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Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 42 (part two)/?
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

Part Two

It was dark, and he hurt. Ciel became aware of that the moment he woke, feeling as if someone had just tumbled him down the side of a cliff. Joints and muscles felt strained and too heavy to move. Smells of mold, stale water, and blood came to Ciel, none of which were welcomed. He choked, jaw tightening around a gag that he had just become aware of. Ciel’s arms were heavy, pulled down against the back of the chair in which he sat. Tight binds tore into his wrists and ankles, cutting deep and burning. It hurt, and it was dark.

Nothing was right. This was all wrong. Ciel had expected being restrained, perhaps even gagged, but not in such a harsh way. There was no love or care given to how he was bound. That alone told Ciel that this was not Sebastian’s doing. His heart raced, reaching up into his throat and pounding so ferociously that it made Ciel’s head spin. Fear gripped him, a scream tearing through his mouth and being muffled by the gag. No one could hear him; no one could save him.

Sebastian. The thought of the man had Ciel’s gut twisting. He didn’t know what could have happened to Sebastian once he had come to collect Ciel, only to find Ciel gone. Where was Sebastian now? Possibility after possibility flooded Ciel’s mind, each worse than the next. His eyes stung with tears, and with renewed vigor, he struggled against his bindings with a hope to free himself. He couldn’t be here. Anywhere was better than here. If they had gotten to Sebastian as well, then he could be near, and Ciel had to get to him. He had to save him.

A low chuckle in the room broke the silence, and soft footsteps padded in the darkness. Calloused fingers brushed over Ciel’s face, tracing the tear tracks that had escaped the blue eyes before moving down his sides. They ran over his ribs, feeling each bump until the came to a stop right above Ciel’s pants.

The hand moved away, and the footsteps faded from the venerable body. For a moment, silence filled the room until the loud crack of a whip cut through the silence. Ciel’s muffled scream pierced the darkness, and the person could only chuckle once more.

“It’s about time you woke up, little prince,” the voice commented. “It’s rude to sleep and keep your hosts waiting.”

The voice was distinctly female, but it mattered very little to Ciel at the moment. His body shook in painful tremors and he could feel a slick wetness pouring like tears from the fiery pain in his shoulder. Another scream tore his throat raw as another crack preceded a ripping ache in Ciel’s thigh. He couldn’t see a thing, and the anxiety of not knowing when the next strike would come or who his attacker could be was a pain in itself.

Another muffled scream filled the room, and the woman clicked her tongue in annoyance. “This won’t do,” she said and walked forward to rip the gag out of Ciel’s mouth. The whip cracked again, and this time a louder wail bounced off the walls. “There, that’s much better,” she murmured.

Ciel’s mouth was dry and tasted of blood from where he had bitten himself. Raspy breaths fell past chapped lips, and blue eyes looked up to see a glimmer of light catching the whip before it came crashing down against his chest. The scream that left Ciel sounded almost alien. It was a sound he had never before heard himself utter.

“Wh--who... are you...” Ciel managed to say after he was given a moment of reprieve.

The woman scoffed. “You don’t need to know my name,” she said and raised her whip again when a hand caught her wrist. She jerked around and scowled at the person behind her. “What are you doing? Let me go!”

“We’re not supposed to leave any lasting marks, Beast.” A man murmured softly. “It’s harder to exchange him to get what we want when he’s a bloody mess, no matter whom he is.”

Despite everything, Ciel couldn’t help but feel grateful towards the newcomer. At least now he could hope to gather his pain consumed mind and piece together a plan of action. As it was now, there was little Ciel could hope to do. His hands and ankles were securely bound, and there was no hope to free himself at the moment.

A snap and a blinding light stung at Ciel’s eyes and forced them closed. He blinked once and then twice with little improvement. How long had he been out and in the dark? It seemed far too long for his liking. Seconds stretched into minutes until finally Ciel’s eyes focused, and he was able to get his first look around the room.

It was dimmer than he had initially expected, and windowless. The walls seemed damp, years of water and mold stains covering a great portion. Blood. Ciel could tell from just a simple glance that blood, aged with time, coated the floors. Soon, as his own blood streamed more and more down his body, Ciel would add to that scarlet collage.

Blue eyes, glazed from pain, trailed up to finally regard his captors. It was the woman who first drew his eye. She was all curves and curls, hair a black voluminous mound around her face. This woman was beautiful, but it wasn’t her beauty that caught Ciel’s eye. She looked familiar, but in a way one might find seeing the stranger they had bumped into the day before, a week later in passing. Ciel could not place where he had seen this woman, only that he had seen her perhaps once before.

A movement diverted Ciel’s attention then, and he set his sights on the man who had come as a savior. He looked middle-aged, there was no mistaking that, with a similar head of wavy ebony hair. There was no sign of relation between the two, and Ciel left the similarities at that.

“Who are you?” Ciel tried again, hoping to get more answers from the new arrival.

“They call me Doc,” the man said and took a step closer to Ciel. With a small sigh, he leaned down to examine the bleeding wounds with a careful eye. “They’ll heal with time, but I’d advise you not to move too much until I can treat them. Don’t want your precious body all scarred up now, do we?”

Beast snorted. “There’s nothing wrong with roughing him up. He’s the closest one to that demon and would know where our item is.” She cracked the whip off to the side, the sound only emphasising her anger. “He’ll talk once the pain becomes too much to bear. A little prince like him probably isn’t trained to handle interrogation pain, and he’ll break easily.”

Ciel cared little about the state of his injuries. The mention of ‘that demon’ had caught his attention, knowing just whom they were referring to. “Sebastian, what have you done with him?” From the way this woman spoke, it seemed like Sebastian was still alive. He could only hope for the best at this point.

“Nothing, yet.” She chuckled and cracked her knuckles. “But I can’t wait to tear into him with my whip. String him up and whip him until his skin is nothing but ribbons, waiting to fall off his body.”

“Don’t you dare lay a hand on him,” Ciel demanded, though he was in no position to. There was little that he could do, not when he was bound and had no clue where the older man was being held. Sebastian would be far more capable of handling this situation, but Ciel couldn’t rely on the man. For all he knew, Sebastian was in a situation far worse than Ciel’s. “Where is he?” If Ciel could figure that much out, then perhaps he could wait this out until an opportunity showed itself. When that happened, he would rush straight towards Sebastian.

Beast scoffed and flipped her hair over her shoulder. “If we knew that, we wouldn’t have needed you,” she commented. “Your demon boyfriend is still out of our grasp, but since we have you, he’ll come running. And he’ll have exactly what we’re looking for.”

Relief washed over Ciel, and he found himself relaxing despite his own predicament. Sebastian was safe it seemed, and at the moment that was all that mattered. Yet another thought pricked at Ciel for attention. If they did not have Sebastian, then how did Ciel come to reside here? The answer was blatant, and Ciel felt like an idiot all the more. It had been no Sebastian whom he had woken up to. Who it had been didn’t matter, but it was obvious that Ciel had earned himself this disaster.

“You’ll never get him, or what you’re looking for,” Ciel spat, looking far too proud for someone tied and bleeding. There was no reason for him to back down and give into these creeps. He could take what they gave him, and Ciel had some faith that this so-called doctor would keep this woman from harming him.

The whip cracked once more,lashing at Ciel’s face with a speed so fast no one in the room had seen it move. The tip hit its target with deadly accuracy, and Ciel’s scream echoed throughout the room. “I think you underestimate us and overestimate him,” Beast hissed and coiled the whip back up in her hands.

“Beast!” Doc called quickly and moved from his spot behind Ciel to look at the new wound. “Fuck. Joker’s not going to be happy with this.” His hands carefully cupped Ciel’s cheeks, tilting his head to the side so the injury was in the light.

Ciel continued to gasp and cry out. The pain was like nothing else, leaving his whole face on fire. A part of him knew he was crying, but that was only a half truth. One eye cried with an impressive flow, shedding tears of blood. The wetness was unrelenting, and Ciel had the strong urge to reach up to grasp at his right eye, but he feared what he would feel there. Coppery blood slid into his mouth, and Ciel coughed and choked on it, as he feared the worst.

Another scream tore from Ciel’s throat as the doctor examined the wound, prying the eyelid open. The fact that Ciel could only see a dim nothingness twisted at his gut, making him sick. That, coupled with the pain, caused whatever rested in his stomach to lurch up and spill forth, covering his lap and floor. The smell alone had Ciel gagging and forcing up another bout of stomach fluids until he was merely dry heaving.

Beast’s nose curled at the sight, and her lips pulled down into a deep set frown. “Just leave it be, Doc. A little pain might do him some good.” She examined her nails and listened to the doctor curse and mumble under his breath.

“He’s no good to us if he’s permanently damaged,” Doc hissed and turned back to Ciel. “The lacerations around the eye will heal with time, but I’m not sure about the eye itself. I can’t tell the amount of damage in this dim light. But I fear that his vision will be impaired in this eye for the rest of his life.”

That had not been what Ciel wanted to hear, and it caused violent shakes to hit him. How was this happening to him? Why was this happening. What had he done to deserve this? Wasn’t he doing all this to keep Sebastian safe? To be by the man’s side? He had killed more than he cared to count in the name of love, and he had enjoyed it. Was this what he deserved? To be treated in the same fashion that he had treated others? It wasn’t fair! He did what he did for selfless reasons, so he told himself. He did it to keep the ones he loved safe. Could these people say the same? Would they kill him here in the name of love or some similar emotion? Would this be where Ciel’s life ended, and where he’d lose himself to the Hell he had willingly walked into?

Ciel’s mind raced and he became panicked. “Why are you doing this?” He screamed, not caring how much it was beginning to hurt his throat. “What the hell do you want?”

“We’re doing this because Sebastian has something of ours,” a new voice said from the doorway. “And you, Ciel, are Sebastian’s weakness. We’ve been watching you two for a while now, and I have to admit that I’ve never seen the man’s defenses lowered so much in all the years I’ve known him. You’ve done a wonderful thing; something that most people could only hope to achieve. You’ve made Sebastian soft, made him feel something other than cold hearted duty.”

There was a pause as the male walked closer and brushed aside the doctor. Fingers reached out and threaded through Ciel’s hair, yanking the male’s head back. Light flashed overhead before the man’s head leaned forward to eclipse part of the light.

“But because of you, he stole something from us. Something that is extremely important.” There was a small scoff. “And it’s taken us longer than we would have liked to get it back. But now that we have you, we’ll be sure to get it. So thank you, Ciel Phantomhive, for crippling Sebastian and giving us the perfect bait to lure him here.” A cold hand slapped Ciel lightly, and the man smiled as though everything was just fine and they weren’t talking about wanting to kill a man.

“Fuck you!” Ciel voice was thick with malice. “You’ll never get your hands on him, or your damned trinket.” It didn’t matter what the item was that they sought; Ciel didn’t care. What concerned him was Sebastian’s role in all of this. He couldn’t allow them to get their hands on the other man, but what that meant chilled Ciel to the bone. They wanted to trade Ciel for Sebastian; that much was for sure. And for Ciel, the realization was something he didn’t want to put into words. Swallowing hard, he forced himself to accept the inevitable.

When he had signed up for this, all he had wanted was to protect Sebastian no matter the costs. And now was the time to make good on that vow, even if it meant forfeiting his life. A dead body was worth little to anyone. As much as it would hurt Sebastian, Ciel could die happy knowing that at least the older man would live. That alone was good enough for Ciel.

The thought was fortunately much happier in theory. The prospect of death terrified Ciel, and he wondered if he could ever willingly kill himself no matter the reasons behind it. It sickened him to think that he was so petty as to cling to his life when he knew it would bring about Sebastian’s own death. Ciel shook his head, the action bringing a tremor of pain through his body. He couldn’t think of himself at a time like this. In reality, he knew that even if Sebastian came, they would kill both Sebastian and himself. Ciel would not leave here alive, and that comforted him in the most morbid of ways.

The man chuckled. “Don’t be so angry, Phantomhive. You’ll leave here alive, I can promise you that much. It’s not as though you did anything bad to us. You just had the unfortunate luck of catching Sebastian’s eye.” He shook his head and stood back up, dusting his hands off. “That alone is enough torture for you, in my opinion. So once we get our item, we’ll let you go. And then you’ll be free of him; maybe one day you’ll thank us.”

Ciel didn’t want to hear that, not when he had resigned himself to death. To know that he could live while Sebastian died did little to calm him. “Don’t lie!” He yelled, voice already growing hoarse. “Killing me would end up crippling my family.” The words sounded strange on his tongue as Ciel tried to bargain away his life.

“Such brave words,” the male said and waved his hand slightly. “But I gain more from leaving you alive than killing you. Killing you wouldn’t cripple your family. If you hadn’t shown up, Sebastian would’ve been named the heir, so don’t think that they don’t have a backup plan in place in case the next in line is killed.”

Next to him, Beast snorted and watched Ciel carefully. “And saying such a thing makes you sound full of yourself. The family wouldn’t collapse just because you’re dead.” She laughed lightly. “They would mourn, yes, but they would also move on. It’s not as though you’re the head of the family right now.”

The man shushed her with a quick motion of his head. “She’s right in that sense. But if I leave you alive, then I have some leverage against your family.” He grinned. “I spared you your life which means they’d owe me in some form or fashion. And it keeps us on good terms with the family.”

“They’d owe you nothing!” Ciel spat at the man’s feet, a nasty concoction of saliva and blood. “Kidnapping and defacing me will do little to keep you on good terms with Tanaka. You’ve caused too much trouble to find any favor with my family.” The man knew little of the unrest he had caused. Ciel knew better than to think that Tanaka would allow this matter to fall into obscurity once Ciel was safely back home. These people would pay.

The man frowned. “I admit that our past actions were a little less than unsavory, if that’s what you’re talking about. But I think Tanaka would be more than happy to have you back alive, even if you’re slightly injured. Injuries can be healed, but you can’t bring back the dead.”

“I don’t think damaged goods are worth much.” If Ciel’s eye was as bad as it seemed, than it would indeed hinder his ability and importance in the family. Who was going to respect someone who couldn’t shoot straight?

“You are when you’re the heir,” Beast snapped. “Tanaka will take you back, damaged goods or not. Besides, why are you complaining? We’re going to let you live; that should be good enough for you. Anyone else would be grateful.”

Ciel always did have trouble being grateful for the things he was given. Perhaps it was the difficulty of seeing the silver lining in everything. Or... “Maybe I want to die here,” he said, voice unwavering.

The man shook his head. “Sorry, but we can’t have that. As I said before, you’re worth more to me alive than dead.” He shrugged. “Seems as though your little death wish won’t be granted. Sebastian will come, give us the item, and then you’ll be free to go; alive and almost well.”

“Funny you’d say that. Especially with how hard you’ve been trying to take me down in the past.” Ciel had been shot at too many times because of these idiots. It was almost laughable that they’d now want to keep Ciel alive when the young man had just asked for his own death.

“A grievous error on our part, yes,” the male said. “And one that won’t happen again. We never truly wanted you dead, but our hired hands were a little more zealous in pursuing you and overstepped their boundaries. Suffice to say, those that hadn’t already been killed by your hands were let go by ours, and we can say with the utmost confidence that such a thing will never happen again.”

Beast scoffed and shook her head. “Never hire an idiot to do a job. If you want something done right, you do it yourself. As I told you months ago.” She glared at the man. “This all could’ve been avoided, you dolt, if you had listened to me in the first place.”

“Your words hurt me, Beast. I figured we had gotten our hands dirtied enough already, and that the less blood on our hands, the better.” Came the answer, the male’s tone filled with mock hurt.

Once more, Ciel was fighting his binds, feeling both desperate and useless. “That still doesn’t change the fact that Tanaka won’t bargain too much for me, especially if what you say is true. I’m only the little lost heir that appeared out of nowhere. There is hardly an emotional connection towards us. He’d be more opposed to losing Sebastian.” Ciel was trying a different approach, but the man’s words had struck a cord. This man was a dangerous one, Ciel knew that much. His red hair looked like fire, and his crooked grin looked like that of a devil’s.

“What is it that you even hope to accomplish? No matter what you do, Tanaka won’t let you live to see this fucking plan to fruition. Not when your numbers are so low.” The last part was a goad. Ciel was unsure of the power these people had, but their numbers would give a rough estimate. There was always the chance that they had a bigger bark than bite.

The older man chuckled once more. “How naively you think. Allow me to correct a few of your points. When comparing you and Sebastian, Sebastian may be the stronger out of you two, but he’s also older. You, on the other hand, are still young and have many more years compared to Sebastian. You’ve also been trained by said man; in other words, you’re a mini Sebastian. His replacement.” The grin on his face grew larger. “So in that sense, you are worth more to Tanaka than Sebastian is right now. Sebastian’s slate has already been filled to capacity, and within a few years, he’d probably retire to do something less dangerous. But you, your slate is still blank for the most part. They have so much more they can teach you and mold into their image.”

Beast snorted. “You sound like you’re worshiping him, Joker. This brat’s not all that great; he can’t even hold his stomach at the smallest amount of pain.”

Joker glanced at her. “But his innocence is so amusing. I can’t help myself.” He paused to collect his thoughts before turning back to look at Ciel and continuing once more. “So yes, I think Tanaka will let this plan pass. Because I have you, and you are like the king on the chess board. We have you in check and are simply waiting for their move so we can finish this game.”

Never before had Ciel felt so weak, not in many months. He had killed, played the games of this life, and come out on top. But this, this was something new and horrible. There had never been talks of situations like this one, only of how to kill to keep from such things. Ciel couldn’t help but feel that this man, whom they called Joker, was right. A heavy feeling settled within him, and he tried not to resign himself to this horrible truth.

“It doesn’t matter what you think. You won’t get Sebastian so easily.” And Ciel could only hope for truth to be in those words, because right now that was all he had.

Joker hummed thoughtfully. “You’re probably right. He won’t come to us without a fight, and we’ll probably lose a few men, but eventually we’’ll get him here. And he won’t trade the item until he sees you and knows you’re alive.” He smiled again. “So see, you’re worth more to me alive than dead. And it’s honestly Sebastian that we’re after so once we have the item, you’re more than welcome to go. I don’t think that’s such a bad trade.”

“This item would be?” Ciel allowed himself to calm down for a bit. The heightened anxiety was only making his body throb more and his head and eye ache with a vengeance. Knowledge of what these people were after had been bugging Ciel for far longer then he would ever admit. With knowing would come a certain relief, even if only for a moment.

Beast cast a quick glance in Jokers direction. “Surely you’re not going to tell him.”

Joker cocked his head to the side and assessed the female with a critical eye. “What’s wrong with telling him? He won’t be able to do anything with it, and by the time they form a plan to try to get it back, we’ll have all the information that we need from it.”

The female frowned but didn’t say another word, knowing that doing so would only upset the man. She shifted slightly, her whip making a soft noise as it brushed against her clothes, and she delighted in the way Ciel’s eyes glanced at it.

“The item we seek,” Joker started, “is the ring that Sebastian gave you all those months ago. I have to admit that we wouldn’t have known that you had it if Sebastian hadn’t taken it to the jeweler to have it re-sized.” He gestured to Beast. “Beast here saw you with it, and we started forming our plan from there. Pity that you didn’t leave it at Sebastian’s house during the holidays. It would’ve saved us all this trouble.”

And in an instant everything made sense. Beast had been the woman who had caught Ciel’s attention, if only for a moment, as he and Sebastian had picked up the newly sized ring. The break-in, as well, had been a result of their possession of the stupid piece of jewelery; it was no wonder nothing had been stolen. At that time, the ring had snugly sat upon his finger. The only reason he had removed it was when he went on missions. Lizzy had opened his eyes to that.

Lizzy. The thought of the girl made him grow cold. Had she known this whole time? Ciel remembered all the times she had tried to swindle the ring from him, asking him to take it off all the way to flat out asking if she could have it. Had she been trying to save him from this fate by getting the ring in a far less violent fashion? If that were the case, then why had she never spoken of it when they had confronted her about her betrayal?

Ciel swallowed thickly; he’d rather not think of such things now. “Why the ring? What’s so important about it?” It hardly seemed of much value to Ciel at the moment, not with all the trouble it had caused. The cursed object, no matter what value it had once held for Ciel, was slowly growing into a disgusting piece of silver and jewel. How easily something beautiful could be tarnished by something so ugly.

“Well, that’s a rather long story,” Joker said and looked at the watch on his wrist. “Because in order to know about the significance of the ring, you’d have to understand our family’s history. Not that I don’t mind sharing such a story; it’s a good tale if I do say so myself.”

Beast snorted. “Only because you’re the main hero in the story.”

Joker shrugged. “There’s nothing wrong with being the main character in a story. Everyone wants to be the lead and star at some point in their life.” He spun around with a flourish and held his hands up over his head. “I’m just the leader of this circus, the ring master, if you will. And because of that, I’m supposed to be the star of this story.”

“Doesn’t make you any less full of yourself,” Ciel snapped back under his breath. This man was indeed a joker; his name suited him perfectly. He was too flashy for this line of work, and Ciel was slightly surprised no one had placed a bullet in his eccentric head yet.

Joker waved the comment aside. “You asked for the story, so don’t interrupt me. Now, lets see. It all started when we shot Kelvin, sometime last year. The bastard was letting his friendship with Tanaka hinder our growth. We planned a coup, and after we killed him, we were set and ready to take over the family; bring it to new heights that Kelvin could only dream about.”

Joker paused and his fingers curled into a fist. “But there was a small setback in our plan. It seemed that Kelvin had already declared his heir and left documents on the family that only the true heir could know about. The real heir challenged us, and a rift formed in our family that allowed us to break apart from the main family.”

“So you’re after something to mend that rift and claim rule over the rest?” It wasn’t hard to figure out. This man was power hungry, Ciel could hear it in his voice.

Joker shook his head. “I could care less about mending the rift between us. They chose their path by not accepting us, and once we have the ring, we’ll crush them for doing such a thing to us. It’s injustice.” A small grumble left his mouth before he continued again. “The ring shows who the real heir is, and a microchip inside the ring holds all the documents that Kelvin left to the heir.”

Next to him, Beast nodded and spoke up. “It won’t take much to edit those documents to have Joker’s name listed instead of the original heir’s. And once that happens, we can go back to our family and declare our rule.” She draped an arm around Joker. “We’ll be unstoppable and destroy those who dared not to listen to us in the first place. Joker has great ideas for our family; ones that can put us at the top of the food chain.”

“We would’ve been there already, but as you know, Sebastian stole the ring from us.” A weary smile crept across Joker’s face. “Of course, we had stolen it first from the safe that Kelvin had kept it in. I have to give the old man props; he went out of his way to keep the ring hidden. He had entrusted it to someone from outside of the family so it would be harder to find. Our mistake was killing the old hag who was holding it.”

Beast snorted. “That woman was a close friend to Tanaka, and after our men stole it and killed her, Sebastian was ordered to kill the men who had killed her.” She turned her head to the side. “It pains us to admit that Sebastian tracked us down quicker than we would’ve liked. He killed the men in our newest hideout and somehow discovered the ring. We had no choice but to ambush him as he was leaving and blow the building up.”

“It was you!?” They were the reason for the night that had haunted him for so long. A deep-seated hatred oozed and swelled within Ciel. These people were lucky to have Ciel tied up; otherwise, the young man would not be hard pressed to slit each of their throats. The anger was short lived as guilt quickly replaced it with a vengeful speed. Sebastian had taken the ring for Ciel, and only Ciel. If it hadn’t been for him, Sebastian would never have taken the ring nor would he have been injured so badly. Ciel would not be sitting here now, and Sebastian’s life wouldn’t be gambled. It all came down to one thing Ciel was reluctant to think.

“If I’d never met Sebastian, this would never have of happened,” Ciel whispered, his single eye wide with horrid disbelief.

Joker chuckled darkly. “Now you’re starting to understand. Sebastian was the one who dragged you into this world and put you into this mess. Can you only imagine how much better off you’ll be once he’s gone?” He spun around again. “It’ll be like all your troubles are gone.”

Ciel looked up at Joker. The man was wrong. It had nothing to do with Ciel; he cared little where he ended up in the end. “I dragged myself into this,” he said. “He didn’t want this life for me, but I pushed for it. If I had never met him, I never would have wanted for this life. Sebastian would never have taken that ring, and I would never be his weakness.” Ciel’s eye was a bright blue, shiny with tears and a regret that he knew could never be eased. He did not care how things had turned out for himself. It was all his fault, and Ciel had no room to take back his actions when it came to himself. But it was the position that he put Sebastian in that he truly lamented.

A scowl formed on Joker’s face. “You just don’t understand the position you’re in. Once you’re out of here and Sebastian’s hold over you is gone, you’ll realize just how much Sebastian ruined your life.” He shook his head slightly. “You’re just in denial right now.”

“No, I don’t think that’s quite right. Once I’m out of here, I’ll understand just how much Sebastian meant to my life. When that happens, I’ll make it my goal in life to destroy every last one of you. Tear you down and make you suffer just as you will have done to me. I’ll make you regret ever laying eyes on Sebastian.” The threat was clear, and Ciel meant every word of it. He felt much braver then he should have in that moment, but he would not let them assume such rubbish. It was more obvious now than ever, that these people knew little of love and self sacrifice.

The frown on Joker’s face deepened, and he gave a low growl before punching Ciel harshly in the stomach. “I’d watch what I’d say if I were you, you little brat. My patience with you can only hold out for so long before I decide that it’s not worth keeping you alive anymore.” He spun around and glared at Beast. “String him up and let him feel a little bit more pain. Maybe then he won’t be so brave in his words.”

“My pleasure,” Beast purred and moved forward to grab the bindings that kept Ciel locked in place. “Am I allowed to use a harder hand? Leave some more permanent damage?”

A dark chuckle left Joker’s mouth. “Why not? Tanaka will still accept him back no matter what. And if Sebastian sees him in such a condition, he’ll let his emotions get the better of him and attack without thinking.”

“You can’t!” The doctor cried from the corner and approached them with a square piece of gauze in his hands. “His body won’t be able to handle such harsh actions, and it could go into shock, meaning you’d lose your bargaining chip.”

He approached Ciel and poured saline solution over the wound, drawing another scream from Ciel’s throat. The liquid was wiped away and dried off before the gauze was placed over the injured eye. It was taped into place, and the doctor smoothed out the tape on the skin before stepping away.

“Torture him if you most, but not to such a deadly intent that you lose sight of your original goal.” He shook his head. “If you’re not careful, you’ll turn into Sebastian by letting your emotions get the better of you.”

Joker waved his hand. “Fine. I suppose you have a valid point. No sense in turning into that demon.” He glanced at Beast, who was working with the chains now that the doctor was out of the way. “Give him a few more lashes but nothing too serious. Just enough to make him pass out.”

Ciel was given a chance to muse over who the real demons where here, until he was forcefully pulled from his chair. His wounds pulled, new blood spilling forth. It hurt, but not as much as the pain in his eye, nor the pain that he knew would come all too soon. He feared for it, but did not allow himself to think too hard on it.

Soon his hands were strung up from the ceiling, leaving his body to thrash and wiggle in suspended agony. The bindings on his wrists pulled tighter and cut deeper. It was another injury upon many more to come. A gasp left Ciel’s mouth at the cool touch of a hand, seeming far too tender with all its falsity. Beast looked up at him, and Ciel stared back with all the uncaring loathing that he could muster.

A hand slapped across Ciel’s face, followed by the trickling laughter that left Beast’s mouth. “We’re going to have fun, you and I.” She let the handle of her whip trail down Ciel’s face, tracing all the curves and dips on his body until the handle came to a stop above the hem of Ciel’s pants. “Lots of fun. I might not be able to cut you anymore, but I can still whip you with just enough force to cause you pain and still not break the skin.”

She stepped back and glided over to a new spot behind Ciel, the whip trailing after her like a puppy wanting to please its master. With a small spin on her heels, she spun around to face Ciel’s back and cracked the whip. It landed smoothly on his back, turning the pale skin a bright red.

“Do you feel that?” She cooed and moved up to run a finger over the newly formed welt. “That deep, biting pain. It’s like being stung over and over again. Your nerves are probably on fire, and blood is welling up just below the surface, wanting to spill but there’s no way for it to come out and ease your suffering. It’s a true art, to master the whip in such a way to inflict pain but not draw blood. And lucky for you, I’m a master at the whip.”

Lucky indeed, Ciel thought as he clenched his teeth. The pain was tolerable to some degree, or so Ciel thought upon the first hit. When the second hit came, he was forced to eat those words past the scream that followed. Whereas the first strikes had been a deep and burning pain, these left such a dull and sharp ache that he could not hope to push aside. They were like an itch that could not be relieved, and pain that would not fade. A third and then a forth came, many more following that Ciel never bothered to count. His mind couldn’t focus on them. At one point he could feel warm wetness on his back, though Ciel could not decide if it were sweat or blood that coated him.

More lashes fell until the room fell silent. Ciel was slumped against the chains, head lowered between his arms as harsh breaths left his mouth. “Lasted longer than I thought,” Beast murmured and moved to the side to lower the chains. Footsteps sounded through the hallway, and the door opened, revealing the doctor. “He’s passed out. Take him to a secure cell and clean his back. I’m tired of looking at him.”

Doc nodded and quickly worked to get the chains off Ciel, muttering under his breath about the deep cuts that had worked their way into Ciel’s wrists. With a small grunt, he lifted Ciel up and carried him down the hallway and into the room prepared for him. A first aid kit was already there, and he laid the younger male down on a cot.

The wounds to his wrists and ankles were treated first, making sure that the deep cuts were cleaned and wrapped in sterile bandages before the cuffs were placed back on again. Once done, the doctor turned and started cleaning Ciel’s back, making sure that nothing would leave any lasting marks. The eye was enough damage, and he could only assume that Tanaka wouldn’t be able to overlook such an injury.

With a sigh, the kit was packed up, and the doctor made sure that a cup of water was left near the cot for when Ciel woke up again. The male’s throat was going to be sore and dry when he woke, and the water would help to ease some of the pain. Giving Ciel one last glance, the doctor turned around and left the room, making sure it was locked tightly; two guards took their place near the door, ensuring that Ciel had no way to get out.

----------

Waking up the second time was all too similar to the first. The only differences making Ciel wish he was once again unconscious. It was dark, and everything hurt with unbearable intensity. His body felt heavy, and he doubted he could fully move. Once more he was bound, but at least he was lying down and was comfortable.

Ciel’s head accumulated the most pain, his eye throbbing. Or what was left of his eye; Ciel wasn’t sure of the extent of the damage. It wasn’t something he wanted to think about or have to come to terms with. His body shook, chills running through him.

Was it cold? Probably not. Ciel felt feverish, and his stomach turned with nausea. Nothing ever came of the pain, even though Ciel wished to dispel his stomach in hopes of relieving the ache. But what could one do when there was nothing left to retch? A moan left his mouth instead, and Ciel curled just a little tighter into himself.

His body felt like it was on fire for a moment before the chills racked his frame. Ciel shook harshly and he couldn’t help but wish for the one thing he could have. He wanted home, and everything that came with that. Waking up in the morning to Sebastian’s sleeping face; arguing over pointless things with Claude and Alois; spending time with Finny and Alex; being able to call Tanaka his grandfather; home was all of that and so much more.

No matter what happened in the end, one aspect of that life would forever die. Ciel couldn’t allow that to happen, not when he would lose the most important thing to him. To go back to that life would be to lose Sebastian, and without the man, there would be no reason to call the mansion home. Home was wherever Sebastian was, and without him, it would be just as meaningless as the filthy cell Ciel had found himself in.

A tear flowed down Ciel’s eye, followed by many more. He didn’t know what to do, nor what he could do. Everything seemed out of his hands at this point. It was frustrating and it hurt. It hurt so much more than the physical wounds on his body. Resigned to his fate, Ciel lost himself to the bliss of unconsciousness, hoping that when he woke, he’d find that everything had merely just been a dream.

----------

The door to Ciel’s cell flew open, and Beast stalked in with a snarl. With little grace, she yanked Ciel up, forcefully waking him from his slumber. A confused and dazed eye looked up at her as it blinked rapidly, trying to figure out what was going on.

“Let’s go,” she said and harshly pushed him forward. She watched as the male stumbled along, trying to walk on his own after a few days of being chained up. Her hand circled around his upper arm, and she guided him to the room where they had first brought him and quickly sat Ciel down on the chair. “We’re going to have a little fun today.”

Ciel grunted, but made little fuss. He looked up at the woman dully and didn’t bother to comment on what fun they, or more correctly she, would be having. All Ciel knew was that such a thing did not bode well for him, and he couldn’t do a damn thing about it. A blue eye looked expectantly at Beast, awaiting the worst.

Humming, Beast made sure the chains were tight enough and stepped back slightly to admire her handiwork. She gave a pleased smile and ran her finger down Ciel’s cheek. “Look at you, spirit broken already. I must say that I like that patch over your eye, but that might be because I gave such an injury to you.”

A delighted shiver worked its way through her body as she took a couple steps back. Joker had already told her this morning that she was free to draw some blood. Not enough that the male would pass out from blood loss, but enough to make his injuries look more worse than they already were.

The whip raised up over her head and came down with a harsh crack, landing on Ciel’s chest. A welt formed in the area, and she struck the same spot again, allowing a thin line of red to appear on Ciel’s pale skin.

Ciel screamed, the sound raspy from overuse. It didn’t even sound like his own voice. The pain was real, but it sounded as if a stranger were calling out against the abuse. Warm blood was felt soon enough on his skin from both new and old wounds. At some point, the bandages had been removed, and everything was bare and exposed. Ciel’s face felt swollen all the way down to his lips. It felt heavy and it hurt as his face scrunched in pain. What a hideous image he must be.

“Beg me to stop,” Beast yelled at him. “Plead with that voice of yours, and maybe I’ll stop, leave you alone so you can catch your breath and dream of what could’ve been.”

“Enough, Beast,” a voice said behind her, and she wheeled around. Joker watched her from the doorway, leaning against it casually as he watched Ciel’s body tremble with pain. The younger male was a ripe mess and would probably need to be cleaned up before he was allowed to go home. The injured eye was enough of a problem. Sending Ciel home in such a mess would only cause more problems.

But Joker had had his reasons for letting Beast finally draw blood and remove the bandages. In the end, everything came down to presentation, and Joker was fairly certain that this presentation would top all the others he had done in the past. It was five star material, and he smiled at his work.

He held up a hand to keep Beast from arguing. “We have a guest,” he said, his smirk widening in sadistic pleasure.

This caught Ciel’s attention, and he quickly looked up, regretting it as soon as he did. The look in Joker’s eyes was anything but kind. It was the look of a man who had just won his prize at the cost of another’s demise. Ciel shook from something more than pain and fever, the thought of what was about to happen chilling Ciel to the absolute core.

Ciel tried to speak, but nothing came out but a strangled gasp of pain. It seemed as if he had little voice left. Why were the things he needed the most always out of reach? Damn everything, Ciel thought; damn all of this.

Joker pushed away from the door frame as Beast approached him with a smirk of her own. “How’d I do?” She asked and gestured back to Ciel.

“Perfect,” he purred. “By the end of the day, we’ll have everything that we want and then some.” He chuckled lowly and waved Beast off to the side.

Outside in the hallway, there were shouts and shuffling noises as his men tried to subdue their newest guest. Faint curses and annoyed grunts told Joker that the newcomer wasn’t coming easily, and he figured that it would be best if he helped to hurry things along.

A gun was pulled from inside his jacket and was pointed towards Ciel. Theatrics, Joker thought as he squeezed the trigger three times, was everything in this world. A blank round leaving a gun would sound just as real as a normal bullet, and the only person who would know the difference was the person holding the gun.

The shuffling in the hallway stopped, a clear sign that the trick had worked. His men used the distraction to quickly push the newcomer closer to the door, and Joker watched as the male came to a stop in front of him. The shock had seemed to worn off already, and deep red eyes burned with hatred as they stared at him.

“Look here, Ciel,” Joker cooed as he grasped the male’s chin in his hand. “Our guest has finally shown up.”

Ciel looked on in disbelief, blinking over and over again with his single eye, hoping for the image to fade back to reality, for this couldn’t be true. It was then that those scarlet eyes caught Ciel’s own, and he knew that this was no nightmare, but reality. With a rush of frustration Ciel called out as he found the last remnants of his voice.

“Sebastian!” The name resounded against the walls with all the force of a gunshot and the desperation of a man who had just lost everything.

To Be Continued . . .

Date: 2011-08-02 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nonnally.livejournal.com
Poor darling Ciel! My heart is breaking for him.

I cannot wait for next Tuesday to get here. Until then my heart is sitting in the pit of my stomach. Let's just hope until then it doesn't get digested.

This isn't your fault, but I fear I'm going to be off kilter all week.

Date: 2011-08-09 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Awww, well I hope your heart didn't get digested. ^^ You kind of need that...

But hope you enjoy the next chapter!! <3

Date: 2011-08-02 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-mbry0.livejournal.com
O_O CIEL! SEBASTIAN!

This is so heartbreaking!! I can't wait for next week ;A;

Date: 2011-08-09 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
I know! Let's just keep our fingers crossed that they come out of this alive in the end. D8

Date: 2011-08-03 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilovesyunjae.livejournal.com
Feck!!! I demand an update!!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Usrdubsscfrrfvpcxl,kxidpvkvk.

Date: 2011-08-09 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
D8 I wish I could update more often... but then you would get to the end all the sooner.

Not to mention I don't want this fic to get caught up with the chapter we are writing now... then you'd have to wait longer than just a week.

But I do hope you enjoy today's chapter! ^^ <3<3

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