Ciel leaned back a little bit more, turning his attention back towards the vase. It complimented the roses well, the crystal seeming to make the petals even whiter. They had always been his favorite, they reminded him of what he used to be before this hell unleashed itself on his life. They reminded him of the innocence he lost those years ago and that he could never be that pure again. It was a bit of a dark thought but that was the way Ciel functioned now. He continued to observe them and their perfection, watching the way the light from the fire danced across all six roses....
If Ciel's heart could have stopped at that moment, he probably would have. He recalled this number from his early lessons when Sebastian was trying to teach him how to properly express his interest in his betrothed and brushed it to the back of his mind. He had never given Elizabeth a bouquet like that and never intended to as it meant something serious.
Could Sebastian have accidentally miscounted? No, he never made mistakes. Everything he did was precise. This was on purpose. But it didn't make sense, there was no way a demon would be attracted to him like that....would it? He hadn't noticed his breathing had stopped until his chest began to hurt, Ciel coughing a bit as he quickly brought his eyes down to the teacup as he felt a red heat begin to form in his cheeks. He had no idea what to do or even how to feel. The longer he thought about it, the more heat he could feel in his face.
[+blue "They're...um....pretty,"] he responded quietly after a moment, not daring to bring his eyes up yet. He didn't want to face the the reality of how the demon really made him feel, even though it was apparent by his bright red cheeks.
Sebastian tilted head toward the roses, which had held up well since he harvested them. "The roses are doing well right now. I thought you might like to enjoy them." He said nonchalantly, wondering if the boy would brush them off. The demon returned his gaze to his master. He couldn't help but wonder what was wrong, as his heart rate suddenly increased when the boy mentioned them. That was not a normal reaction for him to have. He would think on that later though, as he kept a composed expression. It was not overly uncommon for him t decorate the house with the flowers from the garden, but he never really ventured to decorate his masters bedroom along with the house. As far as nobles went, the boys dwelling area was rather plain. Pleasing to the eye, but no real personal touch. Most painting of his family tjat might have been in the room had burnt with the original manor.
Ciel ate his snack quietly, enjoying every bite of it. It was nice to have something flavorful and something he really enjoyed after his unintentionally bland diet. It was arguably the best thing he had eaten in days. Hopefully he could convince the male to make it again. Once finished, he set the plate aside and picked up the tea. Watchful eyes observed Sebastian as he began the fire, carefully stacking the logs and setting them ablaze. It had been growing colder in the room, so it was welcome.
As his gaze shifted once Sebastian stood, he caught notice of the white roses sitting in the crystal vase. His first thought was the maid, trying to dress up the room a little bit. That idea was quickly dismissed because of the flowers in the first place. The demon never would have let her near them, he took care of the boy's favorite flowers on his own. Not even Finny, whose job was to take care of the outside, touched them. They had to have come from Sebastian. But why? He wasn't complaining, they were quite pretty to look at.
[+blue "You cut flowers?"] he asked quietly, looking back at Sebastian again.
"That is a relief. I do not think you would enjoy being carried around everywhere." He poured the tea, setting the saucer on the table for Ciel. Ehile Ciel enjoyed the snack, the demon moved away. Due to the servants, he had not gotten a fire started yet, and itvwas going to be a cold night. Fall was already setting in, and the temperature would be dropping more and more. His master seemed to catch a cold easily when under stress, so it wouldn't do to leave him in the cold. "Since you appear to be caught up on ypur paperwork, I intend to begin your lessons again tomorrow. We have been rather busy lately, so I thing a quick review will be the best place to start." He informed. "Unfortunatly your dancing lessons will have to wait." That was really where the boy need help, but there was no getting around his injured back. He stood again after thw fire seemed to be going well, casting a soft glow to the gradually darkening room.
Ciel had finally sat up by the time the demon returned, propped up again by a couple pillows. Most of them remained in the demon's bedroom, Ciel not having long enough arms to carry them with him. These were the things he relied on Sebastian for. He had pulled the requested items closer to him, picking up the matches first and carefully lighting the candle. Once the match was extinguished and the small stick placed at the base of the candle holder, he moved it aside to allow it to burn so he could continue to set up. He set the wax stick beside him and laid out a couple envelopes, picking up the candle and holding the stick close to the fame. Red wax dripped onto the white surface, Ciel setting the candle aside and pressing his ring into the red color while it was still malleable. Once it was finished and the wax had hardened, he continued the process with the others.
Sebastian had entered as he finished the last envelope, pulling his ring from the wax and setting it aside with the others. He was happy to see the demon and the treat he carried, looking forward to both. He shrugged faintly at the butler's question, picking up the tea and taking a small drink before taking the fork in his hand. [+blue "I'm a little sore but I'm sure it'll pass,"] he told him quietly. He was a little sore now, but when he made it back to his room he wasn't able to move for a good half hour. His back hurt way too much for it. At least the pain of that took most of his attention away from the throbbing in his arm.
The demon paused outside his room, not needing to open to learn Ciel was no longer there. He hummed in a low, thoughtful tone. Ciel had probably not wanted to appear weak. He could tell by the boys tone he hadn't actually wanted to leave. Despite how selfish his master could be, he still had gone to his own room. He began walking again, knocking when he reached the door. "Young master," he opened the door, "I have brought you the snack you requested." He closed the door behind him, "I hope the journey was not too strenuous?" He asked, approaching the boy with a small smile. He set up the table, "I will be sure to return your pillows before you go to sleep." Though, Ciel did have quite a few, they probably were not actually needed.
Ciel lay in the bed for a few long minutes before deciding it was time to leave the room. He was a bit disappointed, honestly, to return to his stately room and leave this one behind. Although it wasn't much and the bed much smaller than his own, he found peace here. Sebastian was here. That fact alone arguably made it the most comfortable place in the house. He knew that it was a problem that was easily fixed, that all he needed to do was summon the demon and he would be there in a second. But this was a room that Sebastian occupied, that made sense for him to be in for long periods of time. That perhaps was what he liked the most: they were spending time together without being forced to.
He slowly pushed himself up from the bed, wincing faintly at the sudden pull and pain to his spine, and slowly made his way across the room. Ciel stopped at Sebastian's wardrobe, however, and looked at the large wooden doors. Carefully he opened them, greeted by the sight of organization. Everything was in its proper order, just as the demon liked them. He reached out, lightly touching one of the crisp white shirts and letting the fabric fall from his fingers. He decided he wanted to borrow a piece of clothing, hopefully it would alleviate this feeling of needing his butler for a bit. He remembered he felt this way often when he was first in Sebastian's care, the demon often leaving him with his tailcoat to reassure the boy that he would return. He didn't want to take something that noticeable; heterochromic eyes flickered carefully over each piece before deciding on one of the silk ties. This seemed to be the part of Sebastian's uniform that survived almost everything, the demon now having quite a few of them. He took one, feeling the soft silk in his fingers before quietly shutting the doors and exiting the room.
His movements were slow as he made his way down the long hallway to his bedroom, the walk feeling as if it were longer somehow. Did it really take this long to get here the first time? Once he finally made it, he closed the door behind him and dropped onto his bed on his stomach as he did before. He took one more look at the tie before carefully putting it under his pillow and relaxing on the soft surface for a while.
Sebastian couldn't help the frown the made itself present. He felt a bit insulted, since when had he needed reminding? Unless the boy did it to annoy him. If that was the case, it worked. "Of course." He muttered, nodding. He left, heading toward his masters study. He retrieved the requested wax, a candle, and some matches. He left the cart in the hall, back tracking to his masters bedroom. As ordered, he left the items where his master could easily locate them. Ciel had managed to make it to his bedroom without assistance, so he wasn't too worried about Ciel injuring himself after a couple days rest. He then went back to the cart, pushing it to where it was stored for future use. He removed what he needed and took the items back to the kitchen. He cut another slice of the cake, setting it aside for later. He tilted his head, seeing the other servants were eating.
"Would you like to eat with us tonight, Sebastian?" Meyrin asked, blushing a bit.
"Ah.... I am sorry. I am afraid I am not that hungry tonight...." he said, offering a false smile to hide his irritation. One would have thought, after 2 and a half years she would have taken the hint he had no interest.
"Come on, a busy guy like you should have a big appitite. I haven't seen you eat all day, you'll catch a cold." Bard piped up. As he did, he had gotten up, dished some food, and now held it out to the butler. The demon relented, only because he had to keep up appearances.
"Fine..." he took the plate and sat with them, not really enthused. The meal tasting rather unappitizing to him. He listened to the three chatter happily, and was grateful when they accepted his denial for dessert after he gave permission to finish what was left of the cake. He cleaned the dishes while they enjoyed the sweet.
Once he finished, he started some tea for Ciel to go with the late snack. Once it was done, he set up a tray and grabbed the last slice of the cheesecake he set aside and took it up to Ciel. He never particularly like eating human food, as his body wasn't use to it. It made him feel heavy, and he just didn't like it.
Ciel ran his hand through his hair, watching as Sebastian straightened and gathered the dishes in order to take them back downstairs and clean them. He now looked forward to his evening snack, sometimes the butler would chose something that Ciel liked but wasn't his favorite. At least now he knew he would get something he truly enjoyed. His gaze shifted over to the pile of papers and envelopes, looking at it for a moment before letting out a quiet sigh. It was difficult to work in Sebastian's room for a couple reasons, one of them being that he didn't have everything he needed. Granted his own bedroom didn't either, but he had more space to work in. He'd prefer to do it at his desk but imagined his back wouldn't take too kindly to that for longer than five minutes. He was still having trouble standing. Still, perhaps it was time to give up Sebastian's room and take up his own again. After all, the reason he was hiding in here wasn't located in the building anymore.
[+blue "Before you take those downstairs, drop the mail and writing supplies into my bedroom, and don't forget the wax,"] he told his butler quietly. He also chose not to comment on the butler's dessert, feeling his head was big enough as it was. [+blue "I'll move back to my room soon."]
Sebastian smiled and bowed slightly, "you honour me with your praise, sir." He said, standing straight again. He knew Ciel enjoyed the sweets. The boy often told people that was why he was hired in the first place. Only they knew that it was a lie, as the demon hadn't been able to cook much better than Bard in the begining. At least in the begining, his food still looked edible. It was always nice to hear verbal praise, though. While guests often commented positivly, Ciel normally did not. His master already expected the best, so there was no real need to comment and indulge the demons Pride further. "I will bring it up a bit before your bath." He promised, not wanting Ciel to eat any too close to when he should head to bed. "We just won't tell Tanaka." He said, as a joke. The old man was actually more strict on that aspect than the demon. Sebastian recalled the last time the previous butler had caught Ciel with a sweet snack after dinner. It had been more entertaining, as Ciel had been the one punished for it for not showing any restraint in wanting just a little more. Sebastian had recieved a lecture on a growing boys health, but watching Ciel suffer with no sweets the following day had been rather entertaining. The demon wouldn't undermine a punishment set by a supurior.
Ciel slowly and quietly cleared off his temporary work space, handing the filled envelopes to Sebastian to set aside. He asked the demon to bring him the red stick of wax and the small candle that was still in the office after dinner, needing to seal them before the could be sent off. It wouldn't take longer than a few minutes to finish them. He sent the other small stacks of letters with the clean sheets of paper, watching as Sebastian moved everything from his small space all while keeping it in order. The demon could be a gigantic pain in the neck but at least he was efficient.
He took the up of tea once it was offered to him, sipping at it as Sebastian set the rest of the dinner near the boy and event mentioned what the dessert would be. It was something Ciel was instantly excited for, he loved the desserts his butler would create with berries. They were often some of his favorites. His gaze dropped to the dinner once it was pushed closer to him, looking it over before beginning to eat. It wasn't as plain as the previous dinners he had been served, Sebastian seeming to notice that his appetite was picking back up. It was probably something that pleased him as it gave him unspoken permission to become creative again. Ciel couldn't complain, he hardly served the boy a dish he couldn't stand.
He ate nearly everything on the plate, finding himself rather hungry, before diving into the beautiful dessert that was given to him. Just as expected, it was perfect in every way. He took his time with it, choosing to savor it. Hopefully it would keep well enough that he could enjoy it again later in the evening.
[+blue "I'd like another slice of that sometime before bed,"] he informed Sebastian, setting the fork down on the empty plate. Sebastian frowned on sweets before bed but he imagined that there was still enough time in the day he could squeeze in a snack. [+blue "It's rather satisfying."]
Sebastian prepared something a little heavier, wanting to get Ciel back on his normal diet. The boy had been eating so little, he didn't want to over do it. However, since Ciel now seemed to have his appitite back, it was time to get his body use to some of the other more filling dishes. He could feel Bard glareing from the stool he sat on, having been banished from the stove after his usual nonsense about how flame throwers were an ideal cooking utensil.
Once the meal was done, he set Ciels dinner and tea up on a platter to carry up the stairs. Tonights dessert was a mixed berry cheesecake that everyone seemed content to drool over. He didn't really understand how humans loved the sugar loaded foods, but it made it rather easy to please anyone. Bard had only gone quiet after he bribed him with the cake. Behave, and he could have some. He took the platter, leaving the moody chef to sit and wait until Ciel was finished. Ciel always ate first, the demon made sure of it.
Once he set everything on the cart, he made his way to Ciel. "Young master, I have brought you your dinner." He announced as he opened the door. It was normal, though unnessisary since the boy could see that the cart was full. He dished some while Ciel cleared off the table, keeping things orginized so he could pick up where he left off at another time. The demon could tell which items were already ready to be sent off, and took them to put into the box to be picked up tomorrow.
Ciel looked over the design one last time before folding it carefully in order to be placed into an envelope. It would be a fun addition to the Funtom line and, due to its uniqueness, was sure it would sell out in weeks if not sooner. People were strange and their tastes adapted over time. At least his products were still in high demand.
He moved onto his next task, writing the report on his case for Her Majesty. Ciel could keep it short and sweet as he wasn't able to provide many details for her due to the nature of the case but was able to declare it as closed. At least one problematic thing in his life had ended. Once he finished it, he placed his signature at the bottom and folded it once the ink had dried. After that, he began work on accepting and denying invitations. Unfortunately they made the largest pile, everyone seeming to want the Earl's company. He knew the truth to that, no one really wanted him around but they were forced to invite him to keep up appearances. That was the exact reason he attended, to keep up appearances. Sebastian had made it clear that he couldn't deny too many in a quarter's time as it would reflect badly on himself. Normally the butler would allow him to get away with five or six denials in a quarter, seven if there were many. He carefully sorted through them all, picking out the ones he imagined wouldn't be as boring as the others, and began writing their responses. By the time he finished that task, it was around the time Sebastian would serve dinner and his stomach was already rumbling. He sighed, taking a small break and leaning back, rubbing the stitches under the bandaged arm in the process.
Sebastian returned to the manor swiftly, still having quite a bit to do. It was only mudane chores, but still. No matter how hard any human tried, none could spot the the fine details better than the demon. He went about his duties, grom dusting, and some of the more delicate gardening such as pruning the damaged or bruised flowers in his masters garden. He smiled, seeming relaxed, as he went thru everything. Any day where the servants didn't almost blow themselves or the mansion up was a good day to him. He didn't count the vase, as the maid had no control over herself at the time. The demon looked at the white roses, gently petting the delicate petals. Ciel always seemed to favor these collourless flowers. He often wondered why. Was it due to their disguised simplisity, or the irony behind their symbolic meaning? He pondered about Ciel, wondering if the boy had any inkling as to the fact Sebastian was trying to woo him. Was the boy simply still too inocent, or just in denial? Or was he just too subtle? Humans could be difficult, and he didn't want to insult the boy by crossing some unknown line, but Ciel didn't seem to be returning much of his verbal attempts.
His eyes went toward the window of the room he left Ciel in, then went further down to his masters bedroom windows. They were on the same floor, as the boy hadn't wanted him far in the begining. Perhaps he ought to try another approach? He cut the pristine rose from the bush, looking at it closely. The flower was perfact in every way, just as it was suppose to be. It only took him seconds to find 5 others just as perfact. He was careful not to leave anywhere on the bushes looking bare, though.
He took the flowers, careful to avoid Ciel in case he decided to try going for a walk on his own. He took a vase to use , and set them carefully in it once he filled it with water to keep them healthy. Then, he carried them into the master bedroom, setting the bouquet on his masters desk. He arranhed them for more eye appeal, leaving them in a not too obvious spot. However, he made sure Ciel would also see them, when he looked this way. He knew how most humans thought of same sex attractions, and thought it rather silly. He didn't understand it, but suddenly found himself nervous about how Ciel might handle the fact that his butler had set the 6 roses there. He shook his head, startled by the new feeling, and left quickly before he chamged his mind.
He needed to prepare his masters dinner, so he forced his mind onto that task. Ciel had tolerated the late meal this morning, but he still thought it inexcusable and wouldn't allow it to happen twice in one day.
Ciel worked quietly, reading over the reports for his company and studying the numbers. Everything seemed to be in order, no funds seemed to be embezzled or the like. Good, the last he wanted to deal with was a fiasco like last time. He reached over, careful of his sore back, and pulled the table closer in order to write on its smooth surface. Carefully placing a sheet of paper on top of it, he dipped the tip of the quill into the black ink and began to calculate another set of numbers. If things kept on this track and sales continued to improve, he could open another store in the Netherlands as requested. He also needed to create the new Funtom rabbit for the year ahead in order to have time to make them.
So much to do.
He completed the needed forms, filling orders and the like for the factories that requested it, then placed them in envelopes to be sealed and shipped when he had the proper tools to do so. He then placed another clean sheet of paper on the table's surface, drawing a rough outline of the toy rabbit in order to throw some designs on it. Every rabbit that made it through production sold, Ciel having trouble keeping the shelves of his stores stocked for longer than a few weeks. Christmas time was the worst for it as he seemed he couldn't ship them out fast enough. Quietly and slowly he began to work out a design, taking his time on every detail. He began with a coat, the design eventually turning into an elaborate pirate's coat and gave it a matching hat. He designed a removable eyepatch with it as well as a small sword. Once he was finished, he leaned back to look at it again. It seemed it would do, now it would have to go out to be made.
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