{M y} {S w e e t} {E m i l y}

It was a curiosity that always haunted little Oz's mind, a conundrum he just quite couldn't crack. It struck his interest upon several occasions, but there just never seemed like a good time to inquire – considering they had to deal with the Baskervilles and now a murderous headhunter.

Now that they had time to kill, Oz found himself faced with that reoccurring mystery yet again.

"Sharon, why the hell does that stupid clown always carry that doll?" Alice addressed her tersely. Oz turned his head towards the young Rainsworth girl, far too grateful for Alice's curtness to scold her for her language.

Sharon was primly sipping her tea when Alice asked her the question, teacup pressed to her lips. She gradually turned her eyes towards the dark-haired girl, blinking in surprise by such a query.

"You want to know why Break carries Emily everywhere?" Sharon clarified, daintily placing the cup back onto the dish.

"Yeah!" Alice said impatiently. "I mean, he can't be carrying that thing for no reason. It's really creepy!"

Oz felt his head nod in agreement. Who in their right mind would carry a doll with blue skin? Break certainly was mad, but Oz doubted he was that crazy. Then again, the young Vessalius did have his doubts…

"Actually, I don't quite know," Sharon replied apologetically. "All I can remember is that one day, Break came home with Emily but never explained where he got it. I never questioned it though."

Alice groaned in disappointment. "How about you, seaweed head? You've known the guy for ten years. You got to know the reason for the creepy thing."

"No, I don't. He doesn't tell me anything about it," Gilbert said through his teeth, resisting the urge to lash out on the Chain for calling him 'seaweed head'.

She then collapsed herself onto her seat, moaning, "God! You are so useless, seaweed! Just because Sharon doesn't know, it doesn't mean you must follow her example! How are we supposed to find out now?"

"Shut up!"

Sharon then suggested, "Well why not you just ask him?"

"Ask who?" Oz let out a gasp of surprise to see Break crawling out from underneath Alice's chair, a congenial smile plastered on his pale face.

Alice, who dared not show any shock over Break's sudden appearance, smacked the clown across the face with a throw pillow and screamed, "Go to hell, you clown! Why can't you walk inside a room like a normal person!?"

"Because this is so much more fun!" The dark-haired Chain harrumphed, clearly thinking otherwise. Break simply chuckled as he wiped himself off and seated himself on the chair, asking, "So what were you four talking about? What would you like to ask?"

Alice promptly turned her attention towards Oz.

'Come on, manservant! Ask!' her violet eyes seemed to say, demand almost. The blonde boy immediately turned his gaze to his own servant, hoping to bestow the task to another while he could.

To his dismay, Gilbert remained completely aloof, or pretended to be, as he poured himself a cup of tea.

The Vessalius then released a sharp breath, slowly turning his attention towards the white-haired hatter, who already began munching on a pastry on the table. "So, um, Break? I was hoping I could ask you a question."

"Hm?" Break mumbled in curiosity, a red eye glancing over to Oz.

"What is it? What is it?" clattered little Emily, who sat faithfully on his shoulder.

Oz tensed when the doll spoke, but refused to pay it any attention. He simply continued his query. "We've been wondering… why do you carry Emily everywhere you go?"

Break visibly tensed. For the first few moments, he just gaped at the blonde boy, surprise flickering over his one red orb.

"It's none of your concern," he said airily, turning away and nibbling on another pastry.

"Come on, clown! You can answer us that much, can't you? What's the reason behind that stupid doll!?" Alice yelled crossly, shooting up to her feet.

"Stupid rabbit! Stupid rabbit!" Emily cried happily.

The black rabbit's temper finally reached its boiling point. A malicious aura enveloped her body, her violet eyes glaring daggers both at the doll and her nonchalant owner.

"I'm going to rip that doll apart!" Gilbert quickly jumped into action, constraining the irate Chain when she lunged towards them. "Let me go, Seaweed!"

"Not a chance, you stupid rabbit!"

Sharon merely chuckled at the display and took another sip of her tea. Even Oz could not help but smile. Then he found his inquisitive nature struck once more when he glanced over to Break.

The Mad Hatter was absently munching on his food, his one red eye fixated on Emily. The Vessalius had never seen him so pensive, so thoughtful.

Just what did that doll mean to Break?

Little did Oz realize that the hatter was engrossed on his musings, his mind reeling back to a specific time in his past.

='=,={ ~v~ }=,='=

"Xerxes-nii! Xerxes-nii!" Just before Xerxes Break could exit the household, a young child version of Sharon Rainsworth ran towards him, holding a stuffed animal in her arms. "Xerxes-nii, are you leaving already?"

"Yes. Why? Do you need something, Lady Sharon?" Break asked politely.

"Um, I was just hoping if you could join in my tea party…" she requested timidly, momentarily lowering her gaze to the floor. "I have tons of sweets too! Would you please come and join me?"

He considered her request for a singular moment. He sighed and said ruefully, "I apologize, Lady Sharon, but I really must go. Maybe another time."

A wave of disappointment washed over the little girl's features, crestfallen by the rejection. "Aw… Okay. Another time. Promise?"

Break nodded his head. That was enough to appease the young child. Once Sharon trotted off, he couldn't help, but chuckle as he walked out the door. He did find the little mistress's behavior rather endearing.

The weather that day was frigid, chilly against his skin. White powder crunched underneath his heels as he sauntered forth, allowing the cold to help clear his mind, freeze his idle brain on a single thought.

It had been quite awhile since he had left the horrors of the abyss. There was still so much he had yet to digest, to fully absorb into his mind.

Just how long did he have? Was his life span measured in years, weeks, days, hours even? He wasn't sure how long his body could last. Xerxes Break had defied time, but when will time catch up with him? What would happen to him? Did he even care?

As he lost himself in his musings, he found himself in one of his usual haunts. It was a graveyard, situated not too far from the Rainsworth estate. Whenever he was there, he felt stricken with a calming serenity. It always was so peaceful, so quiet. It always helped Break collect his thoughts, reorder the chaos in his mind…

'And usually it's much quieter.'

Break raised a white brow, hearing distinct, incoherent sobs. He casted his red orbs around the vicinity, searching for the source of such a disturbance.

Then he found her.

A little girl, who seemed no older than eight, was sobbing uncontrollably near a gravestone.

A white eyebrow twitched in annoyance. He certainly had no patience for such people, especially a little crybaby like her. The young man never liked anyone there in his sanctuary. It was his time to think, a private place for him to be alone. How was he supposed to do that with a little girl crying?

Annoyed by her unprecedented appearance, Break turned around, hoping to escape before she noticed his presence.

Then before he could take another step, his feet plant themselves firmly into the ground, refusing to budge any further. He glanced back to the little girl. His resolve wavered for a single moment, his one eye widen.

He knew it couldn't be her. It wasn't possible, but the resemblance was almost uncanny.

Break couldn't help but think that little crying girl reminded him of his past mistress, little Ms. Sinclair.

He repressed a loud groan, feeling a strange guiltiness unfurl in his heart. It seemed wrong to simply walk away. Even he had to admit he was a gentleman. He may not always act like one, but he was one. That much was certain.

Running his gloved hand uneasily through his white locks, Break casually walked forward, right up to the little girl.

"Miss?" He called out softly. "Miss, are you alright?"

"What does it look like?!" She snapped through her sobs, turning her bloodshot eyes towards him.

"Obviously, not well," Break said, speaking through his teeth.

'Conclusion: she is very much unlike Miss Sinclair.'

"Then why are you still standing there like an idiot? Can't you see I want to be alone, you old man?"

His eyebrow twitched. "Old man?!"

'Yep…She's nothing like Miss Sinclair at all.'

"Listen, you little brat! I was trying to be nice and see what's the matter with you. I don't deserve that little attitude of yours!" Break said irately, his words escaping his tongue like venomous poison.

"I never asked for your sympathy!" She exclaimed in outrage.

"Who says I was giving you that?" He spat out. "Just what's you're name, kid?"

"I don't tell my name to strange men." The little girl snapped her head away from him, whining to her little doll, "He's a mean, old man, isn't he, dollie?"

"Yeah! Mean! Mean!" She interjected for the little puppet.

Break blinked, gawking at the little toy in her hands. He had never seen anything so… creepy. It was strange enough that the thing was blue, but the fact that the girl was actually speaking to and for it?

Deigning the girl as clinically insane, he walked away from her, leaving her to grieve in her dear lonesome.

Once he deemed enough distance was made between them, he relaxed himself against a tombstone, digging through his bag for something to eat. He blinked once then allowed a rumble of laughter to escape from his throat, pleasantly surprised by what he found in his bag. He reached down and retrieved a tiny tin of cookies, figuring the little Rainsworth girl planted it into his bag.

Just as he was going to open it up, a loud growl ripped through the placid air, thundering in the silence.

Break allowed a curious glance over towards the little girl. Her little body visibly tensed, pretending nothing had happened and feign ignorance.

But nothing could get passed him. He was not so easily fooled. The young man glanced down at the tin case then back at the hungry girl.

'Dear… I must be going soft.'

He stood up from his post, casually walked passed the girl, and dropped the cookie container near her. Out the corner of his eye, he could see her gape at the box with curious eyes, tentatively opening it with her dainty hands.

"Uh, old man! Wait! You dropped this!" she yelled out, waving the container in the air.

With an airy flourish of his hand, the young man said, "You can have it. You need the food more than I do at this moment."

Then there was silence. It a surprise she did not counter with some rude remark, a scornful insult, or even throw the container right back at him, but he did not think much of it. He simply continued walking away…

"Emily!"

Break halted, turning around to face the little girl after her outburst. "Excuse me?"

"My name. You asked me for my name, right?" She pointed timidly, her eyes transfixed on the box. She quickly wiped the tears from her eyes and repeated firmly, "Well it's Emily. Emily Dillard."

='=,={ ~v~ }=,='=

"Emily Dillard, eh?" thought Break aloud the next day, taking a casual stroll out in the cold world. He, of course, was aware of her surname. Break was aware that the Dillards were a noble and wealthy household. They did not hold a position as great as any of the four dukes, but they were noble nevertheless.

Why was the daughter of a noble household outside in the freezing cold, and in a graveyard no less?

…and if she was so rich, why does she carry around that scary looking doll? She could definitely afford better toys.

"Sir! Sir! You're here again today!" Break paused, seeing his wandering thoughts had led him to the graveyard… and to the little girl yet again.

"…Yes, I am. I come here quite often. Why exactly are you here again?" Break questioned, a little annoyed that he could not think in peace.

"Because I can, old man!" Emily said cheerfully, hugging her ghastly doll in her arms.

The white-haired male couldn't stop himself from staring at the blue puppet before correcting her dryly, "Please do not call me 'old man'. I have a name."

"But you never told me when you left!" She pouted. "Where are you manners? It's only polite when a young lady gives you her name, you give her yours."

He merely countered with a wide smile. "Well then! I suppose that means you must wait until you're a young lady to learn the answer to that question, doesn't it?" The white-haired man released a low burst of laughter, amused by the offended pout on her lips. "If you really must know, my name is Xerxes Break, but you may address me as Break if you wish."

"Ah, Break…" she mumbled thoughtfully, as if trying to commit the very name to memory. Emily added with a bright smile, "It's very nice to see you again, Break!"

The young man remained completely stolid, eyeing her sudden change in demeanor with dubious eyes. What happened to her? Was she schizophrenic, bipolar, or a disturbing mixture of both? That rather impudent behavior from the day before did leave quite an impression on him. It was only natural for him to be so suspicious.

He then inquire, "Why are you being so nice to me? Yesterday you seemed far more likely to bite my head off than speak as you are now."

Emily flushed in embarrassment at the memory and proclaimed frankly, "I decided that you're not all that bad! I actually like you!"

"…Alright. Well that's too bad because I still don't seem to like you."

"It's okay! You'll like me in time! I have an interesting effect on people."

'If it's a rather annoying effect than I agree…'

"So, um, can I ask you a tiny question?" Emily asked sweetly, a smile spreading over her lips. Break nodded his head in consent. "Do you have any more food? Those cookies were delicious yesterday!"

He stumbled slightly at her request, but swiftly realized he shouldn't have been completely surprised. He should have known what she really wanted was food.

He considered refusing, just to see if her kindness towards him would come to end, but he thought against it, especially seeing that hopeful glimmer in her eyes. It would make him feel father guilty if he ruined it.

Break quickly delved into his bag and pulled out another container, handing it off to her. Emily cried in glee, gratefully taking the tin and hastily eating its contents with bliss.

His lips twitched, a smile threatening to appear on his lips. 'Such a strange girl…'

His gaze skittered around his surroundings before he realized that the girl was almost in the same exact position as the other day, situated next to a certain tombstone, engraved with a single name.

'Ranald Dillard… huh.' Obviously, it was another person from the Dillard family, but he had no clue how this person was related to Emily… and why exactly did he care?

He shook his head of his curiosity, asking with a certain lightness in his voice, "So since you asked me a question, may I offer you one as well?"

Emily paused from her eating frenzy and nodded her head. "What would you like to know?"

He paused for a moment, glancing back at the tombstone then at the little girl. He shook his head of the thought, deciding to ask a different inquiry. "Why do you carry around that doll? It's rather weird."

The little girl gasped, hugging the blue faced doll tightly in her arms. "It's not weird! It's special!"

"Yeah! Very special!" she said for the puppet.

Break simply took her word for it, far too disturbed by the thing to question her any further.

"This doll has been with me ever since I was small child. I've been without it," she said primly, affectionately coddling the toy in her arms.

"Oh? And to think I never considered you a child now," he said rather sarcastically, rolling his one red orb. "Really, how old are you? Seven?"

"I am ten years old!" She shouted in defense.

"Oh… well you had me fooled."

Just before she could berate the older man for his offensive remark, a voice yelled her name. "Miss Emily!"

Break and Emily turned their heads towards the voice, seeing it was a maid that called for her.

"Miss Emily, you shouldn't be out here so long," the woman scolded once she drew nearer. "It's not good for your health. You constitution is weak as is. Walking around in the cold does not help."

"But I'm fine--" Cough soon burst out from her lips, alerting the maid to run and wrap her coat around here.

"We need you back at home in the warmth. You'll catch your death if you remain out here any longer!"

"No! I don't want to leave! Not quite yet!" Emily cried in protest. She visibly wilted when her maid shot her a reproachful glare, limply turning her head back towards Break. "Will I see you again, Mr. Break? Will I?"

The white-haired man was taken aback by such an innocent question, the childlike worry evident in her bright eyes.

He meditated his answer for a moment before shrugging his shoulders. "Yes, I'll be back here sometime tomorrow."

Her eyes suddenly lit up into a jubilant fire, a wide grin curving her lips. "Yay! I'm glad! See you tomorrow, Mr. Break!"

"Bye bye! Bye bye, Break!" The little doll cried.

As the two began walking away, the white-haired male simply waved goodbye.

'Such a strange, little girl. Strange little Emily.'

='=,={ ~v~ }=,='=

Several days have passed since their initial meeting. Everyday he would head over towards the cemetery to see Emily, bringing along whatever snacks he thought she would like. She seemed to have an incredible sweet tooth, always excited to see him bring some sort of sugary delight.

He also learned how sickly Emily really was. Though she always appeared strong and healthy, she really was as weak as her maid implied. She sometimes would have violent fits of coughs, and he would even notice how her cheeks were flushed an unusual shade of red.

No matter what he said, Emily would insist she was fine, refusing to leave him any earlier than she usually. He then would shrug his shoulders and drop that subject.

He never did find the courage to ask her about the person on the gravestone. He felt it wasn't any of his business if she didn't want to tell him.

Then there was that doll of hers. It was just something he could not get used to. He swears that ghastly thing would just stare at him. It did not help that Emily persists to speak for it. That certainly didn't make it any less creepy.

He had to admit he was beginning to find the doll kind of endearing. Kind of.

Then something neither of them expected happened. Break was finishing up the last piece of paperwork for the Rainsworths when there was a curious knock on the door.

"I'll get it!" Sharon exclaimed as she trotted off. Break followed right behind her, curious who was paying them a visit.

It certainly was not someone he expected. It turned out to be Emily's maid, the one that took Emily home on their second meeting.

"B…Break-san? Is that you?" She stammered nervously, deep lines engraved into her pale forehead.

"Yes, that's me. Is there something the matter?"

"Uh, sir. If you have time to spare, we would like you to come to the Dillard mansion. Something… quite horrid happened," the maid mumbled softly, her gaze falling to the floor.

Worry unfurled in his heart, weighing down his chest. "What do you---"

"It's Emily," she cut in quickly. "She's… she's dying, sir."

='=,={ ~v~ }=,='=

Break had never ran so fast. Right after the Dillard carriage transported him to their mansion and the maid directed him to the young mistress's quarters, Break ran straight towards it, not stopping for anyone or anything that was in his way.

Finally there she was. He found her lying pitifully in her plush bed.

"E… Emily?"

At the sound of her name, she weakly turned her head towards the white-haired man. A weak smile spread over her wan face.

"B…Break, you came!" She said happily, ending her sentence with a slight cough.

"Yeah, I did," he replied weakly, rounding around the bed and standing right beside her. "W… What's wrong? Wha… how…"

"I suppose it was unfair I never told you," she said quietly. "I guess it was my silly brain that thought just mentioning my weak constitution was enough."

"Emily…?"

"Break, I know I'm going to die," she pronounced frankly, more frankly than he ever expected a ten year old to say, "And I've known ever since I was a little. I knew that any day I could just pass away."

Break remained completely silent, gawking at the girl as she continued to speak.

"Hey, Mr. Break! Bet you never heard of this big word! I think it's pronounced s… sar…coi…do…sis!"

He repeated the word in confusion, "Sarcoidosis?"

She limply nodded her head. "Yes! Basically that's the disease I have! It does something to the tissues in my body, and especially my lungs. That's why I sometimes have problems breathing, coughs that never go away, or even fever."

'Coughs that never go away…' He suddenly remembered his past meetings with her, her terrible coughing fits…

"Yep, it was worse when I was first born. Doctors never expected me to last the first year. I proved them wrong," she boasted rather proudly, "And I thought I could really make it all the way through. I've heard cases who survived this disease, and I believed I could do it too. All I needed was my brother, and I was just fine." She paused for a moment. "Then I found myself completely alone, and I didn't know what to do."

Her voice then dropped to a disturbingly hushed cadence, before resuming, "My brother, Ranald, died just a few weeks ago. At that same exact time, doctors noticed that I wasn't getting better as I thought I was."

'So… that was her brother…'

"I… I didn't know what to do any more. That was when I ran towards my brother's grave, sobbing like I've never sobbed before – both for me and my brother."

"That's the day we first met…"

"And I certainly am glad we did! You gave me the strength I needed to go on," she informed him, her voice cheerful despite the noticeable roughness. "I'm glad I got to spend my last few days with you. I've never been this happy since… it feels like forever."

For once, he was at a loss at what to say, staring at her smile, the light in her eyes.

"There's something else I wanted to give you. Can you please look at what's atop my nightstand?" Break conceded to the little girl's request, slowly reaching out towards a strangely familiar tin box as well as grasping her little puppet. "That's the container you gave me when we first met. I've never found the right time to give it back to you, but I figured now's better than never."

"Emily, you really don't…"

"Then right there's my final gift to you," she interrupted with a weak grin. "I want you to have my dollie! My brother made it for me so I can't just give it to just anyone. I thought there's no better home for her than with you."

Break froze, staring at the delicate doll as it grinned right at him. The white-haired man glanced up, staring at her face, at the radiant light he had never noticed.

"Thank you, Emily… I'll always cherish it." The little girl smiled, her face growing paler, her lids heavier. "So are you scared? Scared of leaving?"

"No, I'm not scared anymore. I can go happily now and see my brother again." Her reply barely came out of her lips, quiet and soft, but he could still hear it. "You've been the greatest friend I've had, Mr. Break. I'm glad I met you."

"Yeah," mumbled the white-haired male as he watched her eyes draw to a close. "Same here. I will never forget you…"

='=,={ ~v~ }=,='=

After Emily's passing, Break was sent back home to his carriage, allowed to take Emily's gifts with him.

'A strange little girl…' he couldn't help, but think, staring at Emily's doll, a grin stitched into its face. 'With a stranger taste in toys.'

"Xerxes-nii, you're home!" At the sound of his nickname, the young man glanced up to see another little girl before him, her bright eyes glittering with delight. "Hey, you're not too busy right now, are you?"

"Depends," replied the male servant. "Is there something I can do for, Lady Sharon?"

Sharon asked, "Um, I was just wondering if Xerxes-nii can have that tea party with me. I know you just got back, but it would make me happy if you did!"

He raised his one red orb to the ceiling, pondering as if it was a very trying question. "Well, I am very tired…" The little Rainsworth began to deflate, already anticipating a refusal. "…But I think I can make an exception for this one time."

Sharon suddenly perked back up, a smile curving her lips, elation glittering in her eyes. "Yay! Let's go! I already have everything set up!"

The corners of his mouth twitched as he nodded his head, placing the doll onto his shoulder and taking Sharon by the hand.

"Xerxes-nii, can I ask you another question?"

"What is it, Lady Sharon?"

"Where'd you get that doll? I've never seen you with it before."

Break then allowed a smile to appear on his lips, replying airily, "Oh it's just a little something I picked up~!"

Sharon nodded her head, curiously inquiring, "What's its name?"

"Its name…" He glanced over to the little blue doll, its long locks bouncing with his movements. Then it came to him. "Its name is Emily."

'It doesn't matter when I die. All that matters is the moment. Live life to the very fullest. After all, there's still so much I want to live for, people who I want to spend every moment with while I can.'

='=,={ ~v~ }=,='=

"Break!"

At the sound of his name, Break lethargically snapped out of his reverie. He quickly noted that black rabbit was seated rather sulkily in her seat, properly calmed out of her earlier rampage by Oz or even Sharon he supposed. "Yes, Alice?"

"Well are you going to give us an answer?" She repeated grumpily, sneering at him from afar. "I'm waiting."

"Oh right! You wanted to know why I carry around dear Emily?"

"Yes! So will you tell us?" Oz inquired, curiosity glittering in his green orbs.

The hatter smiled as he nodded his head. "Of course! I carry Emily around because she's so cute~!"

"Cute, Cute!" Emily echoed.

His four companions nearly stumbled out of their seats, not at all expecting such an answer.

The dark-haired Chain released a loud, unladylike snort. "Cute? Ha! It's really ugly if you ask me…"

The doll then chattered, "Ugly rabbit! Ugly rabbit!"

"What?!"

"Now, now! It isn't nice to tell such a thing to Alice right to her face," Break scolded the puppet, wagging his finger. "She isn't ready to hear that truth just yet."

She then snapped. "Let me at them!"

"Stop it right now!" Gilbert chastised, restraining her before she could cause any damage.

"Those two demons need to learn a lesson, seaweed! Let me go!"

The hatter merely laughed at them, absently fingering the little doll in his hand.

Oz just sighed. Perhaps, they will never know. Oz figured that was just one question that he will never get a straight answer to. Sigh...


A/N Notes: Yep, my first Pandora Hearts fanfic with Break! It was inspired by the random wonderings of my little mind. Come on. Who hasn't wondered about Emily?

Thanks for reading~