A Dance of Death
Standing in the empty courtyard of the Phantomhive Manor, Ciel watched quietly as Sebastian closed his eyes, about to summon the hated demon in challenge.
"I summon thee, Andrew Hawkins, and implore a challenge in a Danse Macabre," Sebastian murmured.
A demon language rolled off his tongue, no words or phrases recognizable to Ciel, and a magic circle appeared before him, glowing with powerful demonic magic. Rising from the centre of the circle was none other than Greater Demon Andrew Hawkins, a dark smile on his face.
"I take it you've challenged me for angel Annabelle's soul?" Andrew implored in amusement.
"Yes," Sebastian responded.
Andrew's feet touched the ground with a quiet clack, and a dark grin spread across his face. "Very well," he decided, "I accept your challenge. If for some reason you actually do win, I will return to you Annabelle Phantomhive's soul without any tricks or traps. And well, if I win, you will be long gone by then, and I will claim Ciel Phantomhive's soul as my next meal."
Sebastian glanced back at the young earl he served and received a stern and permissive nod, a single resolute order shining in his one seen eye. Win, Sebastian.
"I agree on your terms," the Lesser Demon butler decided. "Shall we move to a different location to decide this?"
Andrew rested a hand under his chin. "Well… shall we move this battle to my own personal realm?" he said. "I'll admit that it will probably prove as an unfair advantage to you, Sebastian, however, it should be a very interesting battle. Come with me, and let us go unto my realm!"
W-Where am I? Ciel thought. He opened both eyes, finding his eye patch gone. He was in a pitch-black place, the shapeless land seeming endless.
"Sebastian, where are you?" he shouted, "Where am I?"
There was no response, but two glimmering lights dimmed into appearance before him.
"My dear, precious Ciel," a warm, soft voice greeted.
The voice was unmistakable, and before Ciel appeared the ghostly forms of the late Vincent and Rachel Phantomhive smiling sadly at their young son.
"Mother? Father?" Ciel murmured in surprise. "W-What are you doing here? Am I dead?"
His father shook his head with a smile. "We thought a little friendly support would be nice," he said, suddenly appearing to look past the present earl. "And she's the one who thought to summon us here."
Whirling around, Ciel looked into the beautiful azure eyes of Annabelle Marie Phantomhive in all her glory, a halo floating above her head, her body basked in a warm glowing light. She was garbed in the beautiful white gown she had worn the night of Gareth Druton's ball.
"Annabelle!" he gasped in surprise. "You're alive?"
She shook her head. "I'm sending my thoughts to you, Ciel, via telepathy," she answered. "It's just that your own mind is manifesting me in this form. My soul still resides in that bloody bottle in that damned Greater Demon's possession." She stopped herself, sighing heavily as she fought to control her growing anger.
"Wait… so we're in my mind?" he realized.
"Yes, son," Vincent Phantomhive answered. "You're currently unconscious. I'm sure that butler of yours will be waking you momentarily, however, we're technically here as your conscious before this fight."
"Ciel," Anna said softly, and the child returned his attention to her. "I know that you and Sebastian are trying to get my soul back, and I thank you for it. If you are able to get the bottle back… you have two options. One, you can release my soul so I can die peacefully by destroying the bottle. Or two, you bring the bottle back to my body where my soul will liquefy and you can pour it back into my body and bring me back."
He eyed her carefully, aware of her words. "Would you really be able to die peacefully, Anna?" he noted.
She chuckled uneasily. "You're probably right," she admitted, "but…because it's Sebastian, I'm afraid that saving me is not that easy." Even if you get back my soul… it still isn't enough to bring me back... she thought additionally, unless Sebastian…
"When is the right time when I should use that?" he asked, cutting into her thoughts.
A soft smile touched the angel's perfect lips. "Artemis will know when it is time," she answered. "But since the stakes this time are so high, I'm afraid that time is coming, Ciel. You must be prepared. Like I said, Artemis will know when it is time and appear to you when you need it."
"Do not forget, Ciel dear," Rachel reminded her son, "your father and I will always be watching over you. You are never alone."
Vincent Phantomhive smiled with pride at Ciel. "Be brave, son," he told him affectionately, "we love you very much, and we're very proud of you."
Both of his parents began to vanish, leaving only Ciel and Anna left.
"You know, Anna," Ciel began awkwardly, "you shouldn't hate him. Sebastian still loves you, and he appears to very much regret what he did."
She sighed heavily and depressingly. "I know," she admitted. "I was able to send my thoughts to my body, and I heard him; his love; his regret. Frankly, I don't really care much right now. I'm still angry with him about what he's done, but… I could never hate him… I love the idiot too much for that. I'm afraid I must leave now, Ciel. Keeping my thoughts here will put too much strain on my soul."
The young earl nodded. "We'll get you back, Anna," he promised.
A sad smile formed as tears glittered into her eyes. "I really hope so, Ciel," she replied sadly, "but I'm afraid that alone, Sebastian has no chance to win against Andrew Hawkins. I'm afraid that… this is one battle Sebastian can't win…"
"Young Master," Sebastian's voice broke through the darkness, and Ciel opened his one eye to find himself staring up at a rock ceiling, Sebastian kneeling down by his side.
Sitting up, he found himself in a huge rock dome, candleholders around the wall burned with blue fire that illuminated the place. Greater Demon Andrew Hawkins stood on the opposite end of the dome, arms crossed, waiting impatiently.
"What happened?" Ciel asked.
"You passed out the moment we arrived," Sebastian responded bluntly. "I'm sure your body is now quite adjusted to the atmosphere of this realm, therefore you are awake now."
Nodding dumbly, Ciel recalled the memory of his conversations with Anna and his parents in his mind, but… could they have been nothing but a dream? Deciding them to be real, he stood up, looking at Sebastian. "Go, Sebastian," he ordered. "I have but one order for you: Win, and get back my ancestor's soul!"
His butler bowed. "Yes, My Lord."
Andrew Hawkins grinned in amusement as his demon sword Lucifer appeared in his hand with a flurry of black feathers. The red-bladed sword seemed to be on fire because of the flickering blue light of the flames lighting the area. "Well then, Sebastian Michaelis, shall we dance?"
Dinner knives flashing in hand, Sebastian's eyes glowed its demonic purple as a wide sadistic grin spread across his face.
Silence echoed through the dome for a moment as the two demons stared the other down before Andrew sprung at Sebastian, skilfully slashing Lucifer at him. Sebastian blocked with his dinner knives, only to find that they got cut in half by the evil blade. Dodging instead, to Ciel the two demon butlers seemed to be in a furious frenzy, here one moment and there the next.
I'm afraid that this is one battle Sebastian won't win… Anna's last words rang through Ciel's mind as he recalled their conversation.
What is she talking about? He thought. Sebastian seems to be doing just fine so far.
Ciel thought that too soon as Sebastian was kicked back into the rock wall as Lucifer was plunged into his shoulder, yet the butler made no peep in pain.
"Answer me this, Andrew," Sebastian hissed. "How was it that you were able to mark Anna with your seal?"
The Greater Demon smiled at him. "In fact, I had done nothing but activate what was already there," he said. "Annabelle herself was the one who placed the curse on herself."
Both Sebastian and Ciel faltered in shock and surprise.
"W-What did you say?" Ciel demanded. "Why in the world would Anna do that?"
"Oh, well she didn't know that it was a curse," Andrew replied simply. "It's quite funny, really…"
A very young, ten-year-old Annabelle Marie Phantomhive had gotten separated from the maid that was supposed to watch over her in the busy streets. She walked into the opening of a dark alleyway and turned back to look into the crowd, hoping she'd find the maid soon.
"Are you lost, little girl?" a meticulous voice said, and immediately the child whirled to find a tall, handsome man looking down at her with dark red eyes.
She remained silent before shaking her head in a lie. He chuckled.
"Do not lie to me, little girl," he warned. "But in any case, I mean you no harm. Out of curiosity, are you a smart little girl?"
Anna's chest puffed out with pride. "My daddy says that I have a really good memory!" she cheered. "It's something that he says he's very proud of."
Greater Demon Andrew Hawkins smiled darkly. "Let's test out that memory of yours then, shall we?" he suggested as he kneeled down to eye-level. "Now, repeat after me: 'A maledicto ponitur in haec anima et haec anima. In tempus, nota erit anima tua ut signaculum hoc demon Lucifer qui gerit.' Okay, now you try."
She took a deep breath as his words rang clearly through her head. "A maledicto ponitur in haec anima et haec anima. In tempus, nota erit anima tua ut signaculum hoc demon Lucifer qui gerit," she repeated flawlessly. Then she tilted her head to the side. "What does that mean anyway? It's definitely not any English I've ever heard before."
He smiled cunningly. "It's a… charm, you could say," he told her. "A good luck charm, and it's in a different language than English, and that makes it all the more special. Say it every time you feel like you need good luck or something." Ironically, it will be what binds her soul to me, he thought smugly.
Annabelle smiled. "Thanks a lot, Mister," she thanked innocently before returning her attention to the crowd. She perked up in alarm. "Ah, there's Mandy! Bye Mister!" She waved at the mysterious man, unaware that he was actually a demon; unaware that the oh-so-innocent 'charm' he had given her was in fact the very thing that would cause her so much trouble when she became an angel…
"You bastard," Ciel breathed. "You tricked her! That was no charm!"
Sebastian gritted his teeth. "The 'charm' that he gave her, Young Master," he growled, "was in fact, an old demonic binding spell that a demon could use to place a claim on a soul before it could be properly harvested. It's Latin, translated to 'A curse is placed on this soul, this soul. In time, this seal will mark your soul as that of the demon who wields Lucifer.' And that is, of course, none other than Greater Demon Andrew Hawkins."
"Indeed," the evil Greater Demon agreed with a dark toothy grin. "The foolish girl never knew…"
Sebastian glared darkly at him. "Even for a demon… that's pretty low," he commented, his hand wrapping around the blade in his shoulder. "You dare tricked an innocent young child to unknowingly give up her soul to an evil greedy demon. You shall pay for trying to take what rightfully belongs to me!"
In one powerful sweep, Sebastian yanked out the blade from his shoulder before delivering one powerful kick to Andrew's ribs, sending the Greater Demon flying back into the wall.
"Heh, how amusing," Andrew snorted, picking himself up and brushing off the dust and dirt on him. He was apparently completely unharmed. "What belongs to you? Don't make me laugh. That angel's soul became mine the moment you made that deal with me." Snapping his fingers, Annabelle Phantomhive's body was teleported from her room in Phantomhive Manor into Andrew Hawkins' hands as he held her up, her head tilted limply against his shoulder.
"Anna!" Ciel gasped, and Sebastian's glare deepened.
The Greater Demon inhaled the scent of her body as he drew his tongue along her neck.
"Don't you dare touch her!" Sebastian hissed threateningly. "Release her at once!"
Andrew let go of her, raising his hands in front of him innocently as Anna's lifeless body slumped forward towards the ground before Sebastian was there in a flash, catching her and instantly leaping away as the other demon took the opportunity to slice his sword at them. Sebastian set her down by Ciel, resting her on her back as he gazed longingly at Anna's peaceful-looking face for a moment before returning his attention to the Greater Demon.
"You purposely brought her here," he accused. "You knew that even though it was only her body, I'd protect it."
The Ridley head butler chuckled darkly. "I never thought I'd be manipulating the emotions of one of my own kind," he commented in admittance. "Though honestly, you're a disgrace to our species, Sebastian Michaelis. For a demon to allow his own feelings to dictate his actions... tsk, tsk, a true disgrace indeed."
Sebastian smirked. "You're the pitiful one, Andrew Hawkins," he retorted smugly. "You will never know nor understand the feelings of what humans call 'true love'." He shot a small smile and a quick glance at Anna's lifeless body. "You will never know nor understand what that angel has done to me in the matter of a few weeks."
"Sorry, but I'd rather take power over your so-called 'true love' any day," Andrew replied distastefully. "Well, in this case, I'd rather enjoy a delicious meal than try out your little 'love' thing."
Andrew lunged at Anna's body, and immediately Sebastian went after him.
So predictable… Andrew thought with a smirk before scratching the Lesser Demon deeply in the stomach as he sent him flying back into the wall with a hard kick to the gut. In a following (and possibly finishing) move, Andrew plunged Lucifer into Sebastian's side, blood gushing from the wound as the butler coughed up blood, glaring up at his opponent as Andrew had one foot on his torso, keeping him down. Things weren't looking good for the Phantomhive butler.
At this rate, Sebastian's gonna lose…Ciel thought in dread, glancing at Anna's body before suddenly remembering what she had told him…
"This is goodbye, Sebastian Michaelis," Andrew hissed with an evil smirk as he raised Lucifer high in the air, his crimson eyes shining with sadistic prideful joy. "I will take pleasure in devouring both Annabelle and Ciel Phantomhive's souls!"
Sebastian closed his eyes, knowing that he had failed. My apologies, Young Master, he thought, apparently it seems I will not be able to fulfill our Contract after all. Annabelle… My beloved Annabelle… I'm so sorry for everything… I have always loved you.
Click. "Not today you're not," Earl Ciel Phantomhive's voice rang out loud and clear in the isolated area, and both demons turned to see the young earl hold a silver gun in his hand, and as Andrew was about to react… it was already too late.
BANG! A piercing shot of light ripped through Andrew's left lung before the Greater Demon dropped to his knees, gasping in pain. Sebastian ushered all of his strength into one swift blow as the center of his palm struck the new wound, inducing a whole lot of pain and more spilt blood. Quickly getting to his feet, he leaped back towards his young master.
"Thank you, Young Master," he said, a hand over the stab wound. "I never thought I'd say this to a human, but I thank you for saving my life. How in the world were you able to get your hands on a holy gun?"
Ciel motioned towards Anna's body, but said nothing more. Even after death… she was still looking after him…
The angel closed her eyes sadly. In quick strides, she was by his side, her arms warm around him. Ciel flushed in embarrassment and surprise.
"A-Anna…" he breathed in surprise
Tears fell from her eyes as her body quietly shook, crying for Ciel's lost innocence; crying for Fang; crying for Kylee; crying for herself and what had been taken from her. Unconsciously, her wings rose from her back and wrapped around them both, basking them in warmth as a grieved comfort flowed into them.
Ciel… Anna's warm but sad voice filled his mind as he realized that she was speaking with him via telepathy. Difficult times will be ahead, thus, I will need to teach you about how to summon a certain item when it is time for its use.
What are you talking about? The young earl thought to her. What item?
It's a holy gun called 'Artemis', she explained, her arms still wrapped around him. Remember how Sebastian I had previously told you about how only weapons of holy or demonic origin can cause an angel or demon a lot of damage? Well, Artemis would be one of those items.
How do I summon it? Ciel implored her, closing his eyes as the angel continued to hug him.
Call it with your heart, Ciel, she told him softly. If something should happen to Sebastian or I and you are exposed to Andrew Hawkins, call on it, and it will come to you when you need it. Don't worry about bullets, Artemis is… special…
Thank you, Anna, Ciel Phantomhive thought, directing a quick but grateful look at his deceased ancestor. You've always been looking out for me.
Greater Demon Andrew Hawkins glared at the young earl, fury burning in his pained crimson orbs. "How?" he hissed. "How were you able to obtain such a powerful item?"
"You would have to thank her for that," Sebastian said, nudging towards Anna.
This infuriated the Greater Demon even more, but even he knew that the odds were now against him. Holy guns were known for their seeking abilities, in which the special bullets would chase down the location in which its wielder wanted them to go. Even with Lucifer, Andrew knew that there was no guaranteed win any longer, and the bullet had already done a great amount of damage that would seal off healing abilities for at least a little while.
"Dammit," Andrew breathed in frustration, "I have no choice…"
In a puff of black smoke, the Greater Demon vanished, and for a moment the rocky realm was silent.
"We did it, Young Master," Sebastian said while trying to conceal his aches.
Ciel scoffed. "Of course we did," he replied hotly, "who do you think I am?"
The Phantomhive butler couldn't help but crack a small smile at the brave and strong young earl before him. Without warning, there was a small puff of dark black-red smoke before the bloody flask containing a pure white ball floated down towards Sebastian before he took it in his reddened hand, staring at the light inside.
"Anna…" he murmured.
Suddenly, the ground beneath them began to rumble as pieces of the rock wall began to break off.
"Sebastian!" Ciel cried, "What's happening? Why is the realm looking like its disintegrating? Get us out, now!"
"It appears that Andrew Hawkins is too weak to sustain it any longer," Sebastian responded calmly as he looked around the place before approaching Anna's body. "I'm afraid I am unable to get us out of here, Young Master. Only a Greater Demon or an angel can teleport us out of this place…"
The Phantomhive butler dropped to his knees next to the angel's cold, lifeless body before he uncorked the flask. Instantly, the white ball melted into a milky white liquid before Sebastian poured the contents into the corpse as the liquid vanished into Anna's body, indicating that the soul and body were compatible. The angel's body glowed dimly for a moment before the light vanished.
"Anna!" Ciel barked. "Wake up! We've got to go!"
Sebastian was very tired, and the loss of blood wasn't helping very much. He leaned down to kiss Anna's lips. "Please, Anna, wake up…" he pleaded quietly, but still… the angel was not alive.
The young earl of Phantomhive knew that something was wrong… he realized that Anna had still not been resurrected. She had said that saving her was not easy… he only now realized what she had meant. And if that was true… then they were all doomed to die…
Sebastian pressed his forehead against hers, silently whispering to her that he loved her, that he needed her back. But still he was not able to gain a response from the angel.
"Anna, please… wake up," Ciel pleaded. "You told me that you'd be there to protect me, well I need your protection right now!"
Sebastian used his teeth to remove his bloodied gloves before he pulled her into his arms, knowing that if his wounds weren't tended to soon, either by himself or another entity as powerful as him… he too may die.
My long life, finally over… Sebastian thought, looking up at the crumbling ceiling before looking back down at the one pretty angel in his arms. Anna… I'm so sorry for betraying you like that… I'm sorry I never got to tell you that I love you one last time… I've always truly loved you…
Finally Sebastian's heart truly broke as heart-warming tears cascaded over his entire being, filling him with the love and the deep loss that he should have felt at Anna's death.
Without knowing it, a single tear fell from the demon's eyes, rolling down his pale cheek before falling onto Anna's angelic face. Instantaneously, the tear dissipated into Anna's kin before her body burst into incredible white light as her body levitated out of his arms. Beautiful white wings expanded from Anna's back as her clothes transformed into a long beautiful dress: the exact same one Ciel had seen her in when he was unconscious. As her body touched back down to the ground, Sebastian hunched over her, looking down into her colouring face.
"She's alive…" Ciel breathed in astonishment, noticing her heaving chest.
In what appeared to be the most beautiful moment of Sebastian's long life, Anna's crystal-clear azure eyes opened and met his.
"Annabelle…" Sebastian breathed lovingly, stroking her cheek with the back of his fingertips.
Her lips parted as a single word was breathed from them. "Sebastian…"
It was the most beautiful sound he had ever heard, and he felt tingles of pleasure ripple through him just by hearing her speak his name.
"Anna!" Ciel gasped as he barrelled into the angel in a tight hug.
She hugged the young earl back, her eyes glowing golden. "Ciel... Let's go home…"
In a bright flash of light, angel, demon, and human vanished. The battle had been won, and one thing was now definitely for certain… Wishing angel Annabelle Marie Phantomhive had returned… and she was back with a vengeance…