Time seems to stand still all of a sudden. At least, it feels that way.

The last thing Oz remembers is that he was sitting outside the main house, basking in the warm sun, waiting for Alice and Gilbert to return from shopping. He had politely declined their invite to go-much to Gil's dismay-and told them he'd be outside when they returned. The reasoning was simple; he needed time to clear his mind. So many things had happened in such a short time. And yet...ten years had passed. The gravity of that simple statement was hard to swallow, and for the most part, Oz had done well in shrugging off such a huge deal. He did it for them. Smiled for them. Kept their hopes up because if he allowed his own smile and hopes to falter for one second, it'd all be lost.

The last exact thing he remembers is closing his eyes for a small nap. He had been lulled into a state of drowsiness by the nearby birds, chirping pleasantly in the warm summer air. Break was off somewhere with Sharon and for once, he was alone.

For once, he didn't mind it. After all the years of despising being alone, being isolated and without people, he actually wanted it for a few minutes.

The last thing he can recall from that moment is a cold, yet so damn familiar hand curling around his wrist while a second flew up, over his mouth. The last thing he remembers smelling was a strong, almost alcoholic substance before his half-sleep state was interrupted. Knocked out cold.

The first thing Oz realizes when he wakes up is that he can't move his hands. Or his legs. He's in a painfully familiar position-arms bound up in the air, breathing heavily, just like that one time. Your existence is a sin, Oz Bezarius.

Was it really?

When his eyes flutter open, the first thing he sees is a dark room. And in the middle of the dark room, he can make out that it's in fact a bedroom of sorts. Small dolls and plushies lay scattered on the floor, torn at haphazard places. An ear off here, a shredded leg there. And there's blood on the floor, too. Not a lot, but there's some.

Oz gets the sickening feeling it might just be his own.

"Oh, so you're awake. Good evening, Master Oz."

There's suddenly a lilting voice in the darkness. Oz squints his eyes, blearily and heavily, and can just make out the form of a figure. Within seconds, the form is closer and he, in the dim light, can see who it is.

His stomach knots.

"Ha...if you wished to speak with me, you didn't have to go to this trouble," Oz points out with a forced smile, looking up into the man's mismatched eyes.

The man doesn't respond. There's a small curve to his lips just then, like a sarcastic smile. His smiles are just as fake as Oz's, the boy realizes, and for some reason, it scares him.

"Master Nightray," Oz begins politely, the smile still intact, though it's wavering considerably, "Is there...something you wanted?" His throat is going dry.

"You're quite the special person to my brother," the man begins, golden eye focusing on Oz while the red slips shut. In this light, he looks just like...just like...

"Am I?" Oz repeats, though he knows it's obviously true.

"...Of course." The man makes a small 'tsk' sound before stepping closer, a gloved hand extending.

Oz tenses as that very hand cups his cheek, forcefully.

"It's sad that my brother has no time for me anymore," the Nightray begins, a sad little, twisted smile on his lips as he holds the boy's face harder, as if hoping to break him, "because he's always out chasing rabbits."

Oz swallows. "...It's Gil's choice if he follows me or not," he points out, smile still there, somehow. "I'm sorry that you haven't gotten the chance to see him much."

Those words are just as fake as his smiles. Vincent Nightray scares Oz more than he can admit.

"Are you really?" There's a giggle. That giggle that usually follows a bang from a gun or a malicious little look.

"...Of course," Oz hums, wincing a fraction as Vincent's hand drops from his face.

"Then maybe we can work out a deal," Vincent suggests, that sickeningly sweet, wretched smile back again. And his hand is back all of a sudden. This time, though, it's trailing down Oz's side, light and yet empowering all at once.

"What did you have in mind?" Oz has no intent of compromising with this madman, but if it'll add to his chances of freedom, he'll do it.

"I want my brother to pay attention to me again," Vincent explains, a smirk taking shape. "Before...you, Big Brother protected me nobly. However, the only thing he protects now is you. He has no regard for me whatsoever. It's almost as if we are no longer family." There's a sharp edge to his words. A growing danger. "Brother has used me. For you."

There's a deafening silence.

"I'm sure Gil cares about-" Oz begins but is silenced when that sinful hand comes to slide along his hip, brushing down tediously onto his inner thigh. There's a startled gasp, a fluttering of his eyes, and a frantic attempt to remain composed.

"He cares about his master," Vincent corrects, suddenly oh-so very close. His mouth is near Oz's ear, head bowed down so he can reach. "...So naturally, if his master is in danger, he'll pay attention to the one causing it."

Oz gasps, for two reasons. The first being because of the threatening the words, the second because the older man's hand had suddenly moved up, touching him there. Grabbing. Forcefully. It hurts and yet there's a shoot of pleasure and oh god please, just let me go.

"But you're not a doll, Master Bezarius," Vincent points out, a smile in his voice as he continues whispering the words into Oz's ear. "You're harder to break."

Oz tries not to make a noise, tries to be strong and indifferent and anything, but Vincent's hand is distracting him. He lets out a choked noise, nearly gagging on his own spit.

"Ah...I-I...I'd like to think...that's true..yes."

"However," Vincent begins again, breath so damn warm against Oz's skin that the boy feels like he's melting. "I don't have any quarrels with ending your life."

Oz's eyes widen, and it's not because the man's fingers are toying with the small hook on his shorts. No, it's because of Vincent Nightray's next few words.

"Just like that rabbit one hundred years ago."

Oz's mind shuts off, almost with an audible click. He can't breathe, can't think, and suddenly his mind is plagued with horrible images. Of Alice dead, bloody, in Cheshire's dimension. Of that sweet little girl crying because she's lonely. Of Gilbert's little brother killing her. Slaughtering her. Just like a doll.

He feels sicker than he already was.

"...Speechless, Master Oz?" Vincent wonders, fingers slipping down, down. There's squirming, and a struggle, and he devours each and every reaction from the boy who stole his brother away from him. "That's fine~ You don't have to say a word. Just knowing that you know is enough for me I'm not greedy."

Oz feels dirty as he lets out a soft gasp, intermingled with forced pleasure, at the feel of the man's gloved fingers going further south, beneath the waistband of his shorts and-and oh god he just wants out of here.

"When a toy breaks-"

Oz is falling further into a plummet of mental anguish, and he stays quiet because if he doesn't, he'll die. If he doesn't, Gilbert will lose him again, and he can't let that happen.

"-it's the responsibility-"

Just please, let him go free. Stop with the touching and the warm breath and those fingers and A-ah...

"-of a beloved one to-"

He's sorry. So, so sorry. Sorry he isn't stronger and sorry that he's too stubborn to cry for help.

"-replace it."

And he knows once he breaks, Vincent will be that replacement.