I. A Kind Of Magic
As soon as the clock struck midnight, launching the world from musky November into frigid December, the nightmares began. Like clockwork, Ciel Phantomhive's peaceful sleep ended, and he was overcome by seizing fits and tearful screams.
This was no unfamiliar thing to the servants of Phantomhive, for it had gone on every December, from the first day to the last, for the past three years. There were a set of “December Rules” that they had to strictly adhere to, the most important being this.
XVI. “Allow Sebastian to tend to everything.”
And that was exactly what the servants did, and exactly what was going on. Though it pained Bard, Finian, and especially Maylene, who had developed a sort of motherly affection for the young master, they had to stay as they were.
It was not long after, however, that his crying dwindled down, and they knew that Rule Number 26 was in effect. Sebastian was tending to it.
Sebastian gently closed Ciel's bedroom door with a soft click, letting soft, flickering candle light fill a small area of the room. It wasn't hard to see the quivering lump under the blue quilted comforter.
The butler gently pressed his hand to Ciel's shoulder, letting his white, gloved fingers curl around his small frame.
“Young master,” Sebastian whispered into the night, “please wake up.”
Sebastian's soft beckoning pulled Ciel from the fiery hell of his nightmare. His breathing was shaky, and the butler could see the cold sweat trickling down his master's face.
“Sebastian,” Ciel gasped, looking through the faintly lit room toward his butler. “I had a nightmare, didn't I?”
“It is December, young master.” Sebastian said with his know-everything air, as if that one sentence could solve everything.
“So it is.” He murmured, glancing out the window. A small bit of light made a line on the floor, one that stopped just short of Sebastian's chair.
It should have stretched on farther.
Noticing his charge's gaze shift over to the window, Sebastian stepped over and drew the thick, purple, velvety curtains over so that Ciel could see the snow falling out onto the balcony outside. It had begun to pile up already, leaving small piles of it surrounding the carved railing supports.
“Close the damn curtains.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Swiftly, he pulled the drapes together so that the candle was once again the only light permeating the frighteningly dark space. Ciel seemed to be more at ease this way, with his breathing having calmed. When he looked at the candle, though, with the wax dripping into the Japanese tea cup that Sebastian had improvised with, Ciel demanded that he blow the candle out. Amusedly, he did.
He smiled to no one but himself as he sat on the bed, not surprised when he felt it dip a bit under his weight. What was one to do with a master afraid of both fire and ice? You doused them both with water. One would go out, one would melt. Both would be destroyed.
“Would you like a drink, young master? You look parched.” Sebastian rose up from his temporary seat, listening carefully for Ciel's hair brushing against his collar when he nodded.
“Yes,” the twelve-year-old said firmly, though the stern tone to his voice was also only a temporary thing. “Ice water, please?” He sounded childish with the meek suggestion, though Sebastian smiled to himself and complied.
“Perhaps, young master, it would be easier to sleep during the day and work at night. Until this spell ends, of course.” Sebastian suggested quietly, suppressing a chuckle when he heard Ciel drink at the water greedily, gulping down until the ice clinked at the bottom of the glass cup when there was no water left for it to float in.
“Yes. I think that would be best. But... in the meantime. I do have that meeting with Her Majesty in the early afternoon. I need to sleep now in preparation, as you are aware, I hope.”
“I am most certainly, my lord.” Sebastian kept his gaze focused on Ciel, who set the cup down on the night table. “So, how shall we cope with the nightmares in the mean time?”
“I heard,” Ciel murmured, “That if you share the bed with someone else, it calms night terrors. So, would yo- No. I order you. Stay with me tonight, in this bed, by my side.” His voice once more became firm but not at all loud. He didn't want to wake the other servants up.
“Yes, my lord.” Sebastian chuckled, bowing deeply and quickly changing into his own night clothes, while Ciel waited, burying himself under the invitingly warm covers. He didn't even hear Sebastian come in, only the warmth of the butler's body filling the space under the blankets.
“Good night, Sebastian.” Ciel murmured, keeping himself close to Sebastian, who chuckled.
“Good night, my lord.”
Being a supernatural being and one hell of a butler, Sebastian knew a thing or two about magic and spirituality. He knew of death gods and of angels. Especially of demons. So he knew very well that it was the magic of Ciel's memories that kept him in the hell of his tenth birthday, the day that his parents were stabbed and burnt to death.
He hardly knew, however, that a kind of magic was drawing him closer and closer to Ciel as his fourteenth birthday drew near.