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[personal profile] akiruchan
Title: The Devil's Canvas
Chapter: 48/?
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-Eight

Every step Claude took weighed down on his shoulders. Their men were already tackling the fire, trying to drench it in water to put it out. He was in no hurry for them to finish when it would only give him the go ahead to start his search. Sebastian and Ciel were always bringing problems into his life and this was surely no different. He sighed and turned back to where Tanaka still stood with Finny, Mey-rin, and the bastard who had caused all of this.

“Anyone coming in with me?” He asked and looked straight at Finny. It was perhaps a little cruel to make Finny go in with him, especially after having lost Bard not long before. Normally he might have asked Mey-rin, but he was not overly familiar with the woman.

Finny hesitated before taking a step forward. “I’ll come,” he said. He swallowed hard and moved up to Claude’s side. It wasn’t something he was looking forward to but he wasn’t about to leave them. This was something he had to do. He couldn’t let Ciel and Sebastian stay in that building; it was dishonoring to them, and it was something he wouldn’t let happen.

The flames continued to recede, but Claude could still feel their heat. It licked at his skin, and he tried not to think of what Sebastian and Ciel might have had to endure. He could only hope that they had met a quick end. It hurt to hope for such a thing, but as the fire died and the full damage of the building was shown, it became foolish to hope that they had lived. What wasn’t burned of the building was lying collapsed and in disrepair. The roof had completely fallen, pressing heavily upon anything beneath.

“They aren’t alive,” Claude finally said. Putting it out in the open seemed to confirm the fact. It would do them little good to breed false hope. They might as well face the fact now when it would be easy to accept the outcome before they had to look upon Sebastian’s and Ciel’s dead bodies.

Finny shivered despite the heat. The thought was horrible to think about, and Finny shook his head as they entered the rubble. The damage was extensive and the more Finny looked around, the more Claude’s words rang true. Already dead and burnt bodies could be seen in the hallways, and Finny swallowed as he bent down to examine them.

Relief rushed over him. “It’s not them,” he said and moved over to the next one.

Claude followed suit, checking each body as he went. For some individuals it was hard to tell with their faces having been burned away, leaving nothing to identify them by. The smell inside was sickening and even with Claude’s experience he was finding it hard to settle his stomach.

“We’ll find them,” he assured Finny, but Claude could tell the boy was still hoping to find the couple alive and well.

Finny nodded but didn’t answer, not wanting to open his mouth to the smell. The scent of burning flesh was assaulting his nose and making him gag, but he pushed on regardless. Another group of people was examined and Finny sighed in relief when he realized they weren’t the people he was looking for. A small sense of dread settled in him, though, as they moved further into the building and the bodies grew more numerous. It seemed almost impossible to find Ciel and Sebastian now and the more he looked at the bodies, the more ominous it all seemed.

The odds of finding them now were growing slimmer and with each passing body, Finny could feel himself slowing down. A part of him didn’t want to find them, knowing that he would face a mutilated body.

The two men stopped briefly in a room. It was devoid of any bodies, but there was a good amount of blood on the floor. Dark red, almost black, puddles were stained into the floor. Some were still wet, the largest puddle running off into streaks where it seemed something had been dragged from the room.

It was simple enough to know that this was the room in which most of the interrogations and torturing were preformed in. Shackles and ropes hung from walls and the roof. Claude moved over towards a table where a gun rested. He immediately recognized it as Sebastian’s and pocketed it.

“They were here,” he said as he turned back to Finny. The boy was currently inspecting something on the floor with great interest. Claude couldn’t make out what it was, but curiosity brought him closer.

“Ciel was here, too,” Finny stated and stood up. “This was the eye patch we gave him. It must’ve come off.” He looked at the blood pool that stained the floor and frowned. It was large, and the amount was disturbing. It was too much for one person, and if it all belonged to Ciel, then the younger male could already be dead from blood loss.

Claude took the eye patch from Finny and examined it. “It’s been crushed.” The crumbled pieces of the mic could be felt as he moved his fingers over the silk fabric. “Did they figure out he was bugged?” Claude turned to Finny urgently. “What happened before you lost him?” If they could at least know what the situation had been before they had lost contact with Ciel, then perhaps they would get a better idea of what had happened.  

Finny glanced at the eye patch. “He called the bluff with the bombs and we set the bombs off. After that, there was a lot of yelling and just chaos.” Finny fell silent, trying to remember what had happened once the bombs went off. He had been in a rush to get down to the building and find Ciel.

“You heard nothing on the radio? Anything that might point to one of them being injured?” Claude continued to question as he studied the blood. There was no way to tell who it belonged to, but it was evident that it was fresh. Someone had been bleeding here in the past few hours.

Eyebrows furrowed in thought, and Finny frowned. “I think there was a gunshot,” he said slowly. “But when Ciel had first found Sebastian, he was yelling at the man; Joker, I think. Said something about Sebastian being almost dead. Do you think they shot him?”

A sinking feeling settled in the pit of Claude’s stomach. He looked back down at the blood stains. To think that they belonged to Sebastian made Claude’s stomach churn. He stood up and turned away from the sight. “I see,” he said carefully, his face oddly blank. “Let’s find their bodies.” It was no longer a matter of finding them; Claude supposed it never was. This was not a rescue mission. It was a retrieval. Claude could only hope that Tanaka would give him the honor of ending Joker’s life when the time came. He would find great satisfaction in that.

Finny watched as Claude glanced around the room one last time before walking out. Silence settled over the room and Finny shivered in the heat. He could only imagine what had happened here, what Sebastian had gone through, and what Ciel had seen. Those images would forever be branded into both of them, provided they were still alive.

But looking at the amount of blood in the room, Finny could feel the last of his hope draining away. There was no way Sebastian would’ve lasted long enough to make it out of the room, and Ciel wouldn’t leave him. In the end, they had probably died next to each other, and Finny could only wish them happiness in whatever lay beyond death.

------

Tanaka spoke quickly on the phone, his eyes never leaving Mey-rin or Joker, who had passed out. The bastard hadn’t shut up, gloating his supposed win and smiling sickeningly all the while. Only so much could be taken, and Tanaka had shut the man up with the butt of his gun. Already, blood streamed from the wound on Joker’s head, but the man would not die from that.

“We’ll be waiting.” The phone was snapped shut and Tanaka felt himself sag from beneath the day’s weight. He felt so tired and weary, not wanting to deal with all of this. The feelings were shaken off, and Tanaka returned to his full height as he settled himself in front of Mey-rin. “Search him for the ring.” Tanaka’s boot kicked at Joker, pushing him over to lay on his back.

Mey-rin nodded and roughly pulled Joker closer to her. She searched his pockets, looking for the thing that had caused this whole mess, and it was quickly found in the man’s front pocket. She pulled it out and stood up, glancing at the little ring. It was beautiful but horribly tainted, and knowing what it had caused, she couldn’t bear to think of it as anything other than ugly now.

“Sir,” she said and passed the ring off to Tanaka.

It was taken with careful hands, and Tanaka held it up to examine it. He frowned at it after a while and deposited it into his pocket. “Damn thing,” he cursed and looked back to the building. His men were stationed around it as Claude and Finny continued their search. The call would come, Tanaka knew it would, and he would be informed that the bodies had been found. He could only hope that the fire hadn’t disfigured Ciel or Sebastian too badly. They deserved better than that.

Mey-rin nodded and glanced down at Joker one last time before turning from him. She wanted nothing more than to torture the man with her own hands, but that wasn’t her privilege. She turned around as the sound of tires crunching on gravel caught her attention, and she drew her gun, prepared to defend Tanaka if needed.

“Stand down,” the old man said, his hand out in a halting motion. “I called them here.” The car wasn’t a model that Tanaka used for the family, and it gave away that it held outsiders. It came to a stop not far off, and the driver hurried from the vehicle to open the door for his master.

Two figures stepped out of the car, one male and the other female. They glanced at the burning building briefly before moving over to Tanaka and Mey-rin. The female stopped in front of them, the male standing just behind her. His face was calm and seemingly uncaring, but his eyes told a different story. They were alert and ready to protect the female in front of him if any danger were to arise.

“Tanaka,” the female spoke up, breaking the silence. “I wish we could’ve met under better circumstances, but it seems as though this will not be the case today.”

“Likewise, but unfortunately, it seems that it can’t be the case.” Tanaka gave the young woman the best smile he could muster at the current time. It had been a long while since he had seen her; the last time she had been a small girl. “You’ve grown into a fine lady,” he said and held out his hand to shake her own.

She took the offered hand and gave it a firm shake before letting her hand fall back to her side. “My advisor, Snake,” she stated and gestured to the man behind her. “He’s also my personal guard at times and doesn’t take kindly to people threatening me.” A pointed look was given to Mey-rin, a silent hint that she should stand down.

Tanaka glanced over his shoulder at Mey-rin, who still seemed on edge and ready to take action. “These people are our friends,” he explained and motioned to the woman and man. “This is Miss Doll. She is the adopted daughter of Baron Kelvin and the heir of the Kelvin family. I was the one to call her here.”

The rifle was dropped fully, and Mey-rin gave Doll a polite bow. She continued to keep her eyes keen and didn’t dare to drop her guard. It had never been in her to trust strangers, not when circumstances were so sketchy to begin with. For now, she obeyed Tanaka and played the friendly individual. Hopefully, she would not be needed to bring up her gun once more.

Doll nodded at Mey-rin before turning back to Tanaka. “I commend you on taking out your enemy so quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take care of the problem and it fell onto you.” She offered her own bow. “For that I apologize.”

“Neither of us grasped the enormity of the situation until it was too late. No one is to blame.” It was true, but that did not keep Tanaka from feeling the weight of guilt upon him. Being the head of the family, Tanaka should have taken Sebastian and Ciel off assignments as soon as he had known they were being targeted. As it stood, he might as well have been dangling Sebastian and Ciel out as bait for the sharks. “Let us just be glad that it is over now.” He sighed heavily.

“We are very glad that it’s over,” Doll answered. “It seems as though we’re very much indebted to you. Not only have you destroyed our common enemy, but you also have something of importance to us.”

Mey-rin tensed then, finally understanding the importance of this meaning. She looked quickly to Tanaka and moved closer to the man. Joker was pulled along with her; he couldn’t be left out of sight. If Joker got away, not that Mey-rin believed he could with the shape his legs were in, then this would all have been for naught.

“Indeed, it would seem we came into possession of a rather valuable trinket.” Tanaka inserted his hand into his pocket and withdrew the blue stoned ring. It glinted in the sunlight and looked beautiful despite the ugliness it had caused. “I only wish we had known of its importance before now.”  

Doll’s eyes lowered, and she ignored the smell of fire behind them. “It is unfortunate that Sebastian came into possession of it, not knowing the importance of the ring. I understand his intentions and under any other circumstances, we would’ve done the same as well.” She blinked and turned to look at the building for the first time. “It is tragic that such a thing had to fall on him.”

There was a small tremor of Tanaka’s hand, but he composed himself quickly. He didn’t want to hear how assured Sebastian and Ciel’s fate seemed to be. For now he was all right with focusing on this moment, and this meeting. The rest would be dealt with in time.

“Hopefully we will make the best of the circumstances.” The ring was handed over to Doll, who inspected it with a trained eye. “We can negotiate our terms back at our family home. I do hope you don’t mind waiting until everything is settled here, but I’m afraid I can’t leave as of yet.” Tanaka’s eyes returned to the building, a black and grey charred scar against the forest backdrop.

Doll nodded. “I understand,” she said softly. It was hard to lose those people that you were close to, and she couldn’t imagine the blow that the family had taken by Sebastian’s death. She held out her hand and offered the ring back to Tanaka. “For now, as a gesture of good faith,” she said.

Behind her, Snake shifted. “If you require our help in searching for him, we can offer our services.”

Tanaka gave the young man a grateful smile. “It’s all right. I have my men in there now. We should have a confirmation on the situation soon enough.” He didn’t bother to reveal to them that Ciel was also among the rubble. It wasn’t of their concern and Tanaka did not feel like informing them of such matters. The issue was personal, and would be held within in the family for now.

Doll inclined her head slightly. “I understand.” They glanced at the building one more time. “We wish them the best of luck as we wait for the outcome.”

---------

“There’s a blood trail here,” Finny stated as he stepped away from the large pool of blood. “It looks as though someone was dragged away.” The trail was smeared and erratic, as though the person that had been dragged had struggled in the process.

It caught Claude’s attention instantly. He could only imagine little Ciel attempting to pull Sebastian’s body to safety. Claude didn’t even want to think if Sebastian had already been dead at that point. Ciel would have just been trying to save himself while trying to give Sebastian a proper burial outside the collapsing of a building. It didn’t seem that the boy had reached his goal.

“Let’s find them,” Claude said with a resigned sigh. They were no doubt close. He was half tempted to call out one of their names, but the silence that he would receive would be too loud to bear. It would only scream the truth, and Claude didn’t need to face it any more than he already had.

Finny nodded and moved to the door where Claude was standing. Neither of them could stand to stay in the room for much longer, knowing that it was where Sebastian had been tortured, probably to death. The thought tore at him, and Finny pushed past Claude so he could leave the room.

His eyes focused on the trail of blood. “Here,” he said and followed it with his fingers.

Golden eyes followed the trail into a corner shadowed by the over hanging ceiling that still clung to the walls. Below it piled a few bodies that seemed to have been thrown there by the force of the bombs. Shrapnel protruded from their bodies, and blood coated them. From the look of their bodies, Claude knew that it had not been a pleasant death that they had faced.

For a moment, he did not wish to move forward. Within that pile he knew they would find Ciel and Sebastian. Claude did not wish to think about the state of his friends’s bodies, or of how they might have died. He swallowed thickly, forcing himself forward and leaving Finny behind him.

“Come help me,” he called over his shoulder as he pulled a nameless stranger from the pile.

For a moment, Finny hesitated before moving forward. He looked at the pile of bodies and accepted the body that Claude had passed off to him. It was pushed to the side, seeing that it wasn’t Sebastian or Ciel. He didn’t care for anyone else other than them.

“There’s so many,” he muttered as another body was pulled from the pile.

Altogether there was about seven or so men, all of different sizes. Claude could only imagine that they had been racing towards an exit when a bomb went off in front of them, throwing them into the wall. Another man was passed off to Finny; he looked to be late in age with dirty blond hair, just an unimportant man to be forgotten.

Claude turned back and froze as he looked into the space he had revealed. Staring back at him was a head of black hair. The style of it looked familiar enough, but it was the tattoo peeking from between two blood matted strands of hair by an ear that froze Claude in his tracks. He swallowed and glanced back at Finny.

The man was watching him carefully, and Claude knew that he had seen the gravity of the look Claude had given him. Finny moved slowly forward, and Claude turned back to Sebastian’s body. He was laying face down, and it was already apparent that he had sustained substantial damage.

“It’s Sebastian,” Claude said as Finny swayed beside him. It took a great deal of control for Claude to bring his hand forward. The whole time it trembled as it moved towards Sebastian’s neck. Claude wanted nothing more than to confirm Sebastian’s current state before trying to move him.

Both men took a deep breath as Claude’s fingers pressed into the side of Sebastian’s neck. The warmth of the body confused Claude for a moment, but he blamed it on the heat of the fire and the bodies he had been buried under. For the next few moments, it was completely quiet, both Finny and Claude looking on with anxious eyes.

The silence was broken when Claude sucked in a sudden breath and stood quickly. “Shit,” he cursed and began carelessly throwing bodies aside. “God dammit, Finny. Help me! He’s fucking alive!” Desperation was clear in Claude’s tone, and it called for instant action.

The words took only a second or two to sink in before Finny was on the other side of Claude, pulling at the bodies. There was no sense in being careful anymore, not now that they found Sebastian and he was alive. And Finny had no doubt that where Sebastian was, they would find Ciel as well.

His hand brushed over Sebastian’s warm body, and he slowed down so he wouldn’t injure the man by being too rough. Despite the urge to hurry, they had to take their time now. If they rushed, they could make the injuries worse and end up killing him. “Should we roll him over?” Finny asked, hand hesitating above Sebastian’s shoulder. “His arm,” he trailed off, not needing to say anymore. Even from behind, it was easy to tell that an arm had been broken.

“Let’s get him up and get him on his back somewhere. We still need to find Ciel...” but Claude was already trailing off as he noticed something peculiar. If he was right, than it was all the more important to get Sebastian elsewhere for the moment. With careful hands, Claude and Finny lifted Sebastian and moved him to a clear and safe area.

A groan escaped Sebastian’s mouth, and Claude believed it was the best thing to ever leave the man’s mouth. “We’re going to need backup.” Claude turned around and laid eyes on Ciel’s seemingly lifeless body. It was then that he knew who was the cause of all the blood that had led them here. Ciel was covered in it, the red standing out against Ciel’s chalky pallor. Just one glance told Claude that things were already looking ill fated once more. They might not get lucky a second time around.

Claude knelt down beside Ciel, his jeans getting stained in what little wet blood remained. He examined the wounds on Ciel, both in potentially deadly places. Once more Claude’s heart sped up as his hand reached forward to feel for Ciel’s pulse. There was a chill to Ciel’s body that hadn’t been there in Sebastian’s, and Claude felt the sinking feeling that he would not be finding the flutter of life he was looking for. Nothing could be felt, and Claude had to reluctantly withdraw.

“Call Tanaka,” Claude spoke carefully after a moment. “Tell him that we’ve found them. Sebastian needs immediate medical care, and Ciel passed away due to gunshot wounds to his torso and shoulder.” It was harder to speak than Claude would have thought. He should have been happy that Sebastian was still alive. Yet as he stared down at the lifeless body of Ciel, he couldn’t shake the numbness that settled within him.

Finny choked back a sob and turned away from the pile of bodies still surrounding Ciel. The pain was overwhelming and it took everything in his power to focus on the current task at hand. It was another friend to add to the growing list of dead, and Finny shook as he dialed Tanaka’s number.

“S-Sir,” he stammered, tears already streaming down his face. “We found them. Mr. Se-Sebastian’s alive but needs medical treatment right away. And Ciel...Ciel p-passed away, Sir.”

He wiped at his face, but didn’t bother to stop the tears. The whole situation seemed like a horrible nightmare, and Finny just wanted to wake up. It seemed unfair that Sebastian would live and Ciel moved on without him. It would’ve been so much better if they had both died; that way they didn’t have to face the future without one another. How horrible it was to wish for Sebastian’s death now so he wouldn’t have to wake up without Ciel by his side.

A fresh stream of tears poured from Finny’s eyes at the thought. They would have to tell Sebastian that Ciel was dead, and he could imagine how the man would take it. He was already broken when Ciel was gone and to learn that Ciel had died would be so much worse.

The sound of Finny’s cries was unbearable, and Claude quickly stood. He moved back over to Sebastian, for he was now their top priority. There was nothing they could do for Ciel now. For a moment, Claude paused and looked up at Finny and the jacket the boy wore. “Take your jacket off,” he said. “Go cover him and give him some respect.” Ciel didn’t deserve to lay uncovered in this hellhole.

Finny nodded and wiped at his face once more. He moved slowly to Ciel’s side and dropped to his knees. “I’m sorry, Ciel,” he murmured and set the jacket on the younger male’s body. With gentle hands, he wrapped it around the cool body, offering heat that was no longer needed. “Let’s get you home.”

“Help me carry Sebastian out. Ciel will be fine there for now.” No matter how cold and uncaring it might sound, it was the truth. What was forever gone could never be returned, and Claude wasn’t going to allow himself to worry over a dead body when he had a living one in need of help in front of him. Sebastian’s breaths were becoming shallow, and a sheen of sweat had formed upon his brow. It was obvious that Sebastian had a fever, and it only helped to worry Claude further. He would not allow Sebastian to die here.

With one last look to Ciel, Finny stood up and moved over to Sebastian’s side. The man looked terrible, and Finny could only guess what he had been through. Without a word, he looped his arms under Sebastian’s legs and his lower back to give more support while Claude took his shoulders and head.

They moved slowly out of the damaged building until they made it outside where people were frantically running around. A car was already parked close to the building, and as soon as they made it away from the building, Tanaka moved over to them.

“Get him in the car and tend to his injuries on the way over. Will is ready and expecting you at home,” he ordered. “Claude, you’ll go with him and provide hourly updates. Finny, you’ll help me get Ciel out.”

Claude nodded and helped move Sebastian over to the vehicle. He was placed in the back seat, Claude moving in to sit next to him, Sebastian’s head on his lap. They couldn’t risk Sebastian falling off the seat as they drove. The man had already sustained enough injuries to last him a lifetime. It was somewhat calming to know that Sebastian was still here and alive, but the greatest battle was still to come. Will would give the final verdict as to if Sebastian would be living to see another day. For now, Claude would sit and hope that Sebastian could pull through this.

Tanaka and Finny stood, watching the car pull away and back down the drive. Neither one of them spoke, nor did they move. Behind them, Mey-rin was trying to hold back tears that were now streaming down her cheeks. Everything was too much to take for everyone, and a fragile atmosphere settled around them. It felt as if anyone would break at any moment as they gave in to their remorse.

Once the car had vanished, Tanaka turned to Finny. “Let’s go,” he said heavily. “Ciel doesn’t deserve to stay in a place like this any longer. It’s time to bring him back home.”

Finny nodded and moved towards the building, dread filling each step until he was standing in front of the destroyed wall. Whatever would come after this, they would take it in stride. It would hurt and tears would be shed, but nothing could be done now. It was best for now, to bring Ciel home, where he belonged and support Sebastian as best they could. And hope that everything would turn out okay in the end.

-----

Will rubbed his temples as he looked over the sheet of paper in front of him. It detailed Sebastian’s injuries and just how severe they were. The man was set to go into surgery soon, and Will had every thought to keep the man sedated once he left it. As soon as Sebastian found out about Ciel’s death, he would only stress his injuries even more. It was best to keep Sebastian sedated until he couldn’t harm himself too much.

He glanced at his watch briefly before turning back to the paper. They would have to call in a family friend to treat Sebastian. His injuries were too severe for Will to handle himself, and they needed an expert on the matter. Currently, Sebastian’s arm needed to be set in a cast and his internal injuries needed to be looked at.

The large wound on his stomach area was infected and was oozing pus along with a little trickle of blood. Antibiotics were required along with stitches before they could tend to the rest of his body. They were lucky that the cuts hadn’t been so deep that they hit intestines or had caused any more serious damage.

Already, drip lines with saline solution and antibiotics were hooked up to Sebastian along with machines that beeped out his vitals. The sooner they could get started on the surgery, the better, but for now, Sebastian was stabilized and it gave Will a little breathing time so he could call the doctor.

Claude stood in the hallway. His golden eyes were anxious as he peeked around the threshold of the door that had been left ajar. From inside, he could see Will moving on into the deeper areas of the room.

“William,” he called, voice low and tense.

Will turned back around and looked at Claude. “He’s coming in and out of consciousness, but we’ve hooked up the IV’s to help start the healing process. But outside of that I can’t tell you anything else.” He watched as the man came closer. “It’s all up to his will to live now after we finish the surgery.”

Claude gave a stiff nod and followed Will into the room where Sebastian laid. The man looked terrible, all pale and sallow. His hair was still clumped together with dried blood, but the rest of Sebastian’s body seemed to be clean. “Can I stay here?” Claude asked, already moving towards the chair positioned by the bed.

“It won’t do any good,” Will answered. “He’s coherent, but just barely. His body needs rest and I’d like to keep him as calm as possible.” He checked the equipment around Sebastian, making sure everything was fine before turning back to Claude who was already sitting down.

A smile forced it’s way on Claude’s face. “I’ll wait, but do me a favor and send Alois down here if you run into him.” He turned back to Sebastian, and watched as each breath raised Sebastian’s chest. It was a welcoming movement and Claude found himself breathing along in the same pattern. He was both looking forward to and dreading the moment in which Sebastian’s eyes opened. There was little hope that Sebastian wouldn’t be asking for Ciel the moment he awoke, and Claude knew well enough that Sebastian could see through his lies. This was truly something Claude wished never to live through, but at the moment he felt blessed for his position in all of this. Had he been in Sebastian’s shoes, then Claude wasn’t sure what he would have done.

Will nodded. “I can do that,” he adjusted his glasses before leaving the room, leaving Claude alone for the time. It was best to give the man some peace before Alois arrived, allowing him to collect his thoughts and feelings. The entire family was conflicted now, and the house was in chaos as people ran about trying to do damage control.

The clock on the wall seemed to click by, offbeat from the stoic beeps of the machines. Claude sighed and looked away from Sebastian. His head was beginning to acquire a headache, and he felt as if he needed a few good days of sleep. It had been a stressful day, and Claude was still trying to wrap his mind around over what had happened.

Ciel was dead. It didn’t seem like it could be reality when he had seen the boy only hours before. Everything had been fine then. Their plan had been set, and Claude had had no idea that he would be sending Ciel off to his death, even if he had known it was a possibility. A part of him felt as if he should have been feeling some amount of guilt. Claude had had the ability to stop Ciel, to save him, but he’d allowed him to go. Tanaka would have Claude’s head for sure, but still Claude felt a contradicting joy in having let Ciel go. Once more, he looked down at Sebastian, knowing that without Ciel’s choice to leave, he would not have Sebastian here as of now. Ciel’s death brought with it Sebastian’s life, and Claude didn’t care if it made him a bastard for being relieved at that. He could only pity Sebastian for his loss, and mourn that Ciel had to die. At least, Claude thought, Ciel would be happy knowing that Sebastian had lived.

The door cracked open, and Alois walked into the room, his nose crinkling at the strong smell of disinfectants. He breathed shallowly through his mouth as he came up beside Claude and draped his arms over the man’s shoulders. He nuzzled Claude’s neck and rested his chin on his shoulder. “He looks like shit,” he said lowly, trying to inject some humor into the situation. Anything to make Claude smile again. “But I suppose he’ll grow out of that.”

Alois was caught and pulled into Claude’s lap. He buried his face into the young man’s neck and inhaled the sour sweet smell of Alois’s skin. “It’ll get worse before it gets better,” Claude whispered quietly. Sebastian’s mental state would take a fall the moment he found out the truth of Ciel’s fate. It would only draw out the overall healing process. If Claude knew Sebastian at all, he would try to withdraw into his sorrow and die. The bastard was always a problem, making Claude’s life miserable. They would end up having to keep a constant eye on Sebastian lest he become suicidal.

Pale blue eyes blinked up at Claude before they lowered again. Ciel’s death was already having a large impact on the family and it would only grow larger once Sebastian woke up. “They took Ciel’s body to The Undertaker,” Alois said lowly. “He’ll clean it up and make him look presentable by the time Sebastian is well enough to see him. That way he won’t have to see Ciel’s body broken and bloody. But either way, we know how he’ll take it. Stupid man.” He closed his eyes and tightened his grip around Claude, silently glad that it was Sebastian on the table and not Claude.

“Stupid, indeed,” Claude agreed, but he looked on in pity of the man laying unconscious on the hospital bed. A kiss was pressed to Alois’s neck, and Claude relaxed at the feel of a hot body against him. He remembered how cold Ciel had felt, and just how pale he’d been. Alois was hot and flushed with life, and Claude wanted him no other way.

Alois didn’t answer, choosing instead to stay pressed against Claude. He knew this was hard on the older male as well, but for different reasons. There was no romance between Sebastian and Claude anymore, but a deep, underlying friendship that was hidden by harsh words and scathing looks. It was something Alois didn’t understand, but he knew it was important to Claude and therefore didn’t bother with it. Claude would always come back to him, and that was enough for Alois.

“Will you tell him, or will someone else?” Alois asked softly.

A sigh escaped Claude at first, knowing that he wouldn’t approve of anyone else telling Sebastian but himself. Still the task did not sit well with Claude. “I’ll tell him. It’ll be better that way.” That was probably a lie. Sebastian wouldn’t want to hear it from someone who still had their lover safe in their arms, but Claude could offer the stiff comfort that Sebastian would need. He would not break down and cry, and he would not tell Sebastian that everything would be okay. Claude would allow Sebastian to mourn in his own way, and be a pillar of strength for the man to lean on. Sebastian just better hope he didn’t stain Claude’s shirt with his tears.

Alois nodded, figuring as much. “They just seem to cause so much trouble for us,” he commented and glanced at Sebastian. With the way things were looking, he wouldn’t be waking up for a while, which gave them more time to prepare for the hurricane of emotions that would come once Sebastian knew the truth. “Did Will say when he would wake up?”

“I don’t know.” There was no hurry. The moment Sebastian woke up, questions would be asked, and Claude did not want to give out the answers. It was something that had to be done, but it could wait. “Hopefully he’ll wait until after his surgery. He doesn’t need to be worrying over Ciel now.”

Alois sighed. “He’s probably worrying now, even while he’s asleep. Cause he’s annoying like that.” He pressed a kiss to Claude’s cheek, wanting to get his mind off the depressing tone that had settled on the mansion. “Tonight, I’m going to ride you long and hard to help clear your mind of all this.”

Claude hummed his approval. “And after that I’ll take you against the wall, or would you prefer the mirror. You could watch as I fuck you.” He leaned down and kissed lazily across Alois’s neck and up to his ears, sucking on a soft lobe.

A low groan came from the bed. “Please stop. My stomach can’t take the thought of you two doing that, and I’m not in the mood to throw up,” Sebastian moaned. His eyes cracked open, and he winced at the bright light. “I think I’m in hell.”

Claude didn’t wish to say just how right Sebastian was, and it was only going to get worse. Already, his stomach seemed to have dropped, and Claude was rearranging Alois on his lap so that he could look down at the waking Sebastian. “I had hoped you’d stay knocked out for the rest of the day,” he voiced. Things were beginning to turn too fast now. The only saving grace was that Alois was with him.

“Well, aren’t you the charming ray of sunshine,” Sebastian stated and turned his head to the side to regard the room around him. His eyes fell on an empty bed next to him before he looked over at Claude. “Where’s Ciel?” He asked seriously. The empty room didn’t bode well with him, and he hoped the younger male was already in surgery.

The room seemed too tense, and Claude pulled Alois closer to himself as he avoided Sebastian’s eye. “You need to focus on yourself right now, and worry about getting well. There is no point in stressing your body further.” Claude’s voice was flat but demanding, and he hoped to keep Sebastian calm even though he already knew it was a lost cause. “Just get some more rest now, and we can worry about others later.”

Sebastian shook his head. “I can’t focus on myself until I know that Ciel’s okay.” An uneasy feeling mounted inside Sebastian as Claude continued to avoid his eyes. “Where is he, Claude? Tell me he’s okay.”

“He’s here.” It was true, but a truth sugarcoated with all the things left unsaid. “Just please Sebastian, get some rest now.” Claude was never one to plead or beg, but in such a situation he couldn’t bring himself to do much else. Luckily, Alois was staying quiet and letting him deal with the situation. They didn’t need Alois’s blunt personality at the moment.

Wine red eyes focused on Claude. “If you don’t answer me now,” he stated seriously, “I’m going to sit up and leave this bed to look for him myself.” The threat was weak, and Sebastian didn’t have the energy to back it up, but it didn’t stop him from saying it regardless. He needed to know where Ciel was.

Claude frowned and sighed. “I wouldn’t advise you to do such a thing. Ciel wouldn’t have wanted you to strain yourself.”

Sebastian tensed, and he felt his breath start to come fast, the machines around starting to beep quicker and louder. “You’re speaking in past tense,” he croaked, his heart racing. “Where is he, Claude? Where is Ciel.” It was a demand now and Sebastian stared Claude down, waiting for the answer.

“Dammit, Sebastian, don’t ask this now. I will answer any question you have after you are stitched up.” Claude was doing a good job of putting off the inevitable, but making things all the worse. He could see the panic in Sebastian’s eyes, and it made the situation all the harder. Now he was beginning to rethink his choice of being the one to break the news to Sebastian. “Shit,” he cursed under his breath and pressed his face into his hands.

Terror mounted in Sebastian, the emotion almost foreign to him. It made his heart race all the more quickly, and his adrenaline surged, making him temporarily forget his injuries and the pain that they gave. He struggled to sit up, his good arm pushing him up until he was sitting on the bed. Panting, he pressed his broken arm to his chest and started to pull out the IV’s that were attached to his body. He had to find Ciel, no matter the cost that came to his own person.

Claude was up in a second, pushing Alois to the side as he fought to get Sebastian back on the bed. “Getting out of bed isn’t going to change anything. You don’t want to see Ciel now, not now.” He was holding Sebastian gently by the shoulders now, looking straight into his eyes. “There is nothing you can do for him by hurting yourself further. This isn’t what he wants.” The change in the tense of his wording was pointless at this point, but Claude hoped to salvage some of the situation even if the look in Sebastian’s eyes told Claude that the man already knew the truth.

“Please, Claude,” Sebastian gasped, his mind refusing to accept the look in Claude’s eyes and the way the man was acting. His hand grabbed Claude’s arm and held it tightly, using it to anchor himself to reality. He didn’t want to hear the words, but at the same time, he needed to. He needed Claude to tell him that he was wrong; that his thoughts were off and Ciel was okay. “Tell me.”

A long suffering sigh left Claude, and he cursed a few times under his breath. He couldn’t leave Sebastian wondering like this; the man deserved to know. Suddenly, Claude’s mouth felt dry and no words came as he opened it. How did one break such news? He couldn’t say, ‘Ciel is dead’ as it just sounded so final, and all the more terrible. Once more he tried to swallow and wet his mouth before he spoke. “Ciel is with the Undertaker right now. You should be able to see him after your surgery if you’re ready.”  

Sebastian shook his head, not willing to accept the truth even though he had demanded it. He pushed away from Claude in disgust, as though the man was death himself. “You’re lying,” he said. “The Undertaker doesn’t deal with the life saving medical issues. That’s Will’s job. The Undertaker deals with...with other issues.” He couldn’t bring himself to say the words, and they only stuck in his throat.

“Sebastian!” Claude was yelling now, not liking the denial Sebastian was quickly falling into. He was vaguely aware of Alois moving to a more secluded place in the room, not wanting to be a part of what was surely to come. The younger male was ignored and Claude focused all his attention on Sebastian. “Ciel is beyond Will’s help,” he said and Claude found himself disturbed by the subtle shake in his own voice.

“No,” Sebastian said, shaking his head all the harder. He screamed the word at Claude again and felt his body tremble. A small part of his mind urged him to be quiet, that Claude didn’t deserve the harsh treatment, but it was blocked out as emotional pain overtook his body. “He was alive, I felt it. I know I wasn’t holding and protecting a dead body.”

Claude’s head shook slowly back and forth. “You were unconscious,” he tried to reason. “Ciel was dead when we found him.” There, it had been said. Claude felt suddenly sick, and he swallowed back the taste of bile.  

Sebastian’s breaths came fast and hard, the world spinning around him. He refused to believe such a thing and could only shake his head quickly. “I was awake. I remember everything,” he stated, trying to convince both Claude and himself that Ciel was still alive. “I dragged us to the corner where it would be safe and used the dead bodies for protection. I held Ciel to keep him warm and to stop the blood from flowing. He has to be alive. I took every precaution in order to ensure his safety.”

“He lost too much blood. You can only stop blood so much.” It was the dark truth of the matter. Claude was sure that blood loss would be the cause of death the Undertaker would give. Both the wounds Claude remembered had been crusted over in blood. One gash freely flowing blood was one thing, but Ciel had had two. The man had barely had much of a chance. Claude was still stunned that Sebastian was alive.

“God, please, no,” Sebastian moaned and slumped forward against Claude. He could feel his head spinning as the world crumpled around his feet. He had been ready and prepared to die so Ciel could live, only to have his plans turned around on him. Now he was the one alive, and Ciel was gone. He shook his head against Claude’s chest as his mind rebelled against the idea. Any minute now, Will could come back into the room, saying that Ciel came out of surgery fine and then it would be his turn. And once they were out, Sebastian would never let go of Ciel again. “Tell me it’s not true.”

“He wanted it this way. I don’t think he ever intended on making it out alive.” Claude said carefully as he remember back to the last moments he had spent with Ciel. “All Ciel wanted was for you to live. That was all he needed to be happy, and I know he was more than willing to die for you.” Putting pride aside, Claude wrapped his arms around Sebastian and held the man. It was what Sebastian needed, and for once Claude was willing to forsake pride and image for the sake of a friend.

Sebastian could only shake his head more as pain engulfed him. It was like nothing he had ever experienced before, and he felt as though a small part of him had died alongside Ciel. He felt cold and numb, the feeling spreading throughout his entire body until he could only lie still in Claude’s arms. “I don’t understand,” he whispered and squeezed his eyes shut. The word continued to fall from his mouth as his body trembled harshly.

Once before, he had thought he was going to live his life without Ciel and that alone had been hard. But during their fight, Ciel was still alive and Sebastian found that even though it was hard, he could still live with that. He didn’t like it, but having the younger male alive was better than nothing. Now though, Ciel was gone, and he’d never see Ciel walking down the hallways again, never have him curled up in his arms at night. There would be no more soft touches or heated looks, no more whispered words of I love you. He could never do that anymore and the realization made Sebastian sick.

He pushed away from Claude quickly and turned to the side as he emptied what little he had in his stomach onto the floor. Dry heaves racked his body as he collapsed, tears streaming down his face. Pride was no longer an issue and Sebastian didn’t care if Alois or Claude saw him crying. He had lost Ciel; his strength, his support, his light.

Sebastian had lost people before and each of their deaths had hurt him, but none as badly as this. Ciel was different. The pain tearing through his body was proof of that alone. Never before had the pain and sorrow been this strong, and Sebastian felt like screaming until his throat was raw. But even that wouldn’t bring Ciel back and in the end, Sebastian would be left alone and without the younger male. And that knowledge hurt so much. More than the wounds he was wearing now, more than any past injuries, and more than Sebastian had thought possible.

“You would have been proud of him,” Claude spoke up after a moment. “The brat was demanding and putting together a whole rescue mission behind Tanaka’s back. He wasn’t going to allow anyone to keep him from going to you. It reminded me of you, back when you used to order everyone around when it concerned an assignment you were passionate about.”

Sebastian’s head snapped up. “You knew and you still let him go?” He demanded. It was so much easier to turn the sorrow into anger and direct it to someone else. “Why didn’t you stop him? You knew that I was going in there to die.”

“I couldn’t say no to him... I didn’t want to say no to him.” Truth be told, Claude really had believed that their plan would work. He had hoped that he would be seeing both Sebastian and Ciel running around the mansion once more, making his life miserable. There was an odd peace to that thought, and it made him miss those times all the more.

Just as quickly as the anger came, it passed, leaving Sebastian feeling tired and weak. “I can’t,” he murmured and turned his face away from Claude. “I don’t know how to live without him.” The thought was terrifying right now, and Sebastian didn’t want to go back to the days before he had met Ciel.

“You won’t be. He’ll still be with you so long as you keep his memory close to your heart.” Claude cringed at his words, thinking them Hallmark greeting card worthy. Still it was true, and Sebastian needed to hear it. He needed that reassurance that Ciel was still with him in spirit.

It wasn’t enough though, and Sebastian curled in on himself, wishing that he could go back to sleep and wake up one more time, realizing that this was all just a dream. Words couldn’t comfort now, and Sebastian slumped forward, landing back on the bed as darkness overtook his vision once more.

---------

Finny stood like a silent statue outside of the door that led to the section of the basement that held the family’s dead before burial. He couldn’t bring himself to move into the room just yet, and he contented himself in peeking through the door and listening as Tanaka spoke quickly to the Undertaker.

Tears were still falling of their own accord from Finny’s eyes, and he quickly brushed them away. Tanaka had already snapped at him for all the whimpering and wailing that he had done during the long ride home. He couldn’t blame the man. Finny knew just how much he must have been hurting on the inside, but as the head of the family he did not have the freedom to mourn like everyone else.

Tanaka was strong, and Finny was sure that the man would pull through this. As hard as it was to admit, Tanaka’s bond with Ciel had just been blooming and not to a point where the sadness would be crippling. It was Sebastian whom Finny worried about the most. He was glad that he was down here and not up with Claude at this moment. Finny did not want to be there when Sebastian woke and asked for Ciel.

“God help him,” he whispered and looked back into the room as the Undertaker moved over towards the cold metal table which Ciel laid upon. It was hard to watch such a sight, and Finny was once more turning away.

The Undertaker looked down at Ciel was sad eyes. “I had heard all the commotion upstairs earlier, but I hadn’t expected him to come to my table so soon.”

Tanaka nodded. “We left about ten minutes after Sebastian was pulled from the building.” At the time, it seemed pointless to rush Ciel home, but they had done so nonetheless and now Tanaka couldn’t help but feel the situation press down even harder on his shoulders.

“So young,” The Undertaker murmured and started to cut through Ciel’s shirt. “He was lucky, though. Died in Sebastian’s arms, from what I heard. And it would’ve been peaceful; once he passed out, he wouldn’t have felt the pain from his injuries, only the warmth from Sebastian.”

“He was reckless,” Tanaka stated, and moved away from the table. He didn’t wish to see Ciel so torn and prone. “If he had listened to me, he wouldn’t have had to die.” All the what if’s of the world came tumbling down, and Tanaka wondered what he could have done differently. There had been so many past chances to have turned this all around. Everything had built from ill fated happenings that seemed to pile on top of one another. Each one was a warning to what was to come, but Tanaka had pretended to be blind to it all. It was his fault, he thought. Ciel was lying on this table because he pushed Ciel into the field and did not dare to pull him back when it seemed his life was in danger.

The Undertaker hummed as the shirt was removed. It was set aside, and his fingers lightly brushed over the wound, pressing on it slightly. An eyebrow rose as a thin stream of blood trickled from it and The Undertaker’s fingers moved up Ciel’s body. Another hand came to rest on Ciel’s chest and for a few seconds, the man was still until a loud burst of laughter left his mouth.

Such a contradicting sound to the current atmosphere had both Tanaka and Finny looking shocked in the Undertaker’s direction. Finny moved more into the room, propping the door open with his foot as curiosity and some annoyance filtered to the surface of his mood. Tanaka seemed to mirror Finny’s thoughts as a deep frown cut into his features.

“I hardly find this a laughing matter,” Tanaka barked, looking quite dangerous.

The look only made The Undertaker laugh even more. He gasped for breath a few times before answering. “I can’t accept this body.” He shrugged and held his hands up in the air. “My expertise wouldn’t come in handy right now. The living isn’t my forte.”

Finny and Tanaka were rushing to the table within seconds, eyes wide and unbelieving. “Call William,” Tanaka demanded after a quick moment, and Finny was sprinting out the door and running up the stairs, this time crying tears for an entirely different reason.

----------

Sebastian stared blankly at the ceiling, not even bothering to scowl at Will as he fixed the IV’s once more. The man was yelling at him for doing something so reckless and for acting so immature, but Sebastian couldn’t bring himself to care. The new drips had a slow working sedative to prepare Sebastian for surgery, and Sebastian could see the doctor preparing everything in the next room.

His forehead was given a harsh flick, the most Will could do to him under the circumstances before leaving the room with an irritated scowl on his face. Sebastian watched him leave before glancing up at the ceiling again, a hollow pit growing in his stomach and chest. It wasn’t fair, and he squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the world. He only wanted Ciel and nothing else.

A few moments passed, and Sebastian and Claude continued to sit in silence. Claude had moved back to his chair. Nothing more could be said, and he wasn’t about to force feed Sebastian words that the man wasn’t even going to listen to. Instead he let his mind go blank, and he mindlessly watched the up and down lines of Sebastian’s heart monitor.

“Claude...” Said man’s head snapped to the side to see Alois moving back into the room. He wore a confused expression and kept looking back over his shoulders. “Someone’s causing a commotion,” Alois said, and glanced casually to Sebastian. “Tanaka’s barking orders.”

Claude cocked his head to the side. “What do you mean?” He asked, listening for the noise outside in the hallway. Any moment now, the doctor would take Sebastian into surgery, and Claude wasn’t planning on leaving until then, not with the younger male so unstable right now.

Alois shrugged his shoulders. “How should I know? I’m not going to go running to him when he’s in a mood like that unless he calls me directly.” His seat was taken on Claude’s lap once more, and he snuggled into Claude’s warmth.

A low chuckle left Claude as he wrapped his arms around Alois’s waist, drawing him closer. His eyes darted to Sebastian briefly, but the man was doing a good job of ignoring them. “I plan to collect tonight,” he murmured lowly so Sebastian couldn’t hear. Today had been stressful, and indulging with Alois was the best way to unwind.

A seductive answer had been on the tip of Alois’s tongue when the door flew open and a mass of people moved in like a wave. A few people were easy to make out, like Tanaka, Finny, Will, and a few others seemed to be huddled around something being quickly carried into the room. Alois craned his neck to see, but Claude was pushing him down and off the chair so that he could stand.

“Prepare the operating table,” Will shouted as he passed off a bag of fluids to Tanaka who was rushing alongside him. “He’s still alive, but just barely. Heart rate is slowing down, and we need a blood transfusion. Get all available bags on ice and bring them up here now.”

Sebastian’s eyes snapped open, and he turned his head as Will ran by. He could just barely see the ash tinted hair, stained with blood, before it was blocked from view once more. It only took a second before Sebastian’s mind connected everything together and within moments, he was forcing himself up once more. “Ciel,” he yelled, voice hoarse from his days under Joker’s hand and screaming at Claude.

“We need oxygen!” Will called as they entered the operating room. “Blood pressure is dropping as well. Bring in a crash cart.”

Sebastian paled at the words, and he tore at the IV needles again. He had to get to Ciel’s side, had to see his face. He understood what was going on, and it terrified him to know how close to death Ciel was. He rasped Ciel’s name again, trying to get someone’s attention so they could take him to see the younger male.

Claude was on him in a flash, holding him down once more. He was looking back into the direction that Ciel had been taken, barely believing himself what was going on. It had been him to check for life within Ciel, and he had been sure no pulse had beat within him. Sebastian struggled some more, and Claude turned to give him a stern look. “Going over there now would only hurt him. You’d be in the way and keep Will from doing what needs to be done.”

“I have to see him,” Sebastian panted. Common sense had fled now, and the only thing Sebastian could think about was being able to see Ciel again. To once believe that he was dead only to have him come back was nothing short of a miracle, and Sebastian wanted nothing more than to see the younger male with his own eyes.

“We’re losing him!” Will yelled and spun around to grab the defibrillator that sat on the crash cart just as the heart monitor went flat.

Sebastian’s stomach plummeted, and he felt Claude’s arms tighten around him as he struggled all the more. He screamed Ciel’s name as the medical team scrambled around the bed, doing their job as best they could while people shouted out orders. The loud screaming monitor matched Sebastian’s own screams as he fought off Claude until the sedative took over his body, leaving him with the last sight of Ciel’s unmoving body and the shrill sound of machines.

To Be Continued . . .


Date: 2011-09-14 02:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] crayola-hyz.livejournal.com
GAH! Is it next Tuesday yet because I MUST know what happens!!!!

I got teary eyed when Ciel was dead and I fist pumped when he was alive again...You must live Ciel! (Sebastian can't function without you!!!!)

Date: 2011-09-14 03:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dilovesyunjae.livejournal.com
ArghhhhH!!!! i was almost in tears when Claude said Ciel died! and now, this cliffhanger!! why??????? Grrrrr..

Date: 2011-09-14 06:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] highprofilelove.livejournal.com
You made me cry to sleep ;_____;
Oh and I finally got to see a broken Sebastian (YAY!) You've written him really well here - "He was alive, I felt it. I know I wasn’t holding and protecting a dead body."

The dialogues with Claude are the best ones :( I loved how strong Claude was for his friend.

I'm at a loss for words.
This has to be one of the best things I ever read ♥

Date: 2011-09-18 08:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-mbry0.livejournal.com
;__; OH MY GOD! I read all three latest chapter straight through AND I THOUGHT I'M GONNA HAVE A HEART ATTACK! Thank god Ciel's alive ;A;

I can't wait for the next chapter ♥

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January 2012

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