Jack will do anything to be at Lacie's side.

He knows this well. It's a mantra in his head, actually – reminding himself repeatedly, repeatedly, that anything is fine, anything is acceptable, anything can happen to him or be done to him as long as he can see her smiling face again, no matter if that face is splattered in blood or as pristine and white as the snow that spatters across his own as he walks, slowly, carefully, up a winding walkway.

It's a walkway that leads him to a certain party – a party that, apparently, one Glen Baskerville is attending, and Jack is eager, so very, very eager, to get on that man's good side.

If he knows that man, he will know Lacie once more. Jack is sure of it.

He doesn't expect the sight that greets him. In fact, he had expected someone far older, hideous and perhaps wrinkled, but Glen is draped in dark finery with elegant features, pale skin, dark, dark violet eyes framed by lashes darker still. His lips are in a constant purse, almost frowning but too chilled to show quite that bit of emotion, and Jack finds himself temporarily entranced with how he moves, some gothic statue come to life, all marble with surprisingly soft edges and silken hair.

Try as he might to coax the man from the main floor, Jack cannot do it. When has a customer ever refused him? It's daunting and frustrating and he's frowning when he is certain Glen isn't looking (though Glen doesn't look at him much – no, not at all, Glen's nose is in the air or his gaze elsewhere, distracted and sad).

Jack can't figure out why he cares.

"If you want something," the duke finally says, making Jack start and stare at him, gaze wide and bewildered, "come out and say it rather than trying to trick it out of me."

Jack flushes. He shouldn't be embarrassed, but Glen seems to genuine – it's startling, really, that a man that looks so cold could be so kind and soft and welcoming without even trying. Nothing like he expected – nothing like the monster he wanted Glen Baskerville to be.

Glen does touch him, then – a soft, glove-clad hand brushing his cheek and Jack shivers, lips parting as Glen's thumb brushes over a full bottom lip. He finds himself wishing, then, that the gloves would come off and he could feel how soft Glen's actual skin was – undoubtedly as silken as his hair looks, well-kept by oils and lotions and ah, but he smells nice (like wood and old silk and dust and roses) the closer he comes, not like booze or cigars like every other man Jack has kept the company of as of late.

Still. For as young as he looks, he simultaneously moves like something ancient – something ageless, something set in stone and something powerful.

He shouldn't be so entranced, but he is. (Who is Lacie and why does he want her?)

Finally, Jack remembers to breathe, and Glen is looking at him expectantly, lashes heavy and low over his eyes, and Jack swallows hard.

"I wanted to know you better… Duke Baskerville."

Somehow, Jack doesn't find himself in Glen's bed, but upon his piano bench, and he can't even find a reason to be angry about until the next morning when he realizes none of his goals were accomplished – save for a tiny, hand-drawn map to the passageways of the Baskerville estate.


Even if they are not to Lacie's chambers, such a passageway is a means to an end – and such means Jack cannot help but look forward to.