Closer to the Truth
"Well… tonight's the night," Anna sighed, "why am I doing this again?"
Sebastian neatly did the finishing bow on the white rose choker around her neck before smiling at her. "You're going to have to catch Lord Druton's attention, so you must look more beautiful than you usually do," he answered.
"Oh you're such a joker, Sebastian," she chuckled, looking herself over in the mirror, dressed in a gorgeous white strapless gown, complimenting her silver-white hair and bright azure eyes. Her hands were dressed with long white gloves that reached her elbows, and Sebastian brushed her hair, the soft texture of the strands feeling almost like silk. Crystal earrings dangled from her earlobes, and her lips were rosy red.
"I do not lie, Anna," the demon reminded. "You look absolutely ravishing."
The angel's cheeks reddened slightly in embarrassment, obviously flattered by his comment. "T-Thank you," she replied. "I just hope that this will be enough."
"Of course," he assured. "Who would not appreciate the company of a beautiful angel such as yourself?"
She rolled her eyes. "That's only you," she argued, "and that's only because you love me. You're complimenting me a little too much, Sebastian. It's quite eerie, in fact. What is it you want from me?"
"Nothing, really," he answered as innocently as possible. "Just don't do anything stupid that could put the Young Master in danger, not to mention cause me unnecessary trouble."
"Ha," she smirked, "right. Don't worry. I'm only doing what Ciel needs me to do, which is do a little investigating of where Lord Druton's son Anthony could possibly be."
Sebastian continued to brush her hair before lifting a few strands of her hair and pressing it to his lips. "I'll be there to protect you, Anna," he added with a smile. "Oh yes, that reminds me." He pulled an emerald ring from his coat pocket and slipped it onto her finger. "As long as you wear this ring, I will know wherever you are and know the condition you may be in."
"Thanks," she said, looking at the ring. "I'm not sure how handy it may come in though. As how you describe it, it kinda makes me think of the Blood Contract. Are you sure I need it?"
He pressed his lips against her forehead. "Believe me when I say that this will protect you," he murmured softly. "I have the other of the pair on me myself. These two rings serve as a bond, and it will protect you."
She smiled at him. "Well… you don't lie," she said, "so I believe you… for the time being, anyway. Nevertheless, is there something you're not telling me, dear?"
Demonic eyes flashed with a little playfulness. "I'm afraid so," he said with a wide and innocent smile.
Anna sighed, rolling her eyes. "Well… I trust your loyalties to both me and Ciel, therefore, I trust that you won't place me in an unnecessary danger."
"Unnecessary danger, yes," he agreed. "Perhaps some necessary danger though…"
Again, she sighed, shaking her head before she did a little twirl before the mirror in her crystal white slippers, satisfied with her look. "Well…" she decided, "I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Now… I trust Ciel is already ready?"
Sebastian nodded, pulling out his pocket watch and looking at it for a moment. Putting it back in his pocket, he placed only an inch of distance between them before pressing his lips lightly against hers. Kissing back softly, they stayed like that for a few moments before Anna pulled away, pressing her forehead against his.
"I love you, Sebastian," she sighed, "and I fear that it may eventually become my undoing."
He chuckled darkly, "As my love for you will become mine."
"So we're both doomed, you think?" Anna implored.
Pulling away, he smiled. "Aren't I supposed to be the dark one?" he teased, his mouth travelling down her neck to her collarbone. "I am, as you say, a 'dark, sadistic jerk', correct?" He bit lightly on her skin, and she gasped in exhilaration.
"Okay, okay," she said, pushing him off her, rubbing her neck. "I get your point. Stop teasing me. Anyway, shall we get going?"
The demon butler smiled, bowing slightly as he offered his arm to her. "Of course, My Lady."
"There he is," Ciel Phantomhive said, glaring at the lord in question.
Lord Gareth Druton was a tall, slim man with dark, fair hair, and piercing onyx eyes on a long, narrow face. He wore rectangular glasses and was dressed in a simple, dark brown two piece suit. He seemed a simple man with little secrets, however, everyone knew that even though he seemed to place a fairly happy façade, he was deeply troubled and worried about his son.
"Seems harmless enough," Sebastian speculated, "however, of course, you know better, don't you, Young Master."
He nodded. "Anna should be making her entrance any moment now," he announced, "you know what to do."
As if on cue, Anna proceeded elegantly into the ballroom, a mask of cheer and peace on her face. A single white rose was tucked into her hair, and she caught the glances of many of the men in the room, including Lord Druton's. The angel strode over to Ciel and Sebastian, curtseying politely.
"Good evening, gentlemen," she greeted teasingly.
"You look gorgeous, Lady Anna," Sebastian said, kissing the back of her hand.
Ciel's eye twitched. "Are you wearing a corset, Anna?" he implored. When she nodded, he sighed in irritation, "How in the world do you wear that thing without feeling that your organs are going to be squeezed out?"
She chuckled, shaking her head. "Now, I have Fang keeping survey of the party outside, and he's also patrolling on the roof," she explained quickly. "He knows what to do if anything should go wrong. First, we'll need to make sure that we are able to draw Lord Druton's attention. Then I'll do my best to get as much information as I can from him."
"Unfortunately, the Young Master's dancing proficiency is still less than satisfactory," Sebastian noted, and Ciel flushed in embarrassment.
"I'm afraid I have to agree," Anna sighed, "all those dancing lessons Sebastian and I gave you didn't seem to help one bit. Why can't you dance like Sebastian?"
"It's not my fault!" Ciel snapped in annoyance.
Sebastian smiled at Anna. "Well… I guess that means it's up to us, after all, we did have an excellent chance to practice when we were giving demonstrations to the Young Master," he said, bowing to her while offering out his hand to her. "May I have this dance, Lady Anna?"
She smiled, curtseying to him before placing her hand in his. "Why thank you," she responded, allowing him to elegantly lead her onto the ballroom floor.
Moving into Sebastian's arms, Anna reached up to rest a hand on his shoulder as his wrapped around her waist, pressing her right up against him. They were pressed up against each other much closer than the other couples, and Sebastian's face was close to hers, allowing them to speak to each other clearly and easily.
"We are much closer than when we were practicing," Anna told him quietly. "Do you think Lord Druton is going to notice or cut in or anything?"
He smirked. "Of course," he replied confidently, "why wouldn't anyone refuse the chance to dance with such a charming angel like yourself?"
Anna chuckled, "You flatter me, Sebastian, however, if our efforts don't work, then we might have to resort to more… dramatic actions."
"That's only if we fail," he reminded, "and I don't ensure failure often."
She smiled. "Well then," she said, "shall we dance?"
"I thought we were dancing," he said, smiling in return.
"Well, time to get a little more serious, I suppose," she sighed. "We need to dance elegantly so that we are able to hopefully end up having some word with Lord Druton by the end of this."
As their dance came to an end, a hand tapped Sebastian's shoulder, and both turned to see Lord Druton.
"Excuse me, Sir, but may I steal the lady for a dance?" he requested.
Sebastian bowed, fluently placing Anna's hand in Lord Druton's, and Anna curtseyed politely. Exchanging a glance with her, Sebastian left to return to Ciel's side.
"You sure dance beautifully, My Lady," Gareth Druton said, taking formal dance position. "What is your name?"
"Anna, My Lord," she answered gently, secretly reading his emotions reflecting in his eyes.
Lord Druton found himself trapped within the angel's azure eyes. "Well, Lady Anna," he said, spinning her around in a circle, "you're very light on your feet, I see. Are you here alone?"
"Ah, by no means," she answered, "I am here with Earl Ciel Phantomhive, My Lord."
As the dance came to a close, Lord Druton swept her away towards the sides before dropping his dance stance, taking her by the hand and leading her towards the outside balcony.
"You are a very attractive woman, Lady Anna," he complimented, kissing the back of her hand.
She smiled. "Thank you," she replied, "I'm sorry about your son's disappearance."
He nodded, the smile on his face dropping before pulling off a black rose from his rosebush. "May I?" he implored. When she gave her approval, he plucked the white rose from her hair before tucking the dark flower into her silvery-white hair.
"In truth, Lord Druton," Anna said, "I'm one of the people investigating your son's disappearance. Is there anything you could tell me that may be of use?"
Lord Druton seemed to hesitate, obviously uncomfortable around the subject. "Lady Anna, perhaps… would you like to come with me to somewhere more… private?" he requested. "There are a few documents regarding my son's kidnapping that I'd like you to take a look at. Perhaps it will help."
She nodded. "Thank you for your cooperation," she told him.
Taking her by the waist, he led her away from the extravagant party towards the library chambers.
Sebastian, you still with me? Anna called through telepathy. We're heading over to the library chambers to inspect some documents.
I'm here, Milady, his voice echoed in her mind, the Young Master and I will stay as close as we can if you should need our help. Are you still wearing that ring I gave you?
Anna's fingers brushed over the emerald gem sitting in a silver band on her finger. Yes, I have it, she told him softly through the Blood Bond. You still have yours too, I hope.
Of course, he responded. As long as you don't take it off, I will be alerted if something should happen to you. Naturally, I can also sense and track you through the Blood Bond if for some reason you lose your ring.
Okay, thanks, Sebastian, she mentally sighed, I'll let you know what I find. Will Ciel need the documents themselves?
Well… let's just see what these documents are before the Young Master decides, Sebastian suggested. Proceed with caution, though, Anna. Something tells me that Lord Druton may be a puppet for a much larger and greater power.
Anna couldn't help but smile at his slight concern. Thanks, Sebastian, I'll keep that in mind.
"In here, Lady Anna," Gareth Druton said, gesturing her inside the large dimly-lit study. "You're not working with Scotland Yard, are you? I've been threatened not to deal with them."
She shook her head. "I work under the orders of Earl Ciel Phantomhive, the Queen's Watchdog," she answered. "I have no dealings with Scotland Yard whatsoever, so there's no need to fear."
He seemed a little more relaxed, adjusting his glasses before walking over to his large wooden desk, shaking hands scrambling for several sheets of paper scattered all over the table. Neatly piling them together, he handed them to Anna, and she took a glance at it.
Hmmm… blackmail letter, she thought, there's not too much I can go on by this, but this writing style is quite old. Not to mention it just reeks of a demon's scent.
Perhaps the Greater Demon targeting you has some influence on this case, Sebastian suggested. Can you recognize the writing?
No, she answered. There's no signature either. I'm pretty sure that whoever is behind this is allied with a demon. This ordeal may not be over as soon as we think.
Flipping through the rest of the documents, Anna began to believe that they definitely needed to be checked by Ciel. She looked at Lord Druton. "May I borrow these for a little while, My Lord?" she implored.
He shook his head, taking them back. "S-Sorry, I-I can't," he replied. "Just letting you see them already is bad enough. But please… is there anything you can do to help me get my son back?"
"With what information I have, I'll do everything I can," Anna promised, assuring him with a kind smile. "Rest assured, Lord Druton, I will do my best. Well… shall we return to the dance party?"
Gareth nodded, and as she turned to walk out of the study, he called out to her.
"Um… Lady Anna?" he implored, and she turned around, "I-Is there a chance where I could speak to you again at a later date?"
Anna blinked, thinking about it.
It's alright, Anna, Sebastian's cool voice entered her mind, The Young Master approves for Lord Druton to come to the Phantomhive Manor tomorrow morning.
"Will tomorrow morning be alright for you, Lord Druton?" Anna voiced. "I will be at the Phantomhive Manor."
The man seemed deeply relieved and nodded, a half-forced smile returning to his face. "Thank you, Lady Anna," he sighed gratefully. "Now let's return to the dance party."
"They should be returning soon, Young Master," Sebastian informed. "How do you plan on getting information from Lord Druton tomorrow?"
Ciel scoffed. In fact he had no idea how he actually was going to get information from him. "I'll figure it out tonight," he admitted. "Or I could get Anna to do it too. Perhaps persuasion from an angel is easier than having me myself do it. It's far too troublesome."
They saw Anna and Lord Druton re-enter the ballroom, and Anna curtseyed politely as he kissed her hand, his eyes radiating with gratefulness. Sebastian couldn't help but force back a twinge of annoyance as he also kissed her briefly on the cheek before she returned to them.
"You must be very proud of yourself today, Anna," Ciel commented crudely, "you've deceived a man and tricked him into coming to the Phantomhive Manor tomorrow. Isn't that against your better judgement?"
She smiled. "On the contrary, Lord Phantomhive," she said teasingly, "this is all for the greater good. Not to mention I'm not actually deceiving him into anything. Everything I said was the truth. I am working with the Earl of Phantomhive in the investigation of the disappearance of his son Anthony Druton. I've used no trickery of any sort, just an angel's charms."
Sebastian couldn't help but chuckle. "Well… since our mission is done, Young Master," he said, looking down at the young earl, "shall we return to the manor and prepare for tomorrow?"
Ciel dipped his head. "We shall leave at once."
Immediately after they had returned to the Phantomhive Manor, Sebastian and Anna had tucked the Young Master into bed. Afterwards, Anna went out onto one of the balconies of the manor to admire the rose garden that Finny took good care of, still dressed in her elegant white dress, breathing in the cool night air, gazing up at the beautiful stars that littered the dark sky.
"Beautiful," Sebastian commented as he came up behind her, his hands winding around her waist as he buried his face against her pale neck.
"I know," she agreed, "it's never seemed so peaceful this time of night like today. The roses are beautiful, there's a warm breeze blowing, and everything is just so calm."
His lips trailed along her neck up to blow softly in her ear, sending shivers down her spine. "I was talking about you," he whispered, plucking out black rose that Lord Druton had set in her hair. Out of nowhere he pulled out a rose with petals of the deepest scarlet Anna had ever seen.
"Sebastian, it's beautiful," she said as he tucked the flower into her hair.
Very softly, the demon kissed her, pulling her arms around him before he began to sway side to side in an easy dance. Anna rested her head against his chest as they slowly danced in circles along the balcony, dancing to a song that only they could hear.
"You must be careful, tomorrow, Anna," Sebastian warned her. "If a greater demon is involved, then I will be able to do very little against it. You may be in deeper trouble than you need to be. I will be primarily focused on protecting the Young Master, so you cannot rely upon me for assistance."
She nodded. "It's alright," she assured. "I can defend myself enough to get away, not to mention draw it away from you and Ciel if necessary."
"Of course," he chuckled, and she couldn't really tell whether he was being sarcastic or not, but her hands tightened against his shirt, inhaling his warm scent deeply.
Suddenly, she stopped. "Sebastian," she said firmly, "I know that this may be dangerous… for the both of us, not to mention the consequences could be catastrophic, but…" She looked up and met him straight in the eye. "I think… I want you…"