This is a dark story, because I think any relationship between Ace and the Queen is going to be a twisted struggle for power and dominance. Not quite M but it is borderline. You have been warned.

X

Vivaldi went down the long hall, a group of faceless handmaidens trailing behind her. That was when she saw him, a faint image in the corner of her eye.

Ace.

He wore no smile. Instead, his expression was a deep glower, his gaze hot on her, filled with seething hatred.

She picked up her skirts and did her best to ignore him, holding her head up high and barking for the handmaidens behind her to hurry up.

"Whichever one of you lags behind will be without a head," she said.

The maids scurried around her, picking up their pace.

"Hey, your Majesty!" he said, waving.

Her gaze snapped to his face, to a smile that was haunting and ill-fitting, contrasting with red eyes filled with so much bitterness and resentment.

"We wanted you to see us an hour ago," she said. "What took you so long?"

"Oh, you know, I had things to do and people to see."

"You got lost," she said flatly.

"But it was a lot of fun," he said. "Much more fun than you."

She made a face. He is undermining our authority again.

"This has gone on long enough!" her voice rose, sending the faceless around her into a nervous panic.

"Huh? What did I do? Are you getting cranky in your old age, Queen?"

She crossed her arms. "You stay right there for now. We are going to discuss your indescretons. You!" She pointed at the faceless. "Leave quickly." There was commotion as the hall emptied quickly.

"Wow. You really are cranky...or do you just want to be alone with me that badly?" he said, his voice pleasant.

They stood alone, the tension palpatble in the air as the two stared each other down.

"We know the things you do," she said. "We may turn a blind eye to your attempting to escape your role, but eventually even it becomes too much for us. Our patience with you is wearing thin."

"Oh, turn a blind eye to what? I'd never try to undermine my role. You are Queen after all, right?"

"The clockmaker!" The word came out as a hiss. "We know about you working for him."

"Aww. Julius is just a really good friend. But you wouldn't know what it's like to have one of those, would you?"

She glared at him coldly. "You only see him because we allow you to. It is by our good grace."

Ace's expression twisted. "Really?" he said softly.

"Of course," came her reply, her proud voice stating it as if it were the most obvious fact in the world.

He froze, his smile plastered on his face. Then his hand shot out and he gripped her arm. "You think you control everything! Like those white roses out in the garden that you insist on painting red, but they're still white underneath no matter what you do." He laughed. "Admit it, you have no control. And now I control you."

"Unhand us," she said, fighting for control against him. She moved her hand around, but his grip remained tight around her thin wrist.

"If I want you to move, my Queen, then I move you." He laughed again, a cold sound that echoed in her head, as he forced her hand to move left and right, up and down, as if she was a puppet. "You're like a doll! So pretty and easy to move."

She twisted her hand, freeing herself. Then, poking his chest, she said sharply, "Remember your place. We are the Queen of Hearts. You are merely a Knight."

"I know," he said. His eyes narrowed. "I always know. I know every second and every day and every time I see you. " His voice became bitter. He pushed her against the wall, and quickly closed the distance between them.

For the first time in her life the Queen of Hearts felt powerless. Her lips trembled.

With an evil grin, he brought his face close to her and kissed her lips, his hot breath playing on her face.

A sound resounded when she slapped him and pushed against his chest. He barely moved, but he loomed over her with a shocked expression on his face.

"You are not allowed to do that to us," she whispered darkly.

"Oh, really? Well, I'm not allowed to do a lot of things. But I can kiss you if I want, you know."

She did not let her sharp gaze slip. "But you are in love with Alice, correct? Yes, we believe so. Now leave us be."

"I don't want love."

"This is foolish! Absurd!" She cried as he pressed himself against her, his finger lightly playing under her chin. "I am your Queen, Knight! Listen to me! Obey me!"

His laughter was cold and chilled her to the bone. He petted her cheek, his cold finger sliding along the curve of her face.

She had the most beautiful face in Wonderland, but the coldest heart. He reflected on this as he leaned closer, his face inches from that proud, pretty face, her eyes still glaring holes into him.

"...the King will not like this," she said.

He settled one hand on the wall above her, his other gently brushing her bottom lip. "No, I guess he won't. But won't it feel good? Tell me, pretty Queen, how long has it been?"

Her gaze drifted away from him. "A most improper question."

"Ha! I guess I have my answer then."

He gently settled his face in the crook of her neck, taking in her sweet perfume.

"You are mine, my Queen," he said, as he held her by tightly by her waist.

He gripped the back of her head and kissed her deeply on the lips, the kiss turning fierce and passionate as the two fought for dominance, control. She found herself so entangled in him, in his lips, in his arms.

Breathless, she unclasped herself from him and fell against the wall, watching him with violet eyes.

"Ace," she said as she fixed her hair, fighting to regain her posture.

"Hmm?"

"I will see you again. Later. We will do this when I say."

Smiling, he slowly shook his head and said with a laugh, "Nope. I'm afraid we'll do it when I say."

She smiled without humor. "What game are we playing, Knight?"

"The kind where I win."

X

Debated whether to make this M or not, but decided not to. I may continue it later, though, and the rating may change.