~Chapter 16: Don't Hurt Her!~

I must become a lion hearted girl

Ready for a fight

Before I make the final sacrifice

"Jack! Jack!" I cried out and chased after the blonde frantically.

Why wasn't he stopping? Why wasn't he facing me? Is Jack mad at me? Did I do something wrong?

"Jack! Jack!" I continued to shout and extended my hand out to grab him, but he was still too far away.

"How cruel of you to love another man."

I froze in my tracks and Jack vanished into the darkness. That's when a pair of strong arms grabbed me from behind, wrapping around my waist tightly and pulling me towards someone. My back pressed against his chest tightly and his lips came to my ears as he chuckled.

"You are mine, Claudia. I will never let you go."

Sebastian pressed his lips to my neck, and I winced as he began to nip at my skin. I felt my cheeks turn red as Sebastian grabbed my chin and moved my face upwards and to the side to reveal more of my neck. I gasped softly as his nips grew harder and began to hurt.

"Claudia," Sebastian whispered in my ear as his free hand ran over my body. "Forget about that man and come back. You must stop this search."

I shook my head. "I want to know," I whimpered as Sebastian began to bite my neck again, now along with my shoulder as he moved the fabric of my dress off of it.

"But what you discover could break you, and you may lose sight of reality."

"What . . . What do you mean?" I panted as Sebastian pulled my dress down even more, exposing more skin to his cold touch.

"Come back, Claudia."

"Answer me," I said angrily.

"Come back."

"Answer me!" I shouted, awakening myself from my dream. I gasped and sat up quickly in bed, glancing around me.

So it was . . . It was just a dream? It was so vivid.

I blushed, remembering the details. I shook my head quickly and patted my cheeks. Why was I thinking about that? Stupid Claudia.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid," I whispered to myself.

"Claudia-san, you haven't changed at all-nya."

I yelped and glanced over at the window. I glared at the one sitting in the moonlight. "Cheshire!" I scolded. "You shouldn't sneak up on me like that!"

The large feline laughed with a sweet smile before jumping from the window to my bed. Cheshire nuzzled his head against my neck, his soft black locks tickling my face.

"I see you're as affectionate as always," I giggled.

"Nya!" he said happily before moving away and staring into my eyes with his single ruby one.

"Did Alyss tell you to come here?" I asked.

He nodded. "Alyss wanted me to check on you-nya."

"Check on me?"

Cheshire nodded. "She said she saw something coming towards you."

"I see," I muttered. "Did she say what?"

Cheshire shook his head and nuzzled against my neck again. I stroked down his hair and glanced out my room window.

"How long exactly have you been in my room?" I asked.

"A few minutes. You were mumbling a lot in your sleep-nya."

My blush returned. "W-what exactly did I say?"

He shrugged. "It was too grumbled for me to understand-nya."

I sighed with relief. "Well, I'm okay, Cheshire. How Alyss doing?"

"She is growing bored, and impatient. Alice's time must hurry."

"What do you mean by that?" I asked and stared in Cheshire's face once more.

He stared at me, no emotion in his eyes. He spoke coldly, and calmly. "Alice must die to make Alyss happy."

"What?!" I shouted and Cheshire jumped off my bed and stood by the window once more. "What do you mean she has to die? No she doesn't!"

He nodded. "To make Alyss happy, I will kill Alice."

"Cheshire! Don't!" I warned.

He ignored me and jumped out my room window, disappearing in the distance.

"Damn it!" I shouted and slammed my fist onto the bed.

"You want to what?" I asked Gilbert in a tone that said I couldn't believe he just said that.

"We have to go get my hat!" he said and grabbed Alice and Oz. "Let's go, Claudia! I need that hat!" he ran out the room, Alice and Oz tucked under his arms.

I sighed and chuckled. "Wait for me!"

We road a carriage straight into town, the whole time Gilbert was jumpy and irritated.

"Calm down. I bet you'll have your hat back by the end of the day," I said.

"Yeah, Seaweed Head," Alice added.

"Don't call me Seaweed Head!" Gilbert scolded Alice before turning to me. "And we better have it in the next hour."

"Sheesh. Is it that important? Who gave you that hat?" I asked.

Gilbert's cheeks suddenly turned pink and he glared out the carriage window. "T-that is none of your business."

"Hmm?" Oz, Alice, and I all asked in unison and glanced at one another. We just shrugged it off and waited for the carriage to stop. When it did, Gilbert jumped out with Alice and Oz tucked under his arms once more.

"Sheesh, stop forgetting about me!" I shouted and waved my arms in the air impatiently as I stood outside of the carriage.

I gasped, my heart skipping a beat. My stomach was churning, and I felt completely sick. I hugged myself tightly, a strange feeling washing over me. A feeling of being watched. I glanced around me, but saw nothing out of the ordinary, I even glanced into the sky, but there was nothing there either.

"Claudia, hurry up!" I heard Alice shout in the distance.

"Oh, right. Coming!" I called.

(Sebastian P. O. V)

"That was Claudia," the Young Master stated as we stood in a dark alley.

I nodded, keeping my emotions unreadable. "Yes."

"Who are those people she is with? Such loud beings."

I did not reply. I continued to glare at Claudia's back as she ran off towards Alice, Gilbert, and that Oz boy. She should not be conversing with them. If things continue like this, she will be hurt when the truth is discovered. I need to bring her back quickly before she breaks down.

The Young Master sighed. "Come, we have business to attend to, Sebastian."

I nodded. "Yes, my lord."

I sent one last glance towards Claudia, my heart aching as she disappeared into the distance.

(Claudia P. O. V)

Gilbert sighed as he face palmed. "How did we get ourselves into this mess?" he asked as Alice and I looked around at the large crowd that had appeared.

"Wow. The people here sure do like an arm wrestling battle," I muttered.

"What's an arm wrestling battle?" Alice asked as Oz explained to Gilbert how we had gotten into this mess.

"Well, it's a skill of strength. Two people sit on opposite sides of a table. Then, they clasp hands and the point of the game is to force your opponents arm down. But you can only use one hand, and your elbow must be on the table," I explained.

She nodded, her amethyst eyes full of understanding. Alice chuckled, a smirk appearing on her lips as she began cracking her knuckles. "This will be a piece of cake then. We'll have Seaweed Head's hat back in no time."

I nodded and looked at the opponents. "But it looks like I can't be a part of this since there are only three opponents and four of us."

"That's fine," Alice said as she began to roll her shoulders. "We don't need ya anyways."

I rolled my eyes.

Ching ching.

I gasped softly. Was that a bell?

Ching ching.

There it is again. It is a bell. The sound is so familiar. I know exactly who it belongs to, and I really hope he isn't planning on doing what he said he was going to do.

"Cheshire," I whispered.

"What was that?" Alice asked.

"Oh, nothing," I said. "Um, I'll be back."


I left the arena and followed the noise of the bell. The same bell I had given to Cheshire so many years ago.

Ching ching. Ching ching.

Damn it. I won't allow him to hurt Alice. He can't hurt her! Alyss can't possible want that!

I wandered into a dim alley, the sound coming from here. "Where the hell are you, Cheshire?" I demanded. "I won't let you hurt Alice!"

"Alice must die to make the princess happy-nya," the cat chain's voice came.

I looked up and saw him perched on the roof of a building, licking the back of his left paw. When he was done, he jumped down and landed perfectly in front of me. His tail wagged slowly behind him as he approached me.

"And if you stand in my way, I will have to kill you too, Claudia-nya."

"Alyss won't let you," I said bravely. "You can't harm me. I'm on a mission for Alyss, you can't do anything to me."

"She will understand-nya," he said, but we both knew I was right and Cheshire wouldn't lay a finger on me.

"Cheshire," I said sternly. "You can't hurt Alice. I won't let you. If I have to fight you, I will."

"I am also on a mission-nya. The princess desires for B-Rabbit to die-nya."

"No! You're wrong! Alyss can't want this. She adores Alice, she would never hurt her."

"You don't know anything-nya," Cheshire said darkly and lunged for me.

I wasn't expecting the sudden attack, and was slammed hard against one of the alley walls. I winced in pain as the wall around me crumbled a bit and rocks fell at my feet. Cheshire had his large paw pressed tightly against my chest, making it difficult to breathe. He brought his face close to mine and glared into my eyes.

"You know nothing, Claudia-nya. You were not there the day everything went bad, and you no nothing of what happened-nya."

"Are you talking about the Tragedy of Sablier?" I choked out. "Cheshire . . . What happened . . . On that day? To Glen . . . To Jack . . . To Alice . . . What happened to everyone?"

Cheshire didn't answer. He released me from his grip, and I took in a deep breathe. He jumped into the air, and before I could go after him, he vanished back to his dimension.

"Damn," I muttered, my eyes still glued to the area where Cheshire had disappeared from.

Alyss, what the hell is going on? Why does Cheshire think you want Alice dead? What happened during the Tragedy of Sablier?

I was about to head back to the others, when someone called out to me. Someone I really didn't want to hear. Someone I really didn't want to see. Someone who should just leave me alone forever.

I turned to face Sebastian, and saw Ciel was standing a bit behind him.

"Yes?" I asked. "I'm in a hurry."

"You've become a member of the Reinsworth family," Ciel said and stepped ahead of Sebastian.

I nodded.

"And the Reinsworth are one of the four dukedoms in charge of Pandora, yes?"

"Yes. Along with the Nightrays, the Vessalius family, and the Barma family," I said. "Why do you ask?"

Ciel smirked. The smirk I knew all too well. The one that meant nothing but business, the one who used when he wanted something he shouldn't have.

"I want you to make the Phantomhive family a part of Pandora as well," he said.

"What?" I gasped. "Why on Earth would you want to be a part of Pandora? Do you even know what they do?"

Ciel nodded. "Sebastian has found information for me."

I glared at my brother. "How did you find information on Pandora? No one but people in the organization know about it, and everything is kept very secret."

"I have my ways," Sebastian answered.

I scoffed and looked back at Ciel. "Why do you want to be a part of Pandora?" I asked again.

"I do not like things being hidden from me, and I greatly despise things hidden from the queen. Pandora is hiding from both of us, and as I said, I do not like it one bit. So I want you to make me a member so I may know what is happening. So I can find out more about these so called Chains and the Abyss," Ciel explained.

"Even if you become a member, it does not mean you will find out all you want to know. Besides, can't you just get Sebastian to find out everything about Pandora and tell you?"

"I would like it better if I were in the organization."

"Of course," I muttered to myself. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at Ciel. "I was adopted by the Reinsworth family, meaning I am not of origin blood, meaning I have less power than Sharon Reinsworth and her grandmother. I can try to make them accept the Phantomhive family, but there is no guarantee."

"I am pretty sure you can get me in," Ciel said as he turned and began walking away. "I will await your letter telling me everything went well," he said with a wave.

Sebastian glanced at me.

"Why are you not trying to convince him to ignore Pandora?" I whispered so low only Sebastian would be able to hear.

"Because, as his loyal butler, I can do nothing but obey his wishes," he whispered back.

"There are things within Pandora that he can not see. Things that not even I have seen."

"And yet you remain loyal to the organization," Sebastian said. "Even though you know they hide things from you, you remain with them. You are such a fool, Claudia."

"Shut up," I said harshly. "They may be hiding things from me, but I can still find out things. And another thing, they keep me away from you!" I reached into the pocket of my trench coat and pulled out the silver pocket watch. "So stop spying on me, and take this back!" I snapped and threw the pocket watch at Sebastian.

He caught it perfectly, like I knew he would. His face was unreadable as he placed the pocket watch back in his pocket and followed Ciel. I glared at the two until they disappeared around the corner. That's when I fell to my knees and let out a shaky breathe.

I clasped my hands together and pressed them against the area over my crazy heart. Damn it all. He still makes me feel like a love struck puppy. And here I was all happy thinking I was over him, but now I see I'm not. I'm still attached to him.

I shook my head quickly and rose to my feet. No. I have my important things to worry about. Alice is in danger, and I need to keep her away from Cheshire.

I ran back to the arm wrestling battle, but no one was there. I sucked my teeth and went around looking for the others. I sensed Gilbert and Oz near by, but now Alice.

"Oi, where's Alice?" I asked as I approached Oz and Gilbert and noticed they were with Oscar Vessalius.

"Ah, Claudia. You're growing up so fast," Oscar said, a large smile on his face. "And into such a beautiful woman too."

"I'm not interested," I answered emotionlessly.

Uncle Oscar turned away, clutching the area over his heart. "Shot down," he said in a choked voice.

"Um . . ." Gilbert and Oz said awkwardly.

"Where's Alice?" I repeated and placed my hands on my hips.

"She wasn't with you?" Oz asked.

I shook my head. "I left during the tournament."

Oz looked around before he looked up at Gilbert. "Claudia and I will go look for Alice."

Gilbert nodded and Oz motioned for me to follow him. I did and we searched the area for Alice.

"Alice!" I called.

"Alice! Alice, where are you?" Oz called as we entered an alleyway, a different one from the one I had been in just moments ago.

Oz and I both stopped in our tracks, our eyes landing on two things that practically yelled something bad had happened.

On the ground was a paper bag once full of apples that were now scattered all over the cobblestone floor, and next to the apples was . . . Emilie. In my gut, I had a feeling of what had happened to Break and Alice, and it was just one word.


Song is: Florence + Machine - Rabbit Heart

~Alice Michaelis