For Tidah. Perrault/Colette -- Pet Shop

Warning - it's somewhat creepy.

A loud screech echoed through the halls of the castle as Colette shot out from the door to her room. The screams quickly turned to some very loud grumbling, and various servants suddenly recalled some vital task they had to do in another part of the castle, rather than having to retrieve yet another dead mouse and, worse still, put up with the ranting all the while.

From his perch by the gardens, Perrault smiled to himself. He was quite proud of his handiwork, and this particular mouse had been quite fierce, a nasty-looking fellow who was even nastier with a snapped neck. Initially, Perrault had never left the bodies of his kills behind deliberately. After Colette had persisted in complaining beyond the matter of simple removal, it became a different matter. How awful, Perrault thought, that he, the only one keeping her husband from running his kingdom into the ground, would actually dare to do as he liked. She needed to be taught.

The mice in the palace tended to be clean and rather lazy, on the whole. No real challenge, but it was exercise. Picking the perfect spot to leave each corpse, however . . . that added a bit of skill. Each place had to seem like a mouse could naturally be found dead there, but where Colette would quickly locate it and cause her the most consternation.

Sauntering in the direction of the continued grumbles, Perrault hid pride behind an affronted look at being summoned in such a harsh tone.

"You called, my lady?"

"You mangy, flea-ridden beast! Really, this must be the last straw. If you do not cease your horrid behavior, why -- I shall have you traded in at the pet shop, and tell Pierre you suffered an unfortunate head injury and are no longer able to speak."

Perrault can indeed look fierce, when he has reason to make a special effort.

"Are you certain of that, your highness?"

Colette's royal upbringing of death before dishonor kept her from cowering for more than a moment, and she scowled at him. "Quite certain. Why, Pierre --"

"Has less right to his throne than I, my lady." He smirked now; shocking the chatterbox into silence was a task highly worthy of taking pride in. "If you continue to berate me, then I shall be forced to reveal all. The throne could have been mine by rights, but I chose to give it to him. And oh my, the impact it would have on your reputation were it revealed that you had married a lad of no real achievement, title, or breeding . . ."

Her face ashen, Colette still maintained some degree of pride, and looked him in the eye. "And what would it take to ensure your silence? My father is quite wealthy, and provided me with a goodly supply of gold for my own use --"

"I have no use of gold. And if I did, the 'Marquis' would be more than happy to provide it. No, I simply have two requests to ensure your cooperation . . ."

Swallowing relief, Colette spoke quietly but firmly. "Name them."

"The first is simple enough -- you shall bear my fondness for hunting in silence, and simply deal with any remains you come across as you like."

A step closer, and Perrault disregarded any sense of personal space as he ran a gloved finger along her jawline. To her credit, she did not flinch nor pull back. He leaned close to her ear to speak, his breath hot against her neck.

"And second -- well. As I said, I have no use for gold. But there are other forms of payment available from you."

An eternal moment, as she digested all that it would imply.