The Hearts of Many
It had been a whole week since Annabelle's departure, and it was definitely strange to see Sebastian moping around the mansion. Sure, he still got the job done, nevertheless, he seemed almost… lonely without Annabelle by his side.
Ciel, however, was too occupied by trying to readjust to a normal life with his parents. It was strange, really. He had spent the past few years coping with living alone in such a huge mansion with no one but his servants, and now… now a new sense of livelihood had been brought back to the manor with his parents' revival. It was something that Ciel would need to get readjusted to, but that would happen with time.
It's quite lonely without Anna's bright presence… the young Phantomhive thought. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss her too.
"Something wrong, son?" Vincent asked. "You look conflicted."
"I was just thinking about Annabelle," he said softly. "It's kind of…"
"Lonely, isn't it?" he finished, nodding with a heavy sigh. "I understand. It's rare not to get updates from her about you. How's Sebastian doing?"
Ciel shrugged. "He seems to be coping," he answered, "but with that guy, it's hard to tell. For all I know he could be self-destructing inside. Then again, he is a heartless, sadistic demon."
"I appreciate your concern, Young Master," Sebastian Michaelis spoke suddenly following a quick knock on the door. "But even a demon like me can feel sadness at losing the woman I loved so very dearly." He pushed in a silver cart with tea and cake.
"Ah, thank you, Sebastian," Vincent thanked as the demon poured the tea. "May I ask what plans you have next? I understand that as a demon, you must have other things to do."
The demon nodded. "I've been thinking about some plans for the past week, but I believe that I will be heading east," he explained. Then he sighed heavily, "Well, I suppose there's still some room for planning. Till then, please allow me to stay here a little longer."
"Of course," the Earl said. "You've been taking such good care of Ciel during our absence, and it really is very appreciated, so feel free to stay here as long as you like."
Sebastian bowed politely. "Thank you," he responded. "Now if you'll please excuse me…"
"Actually, Father," Ciel interrupted, "may I please speak to Sebastian alone?"
Vincent smiled and nodded, leaving the study as Ciel and Sebastian stared at each other for a long moment before Ciel smirked.
"Missing her, Sebastian?" he mocked.
The demon's brow furrowed in irritation for a moment before looking away in denial. "Well, I wouldn't say I'm missing her," he began.
The young Phantomhive snorted. "Let me make you an offer, Sebastian," he began. "You will continue your service to me as a Phantomhive butler, and in return, I will bring wishing angel Annabelle Marie Phantomhive back to you."
Sebastian stifled a chuckle, though he was unable to keep the smile from widening across his face. "Forgive me, Young Master, but do you honestly believe that you –a mere human, would be able to summon back an angel to Earth?"
The mere prospect of it appeared absolutely ludicrous, and for a demon like Sebastian, utterly amusing.
Ciel glared. "I can, and I will, should you agree to this deal to faithfully continue being my butler like you have done during the terms of our former Contract," he declared boldly. "Are we in mutual understandings?"
"Completely, Young Master," Sebastian retorted with a mock smile.
"Do we have a deal?" the young Phantomhive asked, and the demon raised an eyebrow thoughtfully.
On one hand, should Ciel actually accomplish the task, Sebastian would be able to have his beloved angel return to him. On the other hand, should Ciel fail… well, it would be fun watching him try anyway.
"Hmm… very well, Ciel Phantomhive, I will make this deal with you," he finally agreed. "If you are able to successfully bring back Wishing Angel Annabelle Marie Phantomhive, I, Sebastian Michaelis, will continue serving as the Phantomhive Head Butler until the day I am either released from your service by you alone, or the day you die of old age of unpreventable illness. Does this agreement sound fair to you?"
Ciel's eye narrowed. "And how do I know you're not lying?" he challenged.
The demon's wicked smile widened. "I have said this before, Young Master, and I'll say it again: I do not lie."
"Tch," Ciel scoffed, "How do I know there are no loopholes in this deal?"
Sebastian smiled all-too innocently. "Because Annabelle is probably watching us from Heaven right now, and she will be very upset with me if I trick you, especially if she does come back and see me do it right in front of her," he said. "So no, there will be no loopholes."
"Very well, then we have a deal," Ciel said smugly.
"Curious, but do you truly believe you can bring her back, Young Master?" he asked again. "Truly?"
He glared. "Don't make me repeat myself, Sebastian," he warned.
The demon was amused, to say the least. "May I ask the manner of how you plan on bringing Angel Annabelle back?"
"You may not," Ciel answered coldly, "Now leave."
"So, what did you ask Sebastian to do in order to get him away from here?" Vincent asked curiously.
"Errands, mainly," Ciel replied, "and I told him to stay away from here for the next hour."
Rachel chuckled in amusement. "You're so grown-up now, Ciel," she fawned as she hugged him. "Your father and I are so proud of you."
"Mother, please," he scowled, his face beet red. "We should get started."
"But do you really think that the wishes of just three people will be enough to bring her back?" Vincent queried worriedly. "This isn't just something that they'll be able to just allow."
Ciel faltered for a moment before nodded. "It'll work… it has to work."
"Oh? What's going on?" Wishing angel dispatcher Alisha murmured as there was activity on one of her Cloud Monitors. The fluffy-white electricity-powered touch-screen monitor had a special golden heart flashing on it. "Hmmm… it seems that there's a special wish of bringing Wishing Angel Annabelle Marie Phantomhive out back into the lower levels of Heaven, as well as being able to return to Earth. So… essentially it is a wish to resurrect her. Hmmm…" This seems to be a very special case, she thought, so by logic we should pass this to the higher-ups.
She turned to her partner beside her. "Hey Ashley, who's the archangel in charge of our division again? The new guy?"
"It's Kieran," the blonde answered. "Trish was moved to one of the other divisions. You know, it's the 'switch management every century' project the Boss came up with so the supervising archangels can get experience in every field."
"Okay, let's send this case to him and see what he says," Alisha determined, picking up the Cloud phone and calling their administrator's office. "Hello, is this Archangel Kieran speaking?"
"Yup, that's me," he responded cheerfully. "Need something?"
"This is WA dispatcher Alisha with a very special wish that I just received on my Cloud Monitor, and I was wondering how we should proceed with it," she informed formally.
"Oh? And what wish is that?" he asked curiously.
"The wish is to return Wishing Angel Annabelle Marie Phantomhive to the lower levels of Heaven and to Earth from her current residence in the First Level of Heaven," she told him.
Kieran was surprised. Only one person I know on Earth knows about that, he thought. "Okay, yeah, let me handle this case, Alisha," he instructed. "Please send it over to me." At this, he hung up.
Seconds later it popped up on his Cloud Monitor, and he bit his lip.
What to do, what to do? He asked himself. As much as I want to, it's not like I can just approve this wish. Maybe I'll call the Boss and ask?
Picking up the phone, the archangel called the number. There was an answer after the first ring.
"Hey Boss, it's me. We've got quite the interesting case on our hands, and I thought I'd ask you for advice. What should I do?"
"Uh huh, uh huh, okay," Kieran responded. "But are you sure about this, Boss? I don't mean to question your judgement, but all I'm saying is that it'll be disappointing for them if there's not enough support for her."
Kieran dipped his head. "I understand," he said in all seriousness. "I'll get right on it, thank you."
Hanging up, Kieran sighed heavily before sending the response out. The real test was now: if enough support for Annabelle reached the amount listed in the quota, the wish would be granted. And now it was all up to every life Annabelle had touched throughout her human and angelic life… but would it be enough to fill the given quota of one millions souls?
Word spread quickly throughout all six lower levels of Heaven regarding the conditions of granting that one special wish started by Ciel Phantomhive. Immediately support gathered together as quickly as possible, and their own wishes were included in the grand count. Some of Anna's angelic friends also came together and joined Kieran at the Wishes Department to gather for what they hoped would lead to their friend's revival. The filling heart crystal with the soul counter stood before them, the number increasing as the rainbow liquid filling the crystal also proportionately increased in volume.
"So, the Boss really said we could do this?" Sarah asked, incredulous.
Kieran nodded. "He said that this was the requirement when it came to any angel being brought down from the first level," he said. "Our wishes for her to return have also been included in this count. So far so good, already over five-hundred thousand souls are here."
"She's really touched a lot of lives," Sheryl commented, "I mean, just look at these numbers!"
Fellow Wishing Angel Lilly looked worried. "I just hope it's enough…"
"It has got to be enough," Michael said, his fists clenched tight with tension, "it's just gotta…"
They watched as the crystal continued to fill with more and more wishes of souls everywhere, the voices of the wishers echoing quietly through the air with their wish.
"Who made the initial wish?" Sheryl asked Kieran. "This is an 'S-ranked' wish, isn't it?"
He nodded, his eyes not leaving the counter. "This wish was made by Vincent, Rachel, and Ciel Phantomhive," he informed.
"That demon Sebastian's wish should be in there too, right?" Lilly queried curiously, and the archangel nodded.
"It's definitely surprising though," he noted. "We've never had a demon become involved with making wishes… especially not wishes like these."
"Poor Sebastian's taking it pretty hard," Sheryl noted. "I've never seen a demon so depressed before. I really hope we succeed."
"Look, it's slowing down," Michael noticed. "And the final count is…"
"999,999," Kieran breathed, "all we need is just one more… just one…"
Precious minutes ticked by as that number stayed the same, not moving.
"Come one, just one more," Michael breathed, feeling agitated and helpless. "We're so close!"
All of a sudden, the high-pitched giggle of an infant child echoed through the air, and a golden-glowing spark lit up the now-filled crystal as the number hit exactly one million souls.