I smiled then because in that moment I recognize something very beautiful and tragic about my situation. Everything falls into perfect, delicate order, like the needlepoint precision of a knife to a throat. Handsome, noble, perfect Damien is here to kill me. He will avenge his lover in terms of the slow depletion of my blood. I do not expect swiftness, not for what I have done. I close my eyes and wait for my own knife to carve retribution into my sallow, tired body.

"It is not so easy as that little Misha" he purrs, a taunting lilt to his voice. It is as if two voices are fighting for simultaneous control; the Damien clinging to sanity and humanity, bridged across the boiling, raging Damien threatening his composure.

"No, no, Misha. No escape for you little Doll. We haven't even begun to play yet." He is much closer now, braced at the edge of my bed. I keep my eyes closed, perfectly still, waiting.

"Will you play Misha? You used to love to play when we were small. Always at your brother's heels weren't you Doll? Don't you remember?" I remember playing hide and seek and being frightened when my brother wouldn't find me. I remember his friends teasing me because my hair was too long and my face too pretty. I remember pain like I could never imagine, and a night I could never forget

"Come here little Misha... Don't you remember?" My brother would say that to me when I'd come into his room, scared of the lightning storms in the dead of night.

Damien doesn't wait for me to react. Suddenly his arms encircle me with snakelike rapidity and firm strength. I open my eyes and see the reflections of insanity in his.

"Let's get out of here Doll, I can't wait to catch up..."

He hauls me to my feet, and I fight down the small part of me still familiar with the concept of self-preservation. I almost immediately go limp, allowing him to drag me across my lavish prison. We are out the door in moments, and passing the guards who seem suddenly very interested in the carpet. Damien pulls me closer, lifting me to a bridal style position, and I am bizarrely comforted by the rich thumping of his heart against my ear. I take little notice of our surroundings, as we trek onwards; I would not recognize much anyway... the family rarely used this manor in the old days. Since my banishment, there is something of a tangible curse in the very air. No one new has stepped foot in this place, until now that is.

Despite my general confusion, I do recognize the doorway to which we have abruptly arrived. Suddenly, I am a squirming, screaming jumble of limbs and sound. I crack my head against my captor's jaw and kick in every place that I can. Damien lets me down enough to pull me into a chokehold, his legs trapping both of mine on either side. I squirm and growl but the firm body behind me won't budge. The fight soon dies out of my frail body and I simply gasp, trembling against him. He opens the door and frog-marches me inside. Everything is as I remember, down to the bed-frame's iron detailing that enters my nightmares the moment my eyelids fall shut in the night.

"You remember this room, don't you Doll? It seems only appropriate that we should begin our play in here..."

My eyes fill without my consent and I feel a numbness spreading throughout my muted body. I can barely hear his next words, because already, a different voice is filling in the gaps and pressing against my ears. I don't feel Damien behind me anymore, nor do I taste the blood dribbling down my chin from where I have bit down on my lip.

"I never much cared for your brother's style of play, but I think I will appreciate it very much tonight, Misha."

A lazy tongue laps at the blood on my chin, and my mind goes blessedly and completely blank.