Hey! To anyone who is/was genuinely interested in continuing to read this, I am SO so sorry this took so long. At the time I was still fairly new to posting fanfiction, and severely underestimated how much the lack of activity on this fic would make me lose motivation to continue. But if you were genuinely interested and/or commented, you are not forgotten, I genuinely did/do appreciate it, and I am so sorry for disappointing you, and I do hope you enjoy this chapter.
I have been going through old fics stuck on my computer lately and trying my best to post them, even if they're not perfect. For the most part, I find the way to post them is simply to break them up earlier/more than I originally wanted to. I was surprised to find I actually wrote more for a third chapter of this than I thought I did. I think I just wanted to end on more of that memory scene and ended up having trouble with it so I got stuck?
That being said, I don't have much written for what comes after this, and unfortunately, if I can't find/didn't jot down any notes for where I wanted the story to, I only vaguely remember where I wanted this to go. So if this fic continues to not garner much interest...to be honest it's unlikely I'll continue. Or if I do it'll be very very sporadic (like what happened with this chapter). I'm not trying to be petty or rude in saying this...I'm just trying to say that realistically, knowing myself, I'll have trouble finding motivation for such a hefty fic if there aren't enough people reading it.
I do really like this premise, especially because it allows me to write about Vince and Ada, and at the time I had planned to make this AU a whole series, with a fic about Elliot and Leo and the music box before this, and then Break after it...and I absolutely adore all of those ideas.
So if you do like this fic and want me to continue, please please please PLEASE say so. Even if you've never commented before, even if you're a guest, even if your comment is just "hey, great job!" please do/say so, because I'm not kidding when I say your comment could be the difference between me continuing this fic or leaving it behind.
Or, hey, if you just want to hear the Elliot and Leo, or Break, stories for this AU instead, let me know! I remember being super excited about the Break one, and it being less convoluted than this one, so it might be a bit easier to write...if I can remember where I wanted it to go, haha!
I hope you enjoy it!
Few things are more terrifying than waking up to see eyes staring back at you.
As is appropriate, Ada gasped, sitting up, scuttling away, before realizing… it was only a stuffed animal.
She breathed out.
It may have just been a toy, but even so, it was rather creepy. Or, well, she supposed the toy itself wasn't creepy, but the fact that it was ripped apart and dismembered made it rather unnerving—(which, being someone who regularly dealt with voodoo dolls, and found the cute, this was saying something).
She gave the room more inspection and found that…this was not the most pleasant place to be. The objects were fairly mundane; books and maps, weapons and clothes, a desk and a few chairs, but everything was scattered about messily—as if this were a teenager or child's room, and not an adult's—(though, she conceded, maybe it was). There was a bed—(which she noticed she was not kindly placed upon). But what ran rampant, what made the room so disconcerting…were stuffed animals. Dolls. But they weren't normal toys, they had all been ripped open, their eyes poked out, their stuffing puffing out of their seams like smoke. The scissors were even left in one of them.
She examined the bed, the sheets messily strewn upon it, falling off it like its inhabitant didn't care much for cleaning up after themselves.
When she tried to move, to get a better look, something tugged her wrists.
Ah…that would be chains keeping her hands attached to the floor.
Panic began to set into her at the realization that she was a prisoner here. And, as all of her numerous attempts at escape proved futile, her memories began rearranging themselves.
Was she a doll too? Would she soon be torn apart, her stuffing spilling out on the floor?
"I'd be perfectly happy to tear your…quaint little shop apart…Or if I don't find it…you."
There was a long, thin, horizontal window on the wall across from the door, which was frosted, though she kept seeing the occasional spray of water. As her eyes travelled up, she saw a lantern above, which kept swinging back and forth. In fact…the whole room was swaying.
She was on a ship.
And after shaking the fog from her brain, remembering all that had happened, she realized this must be Vincent's quarters.
On the ship. The Baskerville's ship. That cursed ship, the one she'd always seen and dreaded from a far, she was now upon. That cured ship, those cursed people, that had sent her brother into the Abyss.
She struggled against the binds, knowing it would get her no where.
What did he plan to do with her? Why had he taken her? Did he plan to torture her until she told him the whereabouts of the music box? Was he currently ransacking her shop for it? Or was this about something else? He did say there was another reason they had come…
Whatever it was, she knew it wouldn't be charming conversation.
How could she have been so stupid? How could she walk outside alone with this man, agree to meet at midnight, when she didn't even know him? She really was just a stupid little girl.
He had enchanted her, like he, and not she, was the witch.
To think she had been so excited for their meeting, more so than most, almost as if she had—
That feeling, that bubbling excitement, that focus, the intrigue…it had a name. A name that floated up to her brain. Was that what they call—?
She struggled harder. She didn't want to see him again. Not like this. She didn't want to see any more of his true nature than she already had. She wanted to forget him, and cast the music box into the sea—
The music box. That's right. He was so quick to threaten her. She would be seeing him a lot more, and in a lot worse situations if he continued to look for it, and she continued to deny him…
That is, if he didn't kill her here.
Would he? Would he go so far? What kind of a person was he really? The ruthless or the debonair? That warm smile, the cold touch…what was real? What was beneath that patch, and would it tell her?
And the music box, she had to get rid of it, truly. Maybe she should even tell him she would, so he'd believe her later, and leave her alone.
If she made it through this, she resolved to throw it into the sea. Surely the waves would drown out its whispers.
Surely it wasn't strong enough to come back up, or light enough to stay afloat.
Still, she didn't want him to get it, and if the told him, wouldn't that only make it easier for him to find?
She tried to look for something, anything on the littered floor that would help her pick the lock in the meantime.
"Echo suggest that you do not struggle."
She gasped, looking up to see the girl in blue with the dim eyes. She hadn't even noticed her there. She must have some way of masking her presence.
"W-" She cleared her throat, trying to keep the fear from her voice. "What do you want with me?"
"Echo does not understand."
"Why did you capture me? What is it that you want?"
"Vincent-sama does not want anything to with you specifically."
"Then…Then what, or who do you want?"
She seemed to ponder whether it was a good idea to tell her, then shrugged. "This is nothing to do with you, you are bait to lure your brother"
"Oni-chan?!" She shouted, the calm façade falling away in an instant. "What do you want with Oz?! He never did anything to you! Haven't you done enough already?!" she shouted, the chains jangling as she pulled forward.
"That it is none of your business to know."
"Of course it is! He's my brother!"
Her brother, the Baskervilles ship, with red and gold sails, and her own powerlessness…this reminded her too much of another time…another tune.
"Interesting. And that gives you allowance to know?"
"Well…yes. Tell me what you want with Oni-chan!"
She bit her lip. Clearly this conversation was going nowhere. Fear for her brother was bubbling beneath the surface, far deeper than fear for herself. So she chose another.
"What about the music box?" Her voice shivered
"What about it?"
"What does he want with it?"
"Vincent-sama said that is none of my business to know."
"Echo is very sorry about Gilbert-Sama'a master."
"What do you mean?"
She wouldn't clarify.
It was a moment later footsteps sounded outside the door, the key rattled—(he'd locked Echo in too?)—when the object of their conversation arrived.
She tensed, fixing her eyes on a doll, then, deciding that was a bad idea, chose the floor.
She didn't want to see him again. What would he do? Who would he be?
"Ah, you're awake!"
Somehow, the sound of his cheerful voice made her look up.
Something flared behind her tongue, a strong emotion that would only be discernable if she let it out.
Was it hatred, defiance, annoyance? Was it simple questions? Or was it…the other thing? Did she want him to change? To pull him from this world of red and gold?
"We have some very important things to discuss before the guest of honor arrives." He pulled a chair from the table and placed it before her, sitting on it backwards.
She stared at him through strands of her hair, breath heavy with anger and fear.
"The music box."
She looked away again.
"What do you want with it?" She bit.
"It's quite simple really; redemption."
She looked up, the music box's own words echoing in her ears; If it's for redemption you seek…
"And you think…you think the answer is in the past?" she herself echoed the box's warning.
He placed a finger on his chin in mock thoughtfulness, "I think somewhere in my ill conceived childhood something went awry."
"Vincent…why do you think the past will save you? The past is gone!"
He stepped off the chair, walking up to her, hands behind his back.
"And how do you know?" he feigned surprise, "I'll ask once again: Don't tell me, you who so adamantly speak against it"—he leaned forward—"listened to its dark tune itself?"
She winced, and the action betrayed her.
"Even you," he walked around her, like a wolf stalking its prey, "with your innocent face, and your honor-struck words, were tempted by it's call?"
For a while she said nothing.
What should she do? Should she tell the truth? Wouldn't he just use that against her?
Or maybe…maybe she could make it into something he couldn't use. Something for her to use instead.
"I just wanted it to shut up." She said, the words equal parts soft and dark.
That seemed to stir something to him.
He blinked, something she knew was true shock flitting across his features.
Then he started laughing.
"And that's exactly why I can't let you use it, Vincent-sama!"
"Because you know what it does? Because you know of the horrors?" He said with the air that he was repeating something he'd heard before.
Suddenly he was very close.
"You think you're the first person whose warned me about this? I told you, I've been looking for this for a long time….I'm always just a step too late. But you know what? Even those who deny it, even the most virtuous and law-abiding or people, they're always tempted. They always give in, if only just for a second. Some came back to tell the tale…and they're the lucky ones. Some have been found dead, and others have died trying to get their body back from the softly playing music," his words became hungry and dangerous, and altogether too close to her ear, "but I can't seem to get my hands on it. I'm the one who's always late. Always. I'm the one who wants it the most. Who needs it." There was something very dark indeed flickering in his eyes there.
Once again, the anger bubbled in her. But before she could speak he wrapped his hand around her throat, lifting her as high as he could, the chain's digging into her wrist.
"And if you think a little girl is going to stand in my way," his voice fluctuated between silver and a growl of some caged animal, "you a very much mistaken.
"Vincent-sama…" she croaked.
His fingers dug in, carving the breath from her lungs.
Then, something puzzled entered his expression. Abruptly he dropped her, his eye circling her as she coughed on the ground.
He reached for her throat again, and she fell onto her side in attempts to get away. But this time, she realized her throat wasn't his target this time.
It was the chain around it.
It had fallen out from her shirt.
He pulled on it, this time he was gentle, feeding the chain through his fingers, letting it sift like side and…until he reached the end.
He looked at the key with a fascination and yearning that seemed almost sick.
"Of course," he murmured.
He pulled hard on the chain, it digging into the back of her neck, using it to pull her back up. He reached around to unclasp it, causing her to fall back, knocking her head against the planks.
The longing in his eyes with the key reflected in them was something so strong, so dark, and she understood why they call some magic black.
What could she say? What could she do? She had tried to warn him tried to get away…
She could only watch.
He clasped it around his own neck, hiding it beneath his own shirt.
"Believe me when I say 'thank you'."
After adding the new piece of jewelry to his ensemble, he tied his hair back into a ponytail, and walked up to his closet, pulling out a long red cloak.
Her breath caught her throat at the sight of it.
The red and gold cloak of the Baskerville's.
As he pulled it on he spoke:
"Yes, Vincent-sama?" She stepped forward like a toy soldier ready to go into battle.
"I don't need you anymore," he said like she was an article of his clothing he wanted to change. "Trade places with Noise."
How could he talk to her so unkindly? And who was Noise?
Before she could find out, another voice sang outside:
"Ohh! I have a little blonde present for you!"
"Perfect timing," Vincent smirked, putting up his hood, and smirking at Ada as he marched up to the door. "Our guest of honor has arrived."