In short, Kind Dice realizes the brothers aren't as tough as they all thought they were. When a fight results in grave injuries and broken hearts, King Dice, spurred on by curiousity and something else, decides to take pity on the two bowl-headed boys, giving them the break they so desperately needed.

He'd seen them crack before. Little cracks and chips, scattered across their porcelain heads. As the two boys worked their way around his casino, fighting all his employee's, and winning, they gained cracks. Some were so severe that the liquid in their heads would drip out, other times they lost whole chips or parts of their handles.

The two would take breaks when the fights resulted in more severe injuries, using glue and bandages to patch on another up. So long as the next fight wasn't too taxing, as long as they worked smart and actually dodged, the damage was virtually gone within the hour.

The two little cups had fought their way all across Inkwell Isle, wracking up all of the soul contracts, defeating debtor after debtor. It was a little worrisome that they had managed to obtain the contracts of those working the casino, but most here liked the work and didn't mind the heat of Inkwell Hell, so he held little doubt that the Devil would buy 'em back real quick.

Eventually, the boys ended up facing him down, King Dice, the Devil's Right-Hand Man. Smirking as he shuffled his cards, eyes glowing green as he worked his magic, giving them plenty of warning of the fight to come, incensing the red-strayed teacup with a few well-placed jabs. They had to take down King Dice in order to go meet the Devil, and from there, well, the Devil always won.

Soon enough, cards were flying, finger-blasts were flaring, and the fight was on. King Dice started out easy on them, testing their reactions, their reflexes, and just how much damage his own attacks took. They were quick to adapt, but just as they grew accustomed to his routine he changed it up, constantly throwing curveballs, forcing them to adapt once again, ducking and dodging all across the makeshift battlefield.

His own little ditty blaring on in the background, declaring how they never should have messed with him, /HIM/, King Dice, King of the Casino! Devil's Right-hand, one of the most suave, clever men on the Isles—


The noise startled King Dice, startled his cards, and he stilled his motions, watching close as one of the brothers, the blue one, crumpled to the ground.

Noticing his fallen brother immediately, the hot-headed teacup gasped aloud, fear and panic painfully raw where once a determined smirk was set in place, tears welling up in eyes that were usual narrowed, hands that were steady shook violently.

". . .M-mugs?"

No response. Lips trembling, tears spilling over his porcelain face, the little cup dashed over to his fallen brother. Gently turning him over, King Dice could clearly see where the back of the little mugs had had been broken apart, only one eye still attached, the corner of his mouth, gone, lain out in shards on the ground below, mixed with a smooth, dark liquid.

The sight actually made him feel a little nauseous. He knew the two weren't invincible. Nobody was. But they were so persistant and scrappy, so quick, that they'd made it through everything else with little more than scuffs and small cracks up until now. But this. . . This was—

"Shh, shh, I know it hurts, it's gonna be okay Mugs."

Glancing back down at the cups in surprise, he saw that the little red teacup was cradling his brother close, carefully fitting the broken piece of porcelain back together, using a tube of Acme Glue that he'd squirreled away. Putting the pieces back together, trying to save his brother.

The little teacup was crying. Honest-to-goodness /crying/ now, putting his broken brother back together, bandaging up half his face so the pieces wouldn't move too much as the glue dried, cleaning up some of the mystery liquid that had soaked into the little blue mugs shirt.

Suddenly, watery brown eyes met virulent green, mistrustful and wary, oh-so-wary, and King Dice isn't sure how to respond. From the moment the little mug had fallen, he'd ceased his attack.

His face twisting into a scowl, streaked with tears, the little cup aimed his finger at the Dice, charging an attack. And why wasn't Dice preparing a counter? Why hadn't he kept up his attack, destroying the two little nuisances and acquiring their souls for the Devil?

. . . From the moment the little mug had fallen, a change had come over the little teacup. No longer was he so brave and rash, diving into danger headfirst, fearless at all times. Instead, he was full of fear, and worry. Desperate to help his brother as quickly as possible, practically in tears for his wellbeing. The scrappy, fearless little cup wasn't nearly so fearless. He had weak points, soft spots, and neither was half as indestructible as they first appeared to be.

King Dice found that he had no will to kick them while they were down. He would not stoop that low, especially when one was so gravely injured. . . If the little mug was even alive.

Speaking of . . .

"Is he alive?"

The little teacup flinched a little, very nearly firing his attack, his eyes narrowing.

" 'Course he is."

He practically snarled, breathing becoming more and more erratic by the second. The hand that wasn't poised to attack was settled on his brother, fingers spread over his chest, checking for any sign of life. Or simply feeling whatever rise and fall was left in the frail, broken body?

. . .he'd forgotten how fragile porcelain was. How young the two were. No matter how tough they were, no matter how lucky, something like this was bound to happen. Kind Dice was honestly surprised that it hadn't happened sooner, as opposed to later.

After a few moments tense stillness, Kind Dice clears his throat somewhat, the sound like a gunshot in the relative silence. The little teacup jumps slightly and misfires, and Dice sidesteps smoothly, for the moment choosing to ignore the attack.

"Do you or your brother need anything. . .?"

Staring at the Devil's Right-hand incredulously, more tears flowing, hot and angry, he aimed his finger once again. This time, he didn't intend to miss.

King Dice held up his hands in a placating gesture, trying to settle the furious little cup. His cards, previously loitering about near his feet, on his shoulder, lingering on the battlefield, all jumped to attention, scuttling back up into his sleeves.

"I'm not gonna kick ya while you're down. I wouldn't stoop /that/ low. Now. . . Do you need help?"

The little cup had no reason whatsoever to trust him, but in a surprise twist, he slowly nodded, lowering his hand, the attack dissipating.

"Do ya. . . Do ya have a side room or som'thin' where I could . . . C-could lay my brother down?"

As he spoke, the little cup gathered his brother into his arms. He looked quite pitiful in that moment. Shaking slightly as he held the blue mug, tears dripping down his face, expression lacking the usual cocky smirk, instead his lips trembled in a soft pout, clearly fighting the urge to breakdown entirely.

King Dice nodded silently gesturing for the teacup to follow him.

Away from the Casino, all the way to the Die House, King Dice's own private quarters in Hell. He glanced behind himself every now and again, making sure the little cup was keeping up, slowing his pace little by little when he realized the teacup was struggling.

Letting them inside, he gestured to the couch, standing quietly off to the side as the teacup nodded, lugging his brother up onto it. He seemed hesitant on how to proceed, propping his brother up against the arm rest, checking the cracks on his head.

"Can I get ya anything?"

The cup looked up at him sharply sniffling softly as he angrily rubbed the tears from his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest.

". . . A blanket."

The cup glanced at his brother, grudgingly tacking on a "please".

King Dice obliged without word, fetching a simple purple blanket from down the hall, offering it to the little cup.

The teacup snatched it from his hands, inspecting it suspiciously before he drew it around his brother, snuggling up against him.

Dice leaned against the wall, supervising the two for now.

". . .I take it it's . . . Never been this bad before?"

Dice found the question had left his mouth before he could stop it, honestly curious by now, and more than a little concerned at the mugs continued "slumber".

"N-no. Why do you even care?!"

King Dice wasn't sure how to answer. Mostly because, he didn't really have an answer. Why DID he care?

. . . He wasn't sure by now.

*jazz hands* Please read and review. First attempt at a Cuphead fanfiction, so, I may need to go back and edit this later. Mainly because, it's pretty late/early for me right now. Enjoy!