Hare and Hatter
Thanks to everyone who reviewed! And thank you to Kyotoprincess for catching the typo in the last chapter. And props to There Was A Silence for noticing that very last scene was based off the picture in the front of the manga, I wasn't sure anyone would remember that.
So while Break has been introduced already, Mad Hatter hasn't shown up. Which is what made this chapter fun. Please review. And note the earrings. No really they're not there and then they are. I had to wonder about that.
Three months later Liam glimpsed the man, Xerxes Break apparently --he was positive that was a made up name-- going down through the Barma household with a crowd of people in the direction of the house's Door.
If the rather disturbingly bright smile Xerxes Break aimed in his direction when he glimpsed him was any indication, the rumors about prolonged exposure to Lady Shelly's kindness had softening his rage and smoothing over his bitterness were true.
And so was the one about him joining Pandora.
Silently Liam watched the group disappear into the depths of the house, wondering exactly why a man who had been thrown from the Abyss' first wish was to go face it again. It made little sense to him, but if Xerxes Break wanted to become an agent for Pandora under the sponsorship of the Rainsworths, then apparently that was what he was going to get.
Liam just hoped that he'd survive it.
And then wondered why he had.
"Well how about it then?" said the one eyed man to the chain.
"I am looking for someone on the other side." the chain said to the one eyed man. "Or I would destroy you like I have most of the others who are stupid enough to try to contract with me."
"And just who would that be? Perhaps we can come to a mutually beneficial deal."
"I must find my partner."
"Very well, I'll help you in your quest if you'll help me in mine."
"We have an agreement."
Two hours later Liam heard several people screaming from the floors below and the group that made their way down to the Door surged back up from below, panicked and blood stained.
And very much lacking Xerxes Break.
When he recognized a face in the crowd he plunged into the throng, reaching out to grab his master's sleeve. "Duke Barma, what happened?"
He wasn't supposed to be addressing anyone but the illusion Duke as Barma, but in this chaos no one would notice.
But when Barma saw him his expression went blank with shock for a moment, then it went grim and Barma drew his steel fan. Liam saw him bring his arm back, then he swung and everything… everything went black.
"Good god, what a disaster!"
"Are we sure he's made a contract with Hatter?"
"This Break fellow almost obliterated all the other chains in the room!"
"Calm down, you're shouting."
"I should be shouting, this is a complete disaster!"
"What about the boy?"
"Yes, what about the boy?"
"Safely removed before Hatter found him. The removal was …err, a tad overhasty."
"He's still unconscious."
"But what are we going to do? Hatter and March Hare! If the two ever meet it will be a catastrophe!"
"Even more of catastrophe, you mean."
"I knew that man would be trouble!"
"And you were certainly right."
"So how do we keep the boy safe?"
"Can we keep the boy safe?"
"We can try."
"Ah, I suppose so."
"That will have to do."
Liam woke slowly, the side of his head throbbing, not really sure where he was. A few blinks later he recognized where he was as his tiny room in the Pandora headquarters. And the person sitting in the chair beside the bed as Duke Barma.
"Sir?" he asked, completely dumfounded.
In response his master dropped a box into his lap. "Wear these." he said.
"But--" Liam began, however Barma cut him off with an upraised hand. Liam flinched away from the hand and didn't try to ask anything else.
"Don't take them off." he said, rising from his chair. At the door to his room the Duke turned back, "And try to stay away from Xerxes Break. You are rather useless, but you would be more so if you got yourself killed." and with that odd echoing of phrasing he left.
When Liam opened the box he found a pair of earrings inside. They were tiny metal circles with short ribbons attaching them to hooks for the ears and when he picked them up he could feel some sort of pattern embroidered onto the ribbon with the same color thread as the ribbon.
He had had his ears pierced a few weeks ago --a rather juvenile bet with one of the Pandora agent, which he'd won-- but he hadn't ever worn earrings like these.
And, strangely enough, when he put them in the whispers, the ones from March Hare in the back of his mind, went completely silent.
What was it that March Hare had always said?
He couldn't remember, for some reason.