akiruchan: (Sebastian)
[personal profile] akiruchan
Title: The Devil's Canvas

Chapter: 45 (part one)/?

Authors: Akiru chan & Disgruntled Minion

Pairing/Characters:  Sebastian/Ciel

Rating: M

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-Five

Tanaka’s eyes darted over Ciel’s shoulder, noting that Claude wasn’t with him. No doubt Ciel had sent the other man away, using his position to do such a thing. Although perhaps Claude hadn’t been the best person to watch Ciel. The male was close to Sebastian, and seeing as his friend’s life was on the line, he would try anything to help Sebastian.

But outside of that, Tanaka doubted that Claude would further disobey orders. He would make sure of that. The thought was pushed aside for the moment, and Tanaka focused his gaze once more on Ciel.

A single blue eye glared back at him, matching his own gaze with an intensity that only showed Tanaka that Ciel had no plans on backing down. “You were supposed to stay in bed,” Tanaka finally stated.

“There are more important things that demand my attention,” Ciel stated firmly, voice loud and booming. “I’ll rest when I allow myself to.” There was little sleep to be had in a lonely bed.

Tanaka cocked his head to the side. “And what things might those be?” He asked, even though he already knew the answer. “Your well being and health should always be the first thing that demands your attention. And I’m sure you’ve looked at yourself in a mirror to realize that your health isn’t the best right now.” It was a low blow to bring in the injuries that Ciel had received, but Tanaka wasn’t about to let Ciel leave.

Only a small tensing of Ciel’s shoulders gave away the boy’s unease. He was in no shape to perform the required actions that Ciel was forcing himself to go through. Even under the best circumstances, this would be a fool’s mission.

“I’m fine,” he said quickly. “My health is of little concern at the moment. I will not rest or worry about my well being until Sebastian is safely by my side.” There was a threat in there somewhere, and Ciel really didn’t give a damn what Tanaka thought of it.

“It’s of concern to myself and the rest of this family,” Tanaka snapped. “I will not have you rushing off to go save Sebastian in your current condition. Even if you were fully healed and capable of such a thing, it’s a reckless mission and you’d gain nothing.”

“And Sebastian’s well being is no concern of the family? Is that what you’re trying to say?” Ciel bit back with all the force of a charging bear. “I gain nothing if I stay here. I’d rather go to Sebastian with the hope of bringing him back. I would die with that hope. Staying here only promises me misery.”

Tanaka shook his head. “Sebastian wouldn’t want that for you. He knew what he was up against the moment he left the mansion and still chose to go.” He tapped his fingers on the desk’s surface. “He wouldn’t want you to go throwing your life away. He’d want you to live.”

Ciel looked unamused and clicked his tongue as his frown deepened. “And I can’t feel the same? I didn’t want him coming after me; I was ready to die. You can’t expect me to sit back and allow that idiot to kill himself for me.” He wouldn’t allow Tanaka to keep him from this. It was something he needed to do, no matter what the hell Sebastian wished in the end.

Tanaka’s eyes softened and for a moment, he allowed himself to stand in Ciel’s shoes. He understood the urge to go after someone and bring them back safely. But such a thing could only go so far, and he found his eyes hardening once more. “Ciel, I’m sure it’s not what you want to hear, but by now, Sebastian is probably dead.” It hurt to say such a thing, but it was the truth. “And if you leave now and he’s dead, then you could die for nothing.”

No, it wasn’t true. Ciel shook his head, trying to clear his mind and the unwanted tears that seemed so persistent to fall. “They won’t kill him, not yet. The ring is what they want, and they will keep him alive until I bring it to them. I’ll make sure he gets out, gets home safely.” A sad smile was given to Tanaka. Ciel knew that there was little hope that both of them would make it back alive. At most he knew he could secure Sebastian’s escape and survival. Nothing mattered past that.

Everything that was happening was Ciel’s fault. He had recklessly jumped into a world that he wasn’t ready for. It was all a game, and he gave himself more lives than he ever deserved having. Ciel had caused this, his naivety had caused it all, and dragged not only himself but Sebastian into the bloody maw. He should have figured everything would finally catch up to him.

For a moment he thought back to the sweet and sensual words being passed through radio receivers. Thinking back on it, Sebastian had been right; it had been a stupid idea. If only Ciel had known just how deadly it would become. Just when had he turned Sebastian so complaisant?

“What’s so special about this ring?” Tanaka questioned, hoping to lead Ciel off the subject by drawing attention to another. The ring was the cause of all this mess, and they somehow knew that the ring Sebastian had was a fake. They must have missed something that had tipped off their enemies, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking for it again.

Ciel faltered for a moment as his brain was forced to derail and reformat to what he was being asked. “The ring...? Something to do with a will, family secrets... Some shit like that, but that’s not what’s important here.” He tried to continue to shove his point of view at his grandfather.

Tanaka sat up a little straighter. “Family secrets?” This put a twist on the subject and Tanaka could only ponder over how they had missed such a thing. Now more than ever, they couldn’t let the gang get a hold of the ring. At least not until they knew what family secrets were being stored in the ring.

It was then that Ciel knew he had sealed his fate for the worse. The glint within Tanaka’s eyes told of someone who had just found a priceless treasure. Ciel’s own eyes hardened, and he composed himself, voice deepening in subtle warning. “Sebastian is worth more than the ring,” he said sternly.

“Don’t let your personal feelings get in the way. They’re clouding your judgement and that’s something I can’t allow.” Harsh yes, but as it stood now, there was no way they could help Sebastian. It was best to accept what they had at hand now and honor the man for his sacrifice.

It was disgusting to hear those words. They made Ciel sick knowing that Tanaka meant them and that Ciel was expected to believe such things as well. For the greater good, he had once heard said. What a piece of filthy drivel that was. “Then why did you send Sebastian to me? Was I not worth more than the ring? What right do you have to put my life before his!” Ciel hollered and he idly wondered if Claude could hear them in the hall.

Tanaka stood up quickly, his hands coming to rest on the surface of his desk in an attempt to control himself. “Because Sebastian helped to cause this mess. He should’ve known better than to cave in to his libido. His actions caused this and for it, he’ll have to face the consequences. I know it’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.” Tanaka’s eyes narrowed. “And who knows what’s in that ring. Family secrets could mean anything and it could very well turn out to be something that could destroy us.”

“And what makes me so special that these consequences don’t apply to me?” And finally Ciel’s tears fell, angry and frustrated drops that ran down his cheek and stung his eye as it seeped into the bandaging. “Did you know I was the one to push for it, that it was my fucking libido that caused all of this? That it was Sebastian who tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn’t listen. Did you know it’s my fault? All of this is my fault! I won’t allow Sebastian to die because of me. Can’t your senile mind grasp that?” Ciel spat venomously, voice echoing throughout the room, and he didn’t give a damn who heard.

Papers and books were flung to the floor as Tanaka’s hand swept across the desk in anger. “And why can’t your foolish mind understand that Sebastian did all of this so you would live? He knew the consequences of entering the enemy’s territory.” He rounded the desk slowly. “You are the heir, Ciel. You are young and still have more to learn. Sebastian has served his time honorably and loyally. He has passed the torch onto you, our heir. You still have pages to write in your book. Sebastian’s book is filled and needs to be closed.”

“I love him... I c-can’t let him die. I can't.” Ciel shook his head. Why couldn't Tanaka see that nothing would matter if Sebastian died here? This world of blood would be pointless to Ciel without Sebastian by his side. He would readily turn his back on the family rather than continue on with the constant reminder of what had happened.

Tanaka nodded slightly. “I know you do, but I still can’t allow you to go after him. You have no proof that they’ll honor their agreement and you could very easily be running into a trap. I don’t want to lose both you.” He ran a hand over his face, feeling exhaustion seep into his bones. “Go back to your room, Ciel. There’s nothing you can do to help Sebastian now. His fate was sealed the moment he went to go rescue you.”

There was a moment, quicker than the blink of an eye, that it seemed as if Ciel would protest further. His resolve hardened, face becoming almost brittle in its expressions, and he turned quickly on his heel. Ciel paused at the door, just long enough to give Tanaka one last cold remark.

“I think I understand why my parents left,” he cruelly said. “And I can’t help but be happy that they did.”

“Claude,” Tanaka called out coldly and moved towards the door.

Outside the study, Claude’s hand circled around Ciel’s wrist and held him in place, keeping the younger male from leaving. “I’m sorry,” he murmured softly and turned to face Tanaka as the man approached them.

A harsh slap sounded throughout the hallway and Tanaka’s eyes burned with anger. “Don’t think that I don’t feel anything or don’t care about what happens to Sebastian. This whole situation is hard for me as well and I’m already mourning the loss of a man that I considered a son,” Tanaka spat. “But I think it’s time that you remembered your place in this family. Heir you may be, but you are not yet the leader of this family and as such, I am still your superior. You will listen to me and follow my orders, no matter how much you might dislike them. Your ideas are naive and rash, based only on youthful pride and the thinking that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

Tanaka tore his gaze away from Ciel and checked to make sure Claude was listening as well. He didn’t need the older man getting any ideas and wanted to drill it into both their minds that they weren’t leaving.

“I’m telling you now that such a thing won’t work and doing so won’t bring Sebastian back. The world doesn’t work that way, and you still have much to learn before you’re ready to start barking orders and leading anyone from this family.” Tanaka waved his hand. “You are to be confined to your room until William says that you’re fully healed and we have this situation under control. Until then, I suggest that you think over your position and learn from this mistake that has cost you so dearly. Take him to his room, Claude. I’m assigning you guard duty until further notice.”

“And nothing ever comes to those who sit idly by and do nothing,” Ciel whispered bitterly to himself, not daring to look into either man’s eyes. Claude’s hold on him had tightened considerably, and Ciel was unsure if it was due to Tanaka’a words or anger directed at Ciel. It didn’t matter. Neither man was going to stop him from what he needed to do. What was life without taking a few chances for those that you love? Perhaps Tanaka had forgotten what it was like to love someone above all else.

Seeing the dismissal from Tanaka, Claude led Ciel away. Staying around and arguing about the guard duty assignment wasn’t the best idea right now. He had never seen Tanaka so mad before, and it was best to give the older man some time to cool down. If anything, it showed just how much this whole situation was affecting him as well.

“It would be wise not to bother Tanaka anymore about it,” Claude said quietly as they climbed the steps. “He was really worried about you when we found out that you were taken and was doing everything possible to track down information.”

“I won’t get further help from him anyways.” Ciel wrenched his wrist from Claude’s hold and kept walking at a safe distance from the other man. He was not sure as to where Claude’s opinion stood at the moment, and he didn’t need someone else to tell him that he was being stupid.

No one understood, and no one cared. It burned within Ciel’s stomach, a deep seated anger towards the world. He would prove everyone wrong. Sebastian would be brought back home. Ciel would do everything within his power to save the man he loved, even if it meant dying.

Claude reached out and grabbed Ciel’s wrist again, spinning him around. “I know you’re not happy with the situation, but don’t take your anger out on me,” Claude snapped. “You’re not the only one who doesn’t like this whole thing. Sebastian used to be my lover and despite the bad break up, he’s still a friend. Knowing that he’s going to die like this doesn’t sit well with me either, so don’t think for a moment that I’m fine with this.”

“Yet here you stand ready to accept his fate without even trying to to save him. Don’t pretend like you know what I’m going through or that you give half the damn that I do.” Once more Ciel ripped himself free and returned to traversing the halls.

“I’m sure you care more than I do,” Claude answered and trotted after Ciel. “But the fact of the matter is that Tanaka is right in some aspect. You can’t go rushing in with only your emotions guiding you. You’ll die before you can even reach Sebastian and that’s not going to help him very much in the end. You need to stop for just a moment and face this thing logically and with a level head.”

Ciel slowed, steps faltering until he stopped altogether. “And if I had a plan that was logical? What then?” He didn’t want to hope that perhaps Claude could be an ally, and an important one at that. For the moment he could only study the man and wait to see where this would all lead.

“You have to run that plan through a hundred different possibilities. What could or couldn’t happen and then figure out how to adjust to that scenario.” Claude cocked his head slightly. “You’d need to figure out what tools you’re going to need and what items will help you reach your plan.”

“What would you propose I do?” Ciel asked cautiously as they reached the door to his room.

Claude rested his hand on the door to keep Ciel from opening it. “Draw, it’s what you’re good at,” he answered.

Confusion clouded Ciel’s eyes and a quick anger spilled into him again. “What good would that do? That’s hardly relevant to anything,” he snapped.

“It’s very relevant,” Claude answered. “Draw everything that you remember from the place that they kept you hostage at. The rooms, the layout of the building, what your captors looked like, and anything else that you can remember.”

Understanding bloomed and Ciel couldn’t help the smile that overtook him. He quickly pushed through the door, going straight for his desk. Papers and old sketch books were tossed aside until only a few loose sheets of drawing paper were scattered across the wooden top. Ciel pulled a drawer open and dug for a pencil.

“I don’t know how much of the layout I remember. Once my eye was damaged I couldn’t make out things as well, nor was my mind on the floor plan at that moment,” Ciel admitted, feeling rather embarrassed that he had allowed the situation to get to him to the point that he’d forgotten his training.

Claude waved his hand. “At least we’ll have something. It’s better to have that than going in fully blind. We’ll know who to look for and won’t waste our time dealing with underlings while the bigger fish get away.” He watched Ciel for a moment before turning away to look at a painting that hung in the room. “After that, it makes things easier to plan.”

Ciel nodded and got to work without much hesitation. “The building was pretty much a rectangle, with a square like section jutting out from the western end. Not many windows, but I could be wrong. The only time I was brought outside was when Sebastian came. I didn’t get a good look at too much, especially not after they shot...” He trailed off for a moment and forced the image out of his mind. “When they let me go, I left as quickly as I could. I know it’s well hidden with the hills and woods surrounding it.”

“So it’s hard to find,” Claude muttered and moved further into the room. He stood next to the desk and searched for a map before spreading it out on the surface. A quick scan of the area and Claude tapped a line representing a road. “This is where I found you, which means their hideout has to be around this area somewhere. How far did you drive? Any turns, bridges, or tunnels that you can remember?”

“It’s a pretty simple drive, only one turn onto the main road although with the brush and overgrowth it might be easy to miss. I’d say it took about twenty minutes from turning onto the main road before getting to the gas station.” Ciel’s finger pointed at the spot where he believed the hideout was. The landscape seemed right, almost a valley amongst a ring of mismatched hills.

Claude traced the path with a pencil, marking the suspected area with an X. “I’ll get a topographic map. It’ll give us the heights of the hills along with any depressions that we can use or will be used against us.” He looked down at the map again. “But by the looks of it, they’re sitting in a bowl. Which may make things easier for us. Keep drawing; I’ll be back.”

The interior was drawn next and Ciel tried to fill in what he could. He had only been on a single route from the interrogation room and to his holding cell. Some branching hallways were drawn but without a destination given. Luckily, the building was one story with high walls. The little amount of windows it did have were high and close to the ceiling. The sketch was finished quickly and Ciel sat back to wait for Claude.

A few minutes passed before the door opened again, and Claude walked into the room with an armful of maps. They were set on the floor, and Claude pulled the closest map to him so he could start working. “The most current map that we have is two years old, but hills and streams don’t change that much over that short of time period,” Claude stated and started to draw out the hills that surrounded the area. “It looks like there’s an incredibly steep hill on their south side, probably facing the rear of the building. It would be suicide to descend down such a hill with all your equipment; you’d be spotted in a heartbeat.”

“It would be better to slip through one of the valleys between the hills. The majority of them aren’t tall but they would give us cover to go between,” Ciel said pointing towards a steep dip between two hills.

Claude nodded. “But if you’re looking to set up a sniper nest, then you’re going to have to set up in the hills. Having the high ground is usually the best when it comes to this type of infiltration.” Claude tapped a hill that seemed to be a good candidate. “That way, they can watch from the high ground and relay information back to you. They’ll have a better eye on the surrounding features.”

Ciel assessed the area that Claude indicated but frowned. “Who is going to play sniper? You?” This plan was already going downhill. It seemed as if it would take more than two people to perform and they didn’t have that, nor did they have the time to recruit behind Tanaka’s back.

“I’m not the sniper you want,” Claude answered. “If I were helping you with such a plan, I would have to stay here to help cover for you. My job is to make sure that you stay in the mansion. But if you were planning on taking people with you, I know two people who would work well on this type of assignment. But we’re talking hypothetical, of course.”

“Of course. This is all purely hypothetical,” Ciel said with a grin that told a different tale. “Now who would you suggest for such a mission?” There were only a handful of individuals that Ciel could see going along with this, but none of them had the skills they would need.

Claude nodded. “You need people who trained under Sebastian. Who know how he operates so they’ll move in sync with you.” He glanced over his shoulder as the door burst open and banged against the wall. A disgruntled looking Alois trailed after an energetic Finny who looked as though he would pounce on Ciel if Alois wasn’t holding his wrist tightly.

“Ciel!” He cried happily and squirmed in place, much like a puppy. “You’re awake and all right.”

A small smile settled on Ciel’s face, and he repressed a chuckle at the sight of the new duo. “I’m fine,” he reassured Finny as Alois finally let go of the squirming man. It was still hard to believe that Finny was five years Ciel’s senior. He looked far younger in Ciel’s opinion.

“That’s one of them,” Claude stated and held out his arm for Alois to come join them. The younger male settled next to him, and Claude pulled him closer until he was pressed flush against him. “Finny trained under Sebastian and knows how the man works.”

Both Alois and Ciel turned to look at Finny, a new look of appreciation in their eyes for the man. It was Alois who spoke first, turning away and looking back to the maps with interest and mildly suppressed suspicion. “What are you doing?” He leaned forward to thumb through some sketches before Ciel snatched them away.

“Don’t look. It’s none of your business.” As it currently stood, Ciel was unsure if Alois could be trusted. Yes, he would most likely side with Claude, but Ciel just couldn’t take the chance at the moment. It wasn’t a secret that Alois disliked both Sebastian and himself.

“Alois already knows,” Claude stated and ran a hand through the blond locks. “And even though he doesn’t like it, he’s playing a major part in this hypothetical plan.”

“Oh?” Ciel looked genuinely intrigued. “What shall be his role?”

Alois wouldn’t meet Ciel’s eye and he merely huffed and turned away. The action only made Ciel all the more curious and he looked towards Claude for answers. Hopefully it would be something that would give Ciel some form of an emotional boost.

Claude hummed. “There’s a chance that Tanaka will come looking for you at least once, so in order for this fake plan to succeed, you need someone to pose as you. Alois is almost the same height and build as you. Put him in bed with a wig on his head and no one would know.” A small kiss was pressed to the males temple. “Alois is used to disguises and would be able to play his part well.”

“You have a wig to match my hair?” Ciel asked, not sure if he wanted to know the how’s and why’s of it.

“Why wouldn’t we?” Finny asked and cocked his head. “If we ever need to make a double of you for security reasons, we’d have to be thorough.”

Ciel had nothing to say to that. His mouth snapped shut, and he decided not to think over that more then he should. Instead his mind shifted back to a matter Claude had brought up earlier in the day. “You’re going to have to lay in our bed.” It didn’t take much to figure out who Ciel meant by ‘our’. It wasn’t as if the room was shared by anyone other than himself and Sebastian.

“Well of course. Why would...” Alois trailed off as it seemed he caught on to what Ciel was alluding too. “I demand that the sheets and comforter be changed before I even touch the mattress.”

Claude rolled his eyes. “We’ll change them, don’t worry. And once this thing is under control, I’ll fuck you into our mattress.” Another kiss was placed on Alois’s temple before Claude turned to look at Ciel. “So you have one person joining you on this fake assignment. Who is the next person?”

“Well I don’t know. You seem to already have your dream team in mind,” Ciel replied with sarcastic vigor. He spun his pencil around his fingers in a bored gesture as he awaited the naming of the second person who was on the preferred list. Although he was still wondering over what Finny could do. For the longest time Ciel had only ever thought of Finny as Bard’s friend and partner. To think that Finny had been taught by Sebastian intrigued Ciel and he wondered over the man’s abilities.

“Mey-rin,” Finny spoke up. “Mr. Sebastian taught her how to shoot and snipe when she first joined his team. That’s why she works in the parlor where the guns are. She’s a great shot, especially from far away.”

Claude nodded. “Sebastian surrounds himself with certain people for a reason. A clumsy cashier, a gardener, and an art professor.” A smirk appeared on Claude’s face. “They all seem innocent enough when you first look at them, but their skills and ties to people are what makes them important to Sebastian.”

Finny grinned and leaned forward. “That’s why his team is always so successful.”

Ciel could only look on in awe. He had been within this family for months and it still seemed like surprises lurked around each corner. He knew so very little about each member of the family, giving them far too little credit more often than not. How blinded he had been, eyes always focused on Sebastian. Ciel never got the chance to see the brilliance of those around him until his blinders had been forcefully stolen.

“Those two will help you in the field and we’ll help you from here,” Claude stated. “Mey-rin will cover you from above and Finny will join you down in the field so he can watch your back. But first, we need to figure out the best location to move in from. Their front is probably here, facing this valley as it’s the only road that leads in and out. They have the advantage with that.”

Claude’s finger traced over the set of hills that flanked the east side of the building. “This would be the best place for Mey-rin to set up. She still has a visual on the road and can see the entrance and backside of the building. The only blind spot she’ll face is the west side of the building.” He tapped the hill in front of the building. “Ideally, it would be best to put her here, but since it’s the entrance, they probably have more guards there and would be on the lookout.”

Finny leaned forward and looked at the map. “This hill also backs up to the road. We can park the car in these woods on the opposite side of the road and after we cross the road, we can move up the hill to get in position.” Finny’s fingers walked the path that Mey-rin would use before sliding down to the valley next to the hill. “There’s a stream here that we can follow and the water should help to cover any sounds we make moving through the forest. Mey-rin clears the side of the building and we can move in to clear the rest.”

“That won’t work.” Ciel spoke up, shaking his head as the plan began to form then die in his mind. “They’ll know we’re there. The moment one of their men falls, they will know that I went against our bargain. I’ve already been warned that if I don’t come alone, Sebastian will be dead in an instant. They will be expecting foul play.” It was a delicate issue, one that would require much more stealth than what was normally needed. Their enemy would have to stay oblivious until Ciel was able to reach Sebastian.

Claude frowned. “That information would’ve been nice to know beforehand. Anything else that we need to know before we create a new plan?” It was going to be hard now. Figuring out how to get everyone on the ground and without being seen was tricky, and Claude was hesitant about sending Ciel in without any proper backup.

Silences reigned for only a moment as Ciel grudgingly thought over anything he might have forgotten to mention. “They have snipers on the roof.” Although that was more of a given. “And there are three individuals who seem to hold the authority, one more so than the others. Still it seems as if their ranks are flimsy. The woman out of the three wields a whip.” Ciel pointed to his eye. “She’s the one I have to thank for this. But the two men seem to be typical. The red head is the only one of the two who’s wielded a gun. The other they call doctor. Not sure if he is to be considered dangerous.”

“The snipers on the roof will be the most dangerous for now. It’s possible that they don’t even have any people on the ground because they’re so confident in their snipers,” Claude stated and looked at the map again. “Mey-rin will have a field day with this. We just need to get a hold of some of Sebastian’s weapons.”

Ciel seemed skeptical at first, but Claude had no reason to lie at this point. “More importantly, how do we know Mey-rin will help?”

“Mey-rin will help,” Finny stated. “We’re all loyal to Mr. Sebastian and are willing to help him any way possible. It’s not easy on us either, knowing that our boss is being held captive and we can’t do anything about it.”

“But you’re willing to go against Tanaka? All of you are?” Ciel looked around at the small group of men in his room. “I can’t even imagine what the consequences might be for myself, let alone all of you.” He remembered what had happened to Sebastian when he had gone against the family to prove that Ciel meant more to him than anything else. Tanaka had gone easy on him, Ciel was sure of that. Sebastian’s time in confinement could have been much worse.

For a moment, silence settled over the small group and Claude couldn’t help but pause. There was no doubt that they would be punished when they came back, whether or not Sebastian was alive. But the consequences of not going and letting Sebastian die would be disastrous in the future once Ciel took over. It would be something that Ciel wouldn’t forget, and that grudge would only grow and fester until it consumed Ciel. Even if it meant punishment now, it would be better to take it now than for the family to fall apart in the future.

“I’m willing,” Claude finally spoke up. “I have my reasons and I know the consequences. And I’m sure that if we bring Sebastian back alive, Tanaka’s anger won’t be as great.”

Ciel wasn’t anymore relieved. Tanaka’s anger was stemmed from Ciel’s inability to follow orders while being reckless and allowing his emotions to take hold of him. There would be little joy for Tanaka, whether they brought home Sebastian or not, when he found that Ciel was rubbing off negatively on others. He was a poison that brewed betrayal, but Ciel did not voice his concern.

“If Claude is in, then I’m in as well,” Alois voiced, looking rather smug. He had situated himself on Claude’s lap and was currently playing with the hairs at the man’s nape. Ciel forced himself to turn from the scene and focused on Finny.

“I’m in, too,” Finny said and his voice lowered slightly. “I’ve already lost Bard. I couldn’t stand it if Mr. Sebastian died as well.”

Claude nodded. “Mey-rin will join as well, I have no doubt there.” He nipped Alois’s ear lightly before looking over the younger male’s shoulder to focus on the map. “Now that we know who will be helping on this assignment, we need to figure out a plan. It’s already past noon and the best time to move would be at night.”

A true smile settled on Ciel’s face and he felt himself relax for the first time in days. These people would help, and with them he hoped that Sebastian could be brought home alive and safe. “We are still speaking hypothetically right?” He asked in a humored tone. It was almost laughable to say that at this point.

“Of course. It’s all hypothetical,” Claude answered. “I would never let you out of the mansion right now. It’s a fool’s mission and you’re still injured.”

“And if I got out without you knowing?” Ciel ventured to ask, his smile morphing into an impish grin. “Not to mention I’m suddenly feeling quite well. Not a sore muscle in my body.”

Alois leaned over Claude and poked Ciel in the arm, right under a covered scrape. Ciel jerked, but didn’t utter a sound, preferring to send the other man a glare. Alois just laughed, but didn’t comment on Ciel’s obvious white lie. Anyone who looked at him could see that Ciel was fatigued and aching, but no one seemed to have the heart to point out the blatantly obvious.

Claude leaned back and nodded at the map. “So how do you plan on going about this hypothetical plan of yours?” His eyes closed briefly and he hummed. “You have a lot of angles to cover and you can’t cut any of them. To do so would mean Sebastian’s death.”

“We need a way to turn everything in our favor. Something that will allow me to get to Sebastian and get him out alive. I doubt they will allow me to enter with any weapons. So we need something that will indirectly hit them.” Different scenarios were assessed but nothing stood out to Ciel. Guns and knives were out of the question. Those would be looked for first. He needed something deadly. Something that he did not need to personally wield.

“A bomb...” Ciel looked up, asking for someone’s agreement. It seemed fitting to end these people in the same way they had originally tried to end Sebastian’s life. Cruelly ironic, and Ciel loved the very idea of it.

Claude’s eyes opened and a lazy smile spread across his face. “A bomb, huh?” He asked and his eyes lit up with excitement. “What kind of bomb are you looking for? One that’ll knock a hole in the wall without making much sound, or one that’s set on a dead man’s switch?”

“I want nothing to remain once I’m done with them,” Ciel said with confidence.

“I can promise that,” Claude stated. “You’ll need two bombs though, if you want this thing to work. One to show that you’re serious, and another to keep them from shooting you.”

Speaking up, Alois turned to Ciel looking far too serious. “It’ll be harder for you to get out if you use a bomb. Especially if you plan on putting it on a timer. You’ll have a time constraint. If you can’t get out then there will be no hope for you,” he warned.

It was true. Ciel knew that he couldn’t carry the detonator on him, not when it would be quickly discovered. “Then we’ll have to be punctual.” It would be either that or they would be embracing death.

“They’ll both be set on timers,” Finny spoke up. “Mey-rin can be in charge of the detonations, that way you can get in without them suspecting anything. You’ll just have to bluff and make them think that you’ve already set the chargers.”

“Then how do we get the bombs in and set up?” They needed someone who could be quick and silent. Ciel was sure that if given the chance he could slip in and set things up, but it would be far better if some of the opposition could be thinned out before Ciel made his way inside. He doubted a few nameless grunts would be missed if they played their cards right.

“That’s where your backup comes into play,” Claude answered. “Finny will follow you when you place the bombs, provide you cover and watch your back. He’s good with hand to hand combat and can snap someone’s neck. It’ll ensure silence seeing as we’re not looking to attract attention.”

Ciel nodded. “How are we going to get past the snipers on the roof? Night will provide some cover, but I hardly doubt that it’ll be enough.” However one looked at it, the snipers were the biggest hurdle they had to conquer and one that wouldn’t be easy to get around. It worried Ciel, but he held on to his hope, tying it close so that he would never lose it. He couldn’t afford to.

Finny frowned. “That is going to be a problem.” He rubbed at his eyes, trying to think of an idea that would work. “And I hate to say that we might have to wait until we get there so we can figure out how many snipers are on the roof.”

“So we are pretty much going to be winging this?” Ciel sounded far too enthusiastic with the idea than he should have been. He had learned that things never quite went as planned, so why bother with them in the first place. Granted, some fore-planning was needed, but not to any great extent. They would have to think on their feet once they got there.

“Seems like it,” Claude answered and shifted on the floor so his legs could stretch out. Alois slid from his lap and rested between his outstretched leg. “But we have to make sure our plan from now until the time we leave is foolproof. There’s a lot that we need to cover and not a lot of time to finish it all if we plan to leave tonight.”

That was true. One of the hardest parts would be securing the ring and making it out without detection. Ciel was already sure Tanaka had the mansion on lock down and everyone would be keeping an eye out for the soon to be runaway heir.

“Do we even know where the ring is being kept?” It was a start and where it would all have to begin. Without the ring, they could hope to accomplish nothing.

“It’s somewhere in the family safe,” Finny answered. “Mr. Sebastian gave me the ring to take to Mr. Tanaka, and I saw him head in that direction.”

Claude grunted. “That’ll be hard then. Unless Sebastian taught you how to break into safes, we’re going to have a rather large hurdle to get over before we can do anything,” he stated.

“No one here can force their way into a safe?” Ciel had expected a little more, but he was one to talk. He had avoided learning solely for the purpose that it was a bitch to do. Perhaps they could just set a bomb by it, Ciel thought dryly.

Finny shrugged. “Mr. Sebastian taught me, but I’m slow at it and I can’t always get the tumblers to fall in place the first time around. Smaller locks are easier, but this one is big and has several parts to it.”

“We can provide you cover,” Claude stated. “If we act as though Ciel’s fever has spiked again, Tanaka won’t be near the safe, and it’ll hopefully give you enough time to break in without causing damage. But the only drawback of using Ciel as a distraction is that Tanaka would be more likely to stop by at night to make sure he’s still okay,” Claude mused.

Ciel nodded as he thought this through. “If he does come to check on me in the night, it’ll be easy to shoo him away with the excuse that I’m asleep and need my rest. Just be sure that Alois’s face is obscured by the pillow. My only worry is that he might have Will check me over again. That man will ruin everything for sure.” Will would be able to tell that Ciel was fine and feverless. They didn’t need to chance that.

“We can play it off as Ciel being upset about Mr. Sebastian and he doesn’t want to see anyone,” Finny stated. “That’ll keep Will away. He wouldn’t want to deal with a moody and pissy, Ciel. No offense.”

“None taken.” Ciel wasn’t about to argue that he was a tough one to deal with when in a foul mood. He knew well enough how difficult he could be. “So that takes care of that, it seems. And if my absence is blown later in the night, then I’ll be far enough away that they wouldn’t be able to come after me.”

Alois made a face. “Shit, I hope that doesn’t turn out to be the case. I’d hate to have to deal with Tanaka. He’ll be sure to fly off the handle,” he so eloquently said.

Claude frowned. “We’ll both have to deal with him and I’m sure we’ll be adequately punished, but probably not as harsh as Ciel would be.” He glanced out the window to watch the clouds float by lazily. “Still, none of us will be seeing the outside world for a while.”

Finny leaned back on his hands. “If it brings Mr. Sebastian back, then I’m willing to risk some of my freedom for a while.” He cocked his head and looked at Ciel. “I’m sure we can all agree on that.”

If bringing Sebastian back meant spending the rest of eternity in a dark, dank cell, then it was of little consequence. Ciel would be more than willing to do that and more to save Sebastian. The man meant a great deal to him and these people around him. It eased Ciel and he turned to look back at the maps.

“Well then, shall we hammer out the details?”


[Part Two]

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Akiru chan

January 2012

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