akiruchan: (CielPink)
[personal profile] akiruchan
Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 47/?
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-Seven

Fingers drummed along the desk’s surface and tired eyes glanced at the clock. It was almost time, and with a low grunt, Tanaka stood up. His body thrummed with energy despite the early hour and lack of sleep, and he wasn’t sure what it was from. All night long, he had been restless, pacing his office for hours before sitting down in a failed attempt to get work done. Something was wrong but he couldn’t put his finger on it, and such a feeling bothered Tanaka. This wasn’t the sort of feeling he wanted to have right before such a large assignment.

But it was too late to call off the meeting now, and Tanaka moved down the hallway towards the center of the mansion. The family vault was located behind a hidden door under the main staircase. It led downstairs to a secure room lined with concrete and was protected against electronic pulses, making sure that it was safe against technological thieves as well.

Tanaka easily found the seam to the door and pushed it to the side before entering the combination to the first door. The tumblers and pins fell into place before the door swung open, allowing Tanaka to move down the steps into the secure room. The room was cold but Tanaka ignored the chill as he walked to the first safe that was built into the wall, making it impossible to cut out and move. The safe alone had safe traps built into it, so if anyone made a mistake while trying to break the combination, they would have to start everything over again.

He spun the dial on the safe and pulled open the heavy door. His eyes settled on the spot where he had placed the ring, and he pulled out the small box. It was amazing that such a small thing could cause such a large mess. Tanaka opened the box, and his eyes widened at the object that was nestled in the cotton.

“He wouldn’t,” Tanaka breathed and quickly shut the vault door before moving back up the steps. Hurried steps carried Tanaka up the stairs and down the hallway to Ciel’s room. Once he reached the room, he flung open the door, not bothering to knock. The door slammed against the wall before bouncing off it, and Claude jumped at the loud noise.

“Where’s the ring?” Tanaka demanded as Claude tried to calm his racing heart. “And Ciel.”

There was a moment of hesitation as Claude tried to gather his wits and salvage a situation that was already doomed. It was already apparent that Claude had been caught; the hesitation and wide eyed look was probably enough to tell Tanaka all he needed to know.

“He’s in bed asleep with fever. I wouldn’t suggest waking him.” One could only hope that Tanaka would leave it at that. Claude could then only worry about what actions Tanaka would take over the disappearance of the ring. If he took Claude’s word on Ciel being in bed, then no doubt the old man would think foul play within the family. That would not do in a time like this.

“For your sake, I would suggest that you wake him,” Tanaka said, his voice low and stern. “Or I’ll go and wake him up myself. Your choice.”

It wasn’t often that Claude felt panic, but the subtle stirrings were beginning to brew. He glanced to the bed, noticing how rigid Alois’s body had become. The boy was awake and no doubt fearful for what was to come. “I wouldn’t advise waking him,” Claude said once more. He moved to stand between Tanaka and Alois. “Let him sleep.”

Tanaka’s eyebrow arched. “Are you giving me a direct order, Faustus?” He asked, tone icy. He glanced at the bed, noting that the person lying there hadn’t moved an inch despite the noise, meaning they were awake and knew what was going on.

“No, Sir, I was merely making a suggestion,” Claude said carefully. He was treading on dangerous ground. One wrong move and everything would fall apart. Unfortunately it already looked as if he’d be picking up pieces in the end.

“Your suggestion has been duly noted and ignored,” Tanaka stated and glanced up at Claude. “I want to see my grandson now, to see how he’s doing and to make sure that’s he recovering.”

Tanaka pushed past Claude, and it was in that moment that Claude made his mistake. His hand reached out for his superior, clasping him on the shoulder to keep him from heading to the bed and the boy within it. Perhaps it was protective instinct that pushed Claude to do it. There was no telling how Tanaka would act upon finding Alois posing as Ciel. Claude doubted violent action, but he wasn’t quite sure. The situation itself was a delicate matter to all. Tanaka would not take it well.

Tanaka’s hand grasped Claude’s wrist and arm and he pulled the man forward as he hunched his shoulders. His legs trembled slightly as he pulled Claude over his shoulder and pushed him forward, making him land harshly on the floor. Furious eyes glared down at Claude. “Despite what I may look like and what you may think, I am still the head of this family.” He pressed his foot against Claude’s neck, pushing down slightly. “You would do well to remember that.”

It was then that Alois sat up in bed, eyes wide with worry. He had called out, yelling at Tanaka to stop as Claude choked and gaged around the foot. Claude’s eyes were wide as they looked at Alois, knowing everything had just gone to hell in a handbag and there was nothing they could do about it. The only reassurance Claude was given was that enough time had passed for Ciel to reach his destination at the very least.

“As I thought,” Tanaka murmured and lifted his foot off Claude’s neck. He ignored the man as he coughed and gasped for breath and instead headed toward the bed where Alois’s eyes darted between him and Claude. Fear filled his eyes and Tanaka’s hand shot forward, yanking the wig off Alois’s head. Blond hair fell into Alois’s face and Tanaka pulled out the gun that was tucked away behind his back. It pointed at Claude and Alois covered his mouth to hide his outburst. “If I don’t get an answer, I will shoot. Where is Ciel?”

Alois shook his head back and forth, watery blue eyes ready to spill. He didn’t know if Tanaka was bluffing; there was nothing to assure him of that. Tanaka probably would not shoot to kill, but he would harm Claude. That was something Alois could not allow to happen, not for Ciel’s sake at the very least. The boy was not worth that much to either of them, and Alois did not hold Sebastian in any high regard either.

“He left,” Alois said after a moment, earning a glare from Claude. “He left with the ring.”

“To the place where he had been held captive,” Tanaka clarified and grunted when Alois nodded. The gun was lowered and Tanaka pushed up his glasses to rub at his eyes. This was turning into a troublesome sort of events and he should’ve known that Ciel would do something. But he had never expected that Claude would join in as well. It seemed as though the relationship between Sebastian and Claude ran deeper than they ever let on and hadn’t fully vanished with time.

The gun was tucked back away and Tanaka debated his options. The most pressing item was to get to the place where Ciel had vanished off to and only Claude knew how to get there. Tanaka moved over to the man and looked down at him, watching as the eyes darted to the side in respect. “You’re coming with me,” he stated.

Claude could only nod as he stood up, feeling unsteady on his legs after such a fall. He seemed wary of Tanaka and for good reason. The look in the old man’s eyes was unsettling and something Claude had not seen in a long while. This was the Tanaka who had struck fear in many families.

“Shall I get the car?” Claude asked after a moment, not liking the silence piling into the room.

“Do you even have to ask?” Tanaka asked. “Make sure you’re well equipped for this drive. I don’t need a third person dead because of their stupidity.”

For a moment Claude wanted to correct Tanaka. Ciel and Sebastian weren’t dead, but it was only something he could hope for. To tell Tanaka otherwise would just be asking for the man to hand him his ass. Claude had had enough for one night.

“As you wish.” And Claude was out the door, hesitating only a moment to worry about Alois.

Tanaka waited until Claude was further down the hallway before turning to look at Alois. “Get out of that disguise and go wait in your room until we get back. I’ll deal with your punishment later.” He glanced at his watch. “On your way there, tell William to prepare the west wing.”

“The west wing?” Alois cocked his head to the side, brows scrunched in confusion. It seemed like such an odd request at a time such as now.  

“We’ll need an infirmary by the time the day is over,” Tanaka stated and paused at the doorway. “And make sure we have two guest rooms prepared as well. We’ll have some company.”

“Yes, Sir.” It only took a moment for Alois to make a hasty exit, leaving Tanaka alone in the room. If Alois was lucky, things would turn out for the better and Tanaka would be inclined to decrease the severity of their punishment. He didn’t even want to think about what would become of Claude and himself if Ciel or Sebastian died. Hell, if both died then he assumed he ought to kiss his own life goodbye as well. Not wanting to think about it, Alois tossed the thought aside and focused solely on the task at hand.

Sharp eyes glanced around the room, making sure that nothing was left that could be of value before Tanaka left the room, shutting the door behind him. With steady footsteps, he moved to the staircase that would lead to the front of the mansion. Outside, the sun was already starting to come up and Tanaka had no idea how long Ciel had been gone. If he had gone alone, the chances were high that he was already dead, alongside Sebastian.

He snorted at the thought. A present day Romeo and Juliet almost. Two lovers dying together, side by side even though they fought hard to save one another. It was almost ironic, but Tanaka didn’t allow himself to think of such things. He doubted Ciel had gone alone; the boy was reckless but not stupid. If they hurried and left now, they just might be able to get there in time, so long as they reached the location before the sun had fully passed the horizon.

Claude was at the entrance way when Tanaka arrived. He did not look the man in the eye as he drew near, and Claude was sure to bow his head in respect. Too many lines had been crossed for one day and Claude didn’t have a death wish at current.

“The car is ready,” he said and opened the door for Tanaka.

Tanaka nodded, not bothering to give Claude a direct answer. He was still furious at the man, but it seemed as though Claude had learned his lesson and for now, that was all that was needed. He waited for Claude to get inside the car and without a word, they drove away from the mansion.

He glanced out the window, knowing that there was one small silver lining in having Claude listen to Ciel. It meant that Ciel was shifting into the leadership role and people were accepting it, learning to take orders from him, and they would continue to do so in the future. If Ciel came out of this alive, Tanaka had no doubt that the future of the family would be secure in Ciel’s hands.

-------

Everyone in the room stood frozen, as if statues in some grotesque museum. Only the shifting of eyes and the barely there rising and  falling of chests as the occupants breathed could be seem. For now, movement could mean the end. Joker seemed inclined to keep Ciel still and calm, attention trained on the little button in the boy’s hand.

Ciel felt his finger begin to shake with the strength he had put into keeping the button pushed firmly down. It was a ploy. Mey-rin and Finny controlled the bombs, but he could not allow anyone in this room to see past his farce. Not even Sebastian could know at this point, for it would be better if he suspected the worst. It would make the act all the more real.

“So what will it be?” Ciel asked, looking far more confident than he felt.

“He’s bluffing,” Beast said lowly to Joker.

Joker shook his head. “What if he’s not?” He asked, his body tense. His eyes drifted to Sebastian, trying to judge Ciel’s intentions by the way Sebastian held himself. If the man was nervous as well, then it probably meant that Ciel wasn’t bluffing, but if he was calm and had trust in Ciel, then the bombs were a bluff.

It was hard to tell, but the more Joker watched Sebastian, the more he could see that the man was on edge. Tired eyes darted around the room, no doubt wondering where the bombs had been placed as well, but there was no hint of fear for his own life, only Ciel’s. Sebastian wasn’t scared of dying; he had already been ready to die.

Sebastian’s hand rose slightly, grasping Ciel’s pants in an attempt to get his attention. There was no need for both of them to die and if he could get Ciel out, then Sebastian could set off the bombs once he was sure Ciel was far enough away.

Ciel only cast Sebastian a glance. He knew that Sebastian would be able to see right through him if given the chance. They didn’t need that now. “I assure you that I am not bluffing,” he said calmly.

Beast seemed eager to coil her whip tightly around his neck. It was a comfort to see the stiffness in her posture, knowing that even she wasn’t too sure of the situation anymore. Ciel knew that Finny and Mey-rin were waiting patiently on the other end of the hidden radio for orders. As soon as the words were said, the bombs would go off. The button had little more importance than for theatrical purposes.

“How about a deal?” Sebastian croaked. “I’ll take the dead man’s switch and you let Ciel go. Once he’s far enough away, I’ll turn the switch off, and you can finish the job with me.” The words were heavy on his tongue, but Sebastian needed to get Ciel away; he wouldn’t allow the younger male to die with him or for him. Not when Ciel still had so much more to live for.

“I’m not making that deal.” Ciel’s eyes blazed as he turned his attention to Sebastian. “I didn’t come all this way to have you die for my sake.” In any other situation, Ciel might have slapped Sebastian. Perhaps he would save the gesture for later. For now he could only glare and hope that the man would quiet himself.

Beast leaned closer to Joker, her eyes glued on Ciel and Sebastian. “I don’t think he’s bluffing. Sebastian would know and wouldn’t have bothered to put his own life on the line to save Ciel’s.”

Joker frowned. “I think he’s bluffing. He wants to get the demon and himself home, so he wouldn’t bother to blow everyone up, including themselves.” He turned to look at Ciel. “Since you seem to be the master bomb maker, using a dead man’s switch, why don’t you show us your bombs. No bomb works alone; there are several that you can set off at different times. I should know. I used the same type with you, demon.” He looked at Sebastian, his eyes dancing with malicious intent.

“You sure? I’m not sure that’s a chance you want to take. You can either believe me when I tell you there are bombs hidden here, or you don’t.” Ciel was getting nervous. There was only so much stalling he could do before things turned for the worst. Soon he would have to give the order for the first of the bombs to go off. After that, they would have ten minutes before the next, and most deadly, bombs set themselves off.

Ciel had no doubt that he could pull Sebastian from the building. He had a good idea of where the exits were, and once the bombs started to go off, Ciel doubted they would care much for Ciel or Sebastian. They would be far too worried about their own lives.

Sebastian pressed against Ciel more, shivering slightly in the cool room. His head was swimming and he couldn’t figure out if Ciel was bluffing or not. If he wasn’t, then he needed to figure out where the bombs would’ve been placed. He thought back to what Ciel had said and Claude’s name slowly came back to memory.

Claude’s speciality was building bombs and if he built the ones for Ciel, they would indeed go off in sets. Sebastian wasn’t sure how strong the bombs were, but Ciel spoke as though he meant to take down the whole building. If that were the case, then the bombs would be placed near support structures and they would only need a handful of them considering the layout of the building.

Realization dawned in Sebastian and he stiffened against Ciel. The younger male wasn’t bluffing at all and should Joker tempt him enough, Ciel would set them off.

“Joker,” Beast murmured. “Don’t do it. He’s not bluffing,” she stated, her eyes watching Sebastian. The change in the man hadn’t gone unnoticed and she feared what it meant for them. Dying now because of something as stupid as pride was not what she wanted now.

“Doubtful,” Joker answered, dismissing the warning. “And don’t tell me what to do again. I’m the leader here and you will treat me as such. You do not question my judgement and you do not question my orders. Do I make myself clear?”

Beast opened her mouth to defend herself but then closed it quickly as Joker started to her, hand raised in the air. She looked away from him and focused her gaze on the floor. “I understand, Joker.”

“Good,” he snarled and turned back to Ciel. “Show me then, little Prince. Show me your bombs that I’m supposed to be so scared of.”

It was now or never, Ciel decided. A smirk was forced on his face, trying to make him look like the cocky brat he had been called. “Oh, I’ll show them to you. I’ll show you just what these bombs can do.” And just like that, Ciel’s finger released the button. He could only hope that the code words had gone over clear on the mic and that Finny had proceeded to set off the first round.

Out in the field, Finny turned to Mey-rin. “That’s our cue,” he said and held up the real trigger. “It’s now or never. Let’s hope that Ciel can get out in time.”

His thumb pressed down on the button, watching the building down at the bottom of the hill. A second later, the sounds of explosions filled the valley and plumes of smoke curled out from the base of the building. The ground rocked slightly, but was nothing more than a tremor due to the low power behind the bombs. The next set, though, would be much more powerful, and Finny hoped Ciel and Sebastian would get out in time.

“Nine minutes and thirty seconds,” Mey-rin stated from behind him. Her eyes focused on the scope that rested before her and her finger squeezed the trigger, shooting down a sniper before moving onto the next one.

Finny nodded and watched as two more snipers fell to Mey-rin’s fire. They were in chaos, running around and screaming without any action or plan to put into order. For Mey-rin, it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

Inside, things were no more composed. The doubt in Joker’s face had melted away into panic and perhaps fear. He looked at Ciel as the boy smiled, relatively pleased with himself. “Would you like me to show you more?” He asked, the tremor in his voice going unnoticed. Inside, Ciel was shaking, the pain of his shoulder flaring to life once more, and the knowledge that they might not make it out in time was weighing heavily upon his shoulders.

Beast was retreating closer to the door, and Ciel could only hope that Joker would follow suit, along with his guards. If they would leave now, they all could make it out before the final round of bombs went off to destroy the building. Mey-rin would snipe them all down once they ran within range, so Ciel did not worry that any of these men would escape with their lives.

“You bastard,” Joker growled at Ciel and held up his gun again. “You’d bring this building down with yourself and the demon inside it?” He glanced around, knowing that there were more bombs. Ciel had already hinted at it, and Joker didn’t want to be around when they went off.

“We need to leave,” Beast hissed. “Forget about the brat and his boyfriend; they’ll die before they can get out. We have what we need so let’s go.”

Joker scowled at her. “No. He will not upstage me like this. I’m the star in this play and I will not be upstaged by the likes of him.”

Ciel moved back closer to Sebastian, feeling the man’s grip tightening on his pants. He had not foreseen Joker pointing his gun at him, not with the threat of bombs looming over the man’s head. Joker should have run, left to save himself. That was the greedy man that he was, but Ciel had not accounted for the man’s pride.

“If you stay here, you will die with us,” Ciel said carefully, his body rigid.

Beast tugged on Joker’s arm. “Let’s go,” she urged. “It’s not worth it. We have the ring; you’ve won.”

The gun trembled in Joker’s hand as he debated with himself and he wavered slightly. The ring was heavy in his pocket, a constant reminder that they had everything they needed and it would be best to leave now while he still had his life. But at the same time, his pride was warring with him, wanting to put the final bullet in Ciel’s and Sebastian’s head. He had waited for this day for months, ever since he had found out about the pair.

Revenge had pushed him forward and it clawed at him to finish the job. Revenge for everything that Ciel’s family had done against him and for turning his own gang against him. It was a blood lust, one that wouldn’t be sated until he had Sebastian’s and Ciel’s hot blood staining his hands red.

“I won’t,” he panted, eyes wild as they darted between Ciel and Sebastian. “I won’t leave here without finishing you two. And if I have to, I’ll go down with you!”

Ciel shifted unconsciously in front of Sebastian, trying to cover the man’s already broken body as well as he could. “It’ll do you no good to die here. A dead man has no ambitions, no goals. All of this would have been for nothing. You’d have died for nothing.” The words were harsh and Ciel could only hope that they would not have an adverse affect. Still, the gun was quickly becoming less important as the clock ticked away the time they had left. Soon the big bombs would be going off. There would be no escaping then.

The gun trembled in Joker’s hand, and Sebastian watched the man carefully. This could go either way; Joker wasn’t sure himself with what he wanted to do, but Sebastian had a feeling that Joker valued his life more than he was showing. If that was true, then he would eventually give in.

“You two,” Joker growled and moved closer, the gun shaking hard in his hand. “You two are demons. Fucking demons who ruin people’s lives and you deserve to be killed.”

There was nothing Ciel could say. If he opened his mouth now, only belittling and hateful words would fill the room. How dare he say that Sebastian and himself ruined lives! Joker was the one ruining lives, tearing people apart. Ciel’s fist clenched, and he forced himself not to grunt as his shoulder throbbed.

Blue eyes glanced to Sebastian, the man’s deteriorated state was more apparent than ever. He was sickly pale, no color touching his cheeks. Sweat clung to his brows and Ciel could see a slight shake to his frame. They couldn’t be here for much longer. Ciel had to get Sebastian help and it was Joker who still stood in their way.

Beast was hovering in the door, not knowing what to do or where to go. “Joker,” she called, but was ignored. The man was lost to the world. Only Sebastian and Ciel existed to him and it seemed as if he was on ending them both.

To think that Ciel had managed to grow some form of hope within him. He had thought that perhaps they would be able to get out of this alive. All Ciel wanted was another day to lie in bed with Sebastian with nothing to do but enjoy one another. He wanted to kiss Sebastian again, to hold him. Now that all seemed impossible.

Ciel wasn’t ready to die. The thought scared him, even when he tried to make himself believe that he was brave. A voice continued to tell him he could do this. He would die with Sebastian and everything would be okay. Would it really? Ciel couldn’t know and it was that unknowing that clenched at his heart and made it jump in fear. He would die here, in this dingy hell, with Sebastian at his side. It was something he would accept if he had to. What could you do but face death head on? At least he had Sebastian; he was happy for that much.

“Joker!” Beast yelled, the noise echoing around the room, making everyone jump. Her eyes were wide and it was then that Joker realized they were the last two people in the room, bar Sebastian and Ciel.

The gun lowered as it finally sunk in that no one else was willing to stay and fight with him. Beast was going to leave, with or without him, and Joker trembled. His life, he still had more to live and he could leave now. Live to fight another day. And once he was out of here, he could gather his gang and launch a full out war against Tanaka, who would still be mourning the loss of Ciel.

Mind made up, he started to walk forward and smirked as he approached Ciel. His arms rose, as though he was going to give the younger male a hug and he pushed the gun into Ciel’s side while his other arm looped over Ciel’s shoulder. “You will still die by my hands,” he murmured into Ciel’s ear and his finger pulled the trigger.

Not much went through Ciel’s mind in that moment. The pain was there. It was there before the sound of the gunshot registered in his mind. Joker was pulling away and Ciel was falling to his knees. His side felt wet, as if a heated bucket of water had been splashed there. It burned and it bled. Ciel knew this wetness was blood the moment his hands touched his side. The sticky heat could be little else combined with the pain.

Now his shoulder didn’t seem like such a big deal, not compared to the white hot pain spreading into his stomach. There was black around his vision but Ciel pushed through it and kept himself focused as he watched Joker hurry out the door. The man was gone, and he was alone with Sebastian.

“Ciel,” Sebastian panted and pulled the younger male towards him. His hands quickly pressed over the wound, trying to stem the bleeding from a wound that was sickeningly familiar, but so much more damaging, to the one Ciel had given him months ago. Warmth spread through his fingers and Sebastian frowned, pressing harder as he looked around for more fabric to help clot the wound.

Ciel’s body fell back against Sebastian’s. He wasn’t too sure what to do with himself at the moment. The pain was real, and it went deep. It made him sick to his stomach, and his vision blurred once more. His head fell back to lay on a hard shoulder, and he heard Sebastian take a shuddering breath.

“We need to g--get out of here.” Ciel tried to stand but his hip gave out, and the pain seared again. He cried out, tears stinging his eyes even as he tried to compose himself. It was a hopeless task, and Ciel screamed once more when he tried to move himself. He couldn’t fathom what had happened to himself. He’d been shot, but he’d been shot before. However, it was never like this.

“Relax,” Sebastian cooed, trying to soothe Ciel so he didn’t stress the injury anymore. He pressed a kiss to Ciel’s lips before glancing around the room once more. He struggled to stand up, legs shaking as he finally made it to his feet. If he could drag Ciel out, then they stood a better chance of surviving the bombs. His head swam as he leaned down to grab Ciel, and Sebastian pitched forward, grunting as his shoulder took the weight of his fall.

The room spun around him as pain tore through his body before blackness took over his vision, leaving Sebastian panting on the floor as he waited for the tremors to pass. Slowly, the room came back into focus, and he tilted his head towards Ciel, hoping that the younger male hadn’t passed out during his small blackout.

Ciel was on his back, head turned to look at Sebastian. Worry was plain on his face, and Ciel reached out a hand for the older male. “We’re not getting out of here, are we?” His free hand passed over the eye patch on his eye, yanking it off and looking over the black piece of fabric. They only had a minute or less before the bombs went off, and no one would be able to get to them by then. With a sad sigh, he crushed the mic, wanting these last moments to be between only Sebastian and himself. “I feel like I’m giving up too easily, but what’s the point in hoping when neither of us can st--stand.” A spark of pain hit him, and he coughed up a small glob of blood.

A pained look crossed Sebastian’s face at the words, and he crawled as best as he could to Ciel’s side. “I’m sorry, Ciel,” he murmured and pressed his face against Ciel’s neck. He could feel the pulse there, faint and lagging, but still alive. “I’m so sorry. If I had known this would’ve happened, I never would’ve dragged you into my life. I didn’t want this for you.” His arm rose slowly and carefully settled over Ciel’s chest, pulling him closer.

Ciel scoffed. “I’m starting to get tired of hearing that. I wasn’t dragged anywhere. Everything I did, I wanted. Stop brooding over the past. What’s done is done. You can’t change that.” It was nice to feel Sebastian so close to him. He gave Ciel some comfort, despite the fiery pain that coursed through Ciel’s body. A tremor passed through Ciel’s frame, and he felt so cool against Sebastian’s overheated body. “You’re warm.” The thought was pointless, but Ciel found it better when he talked. It helped to keep his mind off things.

Around them, they could hear people yelling from outside. No doubt they had discovered the sniper. Ciel could only hope Mey-rin and Finny would be okay in the end. More so, he hoped the Joker would be brought to justice and the ring would go to whom it truly belonged to. It held little importance to Ciel at the moment.

“You feel good,” Sebastian admitted, knowing that Ciel was losing blood fast if his body was already growing cold. He forced himself to sit up and once more looked around the room. The jacket he had worn when he had first arrived was lying on the nearby chair, and Sebastian cradled his arm to his chest as he crawled over to the piece of furniture. He was panting by the time he reached it, and against his wishes, had to rest next to the chair in order to catch his breath.

His body was giving out on him, reminding Sebastian that if he kept pushing the way he was, that it wouldn’t hold out much longer. The warning was ignored, though, as he made his way back to Ciel’s side, his breath coming as harsh wheezing sounds compared to the rasp that had been present earlier.

“Stay awake,” he said to Ciel and tore into the jacket with his teeth. The fabric didn’t tear very well since he didn’t have the strength to properly tear the material, but Sebastian wasn’t looking for pretty as tried to patch the wound.

“I didn’t want it to end like this. Not here...” Ciel said suddenly as he panted for breath. Sebastian was having to move him quite a bit to apply the bandages. Each touch had Ciel gritting his teeth and wanting it all just to fade. He cursed everything for making it so much easier to give up. Lying there was peaceful; he would die, but it would be quick and the pain would be less. To fight meant pain, both physical and mental. Ciel had fought so much in the past few days, and he wondered if he could go on for much longer. Everything seemed so hopeless then and it made Ciel sick.

Sebastian shook his head. “It’s not. We’re not going to.” He choked on his words, knowing that they were nothing but lies. He knew it, and Ciel knew it. His hand fell from Ciel’s wound, where blood was already starting to seep through the newest layer of fabric. If his other arm weren’t so useless, then they might’ve stood a chance, but as it was, Sebastian couldn’t do much, either. He was weak and his body was worn out, wanting nothing more than to sleep.

He lowered himself next to Ciel and fitted his body next to the younger male. Ciel pushed back against him weakly, and Sebastian buried his face into Ciel’s neck. “I love you,” he whispered. “I love you so much.”

Ciel said nothing for a moment. He felt cold, and his body shook as it emptied itself of its much needed blood. Shivers raced through him, and Ciel tried to push himself closer to Sebastian. He couldn’t bring himself to return the affection of Sebastian’s words. To do so seemed so final and Ciel had yet to squander the remaining hope for a life past this moment. He wanted to live, and he surely did not want to hand over his life to Joker this easily. Ciel’s life belonged to one person to dictate its course.

“Sebastian.” Ciel’s voice was quiet, head muddled from too many emotions and too much pain. “Don’t let us die here,” he said. Blue eyes rolled to the side, looking at the man who looked so uncharacteristically lost and broken. Just what horrors had Sebastian been forced to face? “My life belongs to you, and you alone. No one else can have it; it’s not theirs to take. Don’t let us die here. Don’t let someone else steal the life that belongs to you,” Ciel pleaded and hoped to reignite the fire within Sebastian that seemed to have dimmed to nothingness.

Sebastian shifted slightly, the only sign that he had heard Ciel in the first place. His own thoughts were racing and for a second, he let himself feel at peace next to Ciel. The moment passed in an instant, and Sebastian pressed a soft kiss to Ciel’s neck. “Where were the bombs placed?” He asked, lifting his head up to glance around the room.

With a grunt, Ciel propped himself up on his good arm. The sudden movement made his head swim, but he pushed past it to answer Sebastian. “Inside, but I’m not sure where. Finny infiltrated and set them up while I was here. We probably only have seconds before the bombs go off.” He looked around the room and decided he might as well try to work past the pain and stand once more.

The attempt was for naught, and Ciel crumpled back to the floor. “Shit.” The pain was nearly unbearable. It overtook him and it was impossible to escape it. White began to crawl in around his vision. He tried to shake it off while he screamed past the pain that ruptured as Ciel attempted to get up once more.

Ciel heard the pitter patter of his own blood on the concrete floor. The sound made his stomach turn, and he toppled forward onto his injured shoulder. He had to get up; he had to stay awake. Every drop of blood was another piece of his consciousness crumbling away. Faintly, Ciel knew he felt the first tremor of a bomb. The building shook, but Ciel was already losing his battle against his body. Everything seemed like a dream as Ciel fell into nothing.

Sebastian cursed and pulled Ciel toward him, cradling the younger male against his chest. The bombs were already going off inside, and Ciel was nothing but dead weight against him. The younger male was going to pass out any second, and Sebastian already knew that he wouldn’t be able to get out now, not with the bombs going off.

“Stay awake for me, Ciel,” he said harshly and struggled to stand up. His body rebelled and after three attempts to stand once more, Sebastian was left in a crumpled heap next to Ciel. Neither of them could walk. That much was obvious now, and Sebastian lowered his head next to Ciel’s as another bomb shook the building. “Are you still awake?” He asked lowly, eyes darting around for the ideal spot to take shelter.

Ciel did not answer, nor could he answer. Only a few shakes passed through his sleeping body, as he struggled to breathe past the building smoke and dust. The bombs were quickly doing their job of destroying the building, the front having crumbed under the first blast.

Sebastian cursed and took one last look down at Ciel before looping his good arm under Ciel’s. His feet wouldn’t support him, but his knees were the next best thing. They trembled under his weight but still held, giving Sebastian a brief flare of hope. If Finny had been placing the bombs, he wouldn’t have placed them near the area where they were being held and the best place to go would be the hallway, in the corner between the outside wall and the wall of the interrogation center.

Panting, Sebastian stumbled forward and cried out in pain as he landed on his broken arm. The pain had dulled to a throbbing ache over the past few hours and so long as Sebastian didn’t move it, the pain was somewhat bearable. But now the pain was back in full force and it only served to remind Sebastian how torn up his body was. The knowledge made him falter, and a few seconds passed before he could push the pain out of his mind as best he could.

Pressing his arm close to his chest, Sebastian started forward again. Ciel’s weight was comforting and the only thing that pushed him forward as he continued towards the door. Sweat covered his body by the time he reached the door, and Sebastian nearly collapsed as the hallway spun around him. Dead bodies covered the floor and tired eyes focused on them before another tremble rocked the building.

Debris fell from the ceiling and Sebastian collapsed to the ground with it, his strength failing him. There was little more that he could do now. Black was starting to appear around his vision, and he struggled to his knees once more, ignoring the pain that came from his skin being rubbed raw.

“We’ll make it, Ciel,” he murmured and looked towards the corner of the building, about five feet from them. The younger male didn’t answer; the only sounds coming from him were shallow breaths. With a shaky sigh of his own, Sebastian headed towards the safe spot, even as the walls were crumbling down around them.

------

Mey-rin threw down the radio. “Shit.” The static over the speakers did little to settle her nerves. She kept hoping for just a whisper of Ciel’s voice, anything to help ease her mind. The gunshots that had sounded over the radio minutes before everything went quiet had Mey-rin worrying her bottom lip. It was very likely that something had gone wrong, and worst case scenario, Ciel was dead.

“We have five minutes before the second strings of bombs go off,” she said after a moment, looking over to a pale Finny. No doubt he knew just what all of this could mean.

“One minute,” Finny stated boldly. “If they’re not out in one minute, I’m going down.” He rushed over to the case that sat next to a tree near Mey-rin and opened it, pulling out a coil of wire and C4 blocks. This wasn’t how things were supposed to happen and Finny had been so sure that Ciel would make it back without a problem. He couldn’t bear to think of losing Ciel or Sebastian, not after Bard’s death. He couldn’t stand to lose anyone else.

Looking through the scope, Mey-rin focused her attention back to the ground below. She took the moment to take out three more hired arms. It was easy to pick them out, since they were all wearing the same thing. Not the smartest choice, but it made it all the more easier for her. Still, there was only one individual that they wanted alive, and that was the man Ciel had referred to as Joker.

So far no one resembling his description had exited the building, and Mey-rin had been keeping a hawk’s eye on the area. She suspected that the higher ups would be exiting last, especially if they were still conversing with Ciel. Hopefully they had yet to kill either of their captives, or Ciel and Sebastian had been able to gain control over the situation. Another minute passed and still no sign of either male surfaced.

“I’m going in,” Finny said and started forward, knowing that Mey-rin would cover him. All of the snipers were gone and it was easier to get down the hill knowing that he wouldn’t be shot at. He made it down quickly and without hesitation, moved to the side of the building and set up the bomb. It was mounted on the wall in a circular position and after a short ten second wait, a neat hole appeared in the wall just as the first bomb went off.

There was only a moment’s hesitation as Finny cleared the hallway before he stepped into the building. Dead bodies littered the floor and he carefully checked each one in order to assure himself that it wasn’t a body he knew. Each passing body brought a sigh of relief but also a hint of fear. Time was quickly running out and Finny wasn’t finding any sign of either Ciel or Sebastian.

Bombs were already going off, and smoke was filling the hallways, making it harder to see and breathe. Panic filled Finny as he moved faster, turning down a hallway only to be stopped as a bomb went off further down the hall. “Shit,” he cursed and turned back around. There was another bomb in that hallway, and he quickly searched his mind to remember where he placed them all.

He knew that he couldn’t go any farther in. If he didn’t turn around and leave now, Finny would bring himself into the direct line of fire. A war waged within him as he thought over just how much further he could move into the building before he would be assuring his own death. The building shook as a bomb exploded, and a piece of drywall fell around him. Everything was falling apart, making the situation look all the more grim.

“Sebastian! Ciel!” He called as a last hope, hearing nothing in reply around the crumbling and falling of rubble.

Sobbing, Finny turned from the collapsing hallway and stumbled back to the place where he had first entered. Mey-rin was yelling in his ear that he had only a minute left before the final bomb went off and the building fully collapsed. Tears streaked down his face, and he tripped over a dead body but Finny paid little mind to it.

“They’re not here,” he cried to Mey-rin as he ran through the carnage and stepped outside the building. “I couldn’t find them. Couldn’t protect them.”

No reply was given for a moment. Finally Mey-rin spoke carefully over the radio, as if composing herself as she did so. “They might have gotten out already.” But she would have seen them; she knew she would have seen them. No one had escaped her sight. The last target she had taken down was their main objective, hitting Joker in the legs before shooting the woman in his company through the head. No one had come out then, and she feared the worst.

“I’ve taken down our prime target. He’s east of you. Go pick him up but be careful, he might be armed,” Mey-rin ordered, hoping to get their minds on something else for the moment.

Finny nodded and wiped away the tears. The most he could do now for Sebastian and Ciel was to dispatch of their target and he would do so with great pleasure. He rounded the building and found the man crawling away from the building, crying and screaming out in pain. With a cruel smile, Finny pulled the man to his feet.

“Hello,” he said and smirked as he twisted his arm around. “You and I are about to become great friends. Now walk.” He pushed him forward and made it to the creek just as the final bomb went off, sending a shock wave rippling through the area.

Groaning and cracking noises left the building as the roof collapsed in the middle, taking the upper parts of the walls down with it. Finny tensed and watched as flames erupted from the building, and he couldn’t stop the small sob that left him.

“They’re dead already,” the man said. “I shot the brat right before I left and the demon was already knocking on death’s door. They would’ve died before now and if not, they’re dead for sure now.”

Finny had to restrain himself from killing this man. His eyes overflowed with tears, but it did little to weaken his hate that welled up alongside the hurt. It was only a small comfort to know that if this man lived, he would be facing a far greater hell once Tanaka got his hands on him. That alone kept Finny from giving him a quick end.

“You’re lying,” Finny said after a moment, trying his best to believe that very statement.

The man chuckled. “I shot him myself, right through the side. There’s no way to survive that amount of blood loss. I hit his artery. It’s over.” Laughter overtook him and soon he was doubled against Finny, laughing. “I won. I beat you bastards and finally won. Your family will crumble, and mine will rise up and take over England, as it was meant to.”

Finny’s hand struck hard across the man’s face, sending him toppling to the ground. “Your family will do no such thing,” he said coldly. “They will be hunted down and destroyed like the rats they are, and you’ll suffer every day they’re alive.”

He reached down and grabbed the man’s shirt collar. Without any concern, he started to walk to the slope of the hill where Mey-rin would meet him. The sound of tires crunching gravel was the only thing that made him pause, and Finny held his breath as the vehicles came into view.

They stopped before him and Finny trembled slightly as Claude stepped out of the car, hurrying to the other side to let out the passenger. “Mr. Tanaka,” Finny breathed, suddenly feeling dread sink into his bones. He watched as both Claude and Tanaka glanced at the burning building before turning to him, and Finny gulped but squared his shoulders for the reprimand that was to come.

No lecture came from Tanaka, the man seeming too preoccupied with other worries to give Finny a piece of his mind. The old man merely stayed silent as he watched the burning building with a blank face. It was Claude who moved forward, eyes on Joker for only a moment, attention being fully placed upon Finny.

“Your report on the situation,” Claude demanded, a slight waver to his words. It almost went unnoticed to Finny, but it could not be mistaken coupled with the look in the man’s eyes.

“All snipers and hired men have been taken care of and we have the man responsible for everything in our possession.” Finny stated and shook Joker slightly. He turned sad eyes to Claude. “After the bombs went off, I tried to locate Ciel and Mr. Sebastian, but I had to pull out after the building started to collapse. I couldn’t find them.”

Claude’s eyes narrowed, taking in the tear stains on Finny’s cheeks. He didn’t wish to put too much thought into that, not right now. There had been no confirmation of Sebastian’s or Ciel’s death, and for now, Claude would like to keep it as such.

“Where is Mey-rin?” Claude asked, looking around. “Get her down here.” Perhaps she could deliver good news from all of this. It was already unnerving with Tanaka standing so close, seemingly lost to the world as he watched the building burn and crumble in on itself. They could both only hope that Sebastian and Ciel were not meeting their death within those flames.

Finny nodded and turned to the spot where Mey-rin was waiting. He inclined his head, and she gave a short confirmation before Finny glanced back up at Claude. “What do we do now?” He asked, scared of the answer. They were already in trouble with Tanaka, and Finny didn’t even want to think about what might happen if his friends were dead.

It took a long while before Claude answered, his face set into a deep frown. “We wait, and we hope for the best.” There wasn’t more they could do at that moment. Backup would be called in, Joker would be collected and taken back to the mansion, and during all of that they would wait for the flames to die away.

A body count would be done, and identification would begin. Claude already knew that he would be one of the few forced to take such a task upon himself. The thought of finding the unthinkable tore at him, and he had to force himself to stay composed. He could already smell the burning of flesh and fuel. It was a sickening mix, but nothing compared to what he might be facing in a matter of hours.

“They’re still alive,” Finny said bravely and watched as the flames continued to lick the side of the building. It hurt to think otherwise, and Finny refused to let himself believe such a thing. He watched hollowly as another group of people started to put out the fire, and it made him wonder when Tanaka had given the order to do so.

Approaching footsteps made him look up, and Finny glanced at Tanaka sullenly, not wanting to see the older male’s face. It was carefully masked but he could see the pain present in the man’s eyes.

“Once the flames are put out, we’ll go inside and search the building. All the bodies will be counted for and no matter what happens, we’ll find them. Dead or alive, I still want them found,” Tanaka stated. Closure wouldn’t make him feel better, but it was better to have their bodies and put them to rest properly than have two empty grave-sites.

Claude backed away from Tanaka looking slightly reluctant. He wanted to believe Finny’s words, but looking at the building now, it seemed foolish to even hope for so much. They would need to hurry and get the fire under control before it overtook the whole building and burned everything to ash. There would be no way to identify anything if it was left in such a state.

“Mr. Tanaka!” The group of three, Joker not included, turned to see Mey-rin jogging up to them with her rifle slung over her shoulder. “I’ve taken out every target and I believe the ones remaining inside of the building are most likely dead. There are no survivors...” She paused for a minute, face looking stricken and unsettled. “And there hasn’t been any sign of Ciel or Sebastian,” Mey-rin added as she looked to the ground.

Tanaka nodded, taking in the words with a stern, solemn face. It wasn’t the news that he wanted to hear and part of him died inside at the thought of losing Ciel and Sebastian. This wasn’t what he had wanted for his grandson, and to have him die so early was hard for him to fathom. He turned towards the building where a small group was trying to control the fire.

“Start searching the bodies,” he finally said. “We need to get a count of how many enemies we had and find Sebastian and Ciel, dead or alive. No matter what happened to them, we’re not leaving them behind.”

Finny swallowed hard and started to move forward with Mey-rin, who looked upset as well. The idea daunted them and it took every once of their willpower to take that first step forward.

Once they were gone, Tanaka turned to Claude who was still standing next to him. “Part of this is your fault as well.” He faced the building once more. “If they die, this will also be on your shoulders.”

Claude continued to stare out at the flames, his frown deepening. He didn’t want to think that this had been his fault. Ciel was his superior, and as such he had just been following orders, even if it meant going against Tanaka’s orders. Personal gain might have come into play, but at the moment, Claude wasn’t sure if he regretted his decision or not.

Joker was spared a quick glance before Claude turned towards the burning building once more. Ciel would have tried to leave one way or another. At least with the help he had been given, they were able to best the men responsible for this disaster.

“If they died,” Claude began carefully, “then they died happily and with one another. It was all they wanted in the end.” He truly believed that.

Tanaka didn’t answer and watched as Claude moved away from him, towards the building. He took in Claude’s words carefully, knowing that they were true, and to a degree, it brought a small level of comfort. But it still didn’t help to ease the pain that had started to grow in his chest at the thought of losing Ciel and Sebastian.

He had only just met Ciel and had looked forward to watching the younger male grow, even when he was leading the family himself. And Sebastian had always been the son he had never had, and to lose him after so many years was just as heartbreaking. Tanaka shook his head, pushing the thoughts from his head.

Right now, he couldn’t afford to think of such things. He had to be strong for everyone and showing such emotion would put his leadership into question. So for now, he would simply watch the flames with a blank face, while he silently hoped inside.

To Be Continued . . .

Date: 2011-09-06 09:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stormybabe88.livejournal.com
*flails* OMG! I-I just, OMG!

(I'm loving this, but have no real words to describe how much XD)

Date: 2011-09-13 06:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Haha xD Well I'm glad you're enjoying it. ^^ <3

Date: 2011-09-06 11:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilovesyunjae.livejournal.com
Heyyyyy!!!!! ciel n sebby!!!!! Pls stay alive!!!!!!

Date: 2011-09-13 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
^^ Indeed, they need to hang in there!

Date: 2011-09-07 02:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] highprofilelove.livejournal.com
Tbh, I can't really form coherent thoughts right now but this line really struck me most: "'If they died,'Claude began carefully, 'then they died happily and with one another. It was all they wanted in the end.' He truly believed that."

Great chapter as always ♥

Date: 2011-09-13 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Ah yes that line! ^^ I think I actually wrote that one. xD lol. I get so confused over what Claude parts I've written and what parts Disgruntled Minion wrote. We have a very similar writing style that I can't pick them apart anymore. lol.

But I truly believe just what Claude has said. If they do die, then they died happy, and I think that's all that matters in the end. ^^

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