Chapter 3

The pair arrived back at Grimm's childhood haven with the key to unlock the girl's mask in their possession.

She stared at the key, but was very hesitant to use it. Grimm picked up on this.

"What's wrong?" he asked a bit confused.

"I don't know if I can do this," she said, her voice cracking. "I've been in my doll-face for so long, what will I do once I'm out? I don't know how to live a normal life because I wasn't able to. I don't know where to go from here." A single tear escaped the cracked porcelain mask that she wore. "Now that I think about it, you're the only person who has ever helped me. But you'll go away too, just like all the others." She looked away.

"Something's been bugging me." Grimm said. "I still don't understand why you let Creol go. If I had the chance to get even with the guy that destroyed my life and took Benny's, I'd take it in a heartbeat."

She looked at him. He was very serious. "I've been in this mask for a long time, and there's one thing that I know for sure: motivations will drive you, but what they are driven by will control you." She looked at Grimm. "Your motivation is revenge for your friend and closure for yourself, but you will get neither if manage to kill the man responsible for these things. You will be just as empty, he'll just be dead and you'll be purposeless."

"Guess we'll have that in common then." Grimm said, thinking over what he had been presented with, "So what now?"

She looked at him. "I want to take my mask off, but I'm scared. Would you…would you take yours off too?" she asked hopefully.

"No," Grimm said sternly. "I made a promise to Benny and I intend to keep it."

The girl took a step toward him. "I think Benny would have wanted you to survive and live your life to the fullest instead of spending it trying to avenge him. I'm not questioning your loyalty, but I think you owe it to yourself to let go. I am."

She reached up and inserted the oddly shaped key into the back of her mask. The sound of gears and trinkets could be heard moving about and then a click was heard. The mask began to open, and before long it fell away, revealing the beautiful face of a freed woman. Her dark hair fell down a bit past her shoulders and her eyes took a minute to focus to the new adjustment. She ran her fingers along her face.

"It's gone…" she whispered to herself.

Grimm stared at the woman in front of him. So innocent, so carefree; and for a brief moment, he missed those qualities that were taken from him so long ago.

Grimm shot up. "I have to go." He said.

The girl was caught off guard at this.

"Why?" she asked confused. "I know I'm not that pretty, but I don't want you to go!"

"Stop it! Just stop it!" Grimm said forcefully. "One, you don't know what you're saying! You're beautiful! Two, I'm a monster. You're everything I'm not and I can never hope to be. I was robbed of my innocence long ago, and I won't hang around and infect you with my problems." Grimm turned to leave.

The girl stood there speechless. She had heard what Grimm said in its entirety, but she was still hung up on one word: "beautiful". Did he really think…No! He couldn't possibly.

Grimm got on his bike, but noticed something was off.

"Lose something?" the woman asked, holding up the key to his motorcycle.

"Give that to me!" Grimm shouted.

"No!" she replied, "Not until you admit that you're worth saving! You've helped me more than you know, and I won't let you just ride off! You need to trust me and yourself and take your mask off too."

Grimm looked down. "I don't know if-"

She moved closer to him and gently removed his "helmet".

"Benny will understand", she whispered.

Before either of them knew what was happening, their eyes closed and their lips met.

They were both free.


Author's Note: Alright, that played out a bit different in my head, but oh well. Comments or concerns? Oh, and before anyone flames me to death, yes I realize there is a bit of an age difference between the two. The focus here was their characters, not their birthdays. Well I think that's all for this one. Comments and CONSTRUCTIVE criticism are welcome. I'm sure I could stand to fix some things. Thanks much!