AUTHOR'S NOTE: LAST CHAPTER GUYS THIS IS IT AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
Thank you to Cinder Fall 39, Esmereilda, LostPrincessHolly, Kitty of 2 kingdoms, Kit kat, NatsuStar, Antoninsh and amanda marrs 52 for reviewing the last chapter!
This chapter is dedicated to everybody who has read, reviewed, followed, favourited and shared this story! You're all amazing and I love you all.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Black Butler and Victoria is my precious bean please don't hurt her even though I kinda did aaaaaaaaaaaaaah I'm a terrible mother.
Chapter 13 - Love
Sebastian and I left Victoria's house a few days later. Neither of us had even attempted to sleep since we got back from the hospital; I was incredibly tired but I knew I'd just have nightmares if I closed my eyes. Nightmares had never really bothered me but I drew the line at Victoria being involved in them. I wanted to leave my memories of her as they were; when the three of us were happy together in London or at the seaside or even just in her house, not her lying on a hospital bed battered and bruised with her life slipping away from her.
We went through the house the morning that we left without speaking to each other; a word had barely passed between us since Victoria had died. But we both just began to walk around the house together, starting from her bedroom and working our way down to the living room.
Neither of us had ever been in her room before, but Sebastian sighed heavily when we walked in. I followed his gaze and saw he was staring at her window.
"What is it?" I asked, my voice croaking slightly as I hadn't spoken in days.
"...There were few times I spoke with Victoria up on the roof," he explained with fondness threaded through his voice. "The first time was the day we went to Lady Elizabeth's grave. I asked her why she was being so kind to us and she didn't answer. She just...smiled sadly."
"...She already knew," I murmured, to which Sebastian nodded. "I wish she had told us..."
"You know why she didn't though," Sebastian replied.
"Because we would have tried to protect her?"
"Exactly," Sebastian nodded again, "and she was worried if we got involved that we would get hurt too."
"…Idiot…" I muttered, wiping my eyes quickly before any tears escaped.
Sebastian squeezed my shoulder but didn't say anything. It felt as if his hand might be trembling slightly but I couldn't be sure.
A photo on Victoria's nightstand caught my eye and I walked over to pick it up. There were three people in the photograph: a man, a woman and a young girl who was probably about seven or eight. The girl was clearly a young Victoria and given the similarities she had to both the adults they must have been her parents. She had her father's round eyes and her mother's small mouth which still somehow managed to create such a big smile. All three of them were holding an ice cream with a familiar landscape behind them.
"That's the beach we went to, isn't it?" Sebastian asked, looking down over my shoulder.
I nodded. "Yes. It looks like they're standing in the sea where you and Victoria stood."
Sebastian sighed slightly under his breath as I put the photo back down.
"We should probably go," I murmured quietly, Sebastian nodding in agreement as we both left her room. I let my gaze linger on the photograph as Sebastian closed the door over.
Closing over our bedroom doors too as we walked down the stairs, I heard Sebastian chuckle as the kitchen came into view. "I must admit, I'll miss cooking for her," he smiled. "Victoria had much nicer things to say about my cooking than you ever did."
I laughed in spite of myself as I knew he was correct. "Well, credit where credit is due Sebastian. You are a wonderful chef. But after all, if you weren't then what kind of butler would you be?"
Sebastian stared at me in surprise for a moment at what I'd said before he began to laugh.
"Well that's an unusual sound."
Both of us spun around to see Grell standing in the living room, his Death Scythe propped up against the wall.
"What are you doing here?" I asked, cautious that even after everything that happened he may still attack us.
"Calm down Your Lordship, I'm not here for a fight," Grell said, folding his arms over his chest and locking eyes with Sebastian. "I'm here to warn you. The police have been going door to door to ask about Victoria. I'm surprised they haven't come here yet but they'll be here soon. You should get out of here unless you're planning on killing them."
Presuming that Grell meant that last part as a joke I turned to Sebastian. "Her neighbours knew we were here. The police will know it was a car accident but they'll still wonder who we are if they see us."
Sebastian nodded slowly. "I suppose…it would be better if we disappeared."
"My thoughts exactly," Grell said. "They're in the next street so I'd make it fast if I were you Sebastian."
Both Sebastian and I raised an eyebrow at that. "'Sebastian'? Now that is unusual coming from you."
Grell shrugged. "Don't read too much into it. That kid…she was different. And I'm genuinely sorry that she had to die." Grell looked away from Sebastian and now looked to me, his gaze softening slightly. "I…I once had an older sister whom I looked up to. I loved her. And when I lost her…it nearly killed me. So I am truly sorry."
I held Grell's gaze for a few moments before nodding once in thanks. Grell nodded back before picking up his Death Scythe and heading for the door.
"You may want to lock this behind you," Grell called over his shoulder. "Just a little tip. Bye-bye Bassy!"
Sebastian rolled his eyes as Grell shut the door. "Well, good to know he's back to normal now."
I smirked slightly before looking back up at Sebastian. "We…we should probably go."
Sebastian nodded and picked up my coat from where I'd left it draped over one of the chairs in the kitchen. We'd changed back into our clothes from our time, feeling they would be more appropriate for the manor back in hell. Helping me into the jacket I buttoned it up myself as Sebastian walked over to the front door. Holding it open for me we both took one last look around the house that had just been beginning to feel like a home. I could have sworn I heard Victoria's laugh as Sebastian closed the door and locked it with the spare key she had given us.
Descending back into hell with Ciel was a bittersweet moment. Hell is – unsurprisingly – where demons feel most at ease as it's the source of our powers. However the circumstances that had caused us to come back here left a bitter taste in my mouth.
We'd appeared right in front of the door to the manor as I'd planned. It was strangely distorted compared to the actual manor; it seemed a bit darker and colder and some of the outlines were slightly hazy and confusing if you looked at them for too long.
Ciel looked up at the manor and sighed heavily before pushing the large door open and walking in. Almost mechanically he walked up the stairs with me following close behind, genuinely worried that he may fall over at any moment given how frail he was looking.
Neither of us had realised just how much Victoria meant to us until we'd lost her. Her soul had been the sweetest and purest I'd ever tasted, and yet I wished I'd never had to take it from her. I didn't regret making the contract with her as she felt it then gave her life meaning, but at the same time… It was complicated. For all that demons aren't even meant to have feelings I was having a very difficult time processing mine.
As I watched my young master progress slowly through the halls of the manor towards his bedroom, I was reminded of the terms of my contract with Victoria.
"You need to stay with Ciel. Your contract demands that you do whatever Ciel asks of you. What I'm asking is different. I want you to look after him, whether he asks you to or not. He's stubborn so he won't ask you sometimes, but look after him regardless. Teach him everything you know, everything you've learnt. Keep him safe."
She had been right about one thing at least: Ciel was ridiculously stubborn. And if I'd been asked by anybody just a few weeks ago to take care of Ciel regardless of anything I would have rolled my eyes and scoffed.
But the time we'd spent with Victoria had changed us both. Her carefree attitude, her kindness, her optimism…they'd all rubbed off on us. We had been on a knife's edge before we'd arrived back in the mortal world, and I'd been so close to choking the life out of Ciel so many times. But now…I found myself wanting to do what Victoria asked of me. I wanted to stay with Ciel, protect him and teach him. It was a strange feeling…but not an unpleasant one.
As we entered Ciel's bedroom he shrugged his coat and shoes off and fell onto his bed. "I'm sleeping in these clothes," he muttered into his pillow.
I smiled slightly at his bratty attitude, somehow not finding it nearly as frustrating as I used to. "Very well young master, but at least get properly under the covers."
Ciel grumbled under his breath and begrudgingly got back off of the bed so I could pull back the covers for him. Taking off his eyepatch and placing it on his nightstand before he got into bed, I realised for the first time that his other brand from his contract with Victoria was still there on his hand. Looking down and pulling my glove down slightly I saw that mine was still on my wrist.
Ciel followed my gaze and smiled. "It hasn't faded..." he murmured as he looked down at his own. "Is that…normal?"
I shook my head. "It isn't... Other contract brands from previous masters I've had disappeared after I consumed their soul."
"Maybe it's because she gave it willingly?" Ciel suggested.
I smiled as Ciel lay down, tucking the covers around him. "Perhaps. That's as good a reason as anything I can think of." Ciel smiled again as I bowed to him. "Goodnight young master," I said as I turned towards the door."
"Sebastian, wait," Ciel spoke up quickly. "Can you-"
"I wasn't going anywhere, young master," I interrupted softly, simply closing the door as I had planned to do before turning to smile at him.
Ciel slowly smiled back as I walked over and sat on the edge of the bed. In many ways, Ciel was still just a child. This wasn't the first time he had asked me to stay with him until he fell asleep, but this time I didn't necessarily want to be alone either, and as I couldn't sleep it was better for me to stay with Ciel as he did.
Ciel curled up on his side and stared into space for a few minutes before his breathing began to even out and his body relaxed. He was asleep.
As soon as I knew he was unconscious I stood up and walked around the bed so I was now facing him. Pulling my glove off I looked down at the brand of my contract with Victoria.
Taking a deep breath and hoping that I was correct, I knelt down and lay my hand gently over Ciel's forehead before closing my eyes.
…Ciel I know you can hear me. If you don't reply I swear to God I'll call you a cute kitty again.
But…but I don't understand. How… Wait, is this a dream?
Well…kind of? I'm not really sure how this works myself. But…I'm within you Ciel. Within you and Sebastian. Or at least parts of my soul are.
But…how can you talk to me?
I'm not sure to be honest. Once I…well…once I died, I suddenly knew everything. Everything that ever happened to you and Sebastian at every point of your lives. It was like I'd merged with you somehow, with your mind and soul somehow.
I…I don't think I have a soul Victoria. I'm a demon.
Okay, fine, not soul then. Sheesh Ciel, you gotta focus on the technicalities right now?
Sorry…wait, are you laughing?
Okay okay, I'm sorry. But the point is…I'm with you Ciel. I've not left you. I don't know how this works and I don't know if I can speak to you while you're awake or even if I'll be able to speak to you again when you're asleep…but just know that I'm with you. I'm not going to leave you, I promise.
I love you too Ciel.
I bolted upright and immediately my eyes met with Sebastian's. They were as wide as mine. He'd heard her too.
"But…how?!" was all I managed to get out amongst all the shock.
Sebastian shook his head slowly. "I…I have no idea. This has never happened before, at least as far as I know."
I felt my heartbeat speed up slightly and I placed my hand over it, feeling it fluttering under my palm. "But she…she's still here. She's still with us."
Sebastian slowly knelt back down so he was at eye level with me. He rested his hand over mine on my chest and nodded again, now smiling. "Yes…yes she is."
I closed my eyes for a moment and laughed slightly out of pure relief. In that moment it felt as though someone was holding me closely from behind, and I knew they'd never let me go.
And I once again heard a whisper of Victoria's laugh around us.
AN: AND IT. IS. DOOOOOOOOOOOOOONE.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaah I really hope you guys feel happy about this ending and don't feel like I chickened out of having a slightly sadder ending. I can't not make stories at least sort of happy; I always feel terrible otherwise!
I have absolutely adored writing this story. Black Butler is, hands down, one of my favourite franchises and through writing this Victoria has become one of my favourite characters that I've created. I'm thrilled that you guys all took to her so well and loved her as much as I do.
I'll leave you guys to make up your own minds on how Victoria is still there with the two of them, and on if anything happens next.
This is the end of this story and I am so grateful to you all for sticking with this, and I cannot apologise enough for how sporadically I updated this fic. You're all superstars for keeping with this story and I love you all.
Thank you all once again for all your support. Love and hugs from Scotland!