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and i can't say no

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The officer looks at her, his blue eye piercing her like a knife.

Marchioness Margarita Blankenheim looked down at her feet, her hands smoothing the black silk of her dress. Mourning-but she didn't mourn him, not really.

It had been a gift. It was what he needed.

"You are aware of the rumors." His voice was cold as ice, like everything about him. The White Wolf, they called him-and he was like one, a cold, dangerous predator. "The actions of Pere Noel in this area."

"...I don't know much about that." She smiled nervously.

"There were rumors about the black market." He stepped-no, prowled-closer. "About it being linked to this family."

She gasped. "What?!"

He scowled.

"...Sorry." Margarita smiled nervously. "I...I just wouldn't expect that my husband would do a thing like that."

He raised his eyebrows. "From what I've heard, you're the only one who could say that."

She looked at the ground. "I loved him...I really did."

He looked at her, that cold eye piercing her. His face was aristocratic, Margarita thought. Beautiful. Nearly even princely.


Margarita didn't know why Santa Claus had allied with the 'Karakuri' group, but she knew that it was painful to watch the girl and her husband. Kaspar had his arm on hers, giving her more and more lines, flirting with her outrageously.

"Margarita, get us some drinks."

The girl turned to her, and that single red eye turned on her. A shiver went down Margarita's spine at that eye's gaze.

"Of course, dear." She beamed at him. He laughed.

As she left, she heard him say something. "The overwound doll is my wife. You know, of course, she doesn't..."

After dinner, Tsubaki didn't go to his room. She turned to Margarita.

Something about her was so familiar, but she didn't know how...

A smirk crossed the girl's face, twisted, and that red eye shone into hers. "You know. Has anyone ever said you look familiar?"

Margarita frowned. "No, not that I can remember. Do I-"

Tsubaki's hand hit the wall, a knife thudding into the wallpaper. Oh dear, that had cost Kaspar so much money. He'd be angry if he found out she'd messed it up...

The blonde's nose touched her own, red eye meeting green. She smelled like metal, even not in a fight. "You remind me of someone I know." Her voice was soft, angry.

"...I really don't know what you mean."

"Go ahead." She pulled the knife out. "Keep denying. It'll be fun." She smiled, like a cat playing with a mouse.


"Would it please you if I could get you some tea, officer?" Margarita asked.

"No." Ren crossed his arms as he sat in the chair, seeming out of place. "Your house isn't as lavish as it seems from the outside..."

"Well, Kaspar had some debts he had to pay off. Are you certain you wouldn't want any snacks?"

"Yes. Why did he have debts? Wasn't Blankenheim a noble?"

"He really enjoyed smoking." Margarita smiled at him. "Cigarettes are hard to get in this part of the world, do you know? So it cost a deal. He had to sell a lot of our things to make up for it."

"...The Felix family was wealthy. Your family." Ren met her with his piercing blue eye.

It was like Tsubaki's. Everything about him reminded him of her.


Tsubaki was dragging the body of a hit of hers away when Margarita met with her.

She stared at the body.

Tsubaki grinned. "Going to be sick?"

The body was rigid, blood-stained. "Did it hurt for him?"

"I hope it did." The blonde shrugged.

"...Once, my father took me to see a play by a famous writer. Yukina Freezis. Have you heard of her?" Tsubaki shook her head. "I didn't really like it, it was really too dark for me. But there was one bit I really remembered. To die, to sleep...Even if it hurt, he looks...so peaceful."

"You like it?" Tsubaki asked.

"I think it's beautiful." Margarita whispered. "Isn't it?"

Tsubaki stared at her.

The next time Kaspar sent her on a hit, Margarita followed from the shadows.

She watched as Tsubaki killed, shooting, stabbing, a cyclone of blood like the petals in her hair.

"I know you're watching," she called once she was finished.

"It was so brutal. But..." Margarita slowly smiled.

The bodies lay around them. She knelt down, patting one on the forehead. "Good night. Aren't they at peace?" She stood up, meeting Tsubaki's scarred face. "It's beautiful."

Tsubaki leaned towards her. "The kind of thing I like to hear."

And she kissed her.


"People like your late husband disgust me."

Margarita gasped. "What?!"

Ren scowled. "People like him are disgusting. Even if he didn't deal on the black market, he was still evil. He didn't deserve to die. I would have thanked the person who killed him if they weren't committing a crime." He took her hand. That piercing blue eye met her own. "You were too good for him."

She stared at the ground. "I..."

"Flirting?"


"You finally did it." Tsubaki laughed, long and loud and joyful.

Margarita beamed. "Wasn't it beautiful?"

"I would have preferred more blood. But..." She leaned over and kissed Margarita. "Tell me. How did it happen?"

"He stopped breathing." Margarita breathed. "His face went purple, while he was lying on the bed. His lungs were struggling so hard. I wanted to put a pillow over his face, so it would be easier for him. It was so beautiful. I was happy to give him such a beautiful gift. It was wonderful, wasn't it? I see how you feel now, giving people something so beautiful."

Tsubaki laughed. "You're crazy."

And then they kissed, and their bodies were entangling-


Tsubaki's gun was pointed at him.

"You." He stood, drawing his katana.

"Please..." Margarita gasped. "No one kill anyone, please!"

"You should be scrubbed from the world." Ren hissed.

Tsubaki laughed. "Go ahead! When you couldn't-"

"I did-" Ren snarled.

And then the blondes were kissing, all teeth and hate and clashing, different from the kisses of blood and metal that Margarita and Tsubaki had shared, and Margarita watched in shock.

"Oh, I think we're confusing the poor marchioness." Tsubaki laughed. "Come on, Margy, don't you want to join?"

Her jaw dropped.

"This isn't-" Ren began.

"Go ahead." Tsubaki pushed her forwards, and Margarita pressed a nervous kiss on his lips.

Ren's eye widened.

She pulled back. "Was that okay? I mean, you're a prince, so it should be better. You should kiss me to wake me up, but that's not possible..." Margarita giggled.

"She's crazy." Tsubaki explained.

Ren stared at them. "You're the crazy one."

The blonde laughed. "Oh, I know I am. But with the three of us, is that anything?"


Margarita had gone to work on something after...after. Ren was on his way to leave when Tsubaki took his hand.

"Ren."

He turned.

"Listen. I know that you don't trust me. But..." She looked afraid. How in the world... "We need to leave this city."

"Why?"

"For one thing, this isn't our part of the world. Wouldn't it be better to be part of the old routine? And the other...is that this place won't stand for long."

His eye widened. "What-"

"Don't bother going to anyone." She shrugged. "I doubt they'll be able to do anything. This is going to kill nearly everyone. Better if you and me are miles away, killing each other. Just like always!"

He glared. "And her?! Is what you and Lady Blankenheim just did-"

"Oh." Tsubaki's smile was bitter. "...You really don't know, do you? That girl...she's going to go with it. She'll enjoy it. That's the worst part. To die, to sleep. There's nothing we can do for her or anyone!" Tsubaki laughed. "So, let's go back."

"...You cared for her." He turned.

"And you for me. And her for you. And all of us for each other." Tsubaki laughed again. "How sad, isn't it?"