X.X.X

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No...

It wasn't there. He had double-checked the drawers to his rosewood and brass chiffonier desk. Where it normally would be locked away. It wasn't there. The maimed— and lovingly at that— child-like dolls and marionettes and big plushy teddy bears were kicked aside in Vincent Nightray's panicked frenzy to small piles in each corner of his bedroom. It wasn't there!

No...

The cream-paper sitting on his mahogany console table, folded against one of the two aureated candlestick stands.

Scrawled in loopy writing on its front: You Are Invited, Honored Guest. Tea in Pandora's Black Rose Gardens. No Guests Permitted.

He reached with lines in his face smoothing and high color in his facial cheeks and forehead draining— with his hands shaking— to gently retrieve the letter wrapped in an all-too-familiar burgundy, bowed ribbon. His murderous hands longed to crush the doll and the man associated with the bow and the loopy, inked writing. Oh... how he longed for it.

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Xerxes Break was early, of course, posed with an arm slung low over the back of his wicker chair and enjoying some of the warm red tea in the ceramic tea pot on the white-clothed table in front of him.

"Do not pout so, Emily..." he patiently addressed the bulging doll on his shoulder faced away from him, "we'll find you another hair ribbon tomorrow..."

"That would be wise because I burned the one you left me in my bedroom."

Break clucked his tongue in disapproval in the direction of the overtly feminine-looking, golden-haired man coming up from the entrance of the hedge maze. Vincent clasped one of his infamously mutilated stuffed animals in his arms. "In that case it was uncommonly impulsive of yourself..."

"What kind of nonsense is this?"

"Would you care for the tea?" The silver-haired man gestured openly to the arrangement on the table, to a full cup of steaming tea in front of another empty wicker chair. Vincent did not step close, only stared thoughtfully at him. "No? Ah. Well. From what I've gathered about you, drain rat… you hold only two matters of precious value. One is a brother of yours who is utterly devoted to Oz Vessalius, and the other…" Break smiled largely, making an invisible clipping motion with his first two fingers. "…A seemingly ordinary household item. Holding an extraordinary amount of nostalgic importance."

Vincent asked without looking up, fiddling with the mutilated, blue-fabric ear of the stuffed bunny, "You are blackmailing me, Mister Mad Hatter?"

"How unsophisticated you manage to put it~! I prefer to call this situation 'leverage'." Break let the word 'leverage' roll around his tongue as he spoke, savoring the delightful feel in the weight of it. "I am gaining 'leverage' from our last encounter when my Young Miss's life was imperiled by your friend's rare poison."

"What would be your conditions?"

"You act as if I assumed you were a person that would hold to conditions." Vincent's thoughtful expression had not changed from when he entered the gardens but Break could see that he was becoming irritated by how his tortoise-colored, satin gloved fingers instead drummed against the black sleeves of his crossed arms. "But playing along, I would ask you to refrain from involving my Young Miss in any of your future plans," Break added, cradling one of his hands under his chin.

"Only this?"

"I would prefer to kill you with my own hands in exchange for your toy." Break's auburn eye slit on the blonde nobleman, his smile white and savage. "But this will make due for my future plans."

"Predictable," said Vincent, a tiny, menacing smile surfacing. "Very well. I will play along and agree to your terms."

Break slid the oversize, brass-plated scissors from one of his sleeves and held it out for him to take. Without warning, Vincent's hand snaked out to seize his wrist, gloved fingers curling.

"I wonder how many times these hands has drawn innocent blood..." Vincent mused, examining the inner white wrist.

Break strained against his solid grip, finding that the other man had no intentions of letting him slip away so easily. He frowned at the unmistakeably curious gleam in his mismatched, long-lashed eyes.

Vincent carefully stroked the closed, sharp tips of his scissors against a groove of vein on his silvery-haired companion's wrist, following its bluish line up to his elbow like a feather's touch. "Was it worth it?" He asked dangerously soft, pressing those tips to the pucker of Break's lips. "Do not feel obligated to answer if you so chose...." The golden-haired man then blinked confused when the other sneezed loudly, quickly moving away and releasing Break.

The other man smiled mock-apologetically. "That must be my summoning. Let us part ways for now." Break made a short bow at Vincent who followed the motion dutifully.

"I do not intent to let this discussion stray from us for very long..." Mismatched eyes gleamed brighter. "Mister Mad Hatter..."

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X.X.X


WHOOOO. SAAAAAAFE. Made it in time for the deadline. - K a t r i x a - and I gave each other a short writing challenge in time for April Fool's. Mine was Break/Vincent; blackmail. It was DEFINITELY a challenge. (Should go without saying. XP) But really. Because I do not ship this pairing at the very least. I can't see past their blind hatred for each other. If you ship it, kudos. I can hope at least I could pull off an implied.