Desperate Times and Desperate Measures
Sebastian stirred awake, finding himself blanketed by a huge layer of snow on top of him. Recalling what happened, his anger grew, instantly melting all of the snow piled on him as he sat up, a hand on his forehead.
"Dammit," he breathed, looking around at the lightly-falling snow, "how long have I been unconscious?"
"Anna? Anna? Can you hear me?" he called through their Blood Bond… but there was no response.
This isn't good, he thought irritably. There is a chance that she was captured, or in worst case scenario, killed, during the time I was unconscious. I need to go back to the mansion to recollect what I already know to be able to find both her and the Young Master.
Sebastian entered the mansion, finding Bard, Finny, Maylene and Tanaka sitting on the stairs anxiously awaiting their return.
"Sebastian!" they exclaimed, running towards him. "What happened?"
The demon blinked, and Finny began to sob.
"We were so worried! No one came home yesterday!" he cried.
Sebastian's eyes widened, pulling out his pocket watch to look at the time… Eighteen hours had passed since he had first fallen unconscious.
"Wait, where is the Young Master and the young miss?" Bard implored, looking behind Sebastian to find neither missing person following in.
"Do not worry," the demon told them in assurance, "Anna is taking care of the Young Master. I don't know when they will be returning, but I know it will be soon."
Sebastian wasn't exactly lying, because he knew that Anna would protect Ciel with her own life if she had to, and that he would do everything in his power to find them as soon as he could.
They sighed in relief.
"That's good to hear," Maylene said.
"Now, go off and do your chores!" Sebastian snapped, and instantly they all left.
Suddenly, Fang dashed from upstairs and skidded to a stop in front of the demon.
"Sebastian, where's Anna?" the feline demanded, "Why haven't you nor Anna have returned since you left yesterday? What happened? I received that notice from Anna, but she said to wait for your return! WHERE IS SHE?"
"I don't know," he answered honestly. "I have been unconscious for the past eighteen hours. I was knocked out by a drug the Greater Demon had placed around the door of the Ridley Estate. Since then, I have no idea what has happened."
Fang hissed, his back arching as the fur on his back bristled with tension. "Do you have any idea where she could be?" he implored.
"None whatsoever," Sebastian responded bluntly. "I am unable to track her through the Blood Contract, nor can I track her nor the Young Master through the Faustian Contract."
The cat exhaled shakily, staring up at the demon butler. "Do you have a plan, Sebastian Michaelis?" he implored.
The butler bit his inner lip. "I have one," he said, and he headed to Anna's room with a single small item in mind. "Desperate times call for desperate measures."
"So, remind me why we're here again?" Shinigami Grell Sutcliffe implored.
"Wishing Angel Annabelle has gone missing," William T. Spears responded. "And that demon vermin was so desperate as to call us to help search for her."
A vein pulsed on Sebastian's forehead, but he knew that these two Shinigami might be able to help him locate the angel. He didn't want to concern Michael and the other angels in heaven, cause the demon knew very well that he would have heaven's wrath upon him for not being able to protect the woman he loved.
Grell's eyes sparkled. "Really, Sebby?" he squealed, "You called just to find me?"
Sebastian sighed, looking stern. "Right now we need to find Annabelle and the Young Master as soon as possible," he said. "I've been unaware of what has been happening in the past eighteen hours."
"How troublesome," Will groaned. "Hopefully she will be found soon, otherwise you, vermin, will be in huge trouble from many powerful people."
"My intentions are to find her as soon as possible, along with the Young Master," Sebastian responded bitterly. "There would be no other reason why I would call Shinigami to help with the search."
"Okay, but in return I want a really nice long kiss!" Grell complained, eyes ogling at the demon, "With tongue."
The butler glared. "I'm sorry, but I tie cherry stalks with my tongue," he retorted sharply, looking at Will. "Why did you have to bring him along?"
"That repulsive vertebrate wanted to come see you," Will explained. "The idiot wouldn't shut up about it."
Sebastian ignored him and sighed heavily, "Well, let's get going. The quicker we find them, the better."
Two hours had passed since the Shinigami had joined him, and still, Sebastian found no success in his search for Ciel and Anna. Now he, Will, Grell and Fang were back at the front of the mansion, contemplating their next move.
"We're getting nowhere," Fang commented agitatedly. "I'm really worried about Anna and Ciel. It's so cold outside."
"I wonder where they could possibly be," Will murmured. "We've searched all across London already."
Sebastian closed his eyes, trying to sense his connection with either Ciel or Anna, but to no avail. He exhaled deeply. "Perhaps we should regroup our strategy," he suggested, "maybe we can-"
ARHOOO! Pluto's howl echoed through the air, cutting off Sebastian's words.
They looked to see Pluto pawing the snow anxiously, howling at nothing in particular.
"Pluto!" the demon butler called, and the huge demon dog turned huge red eyes at him before transforming in a flurry of flames into a small puppy, running towards them.
Fang hissed, lifting into the air. "Ugh, I can't stand dogs," he commented distastefully.
"Hmph, a demon hound," Will noted. "Nevertheless, they're good trackers. Perhaps he can find Angel Annabelle."
They took their search by the Thames River, and Pluto did not seem to be able to sniff anything out.
Suddenly, Grell saw a huge snow pile by the frozen river.
"Ooh! Snow pile!" he cheered, running over to jump onto the pile… but it was not as soft as he thought. "OW!"
While the Shinigami bounced up and down and rubbing his aching cold backside, Pluto began to dig and brush away the snow, revealing white wings that were currently as hard as steel… like a shield guarding something.
"I think we've found her!" Fang exclaimed as he flew to the pile, Sebastian and Will following closely behind.
Brushing away all of the snow on top, the snow pile was actually a huge pair of folded wings around something. In their presence, the wings glowed before expanding and dissipating into free white feathers, revealing Anna and Ciel huddled together underneath, blood frozen to Anna's injured leg as the freezing had temporarily halted the bleeding. Ciel was shivering a little now in his sleep, but both looked relatively peaceful. Pluto barked happily at his discovery.
"Young Master!" Sebastian gasped.
"ANNA!" Fang shouted, landing on the snow.
Sebastian reached down to touch Ciel's cheek, finding him to be relatively chilly. Then he gently caressed Anna's cheek, and her skin was icy cold to the touch.
"They must have been here for hours," Grell murmured pitifully.
Fang rested his warm cheek against hers. "She's so pale…" he said quietly, "She's as cold as ice. The snow and cold temperatures have chilled her blood. Knowing her, she must have transferred all of her body heat to keep Ciel warm."
"She did it to keep him alive," Will guessed.
Sebastian took off his coat and placed it over Ciel before picking up the frail child in his arms, feeling the young earl shiver in his grasp. He looked down at him before looking at Anna. She looked beautiful in the midst of the freshly falling snow, so fragile, so serene.
"Stop standing there and move aside," the stoic Shinigami hissed, and the butler stood aside before watching in jealousy as Will carefully swept up Anna into his arms, her head resting limply against his shoulder, one hand on her stomach while the other dangled limply by her side. "We need to take them back to someplace warm and tend to Annabelle's wound."
Sebastian nodded. "Let's go back to the manor," he said, suppressing his growing anger and jealousy. "We'll take care of them there."
They returned to the manor quietly, and the moment Sebastian and the others entered, immediately the other three idiot servants burst from out of nowhere, gathering around them in panic. In the meantime, Fang rushed upstairs.
"Young Master! Anna!" they exclaimed, "What happened?"
"Their carriage must have crashed somewhere," Sebastian said. "Anna was injured and tried to keep the Young Master warm and she seems to have done a fairly well job, however… at current the Young Master is just slightly chilly, and Anna is freezing. We need to treat them both immediately. Maylene, prepare hot plates for the Young Master's bed, Finnian, do the same for Anna's. Bard, start boiling up hot water. After they're both put in bed, I will call a doctor for them."
The servants dispersed, and Sebastian quickly took Ciel up to his bedroom and tucked him in while Will took Anna to hers.
"Thank you for your assistance, both of you," Sebastian thanked when he returned to check on Anna. Fang was curled up on top of her bed, staring worriedly at his partner. "I will alert Annabelle of your assistance when she awakens."
"Ooh! Anything for you, Sebby!" Grell cheered happily, "Call me sometime soon, okay?"
"Let us go, Grell Sutcliffe," Will said, "we have more work to do when we get back."
The red-loving Shinigami pouted. "Will… you're no fun…" he groaned.
Both Shinigami left, and Sebastian reached to touch Anna's cheek, but she was still frozen cold. He was worried, and he leaned down to kiss her icy lips, feeling her weak breath on his cheek.
"I've notified Michael," Fang informed, "he'll be here in the next few minutes. I've already told him to come to the door in the guise of a doctor. He's worried after I explained to him what happened."
Sebastian nodded. "Though I'm afraid that the Young Master will need to be tended to first," he said. "It's the only way to make the convincing guise of a doctor."
"From what I've seen," the feline said, twitching his tail anxiously, "Ciel is only suffering from minor pneumonia, and Anna has done a good job of protecting him from the cold. But his asthma might act up… so that changes the severity. Anna, on the other hand… if she were a regular human, she would be long dead by now. However, she's still holding on, but she's very weak. And the injury in her leg isn't helping either."
"At least she'll be safe in here where it's warm," he noted, "perhaps that may help her recovery process."
"Well, after Michael is through healing her leg and purging any possible drugs through her system, it won't take her very long to fully recover," Fang retorted. "At the most she'll have a cold. In the meantime, go wait for Michael. I'll stay here and watch over Anna."
"Someone called for a doctor?" Michael greeted grimly as he was dressed up in a doctor's coat, instruments and everything.
"Thank you for coming at such short notice, Doctor," Sebastian responded. "The Young Master is upstairs. Please come with me."
Taking the angel upstairs to Ciel's room, Ciel seemed very small and frail in his bed, looking more like the 13-year-old child he should be.
Sebastian looked at Michael. "How does he look?"
The healing angel stood by the earl's side. "Well, he doesn't look as bad as I initially expected," he commented honestly. "Anna must have done a very good job keeping him from the cold." He looked back at the demon. "Approximately how long have they been exposed to the outside?"
Sebastian did a quick mental calculation, assuming that they were caught out not long after he was knocked out. "Approximately twenty-one hours," he answered surely. "However, this is assuming that the exposure began not long after I was knocked out for eighteen hours."
Michael narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the demon, but he knew he would be out of line to scold him now, considering that his relationship with Anna was approved by the Council of Angels. He sighed heavily, placing a hand over Ciel's forehead, and his palm began to pulse with a soft white light. Warmth poured into Ciel's body, sending tingles of warm pleasure throughout his entire form.
"He's going to be fine," Michael assured. "The only issue is his asthma. I can't really do much about it because it's an old medical condition, so I suppose you're just going to have to nurse him back to health after that. Otherwise he'll be making a full recovery."
The demon nodded in approval. "That will be delightful for the other servants to hear," he said. "What about Annabelle?"
The angel seemed to tense at her name, as he had already sensed how damaged the angel was. Fang's description wasn't very reassuring either. "That will be harder to say until I actually see her," he explained carefully, "according to what Fang has told me, Anna had a mortal wound exposed out in frigid airs that would chill her blood and freeze her from the inside out. What Fang said was true: if Anna were human, she would be long dead by now. Plus, if she really did have a run-in with the Greater Demon, there could be more risks than we've initially imagined."
"She didn't show any signs of it though," Sebastian assured, mainly to himself, "so I think she should be fine."
Ciel seemed a lot less paler now after Michael had finished healing him, except now he seemed to be showing signs of a fever.
"I'm afraid the fever would be coming with his asthma," Michael guessed. "I'm sorry, but I can't do much about that."
Sebastian dipped his head in understanding. "I will tend to him myself," he assured. "Now, while we allow the Young Master to get at least a little bit of rest, shall we go to Annabelle?"
Anna's breaths were weak, and even under the warmth, her skin was cool and her face was pale.
"Anna… what has happened to you?" Michael murmured as he sat by her side, reaching out to stroke her hair before he checked her pulse. "There's something demonic that runs through her blood…"
"Could she have been injected with some kind of poison or paralyser?" Fang guessed, feline eyes narrowed.
Sebastian looked at the angel. "Can you do anything to help her?" he requested quietly.
"I should be able to eliminate the drug or poison from her blood," Michael said, resting one hand over her forehead, the other over her heart.
Closing his eyes, the angel's brows furrowed with concentration as a bright light pulsed through his hand into Anna's body, basking her body in a warm, soothing light. Amplified, Anna's slow heartbeat echoed through the room, and Michael concentrated on purging the drug from her body, feeling the resistance of the demonic poison within. Under his healing touch, muscle and skin were renewed over the wound, eliminating it completely as if nothing had happened.
Finally, a ball of yellowish liquid floated within surrounding light, and Fang nudged a bottle under it with his nose. The liquid filled the bottle as Michael sighed in relief, pulling away.
"There, that should do it," he sighed, and already Anna was looking much healthier, and her breathing had regulated, colour returning to her cheeks.
"Thank you, Michael," Sebastian thanked gratefully. "I appreciate your services."
The healing angel nodded in his direction before picking up the bottle and corking it. "I'll take this back for analysis," he said. "I have definitely never seen this before." Tucking the bottle away, he looked at Sebastian and Fang. "Please give Annabelle my regards when she awakens."
"Of course," the demon responded. "Thank you for helping both Anna and the Young Master."
A couple of hours later, Anna's eyes snapped open and she jolted up in bed, regretting it instantly as her head swam, and she pressed a hand against her forehead.
"W-Where am I?" she stammered, looking around frantically, "Ciel? Where did Ciel go?"
"Shhh…" Sebastian's soothing voice calmed her as he entered the room, moving to sit on her bedside before taking her hand in his. "It's alright now, Anna. You're back at the mansion. The Young Master is in bed. You were both healed by Michael."
Large azure eyes blinked at him before she threw her arms around him. "Sebastian!" she exclaimed, "Thank goodness you're alright!"
"Everything's okay now," he assured her, giving her a gentle kiss. "I walked into a trap set by Andrew Hawkins, but I'm perfectly fine. Tell me what happened, Anna."
She carefully pried his hands off, looking fearful. "After I lost contact with you, I decided to track Ciel through the Dagger of Light, and I managed to find him. But when I got there, I was attacked by the Greater Demon. I was paralyzed by him, and my strength was slowly being drained. Ciel managed to break free of his cage using the Dagger of Light, and I used what little strength I had to get him to safety. I must've crashed somewhere…"
The demon nodded. "You were by the Thames River," he informed. "You were both out there for nearly twenty-one hours. I'm just glad you're alright now."
Anna hugged him again, needing to feel his reassuring warmth. "I still feel a little chilly, Sebastian," she told him. "Did Michael mention that it would be normal?"
Sebastian nodded. "He said you'd most likely have a cold, at the most," he answered before smiling seductively. "But later I can always help warm you up, if you'd like."
Very gently, the angel reached up to kiss him. Pulling from his embrace, she swung her legs out of bed and stood up. Her legs shook before crumpling under her, and she was caught by Sebastian, who held her up.
"You okay?" he checked.
She nodded. "I think it was probably from the paralyser drug," she assured, trying to support herself on her two feet. "I'll be okay."
"You'll be fine," he agreed. "It shouldn't take long before you recover completely."
Anna inhaled deeply, and he escorted her to Ciel's room. The young earl was still with high fever, and Anna went to sit by his side, brushing away his bangs.
"Poor Ciel…" she sighed, "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you better."
Sebastian rested a hand on her shoulder. "You did everything you could," he assured her. "Had you not protect the Young Master the way you did, he may not be alive."
Maylene knocked before bringing in a bowl of warm water and a clean cloth. "Here are the things you requested, Sebastian," she informed, nearly dropping the contents as she noticed Anna. "Anna! You're awake! How do you feel?"
Anna nodded with a comforting smile. "I'm alright," she answered. "Still a little tired, but tending to Ciel is more important right now. Sebastian and I will take care of him from here."
"I-If you say so…" the maid stammered before leaving.
Anna dipped the cloth into the water before squeezing it dry, patting the cloth against Ciel's forehead. "His fever seems to be dropping already," she said. "You've been taking good care of him. He should recover very soon with a little medicine and some sleep."
Mmm… Ciel thought. Where am I? I feel so warm…
"Shhh…" a warm, comforting female voice hushed, "it's alright, Ciel."
"You're going to recover very soon," another male voice said reassuringly.
"Mother?" he groaned, "Father?" His eyes slowly opened, and for a moment, he thought he saw his parents Rachel and Vincent Phantomhive, but then his sight focused and realized that it was his Head Maid Annabelle Phantomhive and Head Butler Sebastian Michaelis bent over his small frail body.
"I'm sorry, Ciel," Anna apologized with a smile, "but we're not your parents. We're only mere servants. And I'm definitely not as beautiful as your mother."
"You are to me," Sebastian assured her, leaning over to give her a kiss on the cheek.
The angel blushed before brushing locks of the earl's hair away from his forehead. "You've had a hard time, Ciel," she said softly, "but you're going to be alright. Just sleep, okay? Sebastian and I will explain everything once you fully recover."
Ciel's eyes slipped closed as he drifted back into a healing sleep, and Anna placed a soft kiss upon his forehead.
"Sleep well, dear," she wished him. "You'll be better soon."
"They're so sweet," Maylene cooed.
The three idiot servants were peeping at the trio through the doorway, very much to Anna and Sebastian's attention.
"They look like a family," Finny commented.
"Never thought Sebastian would be the type to be a family man," Bard said with a grin. "At least now we have something to tease Sebastian about now."