to place the bombs near the support structures. All their attention will be on you and the ring. Right now, nothing else outside of that matters.” He looked up at the over hanging roof that covered them. “You decide when the bombs go off. We’ll be listening the whole time. Tell them they’re on a timer and that they’re set to go off in a minute. We’ll trigger them from out here, but remember that once the first set goes off, you have ten minutes before the second set goes off.”

The last set of bombs were the most powerful and dangerous but were the most important when it came to destroying their enemies. Once Ciel was inside, Finny would dispatch the last two men and place the remaining two bombs before moving inside to place the last set. Everything else would be left up to Ciel.

“I know,” Ciel said, voice quiet. He stood up and looked back out towards the forest. The night was coming to an end, and the sun was quickly rising. He would have to make a quick run for it and hope that the snipers were still slacking in their duties. It was still unknown if the fox ploy would work. The idea itself was odd, and Ciel had never heard of the family employing foxes or any other woodland creature to aid them.

Finny glanced at Ciel. “Ready?” He asked softly. The younger male nodded at him and Finny reached up to turn on the headset. “We’re ready down here. Open the box.” There was a short affirmative answer before silence settled over the headset until Mey-rin gave another confirmation that the box was opened.

It was silent, and Ciel was poised, ready to run. The first few morning birds had begun to sing further off in the woods, but it was the rustling in the bushes that truly disturbed the seemingly tranquil atmosphere. Sure enough, they could hear whispered words above and and booted feet moving towards the southern point of the building as the fox finally made it’s way into the clear.

A push on his back from Finny was all Ciel needed before he was running back across the short expanse of open ground before slipping between needled branches and up the steep slopes of the hill. Ciel looked back only once to see that the men were still looking over the roof’s edge and to the fox that had seemed to have found a field mouse to play with. A smile pulled on his lips as he turned back around and returned to Mey-rin’s side.

“Where on earth did you get a fox?” He asked as soon as he saw the woman emptying out the remaining supplies from the car.

“At my range. I breed and train them for when we need a cute distraction. And they make good companions,” she answered and set the cage back on the forest floor so the fox could climb back inside once it came back. A whistle was produced along with a pair of binoculars. “So long as they don’t shoot him, he’s fine out there. But the moment I see danger, I’ll scare him away.”

“He did a good job.” Ciel knelt down to pat at the fox’s soft head when he came bounding back to their group. “But now it’s my turn to do mine.” He stood and moved closer towards the car. A quick once over showed that everything had been removed and nothing potentially threatening laid about. At this point, even a gun left under a seat could be seen as a breach in the agreement he had made and would only help to put Sebastian’s life in further danger.

Ciel patted the ring box in his pocket to assure himself that it was still safe. It was another piece in all of this that could destroy everything they had so diligently planned. He sighed and opened the driver side door. “Good luck Mey-rin, and thank you... For everything.” Ciel sent her a small smile of gratitude but he could not bring himself to meet her eyes.

She glanced at him, a questioning gaze in her eyes, but she didn’t say anything further. Instead, she moved to the side where her equipment was set up and picked up the other fox that Ciel had petted earlier. Its ears swiveled around and she silently scratched them as Ciel climbed into the car.

“Ciel,” she called out just as the door was shutting. “Be careful in there. Mr. Sebastian wouldn’t like living without you any more than you would like living without him.”

“Goodbye, Mey-rin.” Ciel closed the door and started the engine without acknowledging Mey-rin’s words. The engine’s soft roar drowned out any ill born thoughts, and Ciel forced his mind to stay blissfully blank as he drove back through the thick forest and back onto the graveled road. The sun was just now rising and would be passing over the hills in only a matter of minutes, no doubt before he made it to his destination.

The road widened just a bit and Ciel caught sight of the almost hidden opening to the side road. He slowed, and Ciel found himself sitting, his foot pressing hard into the brake and eyes staring firmly ahead. No matter how blank he forced his mind to be, worries and fears still seemed to creep past his barriers to assault his being. He shook, hands tightening on the steering wheel. Once he made this turn, there was no going back, and Ciel couldn’t help but wonder if what he was doing was right. Was this simply him being selfish, putting his friends in danger for the sake of saving a man who did not want to be saved, especially if it meant Ciel losing his life in the process?

Sebastian would not want this. No matter what Ciel told himself, he knew that to be true. They were the same, so much so that Ciel wasn’t surprised that their likeness would end up being the death of them. Neither one could allow the other to die, and they would gladly forsake their own life for that purpose. For the first time, Ciel wondered if maybe things didn’t have to end in such a way. Sebastian would end up being the death of Ciel, but why did it have to be today? Who said that Ciel had to die today? Who said that by some miracle they both could not live to see through this?

A little hope bloomed within Ciel, and ever so slowly he moved his foot to press down on the gas, the car starting to roll forward once more. He turned onto the road and moved towards his fate that seemed to have its very own silver lining. The guards spotted him, the only two whom were left alive, and moved forward as soon as the car was only feet from them. Ciel killed the engine and sat there a moment to gather his nerve before opening the door and stepping out into the now morning air.

“Well, well,” one of the guards stated and nudged the second guard. “Looks like he indeed did show up. Someone owes me some money.”

The second guard grunted and stepped forward, gesturing at Ciel with his gun. “Feet shoulder width apart and hands up in the air.” He waited for the male to comply with his orders before walking up to him. Rough hands jerked at Ciel’s shirt, making him stumble forward before the guard started to pat the younger male down while his partner stood silent watch.

Hands immediately went for Ciel’s waist, checking him for any weapons or wires on him that would provide help in anyway. Finding none, the guard continued to pat down Ciel’s leg and paused at the lump in his pants. He grabbed it harshly before reaching into the pocket to pull out the item. “Looks like you came through after all,” he stated, looking at the ring box before shoving it back into Ciel’s pants.

They were rough with the rest of the inspection and didn’t bother to watch where they put their hands. It was embarrassing, but Ciel didn’t allow them the pleasure of knowing how they were affecting him. Everything was over soon enough, and the man’s hands were off him. They left Ciel feeling dirty, and he resisted the urge to spit in their faces.

“He’s clean,” the second guard said with a small grunt, and he tossed one last look at Ciel.  “Let’s go, little prince. It’s time to hold up your end of the bargain with the boss. Although its been fun listening to your demon scream in there.”

“I’m nobody’s prince,” Ciel grumbled as he allowed himself to be led into the hell hole of a building. Already, memories of a time not long ago assaulted him, and he was forced to relive a pain better left forgotten. His eye throbbed in remembrance of the physical hurt, and his heart constricted from the mental anguish.

The guard passed Ciel off to the man waiting for them at the end of the hallway. They nodded at each other before parting ways, and the new guard led Ciel down a new hall. “The boss is very anxious to see you. We were starting to get worried that you weren’t going to show and that we’d have to start sending pieces of your boyfriend back to you.”

Ciel allowed himself the pleasure of knowing that these men wouldn’t be living much longer. Those that Finny did not take care of would meet their end via bomb or at the end of Mey-rin’s sniper rifle. “If he’s not alive,” Ciel warned, voice tense, “you’ll all regret it.”

The man chuckled. “He’s alive, don’t worry about that,” he stated. “Maybe a little bruised and beaten, but he’s still alive. You’ll even get to see him soon. The boss is dealing with him right now.”

That did little to calm Ciel’s worry, but he had been expecting as much. If they had been worried about the way they had treated Ciel and were still able to put him in such an unsightly state, then he wouldn’t be surprised by the horrors they would be willing force upon Sebastian. It tore at Ciel’s heart, but for both their sakes, he had to remain strong.

“Just take me there so we can get this all over with,” he spat.

“As you wish,” the guard said and led them down another hallway. He nodded to a man standing guard near the entrance of the hall before moving past him. The hallway was dimly lit and the scent of copper was heavy in the air. It was eerily silent and the man quickened his pace, wanting to get to Joker’s office soon.

Another corner was rounded and he relaxed slightly at the sight of two men standing guard outside Joker’s office. They glanced at him as he approached and their grip tightened on their weapons. “Is the boss busy?” He asked.

They tilted their heads back, listening to the sounds in the room. “Not now, but he was earlier. The demon either passed out again or his throat is too raw to scream anymore.”

The guard holding Ciel grinned. “Good. I have a present for the boss.” He pushed Ciel forward and knocked on the door, waiting patiently for Joker to greet them.

Ciel held his breath, body tense in preparation for what was about to come. He wasn’t sure what to expect entirely. Sebastian was in bad shape, that much Ciel had assessed, but the extent of it all was lost to him. His heart thrummed in his chest as the handle turned, and the door opened to show Joker looking all too pleased.

Joker moved aside so that Ciel could admit himself as the guard pushed him inside. He stumbled forward, eyes on the ground. They widened at the amount of blood and bile. It filled the room with a sickeningly pungent odor. Ciel knew that every body fluid that tainted the concrete floors belonged to Sebastian. The thought alone had him choking up in an attempt to push back his emotions.

With a slowly painful movement, Ciel looked up. The man chained to the wall looked nothing like the Sebastian that Ciel knew. Sebastian’s face was swollen, bruised, and bloodied beyond recognition. A gash across the cheek was recognized as the cruel slice of a whip. It tore at Ciel’s heart to know he had gone through every bit of the hell Ciel had had to endure and so much more.

A wide blue eye continued to look down Sebastian’s battered body, seeing an arm oddly bent. No doubt it was broken. Whip gashes and bruises were a consistent injury but not the worst of it. A slice across Sebastian’s stomach seemed to be the most pressing concern. It continued to drip blood and reminded Ciel of the injury that Sebastian had presented to him when he had come to Ciel for help many months ago, back when this world was still unknown to Ciel. A part of Ciel still wished that he had never accepted this life so easily.

“You’re killing him!” Ciel yelled, turning towards Joker. “That wasn’t a part of our deal.”

Joker cocked his head and tapped the tip of a bloody knife against his cheek. “If I remember correctly, the deal was that you’d bring us the ring and we’d hand Sebastian over to you, alive.” He moved back over to Sebastian and kicked the man in his side. A low groan left Sebastian’s mouth, and Joker turned back to Ciel. “As you can see, he’s still alive. Maybe not well, but he’s alive. For the moment.”

“Bastard,” Ciel growled. He had to force himself not to rush towards Sebastian’s side. Seeing the man in such a state was painful, and Ciel found himself turning away. “It isn’t keeping to our deal if he dies before I can even get him home.”

“You never said that he had to be alive before he returned home, only that he was supposed to be alive when you came here to exchange the ring,” Joker stated. He nodded at Beast who was leaning against the wall, watching Sebastian intently. “Wake him up so the two lovers can reunite.”

Beast grinned. “With pleasure,” she purred and grabbed a vile that sat on the desk next to her. The cork was popped off, and she walked over to Sebastian with determined steps. Her fingers curled into his hair before yanking his head back and placing the vile under his nose.

A few moments passed before Sebastian stirred and he started to cough as the foul scent pulled him back to the waking land. He groaned lowly as he forced his eyes open, the room’s light making his eyes water. His mouth was dry, causing his tongue to feel heavy in his mouth. Everything ached, and Sebastian was acutely aware of every injury on his body as well as how bad they were.

“Look, demon,” Beast murmured and pulled Sebastian’s head up even more. She traced a finger over the cut that marred his face before coming up to run a finger under his eyes. They were puffy and red from lack of sleep, but they had left them alone. Joker had wanted him to be able to see everything that was going on, especially when Ciel came back. And it was hard to see through a black eye. “Look who came back to see you.”

Sebastian’s eyes darted around the room briefly before they settled on Ciel. His stomach churned, and he felt as though ice cold water had been dumped over him. “Ciel,” he rasped and struggled slightly against the chains, hoping desperately that he was seeing things.

Ciel managed a small smile. “You look like shit,” he said, voice tender and lacking the harshness he had used moments prior. It felt wonderful to hear Sebastian’s voice, and Ciel relaxed himself knowing that at least Sebastian was still alive enough to be coherent.

“What are you doing here?” Sebastian asked. He coughed again, lungs working to bring in more oxygen, and once more struggled to get free. Ciel couldn’t be here. If he was here, there was no way that Joker would let Ciel leave here alive again, no matter what deal they had made.

Ciel didn’t answer; instead, he turned to Joker who seemed far too smug. If only the man knew the plan Ciel had concocted behind his back. Perhaps then Joker wouldn’t find the situation so amusing. “Will you untie him? I won’t hand anything over with you holding him like that. We are both to leave alive.”  The last of Ciel’s words were stressed, hoping that perhaps everything would end up going smoothly. Ciel wasn’t counting on it, but it didn’t hurt to hope.

Joker’s smile faded slightly as he turned to look at Sebastian. He knew the amount of damage that had been inflicted on the man, and that even if he was untied, there was little that Sebastian could actually do to them. One arm was broken and pulled from the socket, so that was of little use. Sebastian’s body was already stretched to the limit. Any more and his body would probably go into shock.

“Fine,” he finally stated. “I suppose there’s nothing wrong with untying him. Not as though he would get very far. And I think you know what would happen if you try anything.”

No words left Ciel’s mouth as he watched Beast move towards Sebastian, key in hand. She released the only hand that was holding Sebastian up to the wall, the other hand dangling broken and lifeless besides him. The minute the cuff was undone, Sebastian fell forward, and Ciel was rushing forward without thought and catching him before he could hit the dirty floor. Beast undid the remaining restraints on Sebastian’s ankles and Ciel was able to drag the man forward and out of his own blood and vomit.

Sebastian was set down on a clean patch of floor, and Ciel gave him a closer once over. “Are you okay?” He found himself asking, although it was clear that he wasn’t. Truth be told, Ciel only wished to hear Sebastian’s voice.

“You need to leave,” Sebastian panted, ignoring Ciel’s question. His body ached and he knew he smelled horrible, but his only concern was getting Ciel out. Fingers clutched at Ciel’s shirt, trying to push him away but there was little strength behind the action. “Please. I don’t want to see you suffer,” he finished, voice trailing off to a whisper.

Ciel smiled and shook his head. “I will only suffer more if you push me aside. Don’t make my trip here for nothing,” he whispered close to Sebastian’s ear. The urge to kiss Sebastian was strong but he resisted, knowing that now was not the time.

Sebastian pushed his face into Ciel’s shirt, inhaling the fresh, clean scent that was so familiar to him. “You didn’t listen to me,” he murmured. “You never do, you hopeless idiot. Why did you come back? Why couldn’t you just stay back and let me live with the knowledge that you would live a full life?” He was ready and had accepted the fact that he would die. And seeing Ciel again, just before he was ready to give in was a cruel punishment. To see him one last time and know that the younger male would die tore at him and hurt more than the injuries on his body.

“Probably for the same reason that you came for me the first time. Consider this payback.” A kiss was placed to Sebastian’s bloodied and dry lips. It was quick, and Ciel forced himself to ignore the unpleasant taste that was left behind as he licked his bottom lip. The kiss was not as long as Ciel would have liked, but he had already given in far more than he should have. “Just try to be a little grateful for all I had to put up with to get here. I already hate the idea of being indebted to Claude and Alois.”

A weak chuckle left Sebastian’s throat before he grew serious once more. “I love you, Ciel,” he said and clutched at Ciel’s shirt a little tighter. It was the only thing he could say, for nothing else would come. There wasn’t any point in chastising the younger male for coming, because he would be wasting his breath. They were both stubborn and had the roles been reversed, Sebastian would’ve done the exact same thing.

He hissed as footsteps approached them and he tensed, waiting for Joker to pull him away from Ciel. The hand never came though, and Sebastian glanced over his shoulder, wondering what the man was up to.

“As touching as this reunion is,” he drawled, “I’m gonna have to break it up. As you can see, Sebastian is alive, so now it’s time for you to hold up your end of the bargain.”

Ciel stood, hand leaving Sebastian at the last possible minute. He could feel Sebastian’s fevered body pressing against his legs for support and that was enough for Ciel at the moment. Soon he could have the man back within his arms, but other matters called for his attention first.

“I suppose you want your ring?” Ciel was eager to be free of it. It no longer held any meaning to Ciel. This man before him had made sure of that. He glared at Joker for a moment but said nothing as his hand slowly moved to his pocket, eyes aware of every movement within the room. If they planned foul play, now would be the time.

Joker nodded and waved a couple fingers, signaling the guards to be on alert as Ciel pulled his hand back. He doubted that the guards at the front would let him pass with a weapon, so there was no need to fear that. His only concern was that the ring would once again be fake.

The little velvet box was extracted, and Ciel held it tightly in his hand. For a moment he could only look at it in wonder. How could such a little thing cause something so life changing? It was almost funny. The lid was flipped open quickly as Ciel shook himself from his thoughts. Inside sat the ring, and Ciel held it out for Joker to take.

The older man approached with cautious steps in case Ciel decided to try something. But Ciel didn’t move a muscle and let him pluck the ring from the box without a word. Hatred and anger swirled in the single blue eye, and Joker couldn’t help but lean forward and trace the fabric of the eye patch. “The damage must be pretty gruesome, if you’re covering it up. Don’t like to look at it?”

“And you must be so proud,” Ciel snapped, jerking his head away from the touch. His skin was tingling uncomfortably where Joker’s fingers had ghosted over. It was unsettling.

Joker shrugged and backed away. “It wasn’t me who did such a deed but Beast. But yes, I’m sure she’s very proud of what she did.” He glanced over at her, seeing her smirking in the corner of the room.

“I don’t suppose you’d allow me to return the favor?” The bite in Ciel’s words was blatant, but he made no move to follow through. He knew it was, as of now, an empty threat. His revenge would be coming soon enough.

Outside of the building, Finny snorted as he passed Mey-rin another scope. “I wish Ciel could return the favor, but even then, it wouldn’t be enough for what these bastards did.” Ciel’s voice continued to speak over the radio, clear and loud enough for them to hear.

Mey-rin nodded silently and attached the scope before loading the rifle with a bullet. She aimed it at one of the snipers on the roof before backing away from it. “He’ll get a chance to get his revenge. All the bombs are set and as soon as he gives the word, we’ll shoot each one through the head as the first round goes off.”

“The ones inside are placed, too,” Finny stated, answering her silent question. “Seven guards are dead and stored away in extra rooms so no one stumbles across them. I had to leave a few or else they would get suspicious and start looking. But once the bombs go off, they’ll be running outside.”

The rifle was cocked and Mey-rin smirked. “It’ll be a pleasure putting a bullet through their heads as they run outside like scared children.” She glanced at the radio as a muffled noise sounded through the speakers, and they fell silent again, making sure that they didn’t miss a thing.

“Stay right there,” Joker said and waved to the spot with his gun. “I need to make sure that you’re not trying to pass off another fake one onto us.”

“We wouldn’t make that mistake twice. That’s the real thing,” Ciel promised and shifted back down so that he could be closer to Sebastian once more. His hand sought out his lover’s and gently held it.

Sebastian pressed closer to Ciel, wanting to be as close to the younger male as he could. His mind tried to block out all the things that would happen after this, and he squished the thoughts that tried to tell him that they wouldn’t make it out of this alive. “You’re cold,” he finally said, trying to distract himself.

There was a chill in the air, but Ciel had not noticed it until Sebastian had brought it to his attention. Sebastian’s hand, in contrast, felt like fire, and that, coupled with the man’s consistent shakes, worried Ciel more than anything else. “You’re hot,” he said, as he took in the sweat-mingled blood that coated Sebastian’s bare skin. It was obvious to Ciel that Sebastian had a fever. The cause of it was no doubt worrisome.

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” Sebastian teased and gave a weak squeeze to Ciel’s hand before letting it slide from Ciel’s grip. It hurt too much to keep his arm raised up and only made him more tired.

If Sebastian had been in better shape, Ciel would have hit him. That hadn’t been what he had meant, but it did bring a smile to his face. “You idiot,” he whispered, but quickly sobered himself and turned his attention once more to the threat that still presented itself.

Joker was still looking the ring over, Beast at his side. They could look all they wanted; there was nothing fake to be found. That ring was real and Ciel would attest for it. He would not allow them to go back on their word and claim that Ciel had brought another fake.

“But I’m your idiot,” Sebastian murmured and watched with feverish eyes as Joker finally stepped away from Beast.

“It’s real,” Joker stated and tucked it into his pocket. He glanced at Ciel and Sebastian before cocking his head. “Now the only real question is, what to do with you? Any suggestions?”

Ciel visibly tensed. “I suggest you stick to our deal and let us leave with our lives. You don’t want to get on Tanaka’s bad side by killing us. He will destroy you,” Ciel threatened. He only hoped that that would be enough.

Joker chuckled. “He probably doesn’t know you’re here. Meaning that if we were to kill both of you, it would be weeks before they could hunt your body down and by then, we’d be long gone.”

“There are people who know my whereabouts. They would inform Tanaka of my absence within the next few hours before I return. In fact, I’m sure Tanaka has already found out that I’ve snuck out.” His tone was warning and unwavering. He had no doubt that Joker would not get away with killing them, not with the bombs hidden within the building.

“You’re lying,” Joker stated. “You wouldn’t tell anyone or else you would risk them following you here. And you know what would happen if someone came with you. Although, if you did tell someone where you were going, then we have a problem.” He waved his fingers at the closest guard and then tapped his shoulder.

Ciel watched the action carefully, confusion clouding his mind. “No one followed,” Ciel easily lied. “But I did require an alibi and some help to escape. Needless to say, I was under lock and key.” It was the truth after all, half of it.

Sebastian reached up and tugged on Ciel’s shirt, trying to get his attention. He croaked the younger male’s name just as the gun fired, and he felt Ciel’s body jerk as the bullet tore through his shoulder, in almost the same place as the first bullet wound.

“The time for talking is over,” Joker snarled. “You never should’ve told anyone that you were coming here. This is no one’s fault but your own.”

Against Ciel’s will, his legs crumpled to the floor, and he gasped out in pain as he went to reach for his wounded shoulder. Blood seeped from between his fingers and pain shot down his arm and to his fingers. He had not expected the blow, but it was now so obvious that it had been coming. Cues like the one Joker had given should have stood out to Ciel, but he lacked the experience to recognize them for what they were. He was now paying that price. “You’ve made a dire mistake,” Ciel gritted out through clenched teeth.

Ciel’s blood covered hand left his shoulder and grabbed for the ring box that he had dropped when he’d been shot. The lid was flipped open and the cushion floated out to fall into the small but growing puddle of Ciel’s blood. Inside was a single red button resting within a nest of wires. Ciel couldn’t help but grin at the look of Joker’s face.

“You know what this is?” Ciel asked, but he already knew the answer.

Joker took a small step back, even though he knew that adding distance wouldn’t help. “Don’t shoot!” He screamed and frantically waved his arms. There was no telling if Ciel was bluffing or not, but that was one thing he didn’t want to take a chance on. “Don’t shoot. He’s got a bomb.”

Without much preamble, Ciel pressed down the button and held it down. Everyone in the room seemed to jump, and Ciel couldn’t help but smirk. “They won’t go off by me merely pressing the button, but the moment I lift my thumb...” he trailed off, his meaning clearly understood by those in the room. “Did you really think I would come here without a backup plan?”

“Dead man’s switch,” Joker cursed and glanced around the room, as though the hidden bomb would suddenly appear and they could deactivate it. He knew what would happen if they shot Ciel now. The entire building would go up in flames. “You’re willing to risk your life and Sebastian’s?” He tossed out, hoping to talk some sense into the younger male.

“If we are going to die, then I’ll be sure to take you with me.” A cruel smile split Ciel’s face. “I was never afraid to die. I was only afraid to live without Sebastian. It won’t take much for me to slip and everything goes up in a great boom.”

Sebastian shifted slightly, watching Joker’s face shift though several emotions before a mask of anger overtook his features. Next to him, he could feel Ciel trembling only slightly, the adrenaline in his body helping him to ignore the pain in his shoulder. Anyone looking in from the outside would think that Ciel had the advantage over Joker, but in truth, there was nowhere to take the threat. In the end, they were at a stalemate, and they were running out of time.

To Be Continued . . .


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akiruchan: (Default)
Akiru chan

January 2012

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