I don't own Pandora Hearts.
It was a beautiful, golden summer day when the thought first crossed her mind. She turned to face Oswald, ignoring the strands of dark hair the wind blew softly into her face.
"This might sound strange," she spoke up, a pensive look in her eyes. "But what is it you fear the most?"
Her brother raised his slender eyebrows. "What brought this on?" A very small but fond smile appeared on his lips. People who didn't know him wouldn't even notice. "What dark things are you thinking of again?"
Lacie let her gaze return to the wonderful flowers of the Baskerville garden. She took a deep breath, sucking in the sweet flavor that lingered in the air. The calm never lasted those days.
"Good morning! Lacie, Oswald!"
"It's Jack," Oswald announced rather needlessly and Lacie felt her lips twitch into an amused smile of her own.
"It is…" She loved it when Jack came to visit, but it was for selfish reasons, really: The way his eyes lit up when he saw her, how he always tried to attract her attention – it made her feel special, beautiful and desirable. To him, it did not matter that she was born with the red eyes of ill omen. He treated her like she was the most precious thing on earth and that was what gave her power, made her feel in control, for once.
And while Jack came running to where the siblings stood, Oswald looked at her from the corner of his eyes, finally answering her question.
"I don't want to lose people important to me," he said gruffly, and Lacie who knew that it had always been hard for Oswald to let his true feelings show, got what he meant: I'm already gonna lose you; I don't want to lose my friend too.
(my wish is having you and Jack by my side.)
It was only later that day when that fleeting thought returned. She had left the boys to themselves and sat down behind the big tree in the gardens; it was her favorite place to read, only a few steps away from the lake. The surface of the water was clear, immaculate, with only little ripples to deter it from perfection.
She felt his eyes on her before he even said a word. For a few moments, she waited, her gaze still fixated on the pages of her book. He seemed content by just looking at her so she sighed and laid the novel aside. "Won't you sit down, Jack?"
He did as she told him and leaned back against the strong trunk of the tree. He left a six inches space between them, like always made no move to touch her. Jack would spend every day with her and Oswald, he laughed and smiled and talked to her as if he was overflowing with words that couldn't wait until tomorrow, but he seldom touched her. He never crossed that line.
Feeling bold, Lacie reached out and took the tip of his long braid into her hands, played with the soft blond hair, rolling the strands between her fingers.
"Tell me, Jack," she said. "What is the worst that you could imagine? What is the worst that could happen to you?"
He leaned a bit closer and suddenly Lacie felt trapped in his gaze and the absolute adoration that his eyes conveyed made her breath hitch. Love, admiration and happiness in his eyes, but also this ever-present little spark of emptiness. Something was undeniably broken, hollow.
And then, Jack smiled that lopsided smile of his. "What a silly question, Lacie! Not being able to see you, of course, would be the worst thing I can imagine. It would be the end of me, you know?"
How could he say it, then, and still keep on smiling?
Lacie lifted one hand to his face, stroking his check with her thumb. "You really are a strange man, Jack."
(my wish is to stay with you forever, Lacie.)
When Lacie was younger, she used to love playing cards. One of the servants had taught her how to play and she had enjoyed it so immensely that Levi had bought her a deck. But Lacies enthusiasm was a fickle thing and only a short time later the cards were forgotten, left to dust-up on the shelves.
Now, Lacie had discovered a new use for them: If she laid them out on the table and arranged them in different ways, they helped her think. Sorting the cards into various stacks was like sorting her thoughts. It was calming.
When playing cards as a child, she had always won. The cards were her army and the right array guaranteed victory. She did not have an army anymore, but people close to her would also do the trick. They would fulfill her wish.
Her brother, Oswald, was the King. Her fingers caressed the smooth surface of the card, sliding it into the center of the table. It was the only title befitting of him for he was to become the head of the Baskervilles soon; to Lacie, he was full of courage. If it was her who had to become Glen, she'd be terrified. She'd be afraid to lose herself. Oswald, it seemed, was not.
Levi was the Knave. It wasn't half as fitting as the King for her brother but it would have to do. Levi, who had already begun transferring the Chains to Oswald and was no longer Glen, sometimes came to talk to her and over the years he had told her many interesting things about the abyss and its powers. He had also been the one to tell her about her fate. She liked talking to him because he said what had to be said without thinking too much about her feelings – despite of what Jack and her brother thought of her, she was not delicate. She wasn't easily shocked and she didn't cry.
Levi had asked her to help him with an experiment, something, that with very high chance would help her reach her own goal. This made him one of her cards even though she had no power over him.
She slid the Knave next to the King.
She herself, of course, was the Queen. She viewed herself as a card, as part of her army because nothing would go according to plan if there was no one to supervise it's execution. She had to make a start and then, when she was finally gone…
Then there was Jack.
Jack was the Ace. Her trump card. The Ace lay in the middle of them all, next to the Queen, their edges slightly touching.
Before Oswald, Lacie had asked the servants, some of the other Baskervilles, random citizens on the street. Their answers had varied: Illness, death of family members, loneliness, and most of all, their own deaths were what those people feared the most. The answers didn't satisfy Lacie. For someone whose death was imminent, leaving this world was not something to fear. No, there was something worse, something Lacie wanted to avoid at all costs.
(I will not be forgotten.)
Jack's smile did not waver. Maybe what he says is true, Lacie thought absently; maybe he won't ever be sad as long as he is with me.
The only time she had ever seen Jack defeated, small and lost, without his carefree attitude, had been on the day they first met. That winter day. Their first meeting that Jack still hold so dear, while she had regarded him as nothing more than something to pass the time. Jack, shivering under the thin coat, his eyes wide, staring at her in wonder.
She knew he'd fallen in love with her that instant. He had told her often enough.
Now, Jack also was staring at her and Lacie stared back, neither of them blinking, neither talking. She knew that he loved her; had fallen in love with her that one snowy day. He would go through fire for her, fight thousands of men or try to bring her the moon, if she asked.
And suddenly Lacie wondered how it would be to kiss him.
Their faces were only inches apart and her hand was still touching his check, fingers tracing patterns on his skin.
"Tell me," she ordered.
He didn't miss a beat. "I love you."
At his words, Lacie's heart constricted in fear. Will he be alright on his own?
(my wish is to stay with you forever, Lacie.)
She couldn't bring herself to tell him.
Only three weeks later, Lacie died. Oswald became Glen and Jack lost his mind.
After a hundred years people still remembered her name,
and her wish was the only one to come true.