akiruchan: (CielChair)
[personal profile] akiruchan
Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 43/?
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-Three

The scream went unheard by Sebastian. All he could hear was the loud roaring of his heartbeat in his ears as his eyes settled on the large amount of blood that covered Ciel's body. It all bled together, making it impossible to tell what part of Ciel was injured and what part was just covered in run off blood. Sebastian swallowed the bile that threatened to come up as his eyes continued to take in the sight before him.

His anger only continued to grow as his eyes fell upon Ciel's injured eye. It bubbled and churned in his stomach, mixing together with the already present guilt that threatened to overcome him. All of this had happened because of him. Every last thing was a result of his actions, and Sebastian shuddered as the guilt consumed him.    

Ciel watched as Sebastian was pushed further into the room. As of now, the man looked unharmed, pissed, but still in one piece. “Don’t touch him!” It was meant to be a yell, but all Ciel could manage was a cracked whisper. He looked no more fierce than a kicked puppy, all bruised and bloodied, and no one paid him any mind. “Sebastian,” Ciel called once more, hoping to regain the man’s attention. “You idiot, you shouldn’t have come.” But it didn’t matter, because Sebastian would have come no matter what. Just as Ciel was so ready to die for the man.

The words were once again ignored as Joker approached Sebastian, the simple action making the man growl low in his throat. Anger burned in Sebastian’s eyes as the men behind him laughed slightly, taunting him as the leader approached.

“Now then, Sebastian,” Joker said and held out his hand. “The ring, if you will.”

Sebastian smirked. “Why would I give it to you now? Before I give you anything, I want to make sure Ciel is okay.”

Joker shook his head. “That’s not how it works. You’re here on my terms and you’ll listen to my rules.”

“I don’t like to play by the rules,” Sebastian commented and raised his left foot. It came down quickly, and Sebastian threw his weight into the leg, making sure that the blow was heavy enough to inflict pain on the male holding him. His boot landed heavily on the foot behind him, and instantly, the hand around his arm loosened.

Colorful words left the male’s mouth behind him, but Sebastian ignored them as he twisted his arm out of the grip and leaned forward slightly. He bent his arm at an angle and reared it back, his elbow smashing into the male’s face.

The man stumbled backwards in pain, knocking into the other person holding Sebastian’s right arm. Sebastian shifted his weight onto his left leg and leaned to the side, pulling the other male straight again. Before the second male could get his bearings, Sebastian’s right leg shot out, kicking the side of the other male’s knee.

The remaining hand on Sebastian’s arm loosened and Sebastian pivoted on his right heel, twisting his body around the other male. His left hand curled around the gun resting at the guard’s hip and pulled it from the male’s waistband.

A gunshot sounded through the room as Sebastian pressed the barrel into the man’s head and quickly pulled the trigger. The body slumped to the ground, and Sebastian pointed the gun at Joker.

“I think,” Sebastian said, “that just for a moment, you’re going to listen to my rules.”

As impressive as that had been, Ciel didn’t allow himself to get his hopes up. In the room alone they were still outnumbered. If anything, Sebastian had just made things worse. The man shouldn’t have even come, let alone with the ring in hand. “You idiot!” Ciel called out as best he could.

Joker hung back, looking far too calm for the situation. He had good right to. Already Ciel could hear the sound of hurried steps. Gunshots would not go unheard, and Sebastian had just attracted even more trouble. “Why did you bother coming? You can’t just hand over the fucking ring.” It was amazing how much sass Ciel still had in him after the beatings. Sebastian always did bring out the best in him.

Sebastian kept his eyes locked with Joker’s, even as more men poured into the room. He knew that Joker wouldn’t order them to shoot, not after everything Sebastian had put them through. The man was sadistic and would want to draw out Sebastian’s pain for as long as he could before putting a bullet in his head. Shooting him now would only end Joker’s fun.

Laughter echoed around the room as Joker leaned against the wall and waved his men down. They both knew that Sebastian wouldn’t bother to try anything else; he had simply been proving a point, and it was one that Joker would remember. Never underestimate a caged man.

He had no doubts, though, that had Sebastian been alone, the man would’ve already escaped. But with Ciel still here, escape would’ve been impossible, and it was one of the few things that had Joker holding his tongue. Sebastian wouldn’t escape while they still had Ciel, leaving them in a less than dangerous position.

“Go ahead then, demon,” Joker said as he approached Sebastian. He held out his hand, asking for the gun, while Joker waved his other hand towards Ciel. “Go see your little prince and make sure he’s fine.”

Sebastian nodded and set the gun in Joker’s hand. His fingers twitched, wanting nothing more than to pull the trigger now and end everything, but then it would be impossible to get Ciel out alive. So long as Ciel could get out alive, Sebastian would be fine.

He was the one who had pushed this upon Ciel. If he hadn’t bothered to pursue the younger male, none of this would’ve happened. Ciel would’ve been able to live a normal, happy life. Free of the blood that now stained his hands and the darkness that had seeped into the once innocent male.

Ciel could only glare as Sebastian came closer, the look becoming distorted due to his injured eye. His mouth opened to say something but he shut it. So far he had been ignored and he wasn’t about to waste any more of his voice. He took the chance to quickly look Sebastian over, making sure the man was unhurt. To see Sebastian here was welcomed, but reality made sure that that was short lived. Sebastian being here only meant the man’s death. How foolish the bastard had been, and if Ciel could, he would have slapped him.

“Ciel,” Sebastian breathed as he stopped before the younger male. For a brief moment, the world around them had vanished until it was just them, and Sebastian dropped to his knees before Ciel. Sharp eyes took in Ciel’s body, noting every injury and bruise that adorned the pale skin, all of which had been Sebastian’s fault. “I’m sorry,” he rasped and grasped Ciel’s hand.

The younger male’s skin was feverish, and Sebastian could only hope that infection hadn’t set into the wounds. His gaze flickered to Ciel’s injured eye, and he raised his hand up to cup Ciel’s cheek. “You’re going to get out here, Ciel,” Sebastian murmured and brushed away the drying blood. “And when you get home, you’re going to have Will look at your injuries and have them cared for. Then you’re going to shower until you’re clean, and by the time you get out, someone will have food ready for you. After you eat, you’re going to climb into bed with Alex and sleep until you can’t sleep anymore and your body is healed.”

“No.” Ciel shook his head vigorously, no matter how much it hurt. “No, we’re going to get out of there. And we’ll get home, and you can look over my injuries, nurse me back to health as you feed me, and then...and only then, we’ll climb into bed together.” A small smile bloomed on Ciel’s face, and he leaned his face lightly into Sebastian’s touch.

Sebastian’s thumb traced under Ciel’s eye, outlining the dark circles that were staining the skin. He could hear the footsteps behind him and knew their time was up; a few precious moments gone by in a blink of an eye. A gun cocked behind him before the barrel pressed against the back of his head.

“Enough of this,” Joker snarled. “You’ve seen that he’s fine. Now get back to your feet and give us the ring.”

Sebastian’s head bowed slightly, and he closed his eyes briefly before he leaned up, ignoring the gun as it dug into his scalp. He pressed his lips against Ciel’s, tasting blood as Ciel pushed back against him. Their lips moved against each other, allowing Sebastian the pleasure of forgetting that everyone else existed in the room.

He pulled back slowly and brought his other hand up to cup Ciel’s other cheek. “Live, Ciel,” he murmured, his lips brushing against Ciel’s parted ones. “No matter what, live. And know that I have and will always love you.”

Sebastian’s hands slowly slid away from Ciel’s face as he stood up and turned to face Joker. The room was deathly silent, everyone waiting for the next part of the exchange to take place, and Sebastian nodded, sealing his fate.

The words ‘I love you’ repeated themselves within Ciel’s mind, and never before had he wished they had never been uttered. There was such a finality in them that it tore at his heart and drained his eyes of the tears that still remained. Ciel could almost scoff. How could he possibly live if that meant a life without Sebastian? Did the man know nothing?

“You idiot,” he whispered for the numerous time, before all thoughts of resignation flew from his body. Ciel twisted and struggled against his binding, pushing himself farther as Sebastian moved away. The cuts on his wrist reopened, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. It didn’t matter if he bled out; Ciel wasn’t the one who needed to live. Didn’t Sebastian know that? The idiot, the fucking idiot. Sebastian had to live! There would be no argument.

“Sebastian!” Ciel hoarsely screamed, voice squeaking and racking his vocal cords as it pitched too high. “Don’t you fucking dare do this too me! Don’t you dare throw your life away on account of me. I’ll never forgive you! Do you hear me, Sebastian!”

A hand came up and circled around Ciel’s mouth, effectively muffling his screams and protests. Behind him, Beast shook her head and pressed her mouth close to his ear. “Hush, little prince, we can’t have you changing his mind now, can we?” She studied Sebastian’s back as he approached Joker, the two of them eyeing each other with careful and guarded expressions. It would be interesting to see how this thing would play out, and she was anxious for the end.

“In order for this exchange to work properly, we have some rules that need to be laid down first,” Joker stated.

“Within reason,” Sebastian answered with a faint smirk. His eyes darted briefly to the dead body in the corner before focusing on Joker once more.

Joker waved his head. “That depends on the reason. I’m sure all your concern lies with Ciel and getting him home safely. To which I can assure you, Ciel will make it home alive and without anymore problems.”

Sebastian cocked his head to the side. “How do I know you’re not lying?” He asked. “I need a gesture of good faith before I give you the ring.”

A heavy sigh left Joker’s mouth. “Of course, of course. That’s usually how these things work, annoyingly enough.” He snapped his fingers, and Beast unlocked the chains around Ciel before pulling him to his feet. “If you will follow me, I’ll show you my good faith gesture.”

The moment Ciel stood, his body crumpled back down. Every muscle felt like gelatin, and if it hadn’t been for Beast, Ciel knew he’d be back on that cold stone floor. The woman made a disgusted sound in the back of her throat as she carried the young man’s weight for a moment. Ciel had little time to steady himself as he was pulled along. He struggled just a bit, as much as he could in his current state, and reached out towards Sebastian who seemed intent on ignoring any of Ciel’s advances.

It frustrated Ciel, and he wanted to scream out, but his throat hurt to swallow, let alone talk. As they continued to move, Ciel paid no mind to where they were going. His sole attention was given to Sebastian. The fear that this would be his last time to see the man was heavy in his heart, and he was once more fighting back the tears. One blink and everything could be over. Ciel vowed he would never blink, keeping Sebastian forever in his sights.

They moved through the building silently, Joker keeping a steady hand on Sebastian’s arm. It was a familiar path to Sebastian, one that he had walked only minutes before when Joker’s men were dragging him to see Ciel. At that time, Sebastian hadn’t known whether or not Ciel had been alive, and the gunshots that he had heard earlier had made his blood run cold.

But now they were walking this path once more, and as before, Sebastian didn’t know the outcome of Ciel’s future. He could only hope that all the planning that had happened in the past day or so would work, and the ring would buy them enough time to get Ciel away.

They stopped in front of the entrance doors, drawing Sebastian from his thoughts, and he blinked at Joker. The man held up thick restraints and let Sebastian’s eyes trail over them. There was no need to ask what they were for, and Sebastian could only guess that this was part of the terms.

“These are more for Ciel’s safety than ours,” Joker stated. “Just in case you’re tempted to do something stupid once we step outside, like try to run.”

Sebastian snorted as the cuffs were attached to his ankles and wrists. They were heavy as he tested their weight and resistance, trying to determine if he could get out of them or not. His actions stopped, though, as Beast removed Ciel’s restraints, leaving him free for a brief moment before his hands were tied together loosely in front of his body.

“We have snipers on the roof, waiting for my signal in case you try anything stupid,” Joker continued as he grabbed Sebastian’s arm once more. “Know that they won’t shoot you, but Ciel instead. So any actions you do will reflect on him.”

It felt good to be free of the heavy restraints, but the coarse material that now held Ciel burned and bit at his still open wounds. He looked towards Beast, who still held him, and then back to Sebastian and Joker. “What’s going to happen?” He tried to ask, but wasn’t too sure how intelligible his words were at that point. They sounded more like choked hisses than anything else.

For the first time in what felt like days, Ciel saw the beautiful morning sun. It was cool out, and everything felt so wonderful against his battered body. No modesty was felt as he was pushed outside in only his mangled boxers. He could only afford himself a moment of comfort as the weather caressed him, before Sebastian’s voice withdrew his attention and brought it back to sickening reality.

“Now what are you proposing to do?” Sebastian questioned as he took in the area, squinting slightly against the bright sun. The way Joker was handling everything was new to him, and Sebastian’s body was tense with anxiety as he tried to prepare himself for anything.

Joker waved his hand to a nearby car. “We figured that the only person who could get Ciel home safely is Ciel,” he stated. “Therefore, after you give us the ring, we’ll give Ciel the keys to the car, and he can drive himself home.”

Sebastian eyed the car warily, ignoring the fact that Joker hadn’t bothered to mention what would happen to him once the ring was passed off. “How do I know the car isn’t set with a trap?” He asked, pushing the thoughts to the side.

“We thought you might ask that,” Joker commented and pulled Sebastian closer to the car. “So examine it to your heart’s content.”

Sebastian instantly went to work, checking under the car for a pipe bomb that might’ve been attached to the frame of the car, or a time bomb that would start when Ciel turned the key and would end when the timer went off after a certain time. The trunk and engine were checked for any tracking devices or anything else that could harm the younger male.

Once deciding the outside was clean, Sebastian moved to the interior, searching every available nook and cranny for anything harmful. Doors were opened, and seats were moved back and forth. Cushions were lifted up and floor boards were checked until Sebastian finally stepped out of the car minutes later. “It’s clean,” he stated.

Joker waved his hand. “Of course it is. I’m a man of my word. When I say that Ciel will return safely, I mean it.” He laughed lightly. “I’m not in the mood to start a full scale war with your family by killing him.”

“But if I try to escape while he’s leaving, your snipers will shoot him,” Sebastian finished, and his eyes darted up to the roof, searching for said snipers. He had no doubt that they were there, but as of now, they were well hidden.

“There you go!” Joker crowed. “You catch on pretty quickly! So now that we have the rules laid out and there are no more questions or concerns, I say that you hand over the ring.”

So that was how it was going to happen? They would let Ciel go, and he could just limp off to the car and drive himself home? Never look back and leave Sebastian to his death? He really didn’t see himself going through with something like that. Ciel would sooner turn the vehicle around and run over every last one of these bastards. They deserved a more painful death, but Ciel only had limited things to work with.

The only problem were the damn snipers on the roof. Ciel knew from his own experience how deadly a sniper could be. He had killed many with ease, and he was sure the individuals on the roof could do the same. It wasn’t like their locations provided for difficult shots.

There was a moment where Ciel took a chance at clearing his throat. He had a question to ask, one he had no desire to know the answer to. “So I go free? What happens to Sebastian then?” Every syllable shook and Ciel found himself coughing at the end.

Joker laughed. “Nothing much, we’re just going to talk with him a bit. Make sure he isn’t tempted to steal things again.” He waved a hand and glanced at Sebastian from the corner of his eye. “But I’ll send him home once we’re done.” Whether or not Sebastian was still alive when he arrived home was a different story, though, and Joker smirked at the thought.

“Enough of the questions,” Beast snapped and cracked her whip in annoyance. She covered Ciel’s mouth once more with her hand. “We’re only delaying the inevitable by doing so.”

“She’s right,” Joker said and held out his hand to Sebastian. “The ring, if you will.”

Sebastian held out his own hand. “Ciel first. You know well enough that I won’t run, but I won’t hand the ring over until he’s next to me.” If Ciel was close by, Sebastian could still pass off important information to the younger male that would allow Ciel to get out safely.

Joker’s lips thinned as he pressed them together in thought. “Fine,” he finally snarled and snapped his fingers. “Beast, walk Ciel over to Sebastian and get the ring from him. No one goes anywhere until I have the ring in hand.”

Beast pushed Ciel forward by the arm, her hand curling tightly around a a deep slash she had made only moments prior. She looked no more pleased than Ciel to have to deal with the boy, but it seemed that there was little either could do about it. They came to a stop a few feet away from Sebastian. If Ciel had wanted to, and had the ability to, he could have reached out to touch the man.

“The ring?” Beast demanded, hand outstretched while the other occupied itself on Ciel. She knew well enough not to let the male go until their item was in her possession. Even within these circumstances, she didn’t trust Sebastian, especially with Ciel close by.

Sebastian nodded and bent backwards, his head tipping back until his fingers could brush against his hair. They searched briefly for the bobby pin that was hidden in the longer parts of his hair before carefully pulling it out.

With a grunt, Sebastian shifted his weight onto his left leg, and he brought his right foot up to his hands. The bobby pin was twisted around and pushed into the heel of his boot until the sole raised slightly. Sebastian grasped the small edge and lifted it out, revealing a small, hollowed out part in his shoe.

His fingers circled around the tissue wrapped ring and let his right foot drop back down to the ground, thankful that the chain connecting his ankles was long enough to perform such an act. Sebastian shifted his hands to the side, letting Beast see the ring as his hands were still tied together behind his back.

“I can’t hand it to you like this,” Sebastian stated, a mocking tone present in his voice. “You’ll have to come get it.”

Beast snarled and walked Ciel forward, knowing that Sebastian wouldn’t do anything with Ciel so close to her. She snatched the ring from his hands and let Sebastian’s hands curl around Ciel’s arm, pulling the younger male closer to himself.

Ciel came gladly, his body pressing flush against Sebastian’s. It felt so good to have the man so close and he was unsure if he’d ever be willing to let go. “Sebastian,” he breathed, face pressing into the man’s back. Ciel allowed himself a small smile but nothing more.

The ring was examined quickly by Beast, and she moved back to return it to Joker who took it willingly. Ciel watched the whole exchange, hoping that Sebastian had some plan on getting both of them out of here safely. No matter what Joker had said early about Sebastian’s fate, Ciel didn’t believe one bit of it, not after what he had been told while being held and beaten in the dingy room. They wanted Sebastian dead, Ciel was sure of that, and right now he was the only reason Sebastian was still alive.

“Ciel,” Sebastian murmured. “Don’t stay in that car long. I didn’t see anything, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Drive as fast as you can when you get in and stop at the first building you see, about one mile from here. Use their phone to call home and have Claude pick you up. Tell Tanaka everything that you remember about this place and about the people who took you.” His hand tightened around Ciel’s arm as he watched Joker look over the ring. If the snipers hadn’t been there, it would’ve been easier to run, but now, they were forced to stay and hope for the best.

“I’m not leaving without you!” Ciel swore. He couldn’t leave Sebastian here alone, not when pain and death were all that awaited him. “They’ll kill you. All they want is you dead.” His face was once more pressed into Sebastian, even if the coarseness of the clothes aggravated his eye. It didn’t matter, because nothing was more painful than the heartache of what Ciel might be forced to do.

Sebastian’s grip tightened on Ciel and he leaned down to press a kiss on the top of Ciel’s head. “They won’t kill me. It’s too soon, and they need to talk with me first,” Sebastian stated. Talking, though, meant torture; Joker was only being nice for Ciel’s sake and not using the actual word. “The faster you get home, the quicker Tanaka can get a group together to come get me. That’s the plan.”

No, that wasn’t the plan. Nothing Sebastian could say would make Ciel believe that everything was going to be alright. He knew better than that now. It was so easy for a life to be taken. Ciel had seen exactly how easy when Bard had fallen victim to these people not so long ago. The memory was still fresh, and it opened Ciel’s eyes to the knowledge that the same thing could happen to the man he loved.

“You’ll leave, and I’ll never see you again.” It was hard for Ciel not to cry, but he managed somehow, looking defiant the whole while. “Don’t throw your life away on account of me. I’d rather die here than go back to a home without you.”

Sebastian shook his head. “No,” he said softly. “It’s my fault all this happened in the first pace. If I hadn't chased after you, you wouldn't have fallen into this mess. I pulled you into this world and allowed you to become hurt.”

He watched Joker’s face carefully as confusion settled over it, and Sebastian could only hope that the fake could pass for the real thing. It had taken all of their resources to make such a thing, and it looked real enough under a scope. Only a certified jeweler could tell it was fake.

A frown, or what was supposed to be a frown, passed over Ciel’s face. “You’re not the only one to blame. If I hadn’t chased after you, this life, then you’d never have been put in this situation. It’s my fault, too, and I won’t allow you to get hurt on account of me.” Why couldn’t Sebastian understand this? Was it so hard to turn the other cheek and allow Ciel to seal his fate so that Sebastian could live? It was that hard, because Ciel was being a hypocrite. He wasn’t willing to do just what he was preaching to Sebastian.

“We’re both to blame,” Sebastian said finally and offered a small smile to Ciel. “But I can honestly say that I wouldn’t take any of it back or change anything if I had the chance to.”

If it meant that Sebastian would live, then Ciel wasn’t sure if he could agree. He’d gladly take every bit of it back if it meant saving Sebastian from the card that fate had drawn for him. So instead of agreeing, Ciel could only look up at Sebastian with mismatched eyes, one pretty and blue and the other swollen shut with blood and the beginnings of yellowing puss. “I don’t want to lose you,” he said with every bit of the conviction he felt.

Sebastian’s head lowered and he pressed light kisses over Ciel’s face. “You won’t,” he murmured as he finally reached Ciel’s lips. “Even if it means making a deal with the devil, I’ll come back to you. Because I love you.”

Ciel kissed him back without even thinking. He didn’t want to think if Sebastian was being metaphorical with his words, or merely trying to ease Ciel into a false sense of comfort. Right now Ciel would kiss Sebastian, because as it stood, this could be the last chance he ever had to taste Sebastian, to feel the man’s soft lips upon his own. This was Ciel’s utopia, and for a moment he lost himself in it.

Sebastian’s eyes closed as he let Ciel control the kiss, allowing himself to feel for now. It would be something pleasurable to remember when the times turned rough. Something wet splashed against his cheek and for the briefest second, Sebastian thought Ciel had finally broken and had started crying.

But as pain blossomed and spread like fire through his shoulder, Sebastian realized that it wasn’t tears. His ears rang from the loud resounding crack of a bullet leaving the barrel, and Sebastian’s eyes flew open as he gasped into Ciel’s mouth.

He stumbled back and hissed as his fingers curled and uncurled. Crimson eyes darted briefly to look at the quickly spreading red spot on his shoulder before he jerked his head up to look at Ciel. Blood had splattered against the younger male’s chest, but Ciel was still standing and was unharmed.

“Se--Sebastian,” Ciel stuttered as he fought to wrap his mind around the situation. His head snapped back, and he watched with unmasked horror as Joker continued to hold up the gun, ready and waiting to take another shot. Sebastian’s blood on Ciel’s skin burned, yet amongst his own it blended easily. “Sebastian!” Ciel called once more when it seemed like the blood would not cease its flow. The wet stain on Sebastian’s shirt grew and grew, and Ciel prayed for it to stop.

Anger flashing in his single eye, Ciel turned back towards Joker, teeth bared and prepared to fight no matter how futile it was. “What the hell are you doing?” He spat. “He hasn’t done a fucking thing!”

“The ring is fake,” Joker snarled and tossed the piece of jewelry on the ground. It bounced and tumbled on the hard gravel before finally coming to a stop in the open space that separated the two parties. “If you thought that you could pass off a fake ring to me, then you’re sorely mistaken. This is nothing compared to what I’ll do to you if I don’t get the real ring. You’ll be wishing I had killed you now by the time I’m done with you.”

Sebastian shifted, pushing Ciel behind him as Beast approached them. Several of Joker’s men flanked her with guns drawn, and Sebastian could only watch as the plan fell apart and the situation spiraled out of control. There must’ve been something else about the ring that Sebastian hadn’t known about, and the lack of information was now costing them dearly.

He eyed the whip cautiously, already knowing the amount of damage Beast could cause with it, and Sebastian clenched his hands once more. His mind raced, working to figure out a new plan that would allow Ciel to get home without anymore injuries as the circle pressed close,r and Sebastian growled lowly.

Ciel’s mind raced with knowledge that the situation was quickly going to hell. He hadn’t figured Sebastian would come waltzing in with a counterfeit ring, and he wondered what the man had been thinking. It didn’t matter now. All that was important was neutralizing the situation, but what could be done? It wasn’t as if Ciel could produce the ring and make everything better. Unless...

Before he could rethink his decision, Ciel pushed past Sebastian to shield the man as he faced Joker. The gun, now pointed at himself, was unnerving, but he swallowed and held himself up proudly, or as best he could.

“You lay one more finger on him and then you’ll never get your precious ring,” Ciel declared. “It’s obvious that Tanaka isn’t willing to hand it over, and his next step will most likely be a full on assault when neither me nor Sebastian return. Your only choice now is to have someone sneak in and retrieve it themselves.”

Sebastian’s head snapped to the side, not believing what Ciel was suggesting. For a brief moment, he considered arguing with Ciel until he realized the hidden brilliance in Ciel’s plan. Once home, Tanaka would never let Ciel leave to exchange the ring.

But Ciel didn’t know that, and Sebastian was more than willing to keep it that way. He felt a twinge of guilt at the thought of leading Ciel on this way, but it was a good lie that would keep Ciel safe.

“You can’t be serious,” Sebastian stated as he started to weave his lie and make it believable. “You’re not suggesting what I think you’re suggesting.”

Ciel promptly ignored Sebastian, not needing the other man to ruin all of this before it could be fully birthed. He focused solely on Joker, face serious and tight. “There is only one person who can get you that ring now. If you let me go, I can retrieve it and return it here to you. But...” A glance was spared back to Sebastian, the wound on his shoulder turning a dark black-red. “In return I want the promise of Sebastian’s well being, and his and my own safe return home.”

Joker stared at Ciel, and a smirk crossed his lips as a small chuckle left his mouth until he tilted his head back and let out a loud laugh. The gun shook in his hands as spasms of laughter racked his body, and he gripped the weapon tighter to keep it from tumbling out of his hands. Finally, Joker focused on Ciel once more, small chuckles leaving his mouth. “You must think I’m an idiot,” he stated. “There’s no way in hell that I’d let you go with only your word that you’ll come back. Love only runs so deep, and I have no guarantee that you’ll come back.”

Blunt nails dug deeper into the palm of Ciel’s hand as his fist clenched. Had he thought it would be easy? That this man would go along with such a proposition? If Ciel had, then he had been sorely mistaken. Mind racing, he fought to keep ahead of what would soon be a battle of wits.

“You doubt me?” Ciel had the audacity to scoff. “Especially after I vowed to slaughter each and every one of you if you dared to harm him? Or perhaps you are blind to how deep love can indeed run.”

Joker hummed and focused his sight of his gun on Sebastian once more, even though his eyes stayed locked with Ciel. “Your words at that time were indeed brave, but things have changed since then.” He gestured to Ciel’s face. “You’ve been injured, and your eye may be permanently damaged. This never would’ve happened if it hadn’t been for Sebastian. All of this is his fault; he stole the ring and allowed you to get caught by being careless. So therefore, it’s his fault that you’re in this mess. And you know that, little prince. You know all this so well that you might not even care what happens to the man who pulled you into this mess.”

Ciel laughed, harsh and choked. “You assume too much, and know nothing. Sebastian is not the one I blame for this. That right goes to myself, for I’m the one at fault. I was the one to force my way into this life, and against Sebastian’s wishes. It was also my own fault for getting caught and letting my guard down. If anything were to happen to Sebastian on my account, I would never forgive myself. I’d do everything in my power to assure that he was returned safely, even if it meant handing over your damned ring.” Blue eyes blazed with all the passionate fury that Ciel possessed in the moment, alongside the conviction of his words.

“So you’ve said,” Joker answered and shrugged. “But say that I believe you and let you go now. What’s stopping you from coming back here with the entire force of your family? You could easily destroy us that way and get your revenge on us for what we have done to you. And as you can guess, that’s something that doesn’t sit well with me.”

“I’m not stupid. The moment you got wind of such a betrayal, you’d waste no time in ending Sebastian’s life... Or am I wrong?” There was a shifting of weight, and Ciel tried to keep himself from looking anxious, trying to play it off as sore muscles and throbbing cuts taking their toll on his body.

Joker nodded. “This is true. We have Sebastian, and you have the ring. It would be a fair trade, but you already know about the ring and what it means to us. Letting you go now could be a liability for us.” He cocked his head slightly. “I guess in the end, it comes down to how far you’re willing to go.”

“What are you suggesting?” It was with cautious words that Ciel proceeded, not sure of what would be asked of him. There was nothing that he wouldn’t do for Sebastian, but that didn’t make his tasks any easier.

“It’s not what I’m suggesting,” Joker answered slowly. “But what you are. We’re both at a stalemate. I know what you want, and you know what I want. What I want to know, is if you’re willing to go through with this. If you betray your family to give us the ring, they could hunt you down and make your life even more of a living hell than what we would make it.”

“A life without Sebastian is a fate worse than hell,” Ciel boldly declared, meaning every word of it.

Silence stretched across the area, and Joker loosened his grip on the pistol. The proposal was plausible, and he was starting to believe that Ciel would indeed return. Ciel had brought forward some solid points that made sense the more Joker mulled over them. If Sebastian had come charging in the first time, who was to say Ciel wouldn’t return the same way? The younger male was willing to stand before a gun to protect his lover and face the full force of his family; it was just more proof that Ciel would come back if it meant the well being of Sebastian.

Beast turned to look at Joker and frowned slightly at him. “Surely you’re not considering this?” Her hands tightened around her whip. “What if he doesn’t come back?”

“We still have Sebastian,” Joker murmured to her. “Just as Ciel is Sebastian’s weakness, Sebastian is also Ciel’s weakness. He’ll come back to ensure that his boyfriend is released. Especially since Sebastian is injured and knows that we can harm him more.”

“But who says that Tanaka would let him come back?” She asked. “Ciel is their heir and once he’s back, Tanaka won’t let him out again.”

Joker shook his head. “No matter how hardened the old man is, he’s still human and I’m sure he’ll cave to the whims of his grandson.” Or so he hoped. It was one thing that Joker hadn’t thought about. He turned his attention to Ciel. “How would you go about securing the ring, especially if Tanaka won’t let you leave once you return home?”

For now, that was the only hitch that Joker could see in an otherwise solid plan. While Joker liked to think that Tanaka had a heart and would let Ciel come back for Sebastian, instinct told him that the man would hold Ciel under lock and key until he was sure that the threat was gone.

Ciel hoped that the older man would go along with everything, but Ciel was more than willing to go behind his grandfather’s back to acquire the ring. “I will get the ring by any means necessary, even if it means going against Tanaka’s wishes.” He swallowed thickly at thinking just what that would mean for him.

“Well aren’t you the brave one,” Joker said with a chuckle and started to walk towards Ciel. “Standing up to your grandfather and going against him, even though such a thing could result in your death. But then again, you’ve already said that life without Sebastian is just as bad.”

“Who besides me would be willing to go against the family for Sebastian’s sake? The lot of them are brainwashed fools, doing only what they are told and knowing no better. I was loyal to Sebastian far before I ever bowed my head to Tanaka. My loyalties will always foremost lie with Sebastian.” Such words were hard to speak, especially in a believable manor. Ciel respected Tanaka and had with time become loyal and dedicated to the man and to the family. He never would have considered going against anything Tanaka wished, and Ciel could only hope that his words of betrayal would not become a reality.

Sebastian leaned down until his mouth hovered next to Ciel’s ear. “You can’t do this, Ciel,” he hissed. “Who’s to say that they’ll let you go once you come back with the ring? They’ll have everything they need and can vanish after killing you. Once they vanish, Tanaka will have no way to track them down.” His eyes darted up as Joker continued to approach them, noting the thoughtful expression that had crossed the man’s face, making it seem as though Joker was seriously considering Ciel’s words.

What Sebastian proposed wasn’t something Ciel wanted to think about. He already knew that he might not leave here alive a second time, but perhaps he could provide a safe escape for Sebastian. Things would become clearer once he got home. If Tanaka went along with the plan, then perhaps they could construct a plan to save both Sebastian and Ciel. If not, then Ciel would have to use what he had at his disposal and hope for the best.

“I’m your only hope of getting that ring now.” Ciel’s throat burned with each word he forced out, but he needed Joker to agree to this. If this plan went down, then all hope was lost.

“You can get the ring?” Joker asked and smirked when Ciel nodded. “Sebastian stays here then until you come back with the ring. You have twenty-four hours to return here with the real ring, or I’ll send Sebastian’s body back to you piece by piece.”

Ciel cursed under his breath. Twenty-four hours was pushing it, especially if Tanaka didn’t agree to the plan. “Forty-eight hours?” He countered. “Tanaka will expect me to try to pull something right away. Giving me an extra day will help me plan ahead and allow Tanaka to relax on the notion that I won’t try something stupid.” The idea of leaving Sebastian with these people a day longer did little to comfort Ciel, but he knew the man was tough and could handle it.

Joker frowned. Two days provided enough time for Ciel to formulate an attack and gather people to help him. But at the same time, it gave their gang time to prepare a new hideout and get ready to leave when the time called for it.

“Joker,” Beast murmured softly behind him. “If we extend the time, it gives us more time to torture the demon. Until the point that even if Ciel brings back the ring, he could be knocking on death’s door. He’d die by the time they made it home, we’d have the ring, and vanish before they could plan another attack. Kill two birds with one stone.”

“Then we could get away clean,” Joker finished. It was an appealing idea, and one that was too good to pass up. Even if Tanaka denied Ciel the right to bring the real ring back, Joker had no doubts that Ciel would find a way to get around the older man. And if Ciel left without Tanaka knowing and was killed once the ring was delivered, it would be months before they found this place. They would be long gone before the body was found. “Grab Ciel,” Joker finally muttered to Beast.

Ciel’s heart thrummed wildly in his chest as he watched the two whisper, anxiety heightening when Beast drew away and walked quickly towards him. Blue eye glanced anxiously to the whip in her hand, and Ciel wondered if he’d be feeling its bite again. She grabbed him harshly, and he called out as he was forcefully pulled from Sebastian’s side.

“Wh--what the hell are you doing?” There wasn’t much struggle left within Ciel, but he managed putting up a slight fight. He knew little of what decision they had come to, and for all Ciel knew, he was being led back to that little room or that even smaller cell. The thought had him struggling more.

Beast didn’t bother to answer him and came to a stop in front of Joker. She released his arm and took a small step back, chancing a glance over her shoulder at Sebastian to make sure the man was still behaving.

“We’ve come to a decision,” Joker said. “We’ll give you forty-eight hours to come back here with the ring. If you don’t come back by then, we’ll kill Sebastian, and the deal will be void.” He looked over Ciel’s shoulder and nodded to the men surrounding Sebastian. The male closest to the injured man smirked and shoved his fist into Sebastian’s stomach, making Sebastian double over and wince as the action jarred his injury.

“Your time starts now,” Joker said cheerfully.

To Be Continued . . .

Date: 2011-08-10 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilovesyunjae.livejournal.com
Ahhhhhhhhh!!! Love this update. Love the kiss they managed to exchange. Aishhhh. Cant wait fr nxt chapt.

Date: 2011-08-10 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Yay!!! Glad you enjoyed it!!! Makes me smile.

Just wait till next weeks chapter. 8D Oh the drama. lol.


Date: 2011-08-10 04:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nonnally.livejournal.com

Well my heart is no longer in my stomach so much as it's writhing in agony. It's very strange for me to look forward to Tuesdays so hard.

I'm aware I should give you more coherent reviews, but it's difficult. Simply reviewing sort of makes me open up and opens some odd little door that makes me want to write Kuro fic. I have sworn that I would not and I won't but sometime... XD

Good luck on the next chapter.

Date: 2011-08-16 05:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Oh don't worry, I love your reviews!!! ^^ They never fail to make me smile. 8D

Haha, you'll give into writing soon enough. xD lol. I remember when I first started. I didn't want too, but it was like an itch that just wouldn't go away. Just write a little one-shot. They are always fun!

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

Date: 2011-08-11 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] highprofilelove.livejournal.com
Joker is so scary :(
Another great chapter ♥
I love Sebastian and Ciel's little exchanges here :( it's just so, heartbreaking

and I still can't believe this fic is nearing the end (please, NOOOOOOOOO DX)

Date: 2011-08-16 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Thank you sweetie!!

I think Sebastian and Ciel need a hug. Tons of them in fact. lol.

And OMG, I can't believe it's reaching it's end either. More so that you've kept with it for so long. 44 chapters and you're still with me. ^^ Thank you for all your wonderful comments. <3<3<3

Date: 2011-08-12 05:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-mbry0.livejournal.com
Uwaaaah~! I'm even more in love with this fic ( ̄▽ ̄)ノ


Date: 2011-08-16 05:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akiru-chan.livejournal.com
Awww yay!!! I hope you keep on loving it!!! hehe.



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