Mourning a Grave Loss
Sebastian and Ciel headed back to the manor, Sebastian carrying his heavy burden on his back, covered with his now-bloodied tailcoat.
"I'll prepare some warm milk for you after we get back," the butler told his master quietly as he carried him in his arms.
Ciel didn't response, still angry at the butler for what had happened. The young earl was tired… the death of his beloved ancestor was hard… especially when she did not deserve to die. "You've got some explaining to do when we get back."
They snuck into the manor from the back door, Ciel heading off to his room while the butler took his fallen angel back to her room. After placing her on the bed, he removed his tailcoat, finding that her body was no longer covered in crimson. Immediately he remembered the time her spilled blood had faded when they had engaged battle with the angel that they believed had been dead.
"Annabelle… I'm so sorry…" Sebastian apologized, a faint guilt sewn into his voice. This sort of feeling was something he had never felt before… this feeling of knowing that he had betrayed someone he loved so dearly.
The angel looked so beautiful, serene even in death. The wound was ragged, her skin pale. Sebastian took the liberty to do his best and close her wounds and change her into a nightgown, tucking her into bed. She looked as if she were only sleeping, but the coldness of the room and the lack of presence sank the bitter truth into the demon.
Sebastian leaned down and pressed his forehead against hers, closing his eyes. "I love you, Annabelle," he whispered to her. "I love you so much… truly, I do…"
Very gently he pressed his mouth against her cold lips, tasting both the essence of the angel as well as the bitterness of death. He smiled softly at her, stroking her smooth silver hair. They'd been through a lot together, and she had trusted him… and he had betrayed her.
"Anna, I promise I'll get your soul back," he promised to her, his hand over his chest. "I will see my reflection in your beautiful azure eyes once more… and I will hear those soft lips speak my name… even if it's in hatred and loathing, I don't care. As long as I get you back…"
He pressed his lips against her forehead, sealing the promise he had just made to her.
On my honour and pride as a demon, he swore in his mind, I promise I'll bring your soul back to your body and bring you back… no matter what it takes…
Sebastian brushed away her bangs from her face, cradling her cheek in the palm of his hand. Kissing the fallen angel, he bowed his head in respect for a moment before he forced himself to rise from her side. He inhaled deeply as he knew he had to come up with some excuse to explain Anna's absence to the rest of the Phantomhive manor servants. Shooting one last lingering glance at the now-deceased angel Annabelle Marie Phantomhive, Sebastian Michaelis closed the door behind him and locked it tight, sealing away her body… as well as his feelings. There would be no love nor compassion for what he needed to do to get her back…
Ciel Phantomhive sat at his desk, greatly fatigued at what had happened during that fateful hour in the abandoned warehouse. Biting his lip, he inhaled deeply before letting out a shaky breath.
Quietly, he left the study, wandering down the surprisingly-solemn hallways before stopping at Anna's door. Guessing that Sebastian would have locked it to prevent anyone from entering, he drew out the key from his pocket and began inserting it into the keyhole before a strong grip stopped him; a firm grip around his tiny wrist. Looking up to his side, Sebastian stared down at his young master.
"Young Master," the demon butler said gently, "I'm afraid I cannot let you in there."
Ciel glared at him as he attempted to pry his arm free. "Get your hand off me!" he hissed. "You have no right to tell me what I can and cannot do! Especially when you betrayed the angel you claimed to love so cruelly!"
There was no comment that Sebastian could say that could soften the harshness of those words, especially when it was known to be true. Respectfully and quietly, Sebastian removed his hand from Ciel's sleeve, allowing the earl to unlock the door and enter the eerily-silent bedroom. Ciel stepped inside, silently approaching the beautiful angel before sitting on her bedside, reaching out to stroke her silver hair.
"Anna… forgive me for having such a terrible butler," he wished silently. "I had no idea that he was planning this."
Her hands were folded over her stomach, her blankets pulled up under her shoulders, and Ciel leaned down to kiss her brow. Sebastian stood outside the room, looking in with an expressionless mask. There was no love nor compassion in his eyes, only the cold cruelness of the demon he truly needed to be.
"Young Master, I will be departing temporarily to do some research in the Demon Archives," he announced, "I humbly request that you stay here in the manor until my return."
"Go," Ciel hissed at him, and the butler bowed once more, closing the door before departing, leaving Ciel alone with his ancestor's body.
Dammit, the young earl thought, taking off his eye patch to reveal the Contract shining in his eye, why am I getting so worked up over this? Why do I feel like I need to wring Sebastian's neck for getting Anna killed?
Suddenly, he felt something wet travel down his cheeks, and he raised his hand to touch his face, pulling it away to find his fingers wet.
Am I… crying? He wondered as he furiously rubbed at his eyes. Why the hell do my eyes sting? Why am I crying for her? She's just a maid… isn't she?
But he knew very well that she wasn't. She was a very important ancestor, and for the past while, she had become a mother to him, always taking care and watching over him. He felt a sudden warmth wash over him in the room, and could hear a soft sweeping of wings.
"So it's true…" a sad voice murmured regretfully. "She really is gone…"
Ciel raised his head to see Michael land on the carpet, apparently having come through the roof, his pure white wings spread wide and glowering with a soft light.
"You…" Ciel mumbled, a little unsurprised at the angel's sudden appearance. "Did you sense it?"
Michael dipped his head, walking over to the bedside and reaching to stroke Anna's cheek. "We all sensed Annabelle's passing," he explained, "but we also sensed that she did not join those on the First Level of Heaven."
"The demon Andrew Hawkins stole her soul," the earl agreed quietly. "Rather… damn Sebastian traded her soul to him."
The angel bristled at the Lesser Demon's name. "Where is said demon?" he hissed. "Most of us are holding him responsible for the deaths of Anna as well as Fangorn."
"He mentioned something about research in the Demon Archives," Ciel answered. "He's planning on getting her soul back, it seems."
Michael turned to look at Ciel, the light in his golden eyes dimming slightly. "Your eyes are red, Earl Phantomhive," he noted, "have you been crying?"
Ciel flushed in embarrassment as he twisted his head away in denial. "N-No, I just got something in my eyes, that's all," he lied.
He saw right through the guise but chose not to say anything, knowing that he himself was delved deep in grief. Sadly, he looked down at Anna.
"You know, I watched over her while she was still human as a sort of guardian angel to her. I fell in love with her inexplicably kind and caring nature; with her pure heart. Even though she was tasked as the Queen's Watchdog to eliminate all those who oppose the royal family, she tried her best to do it in non-lethal ways. Rarely was she forced to actually eliminate her targets, but she always protected what she knew was important. The way she was killed was terrible, to be burnt at the stake. I tried all that I could to lessen her agony, but as she was dying, I realized that she was going through the cleansing of a birthing angel… and before I knew it, she became the angel that I came to love so dearly." He explained, a melancholic smile touching his perfect lips. "When we actually came to meet when we were chosen for each other, she didn't really like me much…"
"How do you know so much about me?" Annabelle Phantomhive implored, tilting her head to the side.
Michael smiled at her. "I've been watching over you for a long, long time now," he told her.
"Not to be mean or anything," she replied, "but that's kinda creepy. That smile you have on your face right now isn't very reassuring either. Chosen or not, do you mind staying away from me, at least for a little while?"
Finding her hesitance both amusing and attractive, he chuckled before nodding, and quickly Anna made her goodbye and flew away. Watching after her, he decided that their time together would not at all be boring.
"Eventually, she grew to like me, even love me… even if it wasn't in the same way as she did Sebastian," Michael concluded, closing his eyes. "Even if her love for me wasn't romantic… it was enough for me. I could see that she really tried to fall for me… but she never found me in that special place in her heart. At first I was angered when I learned that she had fallen in love with Sebastian; angry that a demon had succeeded where I couldn't."
"You appeared to be quite jealous," Ciel agreed.
The angel nodded. "But I eventually came to accept it, because I realized that she was happiest with him… or so that's what I thought," he said. "If I had known that this was to be her fate… I would have stopped them from getting closer to each other at all costs."
Ciel looked down at Anna. "I was surprised when it was revealed that Sebastian had traded her soul," he admitted. "I had honestly thought that Sebastian's loyalties had begun to change from me to her… but to learn that he would actually trade away his lover's soul for my sake… there are no words…"
"I too, was surprised to feel Anna's death," Michael stated with a heavy sigh. "I had honestly believed that Sebastian Michaelis had been changed by Anna, as he had also agreed to the terms upon which the Council of Angels would accept their love. But… I guess in the end, demons are demons."
"You still may be wrong about Sebastian," Ciel suddenly defended. "He seems to be working hard to try and get Anna's soul back. This is the first time he's ever truly lost since he's been in my employment… and I don't think he's planning on repeating it anytime soon."
Michael sighed heavily. "Well, if he's truly planning on getting Anna's soul back, then I support him all the way," he said. "I'm still angry with him for allowing this all to happen in the first place, but if he is in need of any assistance, just give me a holler and I'll try to come as soon as I can to provide whatever assistance you need."
The young earl nodded silently before Michael leaned down to press his lips against Anna's forehead, cradling her cheek before standing up.
"I must depart now," he said, his eyes flashing behind him to the door as he sensed an all-too familiar demonic presence outside the room. "The next time I come to visit, I hope to see that Anna is alive and well."
"Goodbye Michael," Ciel bid, and Michael dipped his head at the earl before wrapping his wings around him before vanishing.
Moments of silence passed as Ciel exhaled deeply before there was a knock at the door before it opened to reveal butler Sebastian Michaelis, a dark smile on his face as he bowed deeply, avoiding looking at Anna's body at all cost.
"Young Master," he greeted, "I believe I have figured out how to reclaim Annabelle's lost soul."
Ciel stood up, looking at the butler as he exited the room, giving Anna one last lingering glance before closing and locking the door behind him. "And how is that, Sebastian?" he demanded, returning his full attention on the demon.
The demon's eyes glimmered with its demonic purple sparkle. "I plan on challenging Andrew Hawkins to… a Danse Macabre… a Dance of Death…" For Anna's sake, he added silently, I will need to risk myself in this battle.
"A Danse Macabre?" the earl murmured. "Hmmm…" Calculating thoughts ran through his head as he recalled something that had connected between him and Anna not long after Fang's death… something that could change the course of Sebastian and Andrew's awaiting battle.
Anna… Ciel thought, in that moment, you gave me a gift… something that only I can do... something that could change the very fate of this awaiting battle…