Unfortunately the things that belong to me are the characters not from the novel and the movie, as well as the plot. The rest are unfortunately in Choderlos de Laclos and Roger Kumble's name.

Prologue: The Taste of Champagne and Betrayal

"Some mystery should be left in the revelation of character in a play, just as a great deal of mystery is always left in the revelation of character in life, even in one's own character to himself."

- Tennessee Williams

The silence of the room mocked her.

Still remembering the way his blue eyes lost its usual confident guise, she didn't even hear the door close. Her bright green eyes never left his yet she noticed how his hand slightly shook at the words that came out of her mouth, as if the sentences she uttered were sharp knives slicing away their past. His jaw tightened as if to say he didn't honestly believe what she was telling him, as if he wanted to think this was just another act to hurt him. He waited for her to convince him that this was all part of their game, that whoever bent over first would do something humiliating or give up something they treasured.

It had gone beyond their games, but she couldn't very well admit to that. She was well aware that sincerity is dangerous. Her stepbrother may have developed a conscience overnight but she could never afford to have such a thing, emotions are a fickle factor that would consume her and make her lose control. Kathryn Merteuil could simply not bear that. Yet… As she stared at him looking so desolate and betrayed, she could feel her heart, that elusive thing that only seemed to show itself when it came to her stepbrother, ache with remorse. She remembered all those times they had been on the same side, laughing, manipulating, betraying, teasing, hating, loving…

A part of her wanted to place her champagne flute down and jump him, just kiss those quivering lips and bury her face in his neck, murmuring the things she wanted him to know. In her mind she did this and Sebastian would stop shaking, he wouldn't feel angry but instead succumb to her like old times, wherein he would have done anything and everything for her. His strong arms would be wrapped around her waist and the cocky glint in his eyes would be back, and she would return his gaze, then they'd be equals once more.

They'd be together again, but no. She shook her head as if she wanted to clear his face from her mind. Alea iacta est. The die had indeed been cast, and there was no going back.

Sebastian had become a liability. He had been the only one to ever evoke such strong emotions from her, and Kathryn would be damned if she would let him see what he had done to her. She supposed it was her own fault, but she never really thought there would come a time when he would break the rules not because he wanted to stick it to her (the way he would have done in the past), but because he wanted out.

The poor fool had finally gotten tired of waiting for her and fell in love with someone who wouldn't be scared to let him know that he was loved back. Sickeningly and disgustingly in love it didn't even amuse her anymore. His ultimate challenge became his undoing, and his betrayal had been Kathryn's greatest torture. Funny how these things go; how she would be so affected in what started as a little harmless bet. As painful as it was, she said nothing as she watched her only confidante whisper the three words they had both scoffed at in the past. Was this what he really wanted? Was Sebastian looking for someone pure, good and innocent to love? Kathryn had always thought it would be them in the end, as fucked up as that sounded, she never meant for any of this to get out of control. She loved Sebastian, and he had loved her once. She knew and felt it, the way he'd gazed at her when he thought she was asleep. He'd always said that she was the most trying challenge he'd ever had, and in the end, he would somehow get her. One way or another, Kathryn would be his.

He'd never turned down challenges before. In fact, the more difficult it got, the more likely he would take it on. She knew it because she felt the same way about him, although she preferred to show it in different ways. He was hers. Her only connection to feeling something, he was the only one who made her want to lose the control she firmly grasped on.

His blue eyes on her evoked many memories and these images slowly flashed in her mind, challenging and tormenting her. The first time they met, how handsome and startlingly familiar the curly haired blond boy looked even though they had never seen each other before. How a smirk formed on his lips as he realized that his soon-to-be stepsister was no ordinary conquest. How their lips had brushed against each other so lightly a hundred times when they both expressed their desire for the other, yet it never really went far as that. Not only because Kathryn knew the power she had over him when she used sex as the bait, but because she was, in truth, a bit frightened about what would happen if she let him touch her the way she's wanted him to for a long time. She remembered how he protected her, given it was under the pretense that he said the world needed someone like Kathryn to fuck it up, it still mattered to her.

She recalled the time when she had been passed out and Court, ever the gentleman that he was, left her lying in the hallway, having been satisfied by Kathryn herself, he didn't want to be bothered with the task of carrying her light body to the nearest bed. Her dress had ridden up her waist and she had been in the most uncompromising position to be left alone. The servants were all asleep and she was drifting in and out of consciousness, the effects of the various drugs she and Court had ingested making her vision blurry.

She'd picked up his scent first before knowing it was him, and as much as her mouth wanted to say his name, she felt too drained to do anything. He smelled faintly of cigarettes and the expensive aftershave he'd slap on after she once commented how good it smelled, all musky and spicy and elegant. He thought she never noticed, but they had always sought the approval of the other. There was also the predictable faintest scent of a woman left on his body, a permanent mark of his tendencies and a temporary mark of ownership for a certain woman, depending on who he chose to sleep with that night. These women owned Sebastian for the briefest period of time during minutes of pleasure, but Kathryn knew that she owned him forever.

Or so she had thought.

She could never be certain even after trying so hard to remember what had transpired that night, but she was somehow sure that it had been his arms that had carried her up to her bedroom. It had been his gentle hands that had undressed her and clothed her in her favorite nightgown, Kathryn knew because her body still reacted to his touch despite her disorientation. She still shivered as his fingertips brushed the lock of dark hair that brushed against her cheek. She still felt safe and warm as his lips grazed her forehead adoringly, kissing her goodnight. It had been his deep voice that was stripped of all the cockiness and arrogance for the briefest of times, as if he'd reserved that tone only for the two of them; it had been him that had whispered in her ear so imperceptibly that she would always wonder whether she had dreamt it or not.

"I love you, Kathryn."

It had indeed been a night of secrets, and Sebastian had made his known. Perhaps he thought she wouldn't remember, or maybe it was because he'd just wanted to tell her, regardless of whether or not she would believe him. Kathryn would never know, maybe it was because even he got tired of their games, and during these moments of deviation from their twisted relationship, he wanted her to know how he'd felt. Maybe he said it at that moment because it was at that time when Kathryn had been at her most vulnerable, it was when she was simply too exhausted to put on the aloof mask over her doll-like features and he wanted to profess his love for her behind the act they both played with their sarcastic banters. Something real for the rare occasion they let their truest selves be seen.

The next day she woke up and found her room empty, devoid of any trace of last night's events. As she quietly opened Sebastian's room, he found him asleep with an arm flung around another woman. As if he'd sensed her presence, his eyes opened and they'd shared a secret smile, their reality melting around them as they stared at each other.

Yes, she wanted so badly to end this twisted competition between them. However, the realization had come too late. Just staring at him, Kathryn realized he was no longer the Sebastian she loved and hated because he didn't look at her the way he did in the past.

He loved Annette. That was the first piece of information that almost slipped through her mouth as soon as she noticed him sitting alone in the darkness of her room. He loved Annette but he also loved his precious reputation more because it was really the only one he had even grown up knowing, and even though he didn't share this with Kathryn, she knew how scared he must be to be feeling all these emotions. Their game had always been about being numbed to the most trivial of sentiments, because when you felt, you got hurt. When you're numbed to everything else, you own life, and not the other way around. Sebastian had gotten tired of this and his decision to leave his old life (and her) behind pained Kathryn more than any of the rejections she'd handled throughout her existence because Sebastian's refusal had been the worst, he had cut her the deepest and he didn't even know it. Now, here he was, trying to pretend as if nothing had changed when in fact nothing would ever be the same again.

She was not going to do it. She was not going to let him inside of her knowing he was only doing this to erase Annette from his thoughts, she was not going to let him use her as a safety net because he had panicked at the sudden turn of events. Good God, she loved and hated him but everything had its limit. Kathryn didn't want to spend the rest of her days wondering if he had come to her because he wanted to or because he was scared of the changes that came with the option of walking down a different path.

"Don't get me wrong, I'm flattered that you chose me over her, but please understand. I never loved you, Sebastian. You're just a toy. A little toy I play with. And now you've completely blown it with her. I think that's the saddest thing I've ever heard. Cheers."

It was taking every bit of her acting ability to keep looking at him as she said it, Sebastian knew her so well that she was afraid he might see through her. However, despite the barely noticeable waver in her cold voice, he looked ill. His entire face fell and his entire demeanor changed, and once again, she knew that if she could, she would have given just about anything to erase the past few weeks that had happened.

"In any event, you still owe me my reward." He said evenly, maintaining his rigid posture.

"I'm sorry, but unfortunately, I don't fuck losers."

That had been the end of it, just eight words to end their life together. As Sebastian slammed the door, Kathryn's expression changed and she placed her glass down. Her large pretty green eyes filled with unshed tears as she struggled to remain composed even though she was by herself.

"Goodbye, Sebastian." She whispered to the emptiness that greeted her upon his departure.